I remember, as a mainline traditional Methobapterian, hearing those from the upstart Charismatic Movement talk about new wine in new wine skins (Mark 2:22). The implication, of course, was that the traditional church was old wine; the Charismatics had the new wine.

The early Charismatic Movement, as an immature child, made a lot of mistakes, driving a wedge between itself and much of the mainliners, myself included. Fortunately for me, however, I was able two overcome the biases of my traditions, look past the immaturity, and I became one of those “tongue-talkers”.

Today you’ll find many mainline congregations have embraced a”Spirit-filled” life, and all the gifts of the Spirit flow freely. Other denominations have sprung up that are distinctively Charismatic. And many Pentecostal denominations have shed their bondages of legalism and now flow freely with the Holy Spirit, recognizing the tenets of the Charismatic Movement as valid.

This is all “front porch” to my point in this blog. Going back to my opening statement, I must first say that, while I agree with the point the Charismatic Movement was trying to make, they did a poor job of conveying the message. Meanwhile, it was not the mainline denominations’ doctrines that were the problem. It was their TRADITIONS that kept them so tied to the past that they refused to listen to any new ideas.

I see those same thing happening, now, in Charismatic churches as well. Many of them are old enough, now, that they have become “traditional Charismatics” without even realizing it. Many of them are “doing church” the same way they did in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. and, while they continue in their established traditions they are stagnating. They may be growing, but by and large it is transfer growth rather than evangelism growth.

Many mainline churches are waking up and shaking off their traditional mindset and embracing new ideas for reaching the lost. And they are reaching a new generation that is hungry for spiritual renewal.

There are four phrases that keep ringing through my head. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you ve always gotten.” “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different response.” “The greatest opposition of the fresh move of God usually comes from the proponents of the previous move of God.” Finally, my favorite, “Sacred cows make the best hamburgers!”

We can ot allow our traditions from holding us back from reaching another generation because our methods worked 10, 20 or 30 years ago….just because WE like thIngs the way they are is no reason to refuse to embrace new ideas. If we aren’t willing to embrace change, we become old wineskins and will not be privileged to be part of the next move of God.

About Pastor Jim Dixon

Jim Dixon is a husband, father, grandfather, pastor, missionary and with his wife, Marsha, an author. Jim and Marsha are founders of God's Blueprint for Marriage, a ministry based on the experiences they had during reconciliation and restoration of their tumultuous marriage that would have ended in divorce, had it not been for God's intervention. Their marriage workshop called, not surprisingly, "God's Blueprint for Marriage" shares details of their failing marriage and, more importantly, the lessons they learned during the restoration process. Their book, "God's Blueprint for Marriage", is available through their web site, Jim is Missions and Small Groups Pastor at their church, Word of Life Fellowship. He and Marsha have a strong ministry presence in Peru, where he is a leader in the Evangelical Church of Christ of Peru, a Peruvian denomination. And Marsha is founder of Mujeres de Valor (Women of Worth), a ministry helping women in Peru find their place in service to God. They also work with Victory Bible College-Peru and Victory Fellowship of Ministries, organizations dedicated to training and supporting pastors and church leaders in that nation. Their two sons, Michael and Jeffrey, are also in ministry, Jeffrey full time as Youth Pastor of their church. Additionally they have a number of "adopted" sons and daughters, many of whom are in ministry as well. Jim is a professional storm chaser. You can hear him during severe weather in NW Arkansas on 40/29.
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