Part of saying goodbye means getting closure on places where I invested a LOT and got very low return on investment.
I spent some time studying my big four and decided that three of the four were pretty well worked over and settled out. That leaves one, for those of you who are math whizzes.
I circled around it for a while, trying to figure out why that one had not resolved over time.
Here is the story. It was a community with a pretty low-end reputation. A Nazareth, if you wish. I ended up there in a roundabout way, and fell in love with it the first time I went.
I built some relationships, shared vision with people locally, and began to execute a long-term strategy. Relationships deepened, and we began to do a few modest activities.
The momentum attracted the attention of the area apostle who had been treating the city with benign neglect for years.
He came down with a case of jealousy or insecurity and ordered me to meet with him. He asked for a detailed overview of what I was doing and what I was planning to do and then told me he was in charge in this region and he would like me to leave, quietly, without an announcement to anyone, and not come back.
I had five minutes to decide, over lunch.
He promised to maintain what I had put in place. I folded and slipped out of town quietly. He dismantled everything I had built and abandoned the town.
That is where the rub is.
Did I make the right call?
I don’t fight for control. Should I have? Should I have negotiated a different deal? I knew he had no credibility and would not do what he said.
I exclusively work where I am wanted and welcomed. And I was certainly wanted and welcomed by the people in the town. Just not the guy from a nearby town.
I hated the idea of a big old church brawl with all of the trash talk that goes on. Been through my full quota of church politics and squabbles in my life.
I simply don’t know if I made the right decision. And I don’t think I will ever know this side of eternity. But I need to settle that before I leave the state.
I have blocked off some time to go there. I will sit in my car a few doors down from a bunch of places where I have good memories, where people loved and laughed, dreamed and dared. I will wait to see what bubbles up in my spirit.
I will also go sit outside the restaurant where I got my decamping orders to see what happens there.
One of the big issues is the relationships. I left without a goodbye, according to “The Deal.”
One person has kept in touch with me slightly over the years. I will write ahead of time and see if they are willing to meet with me discretely. I think they can help with the healing process.
Depending on the feeling at the time, I might knock on the door of one or two other people. God might or might not have them at home.
Or I might just show up at a particular church.
I am aggravated by how much this is prowling on the back of my mind even though I am some time away from going there. Apparently this is some significant unfinished business.
Makes it more important to go there.
But first, a day trip to Oxnard and Ventura to prowl around the detritus of a couple of not-good years in my life.
Oh by the way, the apostle in question eventually got the left foot of fellowship and is no longer the Grand Pooh Bah of that region.
But that doesn’t change my second guessing my own decision . . .
Copyright June 2018 by Arthur Burk