Opponents to Our Unity, part 1
Summer slows down. We drive home from vacation and find that school supplies have hit our local Target. The top of trees become brighter and more vivid as green flows into reds and yellows. Soft breezes remind us of crisp autumn nights, warm blankets, and bonfires. Twilight creeps up and the days grow shorter. One season tumbles into the next. Nothing is stagnant: not our jobs, not our families, not our church. And praise God for that. Each believer is transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light; one degree of glory to another. The Christian life means change.
In June, the elders of Sovereign Grace Church announced the official relocation from Bloomington to Burnsville. This is an exciting time in the life of our beloved church! A new season, new growth, and new opportunities to delight in, display, and declare the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
With change comes the different. And in the shadow of the different, comes three opponents that threaten to sabotage our unity and gospel mission.
First is fear of change. Pastor Rick reminded us in his sermon Side By Side for the Gospel that the fear of change can be an opponent that disrupts our unity. Here’s the bottom line: change is coming in the life of Sovereign Grace Church. We now know for certain, we need to find a new place. We cannot count on Oak Grove Middle School as a long-term option any longer. So change is coming.
But we don’t have to fear. The future seems uncertain to us. But God is absolutely certain about our future. He’s ordained it and will bring it about according to his good and sovereign plan. And that plan includes change for us.
And let’s just admit it, most of us don’t like change… And especially when it comes quickly. And it probably seems like it’s coming all of a sudden. But remember (I didn’t even remember this timeline until Jon Hansel reminded me), we, after a season of praying and fasting as a church, announced that we felt like the Lord was leading us to look for a 24/7 facility, to sow down roots in Burnsville, we did that back in February 2016. 16 months ago. So from another perspective, the change has come slowly. And haven’t we all had those kinds of experiences. We wait and wait on God and then, boom, he moves. And everything changes.
By God’s design, we are one church made up of a group of elders tasked by God to lead and we are a congregation tasked, yes, to hold elders accountable, but to support the elder’s leadership as well. And we’re going to have to work together through the change. So we have to keep some things in mind. Maybe it would help to keep in mind that for Jon Hansel and Shawn and me, in particular, being a pastor of Sovereign Grace Church isn’t just a job, it’s our life. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Most of the conversations I have with my wife are about the church. We got together as couples on Monday night, the elders and our wives, and after a little bit of small talk, the rest of the night’s conversation was about the church. This relocation has been fodder for our thoughts, discussions, and prayers for those 16 months. We think about it and talk about it and plan as much as we can all the time. So, what might seem reactionary at times, really isn’t. As we continue to talk through this as a church, I think you’ll see the fruit of all the thoughts, prayers, and discussion. So given that change seem imminent now, that feels like progress to us. Finally.
But what we need to remember is that’s not how if feels for most of you. This hasn’t been your life and consuming your thoughts and discussions. So the burden is on us to, like Jon said, keep you well informed through the change. All of us being patient with one another. So let’s not fear change.