If you find yourself saying, “we’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work!” Try some of them again, without working around what you’re working around. It might be the clothing closet no one uses. Partner with local charities or churches instead. It might be the one elder of six who doesn’t agree with what you’re doing, or the one small group of 15 that’s causing problems. It’s not usually the resistance that brings problems, it’s the mishandling of resistance that brings problems.
There is always some resistance to change. It’s a huge mistake to build around that resistance. Give in to the resistance, or build in spite of it. Work through it if you can. However, don’t build around it.
Allow me to share the parable of Wenling:
Urban planners in Wenling, China wanted to demolish this old apartment building to make room for a new highway to the local train station. The residents, however, had didn’t want to move. The city council, then built the highway in the picture, completely surrounding the building. Here’s what you have now: a crummy house and a crummy highway. The result is pictured here:
What you have now is a place no one wants or live or drive. In my experience, stagnant or declining churches have ministry highways like these built all over their church system. They are often labeled, “accommodation,” and “compromise.” These are code words, usually, for ministries built in such a way no one wants to live in them or even drive by them. What’s a church to do with these highway/house hybrids? Tear them down and rebuild, or abandon them both and work together elsewhere.
Whatever you do…
Either live in the house, or build the highway. Don’t live on the highway.
Question: Where do you see these highways/houses built in your own church?