Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deconstructing Life in Riverside

Turning Over the Church

Sunday, we turned over the church. It has taken me a couple of days to figure out what I wanted to say about that. Being overly emotional isn’t my style. But on the other hand I don’t want to seem cold and unemotional. I was really surprised at my own reaction…there was even a moment I had to stop and compose myself, as I preached my final sermon there.

These are people that I have labored with, struggled through issues with, laughed with, cried with and even fought with. In short, it was as close to a family as you can get without sharing DNA. There is an emotional connection; a feeling of camaraderie. There is an emotional transaction that takes place when you have gone through those things together. It’s not that gooey, trembly, “I can’t eat anything,” kind of emotion you that feel for your first girlfriend (or boyfriend as the case may be.) It’s the kind of emotion you feel for your little brother, the one who embarrassed you to death in a million different ways as a kid. The real thing, you know…Love.

As a person I love every one of those people, but speaking as a pastor, people can be sort of hard to work with, just like climbing Mount Everest is kind of a difficult hike. There were times of great frustration. I would counsel people, only to see them fall into the trap I was trying to help them avoid and that they couldn’t see. I always wanted the best for them but sometimes they saw my preaching or counsel as a criticism. Sometimes they thought I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about. They treated me just like I treated my dad. One person said, “I thought you’d always be there, if I knew you’d be leaving this soon, I’d have been nicer, or whatever.” How many of us have ever had that thought?

It feels strange to say this but now they’re Pastor Jason’s family. He’ll go through some tough things with them. But, I can tell you from experience it’s worth every minute of it.

At the end of the evening service, there was this spontaneous outpouring of testimonies about the impact we had on their lives. I thought to myself, they can see the impact that we’ve had on them, but they couldn’t possibly understand the profound impact they have had on me.


  1. Wish you everything goes well! Sammi

  2. Somebody told me they had trouble posting a comment. So I needed to try it so I could help if necessary.