The church I call home wanted to host a free event for the community last year. When planning began, I was in the throes of reeling from the beginning of a divorce. My ex was a leader in the church – the church he immediately left after announcing he wanted a different life. Many people reached out to love him, but it’s not something he wanted to accept. It was difficult yet healing for me to step forward with people. I learned a lot about people, myself, God, and church.
I thought about backing away from leadership, including chairing the community event team, but the event wasn’t about me. It focused on others – people I might never know – and God was clear with me from day one of the divorce process that I was, under no circumstances, to isolate myself, become selfish, lose sight of the context of relationships and community, or throw a pity party. He had the strength I needed. I just had to take steps of obedience.
So, I did. Summer Starts Here was not only a fun event, it was great planning process. We had a phenomenal team of people who had great ideas and were dependable to do what they said they would do. We worked well together and had some fun along the way. We didn’t have as many people from the community as we hoped – perhaps 10-15% of the crowd – but it was a good event.
When I was asked to lead the team for Summer Starts Here 2018, I paused. I was no longer on the church staff and didn’t know if I had the time or energy. But then God reminded me of his encouragement to pour myself out for others, trusting him to fill me and provide abundantly. It wasn’t about me.
There are downsides to trying to keep the momentum for a second year, but there are upsides of lessons learned, ideas to improve, etc. We had an added challenge of a construction zone on the grounds with a new wing being built. The team floundered a bit at times, but the event was fantastic – especially since around 50% of the people who attended weren’t from the church!
I stood in the middle of it all and savored for a moment. Kids were laughing, parents were relaxing, friends were talking, people were serving. The community was connecting and growing. I was thankful.
(As I typed the words “It’s not about me” in this post, my phone rang. I had a relaxing morning planned for the next day but a crew of people were going to demo part of the old church building. Could I make cookies and help? Yes, I could. Because after all, it’s not about me.)