We have recently made some changes at fresh life. We are simplifying and scaling back in order to expand our ability to fulfill the vision that God has given us. As a church, change like this is nothing new, it’s part of our culture and it’s practically a core value–I partially blame that on us being a little A.D.D.
These particular tweaks, however, have implications that impact us on virtually every front and as a result, there was more than a little hesitation before pulling the trigger. We had bathed this decision in prayer and were confident that, even if it wasn’t the easiest, it was right thing to do. I still felt as I always do right before shaking things up, scared.
Fortunately, once it was done and we were committed, I felt like I almost always do right after shaking things up, stoked. It’s funny, when you do something you’ve been needing to do, especially if you have been dreading it, there is often a surge of, I should have done that a long time ago! that follows. I think they call that 20/20 hindsight vision.
As we were processing all of this in our weekly, all-staff, prayer meeting we had a laugh at our track record of: gravitating towards complicated solutions to what are ultimately simple problems, having a moment of epiphany, subsequent streamlining, and repeat. I told our team, “I just wish I knew what I know now when we first planted this church.”
That same day I joined some friends on what has become one of my favorite bike rides, the world famous Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. It is pretty much 13 miles up hill and then 13 miles downhill. You ascend at all of 9 miles an hour and then descend at 39. Once we reached the top we took our helmets off and enjoyed the view that we had fought so hard to reach.
As I stood there, catching my breath and drinking in the beauty, I thought of the comment I had made at the meeting and realized I am glad I didn’t know everything that I know now when planting fresh life. That would have been like being airlifted to the top of this mountain. Would that be easier? Absolutely. But without the sweat and burning lungs and legs I would never appreciate the view the same way.
I’m not saying you should make life harder than it needs to be so there are things to fix later. Let me tell you, the next time you are at the bottom of a ministry mountain choosing a vehicle and there is a helicopter and a bicycle–get on the chopper! But there will probably come a day when you will take the long way and suffer for it. When that day comes: throw your weight over your handlebars, give it all you’ve got and remember, The view is sweeter when you fight for it.
The view from the top!