Just eighty-eight keys, the same seven octaves, and a little bit of change. For centuries, pianos have been made with this standard number of keys. Yet somehow, every time I turn on the radio, or attend a worship service, I am drawn in by new melodies and creative lyrics that make me listen as if I’ve never heard those notes before. The same number of notes, and seemingly endless numbers of great songs.
Since the beginning of time, our Creator has been singing the same song of grace, and forgiveness, love, and belonging. Though the message has remained constant, found in the 66 books of the Bible, the creativity and methodology of presenting that song has not. All throughout the Bible, the message has always been the same, but in God’s attempt to get everyone to “Get It,” the method of sharing His message changed.
Today, the Source notes are the same, but in our effort to get people to tune in consistently, wisdom would have us arrange the notes in fresh ways that will reach new listeners, while still causing the old music lovers to grow in their affection for the one true song. Now you may think that I am talking about contemporary music, but I assure you I am not. It may involve the way we worship, and the songs we sing, but it is so much more than that.
To reach and ever changing society, the church must be changing as well. Again, the MESSAGE NEVER changes, just the way that we communicate that message. So what does that mean for us? It means that in order to reach a lost world, we need to meet them where they are in some way.
That is why Paul says in I Corinthian 9:19-22, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law, though I myself am not under the law, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law, though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
Paul’s message never changed, but the way that he shared it, the way that he met people where they were, that did change. “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” That means that at times, our worship may be different, so that we can bring in new people. That means that at times, our messages, or our studies might be a bit different, so that it might be appealing to new faces. That means that the programs we offer, the events we plan, and the way that we do things might change a bit, so that we can meet people where they are, and share with them the message of Christ.
Think about that the next time you wonder why we do what we do here at church. And consider that same idea the next time you try and share your faith with someone. The melodies and methods can change right along with our changing world, but the message never will.