Changing Churches

Change is hard, isn’t it? Especially in church. 

A few years ago, Christian leader and bestselling author Gordon MacDonald wrote a book just to help longtime church members deal with the feelings of surprise, confusion, disappointment, and even betrayal that can arise when their once-familiar church seems to change and vanish before their eyes. He entitled it Who Stole My Church? If you’ve ever experienced rapid change in a church you love, you might feel some resonance with the question. 

You might even be thinking about Parker Hills. 

We’ve experienced more than our share of change in the past few years, that’s for sure. And, part of me regrets to say, there’s still more to come. 

“Part of me” is regretful about this because I know change can hurt, even when the reasons for change are good. After all, they aren’t called “growing pains” for no reason! Our elders and our deacons have extensively discussed and prayed about the burden our precious congregation is bearing, just dealing with the sheer rate of change around here lately. We know you are a patient, trusting, joyful group of saints—the best congregation I (Josh) have ever served! But we also know that change can make a congregation feel restless, distracted, and displaced. So, we are determined to support and shepherd you well as we walk through the challenge of these changes together. 

There’s a lot more to be said about this than can fit in this column, so let me wrap up with two assurances. First, we are not making any changes in order to grow or get healthy as a church. In fact, the opposite is true—we’re changing because our congregation is growing. 

Second, none of these changes have altered or will alter our identity as a church. There are a select few core values that make Parker Hills who we are—namely, the centrality of the gospel, the sufficiency of Scripture, and the power of community. Everything else precious about this place—e.g., the warm welcome, the joyful singing, the generous giving, the gentle flexibility, the careful preaching—all of that arises directly and organically out of those three essential bits of our DNA. Nothing is going to change that! 

In next week’s column, I’ll name and explain a few more important changes that are coming up soon. Stay tuned!