Bishop Dorff related a story about his conversation with a parishioner in a church he served years ago. The conversation was in the context of maintaining traditions from the past. The bishop is reported to have said something like "You know some things are not historic, they are just old."
We all want to preserve the things in our church that are historic. At the same time, it is critical to recognize that God is ever busy making all things new. For many of our local churches, the work of our God has gone past making all things new into making dry bones breathe. We need to help God out and recognize what is truly historic as opposed to just outdated.
1- Historic is the fact that all Christian worship includes singing
2- If you are over 50 the hymns you sang as a kid are old
3- Historic is the fact that your hometown congregation has conducted worship for over 150 years.
4- Using the same order of worship for that period of time is just plain old.
5- Historic preaching will connect people to God
6- Old is a 3 point 30 minute expository sermon with no projected images and only 20 minutes of memorable content
7- Historic churches continue to ask "Where does your passion intersect with God's bringing the kingdom to earth?"
8- Old churches want nothing more from a pastor than conduct worship, visit the members in the hospital and bury them when they die.
9- Historic churches are resistant to any deviation from the vision "to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world!"
10- Old churches are resistant to any change in the chancel furniture.
11- Historic churches know their best days are ahead of them, in the future!
12- Old churches believe their best day have passed them by.
Can we differentiate between historic churches and old churches? Do we really want to be different?