I once participated in a webinar of church leaders discussing the need for adaptive change in the organized church. It was proposed that the only way for the church to thrive in modern culture is to adapt to it. Although my personal prejudice is against the church becoming more like society in order to remain relevant and attractive to more people, some of the things being suggested seemed valid and could spark congregations into looking at their communities with new eyes. I began to think about the pros and cons of adapting to a situation, as opposed to resisting or trying to transform the situation itself. If the church adapts to its culture without watering down the Gospel message or compromising God’s Word, while broadening its evangelistic scope, it could be a good thing. However, we must resist the temptation to become just another service club or social organization in order to add names to the membership roll.
In every area of life it is important to know when to accept and adapt to new circumstances and when to resist. We only need to look at the disruptive, divisive, and destructive power of the #resist movement on our country to see just how important our choices can be.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Matthew 5:13 (ESV)
The church, corporately and individually, is to be salt and light. Our mission is to introduce the world to God’s Word and His love in order to achieve transformation of the culture, not to become indistinguishable from it.
It is said that an organism requires stress in order to grow strong. Stress comes from effort. If I am adapting to circumstances in order to avoid the effort of resisting or transforming, I won’t grow stronger.
Sometimes adaptation looks just like capitulation. Perhaps the key is in knowing when to adapt to circumstances, when to resist them, and when to try to change them.