It occurred to me recently that we Christians in America have the same problem in addressing issues in our country/ government as we do in our churches. I have been in the church since before I could walk and have been a part of a church staff family for most of my life and I have seen any and every problem that you can imagine. I have seen churches thriving and churches dying.
In my thirty years on this earth I have also seen the country rise and fall. Recession, inflation, war, peace, economic boom and economic bust, racial tension and progress toward racial harmony, moral decay and surges of religious awareness and reform. My father was always very politically attentive and made sure we had a good grasp of what was going on in the world, good and bad.
But no matter what was happening in the church or in the country there was always a desire for change of some sort. The solution to this problem no matter the situation was simple: Get a New Leader!
In the case of the government and Christians as we see conservative, moral values and religious freedom slipping away we clamor for the need for a new President and new representatives to bring around the change back to the values we hold dear and the country back to what it once was.
When it comes to the church whenever a faction within a church decides that change needs to happen they set off to hire a new pastor or other staff person to come in and bring about the change and energy to turn the church in the direction that they want it to go.
And there is the problem.
Change doesn’t start with a new leader. Change starts small. When it starts no one really notices and then after time has passed you look back and realize that something incredible is happening. You see a church and the government and country have a lot in common, the values of both are not defined by those that hold leadership, rather, they are simply a reflection of the people that the leader represents. With that in mind, a leader cannot be expected to change the whole on his own. Change will only come as individuals within society itself begin to change and as the change spreads then the problems will begin to be fixed.
I know some will think this is preposterous thinking but the reality is that this was how the church was built.
Jesus came not as a great leader or official and did not set out to overthrow the governments of His day but instead took a small group of nobodies and did amazing things with and through them. As the love of God and Jesus Christ spread so did the church and so did the world until eventually the world as we know it came to be. Change from the top down doesn’t work most of the time that is why Jesus worked to change the world from the bottom up.
Interestingly enough, Christians can solve the problems both in their churches and their countries by only doing one thing: Live out the Great Commission.
Change in the heart is only, and I mean ONLY, brought through the working of the Holy Spirit. If we desire to see our churches grow our country return to the values we hold so dear then we need work to change the people, and we can only do that by spreading the word of God and what He has done for us.