new building hangover

It is difficult to describe what happened to me when that building opened…

We spent six years of praying, saving, talking, designing, consulting, hoping, dreaming, choosing, engaging, tithing, listening, writing, planning, networking, sacrificing, brainstorming, sketching, meeting, visioning, prophesying, creating, disagreeing, deciding and building. And then it was there. Our brand new building.

I had been a team-builder, a site foreman, an interior designer, a negotiator even a brick layer a couple of times. I’d worn so many hats. And then when I moved into my new office, instead of being relieved I felt a bit out of place. The carpet smelt like a church. The walls looked foreign. I was tired, we all were, but this wasn’t an ending it was a beginning. It was such an effort to get here, now my mind kept turning to the next chapter: now we are here, how can we make sure we are connecting with new people? Everyone was congratulating us on finishing the building, but all I could think was “There is so much more to do.”

Questions

  • Have you been part of a significant project or initiative that required a great deal of effort from many people. What was it like?
  • What are some of the ways a community of faith can rest? What does it look like?
  • What are the benefits of pulling together as a community to build something new? What are the risks?
  • At what point do activity, efforts, goals, projects become overbearing or too much in a community? What might this ‘busyness’ be masking?
  • What are some ways to get in touch with what is happening under the surface of activity in a community?
  • Are there ways to help individuals speak up about their wellbeing, even in the midst of pressure and high expectations?
  • True or false: “The activity of a gathered community doesn’t have to exhaust its participants”

Wisdom from the pews

“A fatigued, quiet time usually follows a move to a new building or site. This is a risky season in which to make decisions, generate ideas or initiate new things. As with other transitions, people may decide to leave at this juncture. Coupled with the existing fatigue, the loss of people during this time will be keenly felt. Be aware that this implementation slump is going to occur. ”

“Name what it will look like and actively plan for how the community will support each other through it, acknowledging that a new season in the project may change how people feel about it or their levels of personal engagement. ”

“Gracefully let people go if they decide their active involvement is over, create ways to celebrate their contributions and maintain relationships. A new building can indicate a time where new people from the community may come to join the project. It will be strategic to have a team of people who were not so heavily involved in the transition, ready to put their energy into these new relationships.”

Going deeper