One of the biggest things holding people back from attempting the risky endeavor of changing the church to look more like Jesus is the fear of mistakes.
We believe (wrongly) that over 2000 years, through trial and error, the church has found the best way to be the church, and it is dangerous and possibly even sinful to deviate from the tradition handed down to us.
Let us be honest:
Trying Something New is Risky
Attempting new ways of doing things is dangerous, and may actually lead into mistakes, and possibly even sin.
This thought of possibly leading the church into sin so terrifies people that they attempt to change nothing, and stick instead with the tried and true methods of traditional Christianity.
But Not Trying Something New May be Sinful
The problem is that sticking with the tried and true methods of traditional Christianity may in fact be sinful!
While it is quite possible that the tried and true methods of traditional Christianity are exactly what Jesus wanted for the church 1900 years ago, or 1500 years ago, or 500 years ago, or even 50 years ago, what Jesus wants for the church may be very different today.
By sticking with the traditions of the past, we may be sinfully ignoring the new things that Jesus wants for today.
Similarly, though Jesus may want one local gathering of believers today to accomplish a certain task or reach a certain group of people, He may not want all believers worldwide to do those same things or reach those same people. For all Christians everywhere to copy and emulate a particularly “successful” ministry or church is a grave mistake and might very well be sinful.
We are so concerned that change might be sinful, we have failed to recognize that a failure to change might also be sinful.
We will Make Mistakes. So What?
So rather than being scared about making mistakes, we must simply own up to the fact that we are going to make mistakes. Acknowledging this fact gives us the freedom to follow Jesus without fear.
If we take a wrong path, He will bring us back.
If we make a mistake, God’s grace will cover that too. One thing we must not do is let the fear of sin keep us from attempting anything new or different for God.
Sinning in our attempts to follow Jesus are much less grave than sinning in our attempts to play it safe.
When people try to “be good Christians”—what is that but Satan’s crowning victory? For “being a good Christian” is always collectively defined by some denomination or strong religious personality or creed. One does not need to “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” in order to be a “good Christian”; one need only be pliant, docile, and obedient. Is it not easier to “let Jesus do it all for us,” or imitate Christ, rather than embark on the risky, vulnerable, hazardous journey of seeking to find God’s will in all its mundane specificity for our own lives? That harder way will certainly entail mistakes and failures, false starts, and sin masquerading as innovation (Unmasking the Powers, 19).