It is undeniable that churches evolve over time. Over the life of a church, neighborhoods can change, leadership can expand and even fail, theological trends can take hold, unity can be lost, and splits can occur. Throughout all of this turmoil, congregations frequently become inward-focused and often obsessed with maintaining the status quo.
Well-meaning members lose sight of their role as servants and become increasingly focused on controlling the very church they are called to serve. When a serving heart is replaced by a controlling heart, division is bound to ensue. And when selfish division lies unchallenged, areas of ministry and service become turfs to be defended, and brother and sisters in Christ become opponents and obstacles to individual accomplishment.
Pastors called into this melee must have both a vision for unity and the ability to communicate that vision through the minefields of personal preference and tradition. In many cases the history of the church and its traditions provide the pastor with the very tools necessary to effect change and renewal.
Darrin Patrick and Mark Devine, Replant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2014).