“We’ve always done it this way” is a destructive phrase for any person or organization. It really is. So is progress for the sake of progress. On one hand, you have people who are resistant to change, (seemingly) oblivious to the fact that, once upon a time, a pioneer brought about the thing in which they are so comfortable. On the other hand, you have people who are restless, and constantly must keep up with the times, must change everything to match the times. This way is costly, provides no anchor, and leads someone being like a ship tossed about on the ocean. Sadly, churches run both ways. There are some who are so tight-fisted in holding on to their traditions that they forget why such things were put in place to begin with. They squeeze the life out of worship, and following God is a tradition passed down from the elders, not a relationship with God almighty through Christ Jesus. Eventually, such churches die out because the Spirit has left the building, and the church members either die, or can no longer afford to maintain the church. On the other hand, you have people who are so vehemently against traditions, who are so uncomfortable around it, they chase after any new idea or thought without giving it much thought. There is no anchor for people to hold on to, and so the church (usually mired in some scandal or other, look at how some popular churches/movements collapse dramatically) eventually loses popularity, momentum, and often have to close some, most or all of their campuses. What is the solution? Tradition, itself, is not evil. Yet, many ignore Biblical truths and principles for the sake of tradition. Progress, itself, is not evil. Heck, the Bible says to “sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 96:1). Yet progress to try and appease a world that hates us is signing our own death certificate, however slow (and painful) the death may be. What we need to do is, prayerfully, approach all steps through the Scriptures. I’m not talking about using the Scriptures to support our own deeply entrenched positions, I’m talking about praying as David did: “Search me and know my heart” (Psalm 139). We need to ask God to search us out, both in our personal lives, and in our ministry to Him, and ask Him to remove that way which grieves Him, and to have His own way with us. The goal of church is to be conformed in to the Image of God through Christ Jesus, and we do so by following the Great Commandment, which so to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength,” and “to love your neighbor as yourself,” and by carrying out the Great Commission, which is to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all I (Jesus) commanded you.” God says to love God, love people, and make disciples of Christ wherever people are at, not to conform people in to our image. Prayerfully read through the scriptures. Meditate. Fast. Pray. And let Christ be your anchor, so that you will not be blown about by this wind of doctrine or that. Psalm 139
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting