Change…not [just] for change’s sake…but for the sake of the mission
A word by Marie Onwubuariri, Regional Executive Minister
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:22 NRSV
The excerpt of scripture that ends with the verse above begins with a question to Jesus about the ritual of fasting (Mark 2:18); we see that it ends with Jesus’ response about wine and wineskins. No one can turn a question on its head quite like Jesus can! The “people” asking the question seemingly had expectations of religious behavior based on their “norm,” and wondered why Jesus’ disciples’ behavior differed. Jesus’ response pointed to something that was more encompassing than any particular ritual or practice; Jesus and his disciples were about something new altogether which required a new paradigm, a new set of expectations, a new container of sorts (wineskins).
Changes are, and have been, happening in ABC/WI. These changes are not just for change’s sake but because the pursuit of our Christ-centered mission calls for new paradigms, new sets of expectations, and new “containers.” “New wineskins” will be a term you will hear more about in this region.
One specific change on the horizon is an update to our governing documents—our Articles of Corporations and Bylaws—which provide guidance for our mission: how we define it, organize ourselves for the pursuit of it, and how we keep accountable to it. Full details have been sent to your church office, and are posted on our website, in the “About Us/Governance” section (click here).
Changes like this, though primarily engaged by staff and elected/appointed leadership, will have impact on our ministers, churches, and partners. All church delegates planning to attend the annual gathering in 2018 and/or 2019 would do well to inform yourselves of such proposals. While some changes respond to current circumstances around us, others are implemented proactively, fostering a culture that is intentional, nimble, and dynamic, ready for the unknown future. Some may see this as just change for change’s sake—but I see this as spiritual formation that bends toward Holy Spirit movement.
In your context, which ministries might be stunted by old wineskins? Where might new wineskins benefit your growing and changing missional efforts?