The Timing of Transformation

By Lisa Fitts
By Herbert Yoo
By Cymone Canada
By Dave Grogan
By Arnie Fenton
By Dan Millner
By Alex Joseph
By Samantha Harton
By Bailey Catone
By Colin Campbell
By Barb Harris
By Mark Mercer
By Sereena Bexley
By Vennecia Jackson
By Mary Lata Thottukadavil
By Michael Agnew
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By Caroline Smiley
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Dawn Johnson
By DJ Newman
By Mary Weyand
By Rob Nickell
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Jessie Yearwood
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Jim Henry
By Kevin Harwood
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Kevin Dial
By Corbin Pierce
By Claire St. Amant
By Julie K. Rhodes
By Anonymous
By Jasmine Bibbs
By Debra Fournerat
By Kat Armstrong
By Jeffery Link
By Courtney Faucett
By Lenae Moore
By Tiffany Stein
By Andy Webb
By Catherine Boyle
By Catherine & Elizabeth Downing
By Gerald Ridgway
By Jill Hoenig
By Sunitha John
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

One of the worst things a writer can do is use a cliché, especially in the first paragraph. It’s a clear signal to the audience that the writer is a bit of a hack. And yet here I am hitting you with a cliché: 

Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

This, as declarative statements go, is fairly obvious and non-controversial. No one has ever claimed Rome was built in a day. No one has ever even wondered if Rome was built in a day. No one has attempted to build a proper coliseum, let alone an entire city, in a day. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. (Disclaimer: I’ve never been to Rome, but once had an unpleasant experience in Italy, Texas. Just thought you should know.) Rome was built over the course of thousands and thousands of days invested in the same direction. But what we know about Rome, we often forget about ourselves.  

One of our favorite myths in American culture is the myth of the overnight success: a person, team, or organization bursts onto the scene and ascends from obscurity to awesomeness faster than you can say “Jamaican bobsled team.” But whether the overnight success you most admire is an athlete, an artist, or a tech startup, the old Rome cliché still applies. Every overnight success is (at least) a decade in the making. 

Yes, popularity and prominence can come fast and furious. But success? Growth? Transformation? Those things don’t happen overnight. They come slowly, brick by brick, day by day. 

On Sunday we unveiled our vision for the next five years of IBC. What future do we hope to see in the year 2021? For us, it’s a simple phrase: A Transformed People, A Transformed City

We believe this is where God is leading us, and so we’re following. And as we follow—both as individuals and as a church—may God in his mercy disabuse us of the fantasy that he’ll merely wave his hands, say “Abracadabra,” and lift the curtain to reveal an overnight success. Poof—transformed people! Ta-da—a transformed city! 

A transformed people and a transformed city can’t be built in a day, but God can do that work in and through us over the course of hundreds and thousands of days invested in the same direction. Brick by brick, day by day. Not only can God do that work in and through us, he wants to. Consider these four brief passages:

“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” — Matthew 4:19

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 1:4-6

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” — 2 Corinthians 3:18

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” — Ephesians 2:10

In each passage, and throughout the story of Scripture, we find a God who is at work rescuing and renewing, saving and transforming a people for himself. But there aren’t any Abracadabras involved—just a community that follows him, brick by brick, day by day. 

Leadership and marketing author Seth Godin recently wrote this short post about how people both change and make change in the world:

The Grand Canyon wasn't created by an earthquake.

While it's tempting to imagine that the world changes via sudden shocks, that our culture is shifted by dramatic changes in leadership, that grand gestures make all the difference...

It turns out that our daily practice, the piling up of regular actions, the cultural practices and biases that we each choose—that's what makes change happen.

False promises and urgent reactions are a trap and a sideshow.

And so while meeting Jesus for the first time and crossing over from death to life can very much feel like an earthquake, being his disciple in the days, months, and years that follow looks more like the slow erosion that turned a riverbed into the Grand Canyon. That’s the slow transforming power of the rhythms that shape a disciple’s life. We regularly encounter his presence and grace in prayer, Scripture, worship, the fellowship of the church, and blessing others—and these encounters transform us. 

In these rhythms, in these lives, in these communities, the kingdom comes. And believe me, it puts Rome to shame. Because our king Jesus has the audacity to look at a modest mound of dirt and dare to see the holy city to come. He has the vision to see in us a bright beacon that radiates beauty and joy into the dust and decay of rebellion and striving. The king we follow is a risen king, and we’ve been raised him (Colossians 3:1). Together, we’re going to pursue A Transformed People, A Transformed City. 

I fully expect (and I hope you do too) to be captivated and compelled by his glory and grace on this journey—not overnight, but every day.

We Recommend Reading Next: