So as we get ready to become two campuses, the reality of "not seeing" the Orillia people is starting to hit me emotionally. While I’ve got piles of friends at the Barrie campus, I live much closer to Orillia than to Barrie, so that means many of my personal network of friends will be at the Orillia campus. Which means, I won’t see them much anymore on Sundays.
For years, I’ve struggled with knowing "everyone" at our former ministry. Naturally, I didn’t know and couldn’t know well over a thousand people. And that’s why we have community groups — so everyone at Connexus can be connected with a leader and others who love them and know them and care about them. And when we announced that Connexus would be at two locations, many of you came up and said "but we’ won’t see you anymore, and we’ll miss you". And I explained why I’d be in Barrie and that it was no big deal that we wouldn’t see each other because the church does not depend on one pastor knowing everybody, because then all churches couldn’t grow to more than 200 people and that we would always know each other anyway and blah blah blah.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been struggling with this week. I miss the Orillia people already. And I know I’ll miss the Muskoka people twelve months from now. And then I’ll miss the Barrie people who will go to Barrie for a year or two until we can do something in the GTA and our southern ring from the Barrie campus will disappear. I miss you guys already too.
This is just turning into a sap-fest, isn’t it?
I’ve been praying about it though. And here’s what I believe God is saying to me (please realize that the older I get, the less I like to say "this is what God said to me", because I want to speak for God less and less and let Him speak for Himself more and more…). Nevertheless, here’s what I believe God is saying to me as I pray about it: "If you want to build a church on your relationships and your influence, go ahead. But if you want to build a church on my strength, on my power, on my influence, then let go. Let me care for the Orillia people and the Muskoka people and the Barrie people and eventually the GTA people and you do your little thing in your little world and I’ll use it any way I want."
What do you say to that? Basically, I clear my throat and change the subject.
I really kind of feel like I want to be in two places at once on Sunday. I do. But I can’t be. (We have to set up one site with full equipment for filming and we picked Barrie…and no, I can’t float between sites, and yes I’d like to change that but we can’t and blah blah blah).
So, I think as we practice being Connexus for one more weekend, God is about to do something bigger than any one of us and probably bigger than all of us. He’s going to do something based on His influence. Based on His dreams. His scope. His size. His power. Not mine, not yours, not ours.
So I’m getting ready for that. I need to you to know I miss you already…but I’m just not sure God cares about how I feel nearly as much as he cares about the people He wants to influence through all of us through all our communities. And I think somehow that’s far more important than how I or any one of us feels.