The Orange Oasis…

I’m tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I reserve this blog space to write about what is going on in life, to be transparent, to share things that may help others if they may be going through the same things.

It’s been a long year, a longer Summer, there have been good things and frustrating things, successes and failures, the normal ebb and flow of life that everyone deals with. I know this, I recognize it, I don’t really embrace it but who wants to embrace fatigue?

Orange has been an oasis for me, a chance to be in the company of great leaders, to get ideas, to network with others.  I was able to share it with J and will be sharing it with people from the church at Orange Tour DC.  I’m happy about it, I can’t wait to do it, I want them to catch the vision and feel the best way for this to happen is for them to experience it themselves.  All of that is good, all of that is needed, all of that is daunting.

When you’re leading a church, especially one that’s been around over a hundred years, you have a different set of circumstances to deal with than when you are planting a church, or coming to a church that is less than 20 years old.  There is a dynamic that has to be understood and the only way to understand it is to spend time living in the reality that the people are living in and have lived in.  In the World of Orange there is so much support for moving forward, embracing social media, leading change without losing it, having hard conversations, understanding you don’t have to be a jerk to lead.  There is this support system for church plants, and strategic partners, for birthing family ministries, starting next gen conversations, and helping married people.

For the record I’ve drunk the Orange Kool-aid  I love it, I tout it with every person I can, but there is room in the Orangiverse for growth, particularly in the area of the small church that is struggling to reinvent itself.  How do you birth and Orange culture in an ultra traditional church that knows it needs to evolve but struggles with that evolution.  How do you have the tough questions with leadership when you’ve spent a year and a half building relationships and still you know that some of the things that need to happen are a huge stretch for them.  How do you afford to paint your church and community Orange when the 6 month’s free runs out and you’re just starting to scratch the surface, just starting to see positive things happen and you know that another 12 months could make the difference between success and adoption and skepticism and moving back to what was because it was comfortable?  How do you get an awesome organization like the ReThink group to see Baltimore as it’s own very special entity not related at all to DC?

These are just some of the questions that run through my head on a daily basis, along with the daily work of ministering to a community that may or may not even realize Locust Point Community Church is there for them, not because we haven’t been intentionally pushing into the community but because as the only staff person it’s just exhausting doing 90% of the work that many churches share among others even if it is a part time secretary and a volunteer or two.

How do you take a much needed vacation, one that you know you should take but that you are just not sure how to do it without setting things back, because you don’t want to disappoint the leadership that hired you, and even while you type that statement you feel guilty because you know the answer is supposed to be more about being a disappointment to God and yet you realize that you’re a disappointment to yourself, that you really thought no matter how many times you tell everyone else and yourself that it didn’t take 6 months or even a year to get where we are, it’s not going to take that long to come back stronger, it’s going to take time, because you secretly thought that attendance would double or triple in the first year, and now you’re moving toward two years and it didn’t happen.

How do you deal with the guilt you feel because your kids are in a city that they would rather not be in, in a school that isn’t as great as the one they were in in the other part of Maryland and your wife is working at a job that takes more of her time and energy than it was supposed to, and you feel selfish because you know that they are all doing this for you?

But most of all how do you not feel any of this?  How do you live in the moment that God has brought you too?

I think what makes it hardest of all is I know it’s all a choice, I know that in many cases and in many ways I choose how I feel but I’m tired, and more than anything I need the Oasis that is Orange to be exactly that.  I need someone to tell me it’s going to be okay, for one of the many great leaders and speakers to do what they do so well, to be accessible, help sharpen me again.  I need to not be so tired, I need that fresh wind of the Spirit of God to blow out the hurt and sadness and frustration and anger and sorrow (different than sadness in this sentence) because I’m just so tired, and admitting it to everyone is the first step to being okay but how do you tell people who are just as tired or more so that you really don’t know how it’s going to work?

Orange is an Oasis for me, but it’s more than that, it’s a place that makes me feel like I belong to a greater story, that I can do it, that I can keep walking… So no pressure guys… Just know that I need you…

One response to “The Orange Oasis…

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Love to meet up with you at Orange Tour in Washington D.C.! I’m the First Look Orange Specialist for Maryland!

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