VX Church: An Emotionally Healthy Close Pt 6

Posted: September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

This is the last and final installment on the closing of our church. I just preached my last sermon at VX and I feel a flood of different emotions. Sadness at the loss. Confirmed that we made the right decision. Exhausted from it all. I am exhausted because I have tried to live the last principle of emotionally healthy churches out in the best way that I could: Making Incarnation Your Model for Loving Well

People have asked What is it like to close a church? How do you make a decision like that? I think it all boils down to what you believe about church and the purpose of church. For me the church is not a building or a 501(C)3 organization but the people connected to Christ and redeemed by his blood. The purpose of the church is to teach us love and display this love to the world. And sometimes love forces you to make decisions that are painful in the present but result in a better future for all.

Making incarnation our model for loving well means entering into another’s world. Several months before we announced the closing we solicited feedback from the leaders on how our church was doing and it did not look good. I could have ignored it and pressed on. I could have denied what I was hearing and attempted to rally the troops but that would have been remaining in my world. Stubbornly resisting what I saw as signs of unhealthiness and a potential disaster.

The second step in loving incarnationally is to hold on to yourself. At the same time that I entered into the world of our team and congregation I had a sense that God was leading me and my family elsewhere. We looked at different options for the church besides closing but it would have taken strong leadership that I would not be able to provide for the long haul. I had to appreciate, affirm, and pay attention to who I was in this process as well.

The third and last step of loving incarnationally is to hang between two worlds. This is the step that is the hardest because it is really more about being than doing. It is about being the kind of person that will lay down their life for the sake of the other. Never would I claim to do this perfectly but I believe that we as a church have done this for each other throughout this process. To hang between two worlds requires an embrace of pain and brokenness. This is what we have endured during this time of closing. It has been especially hard as we have reviewed and been reminded of our church’s successes and failures.

Next week is officially our last service and then the following Saturday we will have a goodbye party. I already antIicipate alot of tears and I believe they will be tears of sadness and joy. Sadness because of the goodness that we all found in VX church but joy at knowing that at the end of the day the Lord is taking care of his people and teaching them how to love well.

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