The Church has Left Egypt

Updated: Oct 25

By Larry Lane

Years ago, I attended a confe rence on managing change in the local church. One of the keynote speakers was William Bridges, a secular author and business leader. His organization was and still is a leading expert on change management. In the conference, Bridges used the history of the exodus and sojourn to the promised land as his template to explain the dynamics of change for any organization.

The analogy was simple and understandable. When people are thrust into a transition, whether through personal choice or external circumstances, they leave the familiarity of Egypt behind, but they have not yet reached the promised land. They are stuck for the foreseeable future in this barren, uncomfortable, unpredictable wilderness. The leader’s role during this transition is to not only remind people of their preferred future home, but also to show them how to manage the anxiety and unique problems that arise from life in this transitional space. The Church in America is in the wilderness. We are no longer in familiar Egypt. The last two years of COVID, election, and vaccine chaos have put our Egypt in the rearview mirror. Among conservative Christians there is widespread conviction that the second coming of Christ is drawing near. I am old enough to have lived through the excitement generated by Hal Lindsay’s The Late, Great Planet Earth and the Christian movie thriller, Thief in the Night.

I have watched previous waves of rapture frenzy come and go, but this season is significantly different. Recently, a friend shared with me that her godly, wise, ninety-nine-year-old mother-in-law, who does not watch the news, whispered to her, “You know, Jesus is coming back soon.” I believe the Spirit is whispering this to the Church, and His people are hearing the message. We have left Egypt and are now anticipating the promised land, but the wilderness experience we now find ourselves in is unsettling for many followers of Christ.

I served as a pastor for over thirty years. My heart is very burdened for the Church and particularly local church pastors. Many pastors appear to be trying to get the Church back to Egypt rather than helping us through this wilderness transition. Our congregations are filled with anxious and uncertain believers,