Embrace the Paradigm as a Change Agent

The role of the pastor seems to be more challenging in an ever-changing secular movement that is pushing out Christianity for secularism in our homes, schools and community as a whole. Suppose you doubt the change that has come about; post on social media about God and watch the reactions from all corners of the spectrum. However, as Christ followers, called to serve as the under shepherd of the local church, pastors are held to a higher account to push through the disinformation and to share the gospel in love but in truth. Pastors and Christians everywhere are called to be change agents to live out the gospel and hold to God’s Word.

Embrace the change that comes with growth.

As you serve in the established church, you will notice many things that need to change inside and outside the four walls of the church. The challenge is to figure out where God is leading and help the people go in that direction. If you have ever thought about dieting, you know that change is hard. If you ever had to change jobs, you know that change is hard. Yet, in the change season, God stretches the Christian and the church to become more like him and less like the world. Change will be difficult and challenging, but it is part of growth that God wants to help you through. As a church leader, you are called to lead people through change. While not easy, change is necessary for the spiritual and physical growth that God is leading you and the church. To be more Christ-like, you must die to yourself and rise in him. For a church to grow, it must die to its wants and desires and stand where God has asked it to go.

Embrace the challenge to become a better you.

I can not find anywhere in the Bible where the Lord wants his people, especially his leaders, to stop growing. Time and time again, he challenges his leaders to stretch their faith with his, move in uncomfortable directions, and reach a new potential that they did not know they had inside of them. The same is true with the established church. God wants it to see new days of spiritual and physical growth. He longs for a day when the church embraces a community center model and begins serving the community seven days a week, not just two. He is challenging the church, and he is challenging you to grow by saying yes. Yes, to serve in his way. Yes, to striving to live Christ daily. Yes, to see a need and find a way to meet it. 

How often have you prayed, “Lord, send someone or something to help us.” What if you are the “someone”? What if your church is the “something”? Christians often miss their calling because they don’t want to become the better person God calls them to be. Same with the church. They do not want to change, so they doom themselves to a slow decline and ultimate death by making no decision.

Embrace the character-building that will help you become the best you.

If you are willing to surrender over your walk with the Lord, God can use you to impact your community like never before. Complete surrender is not holding on to “stuff’ but giving everything: faith, family, finances, and the list could go on to the Lord. It’s a total surrender of this world’s trappings and embracing the character of Christ in your life. When you commit yourself to Christ, he will use the gifts he birthed inside you to help transform the local church and community into his image. The task will be great, “but greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Trust him, rely on him, and then watch how he uses you to transform people and places around you. 

The local church today needs Bible-believing, Bible-preaching, and faithful leaders inside the local church. Do not allow the flashes of bright lights from the church down the street to distract you from the mission God has for you. If God wanted you to have a megachurch, he would do it right where you are. So trust him. Believe that his Word is accurate. You might not even realize it, but God is using you right now to help the people in your local church and community. He has called you right where you are because his assignment is great, and he is asking you to fulfill it. Stay focused and allow him to build you up to become the leader he needs you to be.

Embrace the paradigm as a change agent and watch how God transforms your heart and others around you. While not always easy, leading is a lot easier with God if you allow him to take the lead.

Desmond Barrett
Desmond Barrett
Desmond Barrett is the lead pastor at Winter Haven First Church of the Nazarene in Winter Haven, Florida. He is the author of several books and most recently the co-author with Charlotte P. Holter of Missional Reset: Capturing the Heart for Local Missions in the Established Church (Resource Publications) and has done extensive research in the area of church revitalization and serves as church revitalizer, consultant, coach, podcast host and mentor to revitalizing pastors and churches.