The Old Fridge
Say what you will about Rick Warren, but he's great at soundbites. Here's a quote from a podcast called "How to Stay Fresh for Ministry"
All of the lessons are in the past...all of the opportunities are in the future.I was reminded of this last week when I visited a family in our church. On their back porch was a GE refrigerator. It had been saved as it was on its way to the dump...back in 1964. It was still running, still ice cold, and still effective. I thought back to my families' own fridge that we had to have fixed 3 times in its first 3 years. They don't make them like they used to!
As we serve together, you'll hear me ask, "tell me how you've done it before." I'm interested in learning about how our church has been built over the years, what has worked well, and what has not.
One thing you'll never hear me say, though, is "we've never done it that way before." Some pastors joke that those are the last 7 words of a church. I think there is tremendous value in investigating the past, learning from the past, and yes, even repeating the past-- as long as the past way is the best way. But that's no reason to fear the future.
But if the past way is no longer the right way, what then? We don't "throw it away" necessarily, but we do try to understand what needs to change. Sometimes we have to try something new. Sometimes that new way will fail. Sometimes we'll have to try something new again.
We learn our lessons from the past, and look for the opportunities of the future.