Organisms must adapt or they will go extinct. The impact of global warming is becoming more clear by the day. Polar bears, who have since the beginning of their existence, adapted to life in the artic icecaps must now adapt to warmer climates with less ice. If Polar bears are unable to adapt, they will go extinct. Recent discoveries have indicated that polar bears have sufficient adaptive skills that allow their species to survive, even thrive. Although not as skilled as their cousins, the Grizlies, Polar bears are learning to fish for salmon. When the salmon come upriver to spawn in northern Canada, polar bears have recently begun to fish. This is new behavior for the polar bear. They have adapted to a new, warm weather, food source.
Can churches be sucessful in adaptation? One church planned a new young men's small group experience at a local bar. The name of this new small group? ..... Beer and Bible. One of the longtime male members was offended. "I cannot believe that my church is sponsoring such a small group! This is unthinkable and reprehensible! I would never join a group under that name and meeting in a bar. You, as pastor, must tell the leaders of Beer and Bible to disband."
"I have good news for you." the pastor told the man who took offense, "You do not have to go. It is a young men's group. You and I have aged out. It is for young men and not for us. No one will invite us to attend. I guarantee you, the church that you and I knew growing up must disappear or the church will go extinct."
John Wesley and brother Charles saw that church music did not resonate with the masses so they adapted worship music to bar tunes. Liturgy literally means "the work of the people," however, people do not speak in "thees" and "thous" and no normal person says "it is such a blessing and privilege to be here," yet we insist on talking like that in the church. Surely there is a way to talk which sounds real and relevant to normal, non church people. Local churches had better adapt new speech patterns or we will not survive. Karen and I wrote a book entitled "Adapt to Thrive." Take a look at the book filled with ideas about necessary adaptations for all local churches.
New days, new times, we must adapt to survive and thrive. What new adaptations has your local church made in the last year?