Today, I say, “Here’s to the change agents!” Today isn’t just Halloween. It’s Reformation Day–the day many in the Church at-large celebrate Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door at All Saints Church in Wittenberg.
For those who’ve grown up in the Restoration Movement, as I have, the Protestant Reformation hasn’t always been given it’s due. Despite their own roots in the Stone-Campbell tradition of changing the Church through primitivism, many in the Restoration Movement have used “change agent” as a slur. This isn’t to say Restoration churches never change. Actually–I am sort of saying that. I’d also suggest change agents (there’s that dirty moniker again) have a hard time surviving in our particular tribe. This, despite the fact that Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell were change agents in their own right.
I say, “Here’s to the change agents.” Moses, David, Jesus, Paul and those who came after them–imperfect as they might be. The church needs change agents for the simple reason the church needs to change constantly–whether in heart, mind, or methodological course correction. There is always a benefit to being able to change. God usually raises up a Luther or a Campbell, or a Youth Ministry to get leadership’s attention and begin the change process. I’m thankful for the brave change agents God has blessed the Church and churches with over the years.
It ain’t easy being a change agent. Even the Grand Canyon has changed over thousands of years–and more than some churches I know. The reason is the efforts of some to silence or railroad those with the courage to say, “We need to change,” or “this can’t stand.” They become the subject of people’s sermons, they get written up, called names, excluded from fellowship, and rendered silent by those pulling the strings of whatever tribe the change agent appears. Thanks again, change agents. I love you. You’ve done so much good for the Church over the centuries.
Not every self-proclaimed change-agent is one. Some would fancy themselves as modern-day Luthers. In truth, they are modern-day haters. They don’t love the Church deep down, and it’s obvious in their writings and teaching. Other wanna-be Luthers would lead the church truly astray doctrinally. I’m not saying, “Here’s to them.” I’m saying, “Here’s to the change agents” that help the church blaze a new trail or return to sound doctrine God’s glory–and are willing to pay the price for doing so.
I’m going to spend some time today asking God to raise more of them–His kind of change agents. I invite you to join me.
Question: Which church innovator/change agent has made the biggest impact on you personally? Or, which would you like to say “thank you” to today?