I had a convicting experience recently. It was one which will actually help me in the current church work I am doing, but also in the future as I implement change.
One Saturday night during December I went to three church Christmas parties. Cheryl was out of town, so I made a quick pass through each of them. I was watching a football game before I left home and didn’t turn off the television. When I returned home I entered to find a Christmas show on that I had never seen.
It was something called “Frosty Returns.” I apologize if that is your Christmas favorite, but in my opinion…it stinks.
Sorry. Not trying to be rude to the people behind the show, but that’s how I saw it.
It wasn’t “Frosty”. It was “Frosty Returns”. Bad, bad, bad idea. Bad sequel to the original.
I immediately thought…
The audacity. They messed with Frosty. Frosty the Snowman. The classic. The one I watch every year. You can’t improve upon that. You make a mistake as soon as you waste time thinking that you can.
And, why did Frosty need to return anyway? Take a chance on melting again. Take a chance on losing that magic hat.
Who would mess with the original? What’s this world coming to?
How could you possibly improve upon the real thing?
Okay, maybe a little over dramatic…but you get the point. I couldn’t understand the need to change from what has worked for so long.
Then, in the middle of my disgust, it hit me.
Conviction. Between the eyes.
I’m pretty sure it may have been a “gentle whisper” moment.
I’m new in my current church. A 100 plus year old church. Some people in this church have been attending the church longer than I’ve been alive.
We are revitalizing. Transitioning. Making changes.
Not all of them are popular. Change is hard. Absolute change is hard absolutely.
We need change. I am convinced we won’t be a vital church body 20 years from now without some change.
I don’t believe in “blowing up DNA” kind of change, so I’m taking things slow. Or, at least, it seems slow to me.
But, the conviction?
The way I felt about Frosty….
That’s the way many seniors in my church feel everyday.
Sure, you sang “Amazing Grace”, but you didn’t sing it my way. The audacity. They messed with Amazing Grace. Who would mess with the original? How could you possibly improve upon the real thing?
What about the committees? What about the policies? What about the way we’ve always done things?
Why would you mess with the originals?
They messed with my Frosty.
I’m not trying to be cute or funny. It was conviction. It was a teaching moment for me.
We do have to change. If we only do church the way it’s always been done…we will only reach who we’ve always reached. And, frankly, I want to reach multiple generations. Even people my children’s age.
Frosty had to change. Not sure how well they did, but to reach a younger audience, there needed to be some changes. My boys are okay with Frosty, but they’d rather watch “Elf”. I can wish they liked Frosty more, but if I want to make sure I get to hang out with them…I’m willing to sit down to watch “Elf”.
(Interesting, I shared this with a friend and he polled his twin 16 year old sons. They prefer “Frosty Returns”. I don’t understand kids these days. )
Change is a part of life.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I understand that even better now. Understanding how someone feels…or why they feel that way…helps you plan your approach. It helps you respond to their uncertainties, even their disappointments about change. They aren’t necessarily trying to be difficult. We just can’t expect everyone to immediately think the change is good, needed, or welcomed.
Because, did I tell you?
They messed with my Frosty. The audacity.