For churches that find themselves in the suburbs, the rapidly changing demographics of these neighborhoods matter. It is no secret that the majority of evangelical churches are located in the suburbs of metropolitan areas. We must ask ourselves, however, if our churches are prepared to minister to new territory. Churches located on the same plot of ground where they started 3 or 4 decades ago may not have moved, but the communities around them have shifted.
It is said that no one likes change except a wet baby, but I disagree. We embrace and celebrate all kinds of changes—graduations, weddings, the birth of a baby, a new car or home purchase. But sometimes, changes can be painful, too—a loved one passes away, a friend moves to another state, or we experience the devastation of a major hurricane.
Sometimes, we experience the same sense of loss and pain when changes are made in our church. But could John 15:1-8 help us navigate our grief? Could we ask the Father to prune away the dead branches in our church so we could once again produce healthy fruit?