Sunday, July 21, 2024
Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsMoving Beyond the Status Quo

Moving Beyond the Status Quo

What is your church’s goal and vision? How will you measure success?

Here is something to think about when it comes to goals: “Write the goal in concrete and the plan in sand!” The status quo is defined as “the existing state of affairs.” It usually has a proverbial yawn included when spoken because it is just how things are. Unfortunately, it describes a pattern of simply going through the motions while seemingly being unconcerned about your present circumstances. It carries with it some of the Laodicean position of being lukewarm — neither hot (on fire) or cold. Has your church succumbed to just going through the motions?

Having church is important, but it cannot be allowed to replace being the church. Has your church become a spectator sport where the 95% who desperately need exercise watch the 5% who desperately need a break? Everyone on the team (your people) should be contributing to the team. I Corinthians 12:7 states, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” That gift should never become inwardly focused (only for the members) but should be outwardly focused as the body lives on mission. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all…” (HCSB).

There is a diligence in Galatians 6 of being active, effective and dedicated to the task. There is no status quo in this charge. This is a call to exert great effort in taking advantage of every opportunity to sow acts of kindness for God’s glory. James 4:17 declares that when we know to do good and do not act upon it, it is sin. Paul says, “we must work for the good.” How are you and your church expressing God’s goodness in words and actions?

Then Paul says “for the good of all.” This describes activity that is unqualified and unrestricted. Loving concern will do more to win a person to Christ than the most carefully developed and delivered argument. 

How do you make the necessary changes to not be controlled by the status quo? Begin in humble prayer and consider a season of fasting for God’s direction because fasting expresses our longing for all the implications of Jesus’ power in the present moment that are not being fully realized. Do you want to see people saved? Do you want to see lives transformed? Do you want to see marriages restored, the repentance of sin and a return to biblical standards? Then consider fasting because over 85% of the time when Jesus mentions prayer He also mentions fasting. Maybe “this kind” (status quo) will only come about through prayer and fasting.

Fasting is a Biblical discipline with a positive expression of longing and passion in your heart. It includes a negative side — the exposing of the sin of your heart. A member of our church offered this acrostic of fasting in a recent bible study: FAST — Father God, Align me, Still me, Teach me! Fasting can quiet us and usher us, in a very special way, into His presence. Psalm 35:13 says, “Yet when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting and my prayer was genuine” (CSB). Fasting allows us to say “no” to the many things that are always striving for our attention and control.

In Presence Centered Church, Bill Elliff adds this on fasting: “You experience an amazing quiet when the voices that pull you in multiple directions are starved and silenced.” An extended time (day or more) of prayer along with fasting enables us to give Him (and only Him) our attention. Jesus did not say “if” you fast, but “when” you fast. This intentional focused time reminds you that your perspective is limited, and you desperately need to hear from Him. Fasting settles you into focusing on Him, pursuing Him and desiring what He desires more than what you desire. Fasting can break through the stronghold of the status quo in your life.

Now that you have prayed and fasted for God to break you free from the status quo, here are some other steps to consider. Because I love acrostics, here is one for CHANGES — Cast a vision, Have an end in mind, Advance strategically, Negotiate the problems, Get the congregation on board, Elevate progress and Show the results.

The leader must be the one to begin the change needed in His own heart and then in the church. You want the congregation to be on the ship with you, not waving goodbye from the pier. The turbulence of breaking free from the status quo is unavoidable because many will resist change.

Vision does not die in its discovery and birth but can easily die in its transmission to the congregation or in its implementation. There will be questions. Are you ready to answer them? There will be apathy. Are you ready to challenge them? There may even be some arrogance and pride. Are you ready to seek humility and brokenness? There may be distrust and skepticism. Are you ready to step out in faith with courage and be obedient to the changes God has clearly spoken to you about? One leader said, “A leader must begin the ripple (or change); but unless the people participate, it will never reach the shore.” 

When challenging the status quo, you must be careful to not be so focused on what you do not have that you neglect to consider the value and blessing of what you do have. You must learn to balance what you want now against what you hope to have in the future. Changing the status quo requires resilience, perseverance and patience while remaining sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings!