Constructive criticism is important! If there were no negative feedback in our lives we would never know our weaknesses and learn where we need to grow.
I originally posted my adaptation of Agile for Ministry in January of 2015. Since that time, I’ve returned several times to remind myself of the principles. I’ve also directed many other people to the page and it's one of the ten most visited articles on the site, so I decided to update and expand on the principles. Here's the introduction to Agile for Ministry.

Principle 2: We welcome changes in ministry practices and plans because we will never reach perfection on this earth. We should always be ready to improve and refine our methods to a better way of doing things.

It’s fairly common in church-world to find people who think nothing should ever change. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!” is a popular mantra. But what does God’s Word tell us about change?

Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Paul constantly adapted his methodology to his ministry context. He didn’t just change once or twice. He changed continually in order to best reach his target audience.

The core of our message does not change. The truth of God’s Word does not change. The character of God does not change. But our means of interacting with people, reaching them for Christ, and growing them in discipleship must change over time (ideally in small, steady iterations, not alternating periods of stagnation and rapid improvement).

It’s not enough to accept or tolerate change, we have to embrace it as a part of our God-given mandate to go into all the world and make disciples.

The great commission does not require that we change the cultures of others to match our own. It compels us to change our culture to match the people we are reaching with the gospel.

Welcoming change requires humility, trust in God, and treating others as more important than ourselves. We should reject change when it distorts the gospel or abandons sound doctrine. However, resisting change just because it is change is self-centered and sinful (Philippians 2:3-4).

When we embrace change, assuming it is filtered through the Word of God and aligns with sound doctrine, we are admitting that we have not arrived. We are not perfect and, as a result, there will always be room for growth and change.

Adam Bowers Profile

Adam Bowers

Disciple of Jesus, husband of Jenny, father of 3 awesome kids, Senior Pastor at First Free Church, passionate about growing God's kingdom by developing influencers for Jesus.I still use parts of this site for various ministry purposes even though I haven't written a blog post in a long time!