There's a point in every relationship where a choice is made...
You get past the initial excitement of something new, past the enjoyment of the superficial, and you are suddenly faced with the reality that all real relationships are hard work and you need to choose whether to muscle through the hard part to the deeper relationship beyond it (and the other harder parts/deeper parts- it's cyclical) or whether you are going to strike out towards newer, greener pastures.
Yeah, that would be nice.
Totally unrealistic, but nice.
The reason I'm thinking about this is because I woke up yesterday morning with a Bible verse on my mind- one that really clicked in for me for the first time. It's actually two verses (Paul says much the same thing both in Gal and 2 Thes)- "Do not grow weary in doing good..."
While I intellectually got the sense of what he was saying, it never really hit home for me until yesterday morning.
We're in (yet another) interesting season in life as a church community. There are a ton of people kinds of things happening- trying to keep folks reconciled, trying to walk people through certain issues, trying our best to teach, love and disciple... It gets hard. I won't lie- this has been a tough couple of weeks on that front. One of the hardest parts of the pastoral gig is the "never done-ness" of it. There are few finish lines.
But in reality, I think that's something the whole community needs to understand and grapple with.
3 1/2 years in, we're not a "new" community anymore, and so there are two kinds of people at evergreen right now- the newer folks who are pretty excited (though not as excited as everyone was at first) and the folks who have been around awhile, many of whom are now less excited about everything than they were at first. All of this, I think, is a natural part of the life-cycle of the church.
After 3 years, in many ways we're past the initial infatuation phase of community- past the easy parts where we all have enough grace to spare, enough excitement to keep us moving forward and enough idealism to ensure that we're being present to the rest of the community just because. After awhile, all that fades and we're left with the hard choice- do I press through to the deeper relationships/commitment on the other side, or...
I think, in a lot of ways, that's what not only Paul was getting at, but the author of Hebrews as well with "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. "
It's natural to see people fade away- I get that. I also see the restlessness/weariness both
in myself and in others as a natural point along the timeline of church planting.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else?