We’ve never done it that way before…the dreaded words for every church planter.
Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. ~ Matthew 9:17
READING: Matthew 9:9-17
One of the major frustrations for many godly pastors serving in established churches comes when they suggest a promising new ministry strategy or urge a necessary course correction back to our prime directive. They run into the fierce resistance that somebody has dubbed “the seven last words of the church,” namely: “We’ve never done it that way before.” Many new churches have been planted simply because, as we say, it’s easier to have babies than to raise the dead!
But every church, even our new church plant, has a relatively short “wet cement” stage when we can most easily shape the goals, the vision, the administrative mindset and our corporate identity. It’s primarily during these pre-launch days of vision-casting and the early formative days after the launch when this vital work gets done. All too quickly we too may grow large enough to get sidetracked into meaningless committee meetings and flower arranging.
We must guard against any temptation to chase after the avant garde merely to “tickle men’s ears” (II Tim. 4:3). Fortunately, many new churches represent courageous and holy experiments that attempt to bridge the shifting gap between God’s changeless truths and the ever-changing culture around us. Many church plants bring a much needed refocus back to our core mission to fulfill the Great Commission.
So take heart! Jesus still reigns as head of the church. He is the stability beneath its ancient edifices and traditions, and the vitality within the new wine that renews the church in each new generation.
When you hear folks say we’ve never done it that way before, simply pray…
Dear Lord, Thank You for letting us enjoy “new wine” and help us fulfill our mission with joy. Amen.
Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI) “Equips Leaders to Plant 5 Million Churches Worldwide.” Learn more