A few years ago there were whispers of our local Walmart being upgraded to a Super Walmart! This was amazing news! Our little town worthy of not just a Walmart, but a Super Walmart! We’ll attract thousands of shoppers in their pajamas from all over the place! What great news! The buzz has continued to grow and as of this post we even have a date for the Grand Opening! People couldn’t be more excited, and to be totally honest, it has been amazing to see the new stores and businesses coming to Lockport because of the Super Walmart status we’ll now have.
The upgrade of this behemoth that is Walmart has even caused our local town to upgrade roads and parking lots that were in shambles. But most of all, my wife and I have been excited about the sidewalks that will be going in around our house that will lead the walking masses to buy their toothpaste and deodorant inexpensively (And don’t forget those odd trinkets in the check-out Aisle!). "Did I find everything I needed?" the clerk asks. "Of course! I got everything I needed, PLUS the hand sanitizer AND rubber carrier to attach to my keys from the display near the toys. Thanks Walmart, what would I do without you?”
The future was getting brighter for Lockport, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled that I was seeing it. Until I went for a drive one day to my bank.
My bank is right across from the new site for Super Walmart (How convenient, right?). Well I went to turn down the street to go to my bank and their was a big sign saying “Road closed for construction.” They were working on those great new sidewalks my wife and I were excited about. But wait, how am I supposed to get to my bank? Well, I had to double back and go a different way. Fine, whatever. "We are seeing change happen" I remind myself. I doubled back, and came to realize the second way to get to my bank was closed as well. Now I’m starting to get a little frustrated. All this change was really starting to ruin my buzz. This was really starting to make my life a little difficult.
I went the 3rd way to the bank; the only way now to get the bank because of all the construction. It was a Friday afternoon. It seemed like all of Lockport was going the only way possible to the bank at the same time. It took me 3 times as long to get to the bank as usual. Traffic was congested, and I just wanted to get my weekend on! All this change was really starting to make me wish we never got the Walmart upgrade. Thanks Walmart for making my life 3 times as hard. Instead of going to the bank and back in 10 minutes, it took me a whole 30 minutes! I almost emailed the Mayor while waiting in traffic to go back to the way it was! It was easier the way it was, and I could get to the bank just fine.
Why the rant about Walmart? We all like upgrades, new things, better, bigger things. We all want God to do greater things in our life, change our current situation. We all want God to upgrade our ministry, church, or even the people that we’re called to minister to. But then things do start to change and we realize it might make things a little uncomfortable, or different, or the journey to change may take a while. It might seem like our life is under constant construction. Maybe you have been walking down God’s path and have come across a “Road Closed” sign. You think if you can just go down that road it would make the journey easier or shorter. We all want change, but struggle with it when it begins to affect us personally.
Now think about the people in your church, youth ministry, or organization. You will always have ideas on improvements, upgrades, and changes. Remember my story of how I reacted to the changes in my town. They are great changes, but people are so short sighted that we lose focus on the future, and react by how it’s affecting me today, right now. When improving, upgrading or changing your ministry remember that even though it is probably a great idea, when people are personally affected by it, when it takes them out of what is comfortable or familiar, they’ll react from whatever emotion they’re feeling at that moment. Keep reminding them of the vision, purpose, and goal for the change.
We could all use a constant reminder that every day is a new day, and God is doing new things. Isaiah 43:19 speaks to God’s constant improvement in our lives and lives of others around us. "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Let’s remember this when it begins to move us from our comfort zone, or things don’t look as familiar anymore.
Here is a great blog about how different groups of people embrace change. Keep all these different kind of embracers in mind when implementing change. Where do you find yourself on this scale? Leave your thoughts in the comments and let us know what kind of Change Embracer you are.
What has God been upgrading in your life lately, but it has brought you out of your comfort zone?
Mike Wing is the Lead Pastor of Lockport Christian Church. His amazing wife’s name is Amber and he has 3 awesome boys. Abram is 5, and Eli & Jadon are twins that are almost 2. He’s had the privilege of living in Lockport, NY for almost 10 years and is really excited to see God bringing new businesses and buildings in the city and town where he lives. He has a huge passion to see community built within his church and believes the best thing about his church are the people in it, and seeing them grow in relationship with God and each other.
Facebook // Twitter // LCC Facebook // LCC Website