Four Phases of a Paradigm Shift

As I travel to minister I see the beginning of a paradigm shift with regard to how God’s people are looking at the Church. People are no longer happy with ‘religion as usual.’ They no longer see the value in a lot of what we do as the church or as a local church. They are looking for more than a well run and oiled organization – they are looking for life – the very presence and power of the living God among His people. This means that are looking for things to change.

If we want to see practical changes, our paradigm must change first. A paradigm is the way we see and interpret the world according to a built-in pattern or worldview. A paradigm shift typically has four stages.

Search for it…
False contentedness is the biggest enemy of change. Unless we ask pertinent and pointed questions, and unless we have a burning desire to search for new answers, we won’t have room to accept a new insight, let alone a new paradigm. But typically a paradigm shift starts with a crisis, an occurrence that causes our safe and sound world – our traditional way of explaining things – to simply fall to pieces. This crisis can be caused by an accident or a revelation, a negative or positive experience with something that simply does not fit into our worldview. Fortunately, crisis tends to give birth to creativity.

Preach it…
When we find what we have been searching for, we also experience the overwhelming thrill and excitement of finally “finding it.” For this reason, we can call this phase “the eureka phase.” We may be so excited that we want to tell everyone about our discovery – in an almost evangelistic or apologetic fashion. It may be, however, that we’ve found only a piece of the truth – a fragment of a larger piece – but we have been thirsty for so long that all we want to do is drink, drink, drink. This phase is the most dangerous, because our excitement may drive us to immature and naive statements or actions that are difficult to redeem later.

Live it…
In this third phase we symbolically sit down, wipe the emotional foam off our lips, and start to become an integral part of our new found paradigm. We stop preaching and defending our discovery, and we begin to live it.

Teach it…
This last phase turns us into an agent of change, as we begin helping others to discover the paradigm we have found ourselves and assist them in making the necessary changes themselves.

As we change from what we now see as ‘the church’ today into an apostolic-prophetic model, a New Testament model of the Church that Jesus is building, we need to be aware of these four stages and not rush our discoveries nor our implementation.

More on this change next time…

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