New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23

We like things that are new, new cars, new clothes, new restaurants. Everyone, old and young, gets a thrill from something new. Following Jesus is all about newness, but we don’t usually think of it that way. It’s generally considered to be old and old-fashioned. As followers, we are contemporary – the latest thing. It’s worldliness and sin that’s passe’ and old-fashioned. The world is really tired of sin. It’s old hat; they just don’t always recognize that. 

The world is caught in a routine. We followers awake each morning with new perspective, opportunity, and challenge. The world is drug down by its history. We awake with eyes forward unleashed from a world that’s not our home and tied to a new heaven and a new earth. 

Consider what “newness” means:

We are forward-looking. The past is behind. What was bad is forgiven. What was good is credited to our Lord.

The future is a path not yet traveled but where Our Lord Awaits, already knowing what is there and having prepared us to deal with it. 

Newness means unspoiled with unlimited potential and opportunity. Ahead may be areas we have never walked but for which we were created. 

Newness is inherently exciting. We should look forward to our meetings and services with excited expectation, not knowing what to expect except that it will be new, exciting and from the Lord. We need to give up our comfort level with the “usual.” Just because we have always done something one way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way or that we should keep doing it. Remember insanity is repeating the same action expecting a different result. Don’t we want something different to happen? Shouldn’t we do something different to get there?

I recently read an article about how to keep a millennial interested in church. It really amounted to be “new.” I think the advice applies to all age groups. 

Don’t expect them to carry checkbooks. They pay bills online. They should be able to make tithes and offerings there as well.

Have someone their age upfront. It shows we expect them to take part and not just to learn how it “should be, and has always, been.”  Those “up front” should show the demographics of the entire congregation. 

Don’t hand them a card and a pencil to note their visit. Give them a chance to send a text or an email. Don’t expect a “home” phone number. For most a mobile number is the main and, in fact, only number. Plan to text announcements. Snail mail is outdated and so is email.

Don’t try to make 20 points in the sermon. Make one really great point. That’s all anyone is going to remember anyway. That’s as true for your 70-year-old members as it is for your twenty-somethings.

Don’t be wedded to a liturgical format. Should the service always last the same time? Do the number of songs always have to be the same and always done before the announcements?  Speaking of which, do we really need the “announcements.” Our goal should be to reduce announcement time at church and spread the word through social media. That’s the only place anyone is really listening. 

Why not let a little “newness” into the service. We call that the Holy Spirit, remember?

In the Lord, things are new every morning. They should be new every Sunday as well.

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