In a chapter titled, “Innovating” the authors ask the question, “Why the strong motivation to innovate?” And then they write,
Billy’s associates insist his drive to innovate was rooted in his calling to reach out to others with God’s love. What else, they ask, could motivate him in the 1960s to don sunglasses, shabby clothes, and a baseball cap to mingle in New York City among protesters of Students for a Democratic Society? Why else would he walk into a music store, load up on rock albums, and then sit down in his Montreat home to hear an unfamiliar generation’s coming-of-age anthems? Graham left his generational comfort zone because he believed in his message and loved those who needed to hear it.
Later on in this chapter, the authors record a conversation with one of the leaders who served closely with Billy Graham. He said that he learned from Billy that, “Change is not about the head – it’s about the heart. When the heart is soft, the mind is open to change at any age.”
What would happen if opposed-to-change Christians began to have their hearts softened with love for the next generation? What would happen, if like Billy Graham, we would all commit to leaving our “generational comfort zone” because we believe in our message and we love those who need to hear it?
Yesterday I talked with a friend who told me the story of several pastors who were in torment as they were deciding whether or not to introduce “contemporary music” into the worship sets at their churches. They were afraid of what people would say and who would leave! This is way more common than uncommon! Crusty Christians opposing innovation because it pushes them out of their “generational comfort zone.” I’ve got a word for this… cut it out! Stop!
Church, it is imperative that we initiate and embrace strategic change for the sake of leading people to God through a relationship with Jesus Christ!
If you are one opposed to strategic change within the church, listen to these words from Billy Graham after making a decision to open up his meetings with “contemporary music”: “I don’t really understand what they’re saying, and I don’t like the music. But I like them. They like it.” He did what it took to reach a new generation… even though he didn’t necessarily like it! This is what is required to continue reaching new generations for Christ – the sacrifice of personal preference. Are you willing? Am I willing?