by Marti Jackson
I love old houses.
Fixer Upper is not just a TV show we watch, but a motto for our own home.
I live in a 100-year-old house with my high school sweetheart, three kids, a dog named Honey, Kermit the hermit crab and Colby the beta fish.
The house has floorboards where we can see into the basement between the cracks, four walls with large stripes of variations of the same greyge-taupe randomly rolled, a front door that won’t quite close correctly and a staircase rail that reminds me a bit of a Disney World rope bridge.
It is our home and no matter what, we love it.
A few days ago, I read a post from Shamus Staubach, a campus pastor in Taylor Mill, Kentucky.
He wrote about when he and his wife found and began falling in love with a historical charmer that needed to be fixed up. “When you renovate, it’s important that you do it right. We asked (ourselves) if we buy this, what needs to be torn down, taken out and removed? What’s here that needs to be restored, revived and given new life? What isn’t here that we are going to have to make, build or create?”
He then goes on to say this. “What wasn’t an option was leaving it the way we found it!”
I know change is hard in children’s and student ministry.
Sometimes we get the moldiest, smelliest areas of the church.
We want to scrape off and paint over that scary mural, add pallet walls . . . anything to make the area feel like it is from at least the last decade.
Maybe, it is rethinking how mobile church is done in your space. The cumbersome plastic boxes just don’t cut it anymore but there are a zillion of them, so you feel stuck, stacking them, week after week.
Maybe what you want to change is the teeny tiniest thing. Like no more lollipops, with their slobbery goo, growing cost and inciting of meltdowns.
BUT . . .
You’ve heard that “someone” is not happy.
“They” would never allow THAT thing you want to do, to be changed.
You’ve never met “them” but they are unhappy you moved the potted plant or ribboned basket near the children’s entrance.
Do not think of change as something to be fearful of. What needs to be torn down?
Do not think of change as something unneeded. What needs to be removed?
Do not think of change as unwanted. What needs to be restored?
As small or as big as the changes you want to make may seem, we all have renovations we need to do in our areas and churches.
We all have something to change . . . and not changing, shouldn’t be an option.
“Therefore, I urge you brother and sisters, in the view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing, and perfect will,” Romans 12:1-2.
DO NOT CONFORM
But here is my caution, and by nature, I have never been called cautious.
As you would never take a large sledgehammer to a wall without knowing if there is electricity or water pipes inside of it, don’t take a sledgehammer to your ministry by tearing it down before you know what it was built with.
That mural that scares the kids, that a few people wrote you hostile notes about when you started painting it over? Well, that was painted by a friend of theirs who passed away recently. You painting over it felt like you were erasing her life.
Those lollipops? They were started by a group of volunteers who kept a ministry going when their leader stepped down. They wanted to find a way to connect with each and every child because they were afraid they would quit coming to church.
Those annoying boxes shoved in the closets of your temporary space that have split and are falling apart. Well, honestly no one loved them, ever. However, it was all they could afford on a plant-church budget.
You should not be deterred from making these changes.
You should honor the past you are building on.
Someday what you are creating will be the thing that someone else undoes.
It will be painted over, torn down or possibly and hopefully built upon.
We are always changing. We are always under renovation.
We are the church, and no matter what, God loves us.
Marti Jackson is really part of the Jackson 5 family. Married to Michael Jackson they live in Northern Kentucky with their three children and three pets. Marti serves as the children’s minister at Lakeside Christian Church, a multi-site church that “loves Jesus and loves like Jesus.” Marti is a writer and coach to leaders in Next Gen Ministries and can be contacted through DreamBigLeaders.com for more information.