However, we felt compelled to return to our downtown church a few weeks ago, partly because we knew it would better meet our spiritual needs and goals as a family, and partly because we missed that church and its leadership. With sadness, we bid adieu to the new friends we had made, and traded the 10-minute car ride for a 40-minute one.
For those in the know, this is not the first downtown church in our lives. When we initially moved into the city, we had attended and served in an up-and-coming church to which we had really given our all. We were bought in 110% and coasting the fast-track to deaconship (well, Hubbs was, at any rate). That church was like a really hot start-up with a dynamic CEO and exec, and we were witness to all the various exciting rounds of growth that propelled it from start-up to Top 5 Hottest in the City. We were psyched to grow our family in that space, and anticipated many more years of service and leadership under their CEO and exec.
Unfortunately, things happened. People, sin, life, and insight happened. Little L happened. And our eyes were opened.
As well, growth has a way of changing a church, just as adding another student to a class might alter classroom dynamics. In this case, the little start-up with a big heart that we had loved so much was gone, replaced by a behemoth company run by a large team of execs hand-picked by the CEO, and ready for IPO. They were entering the big leagues of church plants, but we no longer wanted to be a part of their brand.
Sometimes I still think about that church, four years after we walked away. Their influence on our lives and our faith were not insignificant. Sometimes I wonder if their leadership is still working there, and I think about how alike or different they are from Mars Hill under the Driscoll regime. Sometimes I wistfully remember the powerful worship and expository preaching, and I wonder if maybe we could ever return to the church we called home for over 4 years. Sometimes I even miss it enough to load up the church website.
And then I remember.