Earlier this year, as I was wrestling through some of the concepts involved with Dying Church, I really wondered if I could continue to pastor Richview. Richview is a great church, but historically it’s been modern and programmatically driven. When I came to Richview, I fit that mold. I don’t anymore. I began to think that the concepts involved with leading a church to die to itself – not always literally, but always spiritually – would be too much. I came to a humbling realization sometime this summer. Richview wasn’t the problem. I was. Nobody at Richview was holding me back. I hadn’t even given them a chance to wrestle through some of the ideas God had been birthing in my mind. A passage in Joseph Jaworski’s book Synchronocity describes this insight perfectly. In a passage that describes a phase of incoherence within the organization he was leading, Jaworski says:
It’s so easy under these circumstances to blame the situation on others: “They simply don’t get it…They’re not committed,” or such. There’s always a “they.” But that’s where the confusion lies. In these situations, it’s not “they” who are responsible. It’s us. It has to do with our own history being invoked. Our history of separation, isolation, low self-esteem, and unworthiness interacts with our new awareness of incoherence and creates a movie in our head that points to “them” and the problem. What’s the way out of this trap? Leaving doesn’t solve anything, because usually we will end up with other people who “just don’t get it.” It means recognizing that if we’re working with people who don’t get it, it’s because part of our own history is being invoked, and there’s real inner work to do in addition to outer work.
It’s so easy to think that the problem is out there, and that outward change is the solution. I’m glad I realized that “they” weren’t holding me back. I was.