Recently both Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social networking sites, changed the appearance and functions of their sites. Facebook started by enticing us and making the “new profile” optional, and Twitter introduced “new Twitter.” So far uses of Twitter still have the “option” of using “new Twitter” or accessing the “old Twitter.”
However, Facebook, after a period of making the new profile optional is now sending messages to users who have decided to stick with the profile format they have been using all along to communicate to them that soon the “new profile” will no longer be optional, but required. You got it, all must switch over. I’m guessing that eventually Twitter will decide at some point to do away with the “old Twitter” too.
A quick historical glance will reveal that things are changing all the time, whether its going from analog tv to digital tv, wires to wireless, landline to cellular, or even further back. Some of us are old enough to remember 8-track tapes, 45s, floppy discs, cassette tapes and tape recorders. It hasn’t been limited to technology, there was the Jerry Curl, big hair, afros, long haired hippy looks, the types of shoes and clothing we used to wear in contrast to what we wear now. You get my point – things are changing all the time.
I find that we welcome “new” in a vast number of areas of life – a new year, a new haircut, new furniture, new tv, new computer, a new house, and more. However, the human reality is that there are some things we would just prefer remain the same. Is it because we prefer familiarity? Is it because we’re afraid? Is it because it’s easier? Is it because of the unknown aspects of the new? I guess only the individual can really say what it is for them.
As I’ve done ministry in a variety of local church contexts and other contexts one of the most frustrating and normal realities that I have observed is the commitment to the “old” way of doing things – how we used to do it is the way we do it and plan to continue doing it, the things that we used to do that worked, we will continue doing now, even if they no longer work, etc.
I have concluded that holding onto what God did in the past as He guided and inspired ministry ideas, practices and methodologies with such a tight grasp that we won’t let go, is to simultaneously close our hands and be unwilling and unable to receive the “new” things that God may be wanting to do in and through us. And eventually, a refusal to change can lead to limited effectiveness, and cultural irrelevance and an perpetual state of always being behind.
God always has more. God has always been a culturally relevant God who moves in unique ways in order to reach people where they are. I absolutely believe that He has more to give us and desires for us to keep moving forward.
“New” requires adjustments, and sometimes even inconvenience, but “new” is not always bad, sometimes is actually really good – not only for us, but for people around us!
Try it and see what happens.