First of all, I have to say that the first Sunday of The Gathering went very well. We had 90 folks, 26 of them visitors, 9 of them first timers. We've hit the ground with good momentum, so we have to work hard to keep it going. Please keep me, the team, and this new ministry in your prayers.
Now to my musings for the day...
I get accused of being young and idealistic at times. Guilty as charged. I'm a 25 year old preacher, what do you expect? The idea of being young and idealistic is not what bugs me though. It's the implication that I'll get over it one day and be a disallusioned "real adult". I'll one day realize that things never change, so don't waste my energy trying.
The problem is that I know plenty of "real adults" who are very idealistic and still believe that things can change for the better. So I have to ask, what's the difference between them and all the burned out people? What did they do that allowed them to keep their dreams alive? I've asked these folks, and none of them has a concrete answer. Everybody's story is different. I don't believe in easy answers for anything, but there has to be some kind of common trait that carried these folks through.
I've sat with this question for about five years now, which is a long time for someone my age. I'm beginning to think that learning patience might have something to do with it. People that are young and idealistic likemyself tend to get frustrated when they realize how complex problems are and/or when they don't see change happening as quickly as they'd like.
But that's not a trait only the young and idealistic posess. Our whole society is impatient. Just look at how we give a new President 100 days in office until we plunge their approval ratings into the basement because they haven't turned the country into the utopia they promised us. We live in an instant gratification society that does not value patience.
What if those "real" adults who lost their idealism are just like the young and idealistic in that they never learned patience? It's true, things don't change as quickly as we'd like them to. Most problems are much more complex than our quick fix solutions would suggest. Maybe those people that manage to be idealistic have learned to be patient and see things through. Maybe they've learned not to pound the table so much and push on through frustration and adversity. Maybe they've learned to pick their battles and maintain their priorities. Maybe these are the people that will ultimately make the difference in the end.
I'm still tossing this idea around in my head, but I think there may be something to it. I feel like I've learned more patience in the last few years, and I know I will have to learn loads more to stay the course in the years to come.