The last week or so I have been posting about change/innovation/etc. in the church. It’s a topic that has a deep interest for me. It’s one of the reasons I came to Finland. I want to see how the church is changing/adapting/innovating here in Finland and being relevant in a secular culture. Or how it is failing to do so.
What’s funny is that each time I tell someone this, they look at me funny and say – “that’s why you came to Finland? You should of chose somewhere else.” I find that answer interesting and also a confirmation to me of why I am here. It’s not just about what the church is doing, but also about who the church is and how people see the church (if at all).
I had a great conversation with a pastor today about the challenges the church has – being so institutional and established for so long, there is resistance to change. There is a steady flow of income – does this prevent innovation? The difference between those in the church office talking about service and those “boots on the ground” actually serving people.
These are universal church issues – not just in Finland. They are the same issues that the church faces in the US and I would guess elsewhere too. It’s interesting to see how the church responds to innovation and change. It is also interesting to see how the church leadership sometimes doesn’t respond, but rather tries to keep things the way they are. Change is something everyone wants (or rather, everyone thinks they want), but rarely something people actually embrace. For me, one of the reasons is that change means chaos. It means upsetting the established power dynamics. It means everything resets to a level playing field. Change is all about the unknown. People generally fear the unknown. That is because we aren’t in charge of the unknown. Humans like to know what is going to happen and when. It’s about control. Change upsets our need for control. And somethings change helps us to see that we rely on God since, in reality, we are never truly in control of anything.