the waters around you have grown

Dylan’s, “The Times they are a Changing” is easily the most relevant song I’ve ever heard. It was relevant when it was written as it was when I heard it for the first time in 1999 as it is today in 2012.  It is the non-anthem and yet anthem for things from political campaigns to restaurants being under new management. It has been covered by anyone who is anybody in the music business.  I love that over the years I’ve never really heard Dylan play it the same way twice.

It is a song that is just as relevant in social movements, business models, churches, families and friends.  It is a verbal recognition of you know to be true deep down inside.  You’re being surrounded by change and if you don’t prepare for it you will drown by the rising waters of change. Dylan wrote, “Come gather round people where ever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown.”   Sometimes just admitting that things are changing is painful.  We’ve all experienced this in one-way or another.  Life looks different than it did before and every now and then we look out our windows and don’t recognize what we see.

As a new Lead Pastor I’ve never been as sensitive to change as I am now.  I know when I am changing something and I recognize it everywhere.  Some even want me to change things more but change has to be for a purpose and for the sake of health and not simply to change. There are so many little shifts that need to happen that it seems like they all add up to a lot.  I am not changing things to dishonor or disrespect the past. I love the past, I was a major part of the past and some of the irony is that the things I am changing are decisions that I helped make for this church years ago.  I am intentionally changing some things so I can lead the way that God has wired me.  I want to be the most effective pastor that I can be for Neighborhood, so in order to do that I need to create an atmosphere where I can thrive along with my team.  If you moved into my house today, you’d probably bring your own furniture.

The beautiful part of my church is that people get it.  They know and understand this and I haven’t had to say much about it.  All this change has begun to make me question a few things.  First, I’ve noticed that we as a people are more timid of making changes in our families than we are in our work places.  Part of it is that things might be unstable at work so we desire stability at home, but as Dylan says, “your old road is rapidly aging.”  That has never been more true than today, the world moves faster.  New things become old the day you bring them home.  So what if we intentionally made changes in our families that allowed for each member to thrive?

The second thing is that everyone says that want change but very few people actually do it.  We even make big claims like, “that really needs to change!”  But out of fear of rocking the boat, we rarely act on it.  We sacrifice health for comfort.  Stephen Covey asked a question in one of his books that has rocked me so hard that I think about it every day. “Is there one thing that we are not doing, that if we were, would drastically change the outcome of our organization?”  Asking this question about your church, your business and your family is about the scariest and healthiest thing that you can do.


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  • M. Borer

    Fantastic, and true. Stepping into the unknown can be terrifying…but so liberating too! May we all have the courage to change whatever needs it in our own lives.