I like to think I’m pretty adaptable. Like most of us, I’ve faced challenges from time to time, but I’ve always prided myself on my ability to make the best of things. Whenever life has thrown me a curve ball I have tried to adjust to the new reality with as little fuss as possible.
I remember participating in a webinar of church leaders discussing the need for adaptive change in the organized church. It was proposed that the only way for the church to thrive in modern culture is to adapt to it.
While some of the suggestions seemed valid, I was uneasy. Long after the meeting I was still considering the pros and cons of adapting to a situation as opposed to resisting or trying to transform the situation itself.
Is adapting to an unhealthy relationship better than resisting (leaving the relationship) or trying to change what isn’t working? I suppose it depends on the relationship and how valuable it is. What about your job? If it isn’t working out, do you adapt to circumstances, quit, or see what you can do to make it better?
If the church adapts to our changing culture without watering down the Gospel message or compromising God’s word, it may open doors to evangelism. However, it must resist adapting to the point of becoming just another service club or social organization.
The church is to be salt and light. Our mission is to introduce the world to God’s love in order to transform the world, not to become indistinguishable from it.
I read somewhere that any organism requires stress in order to grow strong. Stress comes from effort. If I am adapting in order to avoid the effort of resistance or transformation, the situation will not result in my growing stronger.
Sometimes adaptation looks just like capitulation. Perhaps, in the church as well as in life, the key is in knowing when to adapt to circumstances, when to resist them, and when to work to change them.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.