– Garnet Wheaton, Board Chair
I experienced amazing transformation in my life when, at the age of 13, I repented of my sin and accepted Christ as my Saviour. My relationship with God was restored, He gave me life, joy, peace, hope, and so much more. My whole outlook on life was transformed almost instantly.
Much to my amazement, God’s work in my life had only begun. There was so much more that needed to change. Sustainable personal change is a lifelong process; we are always learning and growing in our spiritual lives. In ministry and in life, who we are is important and has significant impact on the work we do and the ministries we serve.
I am appreciative of the fact that, as Christ followers, God not only wants us to change but empowers us to make these changes. I believe learning and growth are prerequisite to effecting lasting personal development. I struggle with change, I set a goal only to find myself doing and not doing things that keep me from reaching that goal. (Romans 7:15)
This past Christmas, my daughter Cindy gave me a book by Kegan & Lahey called “Immunity to Change.” This book provides practical insight into the process of change and emphasizes the importance of personal growth. I am beginning to understand how my fears, competing commitments, and big assumptions impact my ability to change. I am thankful that God continues to mould and shape us in every season of life, changing the way we think and feel.
Our small family retail business has been a classroom for me when it comes to understanding and dealing with change. Change often happens slowly, and we can be caught off guard. For several years we have seen a shift to online shopping—one that is not particularly helpful to traditional retail. Products live out their life cycles; customers develop new shopping habits. We are constantly initiating change in an attempt to counter these market shifts and meet our customers needs. Sometimes we get it right, and when we don’t, we learn the lessons.
Our ministry is not that different from the retail trade in many ways. We are experiencing some very far reaching cultural shifts in our society today. Younger generations value things differently and hold different priorities. These changes have and will continue to impact our ministry in the years to come. Our school youth testament program is an example of a program impacted by changes in our society. In our retail business, thanks to God’s blessing, we have found ways to meet these market challenges. In ministry, we are just as committed as ever to reaching our youth for Christ, but will need to find new and creative ways to reach that goal.
We will move forward confidently, trusting God to lead as we adapt to these large cultural shifts. Our ministry is all about change as we constantly seek to move those we minister to from darkness to light—from death to life. I am thankful that in the midst of constant change, there are some things that never change. Our faith in God and His Word give us an anchor and stability in life that allows us to embrace change. This foundation allows us to be more pragmatic about how we do ministry in an ever-changing world. We know we must change, and we will. The sobering thought is that the changes we need to make begin with us personally.
As a ministry we have dealt with an enormous amount of change. We are embracing change as a vital aspect of our ministry. We have seen God’s hand leading and guiding us. Our faith is strengthened, and we are moving forward confidently.