April 2

Written by Bill Grandi on April 2nd, 2024

Someone has famously said, “The seven last words of the church are ‘We’ve never done it that way before.'” That, of course, was not a compliment. It was, in fact, another way of saying that a church will die or have zero influence if it does what it has always done; is what it has always been; and sticks to what once was.

Sadly, it is true. Many churches (and organizations) are tied to to their past. Their glory days are long gone but “Doggone it, we’ve always done it this way and we will continue doing it this way.” Let’s start playing TAPS or maybe, just maybe, it started long time ago?

When I first started in ministry it was at the end of my sophomore year in college. I preached on Sundays at a little country church in a little town in KY (No need to mention where). I honestly don’t know if that little church is still in existence. But they used to have 2 week revivals. 2 weeks! In June! Every night! Now, I’m not sure if they still do that…I would hope not. I confess I had no clue what a revival was all about or even what it was, let alone pastor a church that had one 2 weeks long.  I see it now as a meeting for the already saved to get together, listen to a sermon they have heard multiple times before, and walk away feeling good they were there. Yeah…that’s cynical. I’m sorry I’m a tad bit jaded.

There is a church in the town where I pastor that has a “Gospel Meeting” i.e. their brand name for “Revival.” For a whole week (I think twice a year), they have meetings each night. I don’t see too many cars in the parking lot. If I did, I wonder how many are unsaved folks? Could it be the time is past?

Whether a church, a company, a local business, or even a local service organization, death comes knocking if there is a failure to change. I’m not talking about the mission or core values. We have enough of that nonsense already. No…I’m talking about the approach.  It’s time we stop living in the past or try to relive our glory days by “doing what we have always done” and start making the necessary changes to influence the culture. If not, the culture will influence us. 

I heard it put this way one time: Methods change; the message doesn’t. That’s it in a nutshell.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Absolutely true, Bill! Dick and I have heard “we’ve always” and “we remember when” more times than we can count—literally! The gospel is all about change for the better and is always relevant, but sadly few churches today meeting that criteria.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I can sympathize with you and Dick, Pam. Fortunately, I have been in a couple of churches that didn’t take that approach. The one I am currently pastoring is one of them. you are right though, sadly very few are changing.

  2. To make disciples for Christ, we have to meet people where they are; we should welcome any change that can make that happen.
    Great reflection, Bill!

  3. gail says:

    I feel like if a church wants to make a difference in the community, first they have to build that bridge of trust, and be open to listen to anyone that walks through the church doors on how they feel and why. I never believe you need to compromise God’s word, God’s word is the absolute truth no bending it to suit anyone. Bringing unsaved or unchurched people into your church, you need to be patient, and loving in order to get them to open up to Christ. If you beat them over the head in their first visit, you will chase them off before any changes can begin to develop. I think sometimes people try to hard to push Christ, and think they are on a time crunch to get them saved. First, if you are loving, and just telling your story, tell the truth, work with them, spend time at their side, walk with them, be a seed planter. God can make anything and everything happen when you just tell the truth, and keep God first. God does not expect us to do all the work, just do what He asks of you.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I completely agree Gail. People are not notches on a “saved belt” or heads hanging down as proof of your “work.” Plant the seed and let God bring the increase…however He chooses to do so.