I heard a great quote a while ago: “Unless our loyalty to the future is greater than our loyalty to the past, we will never go where God wants us to be.”
It is so easy to fall in love with the past…at least the good memories! We remember when “we were in youth group” or “back when we started this church” and we hold tight to those positive memories and momentos that are so near and dear to our heart both spiritually and emotionally.
I get it. I am just as sappy as the next person. I look at the baby booties and tear up a bit, but I also need to remember to guard the balance of those great memories with my excitement for what’s ahead. I want my kids to be free to change, grow, and try new things without holding them to what was. After all, they would look ridiculous in baby booties when they start junior high!
It’s the same in our church. I love our building, but when the time comes, we’ll move on. I love our strategies and systems, but when the time comes, we’ll move on. I love the way we do things because it’s working right now, but I’m holding on loosely because I know it won’t necessarily work this way forever.
There’s an old saying in more mature churches that there are alot of “sacred cows” to slaughter. In other words…Sister Thelma hand stitched that banner 60 years ago, so we’re not taking it down…We’ve sang that song for 25 years and we’ll just continue singing it no matter what… The problem with sentimentality is that it can undercut the mission of God. If that banner is out-of-date, dusty, and not projecting the current society, it is one step towards being irrelevant to our culture. It’s the past, but it’s stomping all over the future.
I love heritage and I give great honor to our history in the Christian church. However, we serve a God whose mercy (and methods) are new every morning. We need to make sure that our honor is for the past, but our loyalty is for the future!