Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grieving Our Church Home

I told a friend this morning I was heading to a lunch meeting with the conference director of church plants.  My friend asked if the director was promoting the Trenton Hyacinth.*

No, not that kind of church plant.

You may remember from earlier in the year that Brent and I are committing to a new church plant called Catalyst.  I can almost say the name now with a straight face. Almost.  Anyway, we continue to prepare for our first service which will be in October.  We will have one service a month for the rest of the year until January when we start weekly.

We were supposed to have a lovely parent/child relationship with the church we are leaving.  Many new churches are started because some people got mad and a church actually split.  This was supposed to be a sign of health in our parent church.  The parent church gladly sent a few on their way to start anew.

For the most part it has worked out that way.  Most people are very friendly about it.  Most people are very encouraging.  Some aren't.  Brent and I have not personally been approached to be talked out of leaving, but others in our group have.  (Maybe people are glad to see us go!)  I have been called traitor in an "I'm kidding . . . but not really" way.

We are hearing tales now that the parent church is kicking us out of the nest in ways we had not yet expected.  It's a little sad.  A little disappointing.

On the first Sunday we went to parent church 13 years ago, we walked into a gleaming white sanctuary with a fabulous piano player playing under Lawrence Welk chandeliers.  It was a warm and welcoming family.  Over 13 years it has grown to 900 people a Sunday in a new "worship center" instead of a sanctuary.  This fall they are remodeling the old sanctuary and the Lawrence Welk chandeliers are coming down.

Even if I wanted to stay at the parent church, it is no longer the church I arrived at 13 years ago.  I am not the same either -- but I am experiencing some grief over what was.

It's like a kid going off to college.  It's the right thing for the kid to do.  It's time for her to go off on her own.  Even if she stayed it wouldn't be the same.

But you feel a little sad.

*I figured he was talking about a flower, but the Trenton Hyacinth is an AIDS foundation. Gardener friends and loved ones, you'll have to tell me if it is also a bulb.  This particular friend is just that way and may have been teasing me more than I knew at that moment.


  1. ML, I wish you the best in this. There is a grieving involved, of course. I also believe new growth will be possible and you'll revel in the time. :)

  2. So true, we have had two church plants in the last 3 years and 'lost' many wonderful people--but God has an awesome way of working it all. Praying for you and your 'plant' :)

  3. Oh my friend, I surely hope I did not employ passive aggressive language to communicate my aching heart. If I uttered even one word that hurt you, please forgive me.

    I do not feel pulled to the new church, I feel we are somehow supposed to step up to the plate at the "old" one. But my heart mourns that almost every single one of my favorite people has been called away. People I dearly love and respect, who love me in return are soon not going to be part of my Sundays. Perhaps one day my heart will celebrate with you, but selfishly, it doesn't yet. It makes me too happy to watch you singing and chasing after Baby D. But my hubby and I agree, in the summer, we will gladly visit. I will help as I can, I will spread the word, I will not speak poorly of the new church (I never would anyway). I will pray. I will lovingly enjoy participating in The City and maintaining my heart's connections. I will attempt to participate in social activities even if I fear being seen in my bathing suit. Will that be ok? Diane