When Change Begins

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“Everything changes a little, and it should.  The good ain’t forever and the bad ain’t for good.”  These are the words of a country song written by Roger Miller.  The truth in them is amazing, as they have brought me through many situations by simply reminding me that this too, shall pass.  Change happens constantly and sometimes goes unnoticed until the object of change becomes unrecognizable…then we wonder: where did the change begin?

Many changes have taken place in our country, since 2001 especially… and major changes since 2020.  These changes we can look back at and see why most were necessary, but where do the changes stop?  How can we redirect this change before it’s too late?  These questions are also vital to the change that has taken place within the church.  What changes have been good and which ones need to be changed again? “There is always room for change,” or so they say, but first we must determine if the change is necessary…and where to begin…

I call myself a Baptist; not because my grandpa was a Baptist preacher, and not only because I was saved in a Baptist church.  Before I was baptized, I was given some literature explaining baptism and why and how it is performed by the Baptist church.  I was saved by God’s grace and the fact that Jesus Christ died for my sins, but what exactly did the Baptist church believe?  Did I want to be a part of it?  What other choices did I have?  I did some research on the various denominations and their doctrines.  Based on what I read, the Baptist church seemed more in line with what I wanted to believe.  So, I was baptized and became a member of Calvary Baptist Church.

Much more important than being a Baptist, I am a Christian: a follower of Jesus.  The year was 1966 and going to church was something most people did, though it was new to me.  I was 17 years old.  One thing I loved about attending church was that, unlike school, I was never forced to go.  I went because I chose to.  It wasn’t a requirement of my salvation, but a place to serve and learn how better to serve the Lord.  The years between 1966 and 1974 are the most memorable years of my lifetime.  During these years I developed a personal relationship with Jesus and learned about Him from people who were strong in their faith and big on hugs.  One of the many evangelists who led revivals through the years commented that Calvary Baptist was the huggingest church he had ever been in.

Through the years, the church saw many changes.  Along with changing Pastors and new members, came new ideas and new ways to reach out to the lost.  Children’s Church was developed and a bus ministry started. The idea was to get the kids interested and the parents will soon become interested too.  These changes were not approved by everyone in the church, but voted on and accepted   Then came the suggestion of a change that caused some of the older members to hesitate.

Phil and Brenda, a young couple with two small children, served as Youth Directors for our church.  Both were excited and full of ideas to keep the young people active and involved.  They and I became great friends and, though I was older than most of the teenagers and in my twenties by then, they included me in a lot of the youth activities.

Brenda wanted the girls she led in a group called Acteens to attend a special event being held in New Mexico.  It was a weekend event and would cost about $65 for each girl to participate.  For 10 girls that was $650…a lot of money for a small church to raise.  They discussed various ways to do this, and someone suggested a car wash.  All the proceeds would go towards the cost of the trip.

When the decision to have a car wash was presented to the church for approval, many of the older members balked at the idea.  One steadfast rule of the Baptist church is: the church is never to be used as a place for money changing…a rule based on the scripture where Jesus overturned the tables and threw the people out for such practices.  The Baptist believe the church members will provide for any special needs that arise by taking a special offering.  Things like bake sales (and car washes) are held by the Methodist and other denominations, but never by a Baptist church.

Phil and Brenda felt it was important that each girl actively participate in earning the money for this trip, and they weren’t giving in.  After much discussion, a compromise was reached, and it was decided that a car wash could be held on the church property, but could not be advertised outside the church family; and only members of Calvary Baptist Church could bring cars to be washed.  This proposal was brought before the congregation and a large number of members turned out to vote.  The car wash was approved and it was agreed that any money not raised would be provided by a special offering.

While all this was going on, I was being pulled in two directions.  As friends of Phil and Brenda, I could see their side of the issue, but as a Baptist, having joined the church because of its beliefs, I also could see the older members’ point of view.  Who were we to join a church whose basic beliefs were clearly stated, and ask them to change any part of it?  True, they weren’t written in stone, as the Ten Commandments were, but it just didn’t sit well.  Unable to decide one way or the other, I decided to abstain from voting on this issue.  To this day, I’m not sure that was the right decision, but the only one I felt I could make at the time.

If this issue, or one similar to it, arose today, I would vote a resounding ‘NO’.  In most cases, I think changes that help the church to extend their outreach in the community and bring the lost to Jesus should always be considered, but if these changes in any way go against the basic purpose or beliefs held by its founding members, maybe this change is not necessary.

No church or church member is perfect, but we must do our best to preserve and protect the image we project to the public.  Our first responsibility is to God and bringing glory to His name, not to win an argument or disrespect the beliefs of others just because they differ from ours.  Positive change must be sought and achieved by much prayer and with the approval of the One we serve…Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

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My name is Betty Fritz. I was born and raised in Texas but have resided in Elkhart, Indiana for the last 25 years. My husband is a Hoosier so that’s how we wound up here. We have two daughters and a son plus 6 grand kids…..3 boys and 3 girls. I retired last year after working for 24 years at Elkhart Child Development Center. I’ve been writing since a teenager and have taken several writing courses. I enjoy writing short stories. I wrote a book of poems, RHYMES OF THE TIMES, which was published a few years ago. I have written countless songs, a few for which demo recordings have been made. Recently I’ve been writing blogs..most of them about my faith and things the Lord has taught me in my Christian life over the last 51 years. My inspiration comes from my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and my desire to see that my grandchildren grow up in a Christian nation. My goal is to bring glory to Him and help others to see that there is POWER in the name of JESUS!

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