I’ve been reflecting recently on the way that Scripture reveals over and over again the boundless creativity of our God. From the very first words of Genesis, God is always doing a new thing, leading God’s people into a future that is beyond our imagining.
Of course, we don’t make it easy. Instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to guide and accompany us, we so often hope and pray instead that God will spare us from the pain of transformation.
Resisting change is a natural part of being human. But change is a natural part of life—maybe even the defining part of life. As the world changes, so must our practices and institutions.
Today, some congregations are coming to the end of their ministries. At the same time, Christ-centered communities are being born in places our parents and grandparents might not have recognized as “church.” From breweries to fitness groups, the gospel is reaching out past our notions of where Jesus belongs and inviting new disciples to follow.
In some ways, emerging forms of Christian community echo the beginnings of the church: friends breaking bread together, following a Savior who upended the traditions of the age to proclaim a new reign. Even so, the idea of the changing church landscape, with the old and the new existing side by side, pushes many of us out of our comfort zone.
Here’s where it helps to pause and remember the nature of our Creator. Instead of dwelling in anxiety, can we approach change as an invitation to recognize and rejoice in the creativity of the Holy Spirit at work?
That’s what we try to do at Luther Seminary, where our vision to lead faithful innovation for the sake of the gospel means that we consciously lean into where the Spirit is calling us, and the church, to go. As we equip leaders to serve in a wide range of contexts, we trust that in the Living God, the ancient and the emerging are part of the same story.
What a gift to walk with our students, alumni, the church, and our supporters as they discern their role in the next chapter.
Robin J. Steinke