Tuesday, November 6, 2012

:: a season for everything ::

Ryan and I have had the privilege of being a part of an amazing journey for the past 13+ years of our lives.  I sat in the living room with Scott & Michelle Harris (my cousins and some of my best friends/mentors AND my kids' Godparents) as they dreamed up The Rock Church.  I lived with them at the time and was privy to many of those early conversations in the early days.  My first response was, of course, "Take me with you!! I'm in!"  I had not yet started dating Ryan, but through those early months, our relationship blossomed.  I have such great memories of us in a crowded living room singing worship songs - Ryan on his guitar.  Ryan and I both grew up in musical homes and we naturally plugged into the worship ministry of TRC, eventually becoming the leaders of the worship ministry.  I have so many beautiful memories of those days as newlyweds, learning how to do church, what makes it run, thrive, survive.

The past 13+ years have been incredible, frustrating, joyous, painful, exhausting, exhilirating, fun, fulfilling and much more.  They have stretched us beyond what we thought we could handle, they have rewarded us with more than we could have ever dreamed.  The relationships we have formed, the many sets of beautiful music in the presence of God, the joy and pain of seeing people come and go, the dedications of our three adorable children...the list goes on.  Our years at TRC have not been without heartache.  As I stated above, people come, but oh, people go.  It's the nature of the business, so to speak.  I grew up in a pastor's home and have witnessed this time and time and time and time and time again.  Change is inevitable.  I know this.

Our pastor resigned yesterday.  This came as a shock to many, but honestly, not to us.  The timing of it - a little, but not the resignation.  The past few years have not been without struggle in our church body.  As one who has always believed church is not about the numbers, it's been a startling reality check that in order to facilitate a church there must be people.  We cannot survive on dreams, goldfish crackers and a coffeepot (much to my disappointment).  Our numbers have dwindled, staff has been laid off, programs have been cut.  Unfortunately that leaves a church being run by a bunch of tired people.  I know we're tired.  I know we'd probably keep plugging along if it was asked of us, but I just want you to know...we know you're tired.  We've all been running on fumes.  It's no secret.  Also, if you are one of these people, I want to tell you a couple of things.

First of all, Thank You.  There are many of you who have plugged in, worked yourself silly and stayed in the trenches day in and day out without a whole lot of thanks or back-pats.  Many of you spent your own time and resources making sure everyone had what they needed.  We couldn't have done it without you.  I can think of several of you who worked pretty much every Sunday - sometimes in multiple areas and (most of you) still kept smiles on your faces.  YOU understood that a working church body requires you to get your hands dirty.  You didn't sit back and wait for things to happen and complain when they didn't.  You did it yourselves.   You know what it means to be givers and not just takers.  Especially those of you who worked in the kids' areas - as a mom, I say THANK YOU.  My kids lives have been enriched because of your instruction, love and sacrifice.  They've always left church happy for having been there.  Their eagerness to know Jesus and the things of Him can largely be attributed to you.  And so I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Kids Ministry is not for the weak!!  Also, to those of you who faithfully tithed...thank you.

Second of all, REST.  Rest, rest, rest.  Find a place, settle in, refuel and recharge.  You have a wonderful opportunity to do so with the body at Creekside Mountlake Terrace.  If you are unsure of what to do next and think that you might like to be a part of the future (yes!  there is a future!) of Creekside Lynnwood, I urge you to consider settling in at MLT for a season.  They have extended their arms, knowing what a weary body we are, for a season of rest.  You'd also get a first row ticket to what happens next.  Don Ross is an amazing leader and pastor (I've known OF him for years as Scott Harris' mentor).  He is not a newbie when it comes to The Rock Church/Creekside Lynnwood story - past and present.  He still has incredible vision for Creekside Lynnwood and is hoping to possibly relaunch in the spring when it can be done with full energy and resources.  Their worship is also amazing and children's ministry top notch.  There is also coffee, which might be important to you. ;)

We will miss The Rock Church/Creekside Lynnwood.  We will miss our band.  Our hearts are so heavy when we think of not being able to play with our band members.  Vic, we've been playing with for many years - since those early days.  We're grieving this greatly.  Thank you, band members.  We hope we can play again with you in some capacity one day.  We made a great team :)  We didn't say thank you enough, but there really aren't enough words.  We will miss the freedom we had as worship leaders to be ourselves without an expectation of perfection from our band, our pastor and our church family.  Thank you for letting us be ourselves.  In 13 years, I can only think of maybe 2 complaints about our worship...that isn't bad at all!!  Ha!

I can imagine your emotions as the news settles in about our church.  You might feel angry, confused, sad, relieved, all of the above...

Before you react, jump on FB, or make assumptions, please consider the following:

There was nothing "bad" leading up to the Fenton's resignation.  No sin, no "situation", nothing.  Just a decision that was theirs to make for themselves and their family.  Plain and simple.  They came to our church as our new pastors and leave as family.  Please be praying for them as they move back to Port Orchard and - since this is my blog and I can say whatever I want, for God's sake, don't blame them.  Don't be angry with them.  Don't gossip about them or assume you could have done things differently or better.  Send them off with a hug and a blessing.  They are beautiful, quality people and I can't wait to see what's next for them.

The Rock/Creekside Lynnwood is not being shut down, doors slammed, good luck everyone, well that's that, etc. Pastor Don and the Creekside body is not tiptoeing out the back door ready to run as soon as the lights are turned off. Unfortunately, this wasn't articulated very well at all at the announcement on Sunday morning.  I have a feeling even if it was, it wouldn't have been absorbed the way it needs to because of the shock.  I would be lying if I didn't say I wish someone could step in and keep it going.  But let's be honest.  We simply do not have the resources, energy and ability to survive another pastoral search, relaunch or turnover.  So, this is not the end.  All is not lost, as Don told me yesterday.  Please consider what I said above - especially if you are feeling lost, confused and don't have an immediate direction.

I strongly urge all of you to attend the meeting on Monday, November 5th at Creekside MLT (info below). Browse their website and join their facebook page to get familiar with their body and what they have to offer. Ryan and I plan on attending Monday's meeting - even if it's just to hear Don and his heart for Creekside Lynnwood.  Don't harbor ill feelings towards Don or Creekside MLT.  I believe it was the right decision.  Go hear him out.  If you choose not to, that's ok too, of course.

Ryan and I don't know what's next for our family.  We're prayerfully considering our options.  We simply just don't know where we will end up.  This is new to us.  We will be visiting some churches in the area and praying, praying, praying.  We'll be praying for our fellow members as well, as we branch out, spread out and settle around our community.  We'll be keeping tabs on facebook and communicating through my blog as we navigate all of this.  We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friendships that can only be attributed to The Rock Church and we are comforted knowing that many of these friendships will be life-long.

Meanwhile, keep doing the things our church does well.

I challenge you to move forward without grumbling or bitterness and be a blessing.  It's been said over and over and I agree.  I've never known a more gracious, forgiving, friendly, uplifting, encouraging, dedicated, beautiful body of human beings.  Any church out there would be blessed to have you on their team.

I love you guys!!
Molly (Ryan, Aidan, Delia & Liam)