Tuesday, August 31, 2010

“I Wish it Was the Way it Used to Be”

The previously discussed model of transtion is frustrating because it involves uncertainty and often pain. Many people would like to leave the land of Egypt, immediately enter the Promised Land, and skip the forty years wandering in the wilderness.

Mr. Bridges (author of previously discussed books on transition) says that when people get into the Neutral Zone, they often wish for “the way it used to be” and try to make it that way. Solomon warned against this: “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10, NKJV).

Trying to make it the way it was is like taking a bottle of Elmer’s glue in November, picking up the dead leaves from the ground, glueing them on the tree so it will be “the way it was.” It won’t work. However, if you can keep from freezing to death during the winter, spring will come, leaves will come back to the trees, and flowers will bloom. It will not be exactly like it used to be but it will be good and a new season of growth can come.

 In the preacher-church relationship, failing to recognize the process of transition and the new beginning may bring unfavorable comparison to the former preacher from the congregation and may hear the new preacher constantly referring to “the way we did it where I came from.”