Well we did it. Most of Indiana changed time yesterday for the first time in many, many years. We moved into Daylight Savings Time. We all lost an hour of sleep. We all have more daylight at the "end of the day" according to our clocks. Most of us struggled to make sure our computers changed time but our Palm Pilots and other calendars did not change all of our appointments. We changed time.
Time is changing, but the change to daylight savings is only one aspect of that change.
Last Friday I was a part of a seminar with Lyle Schaller, who wore a t-shirt with "What If?" printed on the front. The back of his shirt revealed the rest of his question, "What if tomorrow is 1955?" The point he made was that most of our churches are well-prepared for ministry in 1955, but poorly prepared for ministry in 2006. Times have changed. Cultural patterns have changed. The way people respond to worship services has changed (oops, Lyle said that people are not looking for "worship services" anymore, they are looking for "worship experiences" now). And perhaps most significantly, generations are changing as our older members are passing on, baby boomers are aging and thinking about different issues, Gen-Xers are maturing and taking leadership, and the newest generation (some call it Generation Y and others call it the Millennial Generation) are coming forth with a whole new set of values and lifestyles which are, most analysts are saying, more traditional, conservative, and basic than the Boomers or Xers.
Time is changing. The world is changing. Our lifestyles are changing. The challenges of being a pastor are changing. The whole nature of "church" is changing. How do we deal with this myriad of changes? The same way we dealt with the change to daylight savings time: we learned about it, we changed our clocks, and now we learn to adapt.
It is good to know that in the midst of all these changes, we are promised that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow" (Hebrews 13:8). That doesn't mean that Jesus is boring or unable to adapt -- it means this his love, grace, and living presence are ever-new in our midst. Jesus leads us into these changing times, if only we will follow him and not get stuck in past time zones.
So, don't be afraid of changing times. Let's just reset our clocks and prepare for the future.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner