In Luke 4:16 we read, “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” It seems Jesus went along with the procedures and practices of the synagogue. There is no indication that he tried to change the pattern of what they did. He did not suggest they change the format of their service. He did not suggest they change the seating configuration which was to sit around three sides of the building. Unlike Western buildings where the chairs are in the middle facing the front. He stood to read (v.16) and sat to teach (v.20) as was the custom. However he did confront them over their inclusive attitude. In fact, his sermon about God helping Gentiles made them furious (v.28). Jesus wasn’t trying to change these people’s outward procedures but rather their hearts. Once their attitude was right everything else would fall into place.

There are times when we become disillusioned with our church structures and procedures yet it is concerning at these times that our reaction is to simply to desire a reorganization of the structures. While this may be necessary, it is more important at these times to focus on God, his purposes, and his plans. There are times when God allows us to become disillusioned with people and organizations in order that we recommit to him. Changing the structure of a church service, changing the leadership, even doing away with the organization altogether, and starting afresh may only change the problems, not solve them, since it does not change hearts. Until Christ changes us from the inside out, until we are less self-centered and more other-centered, any changes we make will only be self-serving.