Do Not Fear the Unknown

Our church recently underwent several changes based on the vision of her elders. When change comes: 2.5% of persons are innovators, this would be our elders. 13.5% of persons are early adopters, in other words they immediately embrace what the innovators envision. The majority, 64% of persons fear the unknown; ½ will lose those fears early and the other ½ once the changes bring positive results. However, my recent studies showed me that about 18% of persons have a predisposed attitude against change and do not see a need for change.

My Church is Sylvania Church in Tyler, Texas. We are a Southern Baptist Church; therefore, previously when you came into one of our worship services from another Southern Baptist Church you knew what to expect with a few variations. However, on or about September 9, 2018, at the end of the service, our pastor announced that we would be changing the format of our worship service. There would no longer be announcements during the service, nor a break to shake hands with the other members of the congregation. He said that he and the elders have been discussing this for a long time. When he made this announcement, knowing a little bit about church history my mind went to a picture like this one.

I have a confession to make, I was in the bottom ½ of the 64% who fear the unknown. We have now had about six or so services worshiping through songs of adoration, worshiping through confession, worshiping through songs of assurance, worshiping through scripture reading, worshiping through preaching of the word, worship through songs of thanksgiving and a benediction recited by the entire congregation. Though I was hesitant to embrace this model until I saw it in practice, I now confess that I love what the elders have done, and the gospel of the kingdom of God is the reason:
  1. Adoration: God is righteous and holy. He is morally perfect; and therefore, separate from everyone and everything that is not.
  2. Confession: No matter their people, nation or race all men and women are sinful. No one is able to approach God by his/her own efforts. We are all dead in our trespasses and sins.
  3. Assurance: Jesus Christ is the answer to our sin problem. Jesus lived a perfect and holy life. Jesus died as a substitute for our sins. He took upon himself our guilt and gave us his righteousness and holiness. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. God has given Him all authority in heaven and on earth.
  4. Thanksgiving: This does not result in the salvation of every person, but solely those who repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ as savior; and therefore, follow Him as Lord.
I love this new worship model at Sylvania Church in Tyler, Texas, because it causes me to focus on the righteousness and holiness of God. To reflect on our own inability and sinfulness. To look to Jesus Christ for what he has done in assurance and follow His commands in thanksgiving.

[1]Rodney A. Harrison, Jeffrey A. Klick, and Glenn A. Miller, Pastoral Helmsmanship: A Pastor’s Guide to Church Administration(U. S. A.: ICM Publishing 2014), 241-242.
[2]M. David Sills, Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience (Chicagoe: Moody Publishers, 2010), 124.