Christian Articles Archive

Keepers of the Dream:
On Closing a New Church Plant

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Dear Bud,

My heart goes out to you as you have finally made the decision to disband your new church plant.

It is especially difficult for us who are Keepers of the Dream. We have the Dream, nurture it, form it and are formed by it. We invest our very lives and souls in the Dream. Against the ho-hummers and the gainsayers we remain faithful to the Dream. When things don't progress as rapidly as we had hoped, when people who have been mainstays leave for easier fields, we still hold the Dream. We are Keepers of the Dream.

But then there comes that time when the reality-check part of us — and our colleagues — is too insistent to be ignored, and we must evaluate the Dream's prospects. How very difficult it is for Keepers of the Dream to be both passionate about the Dream — and that is vital for any chance of success — and at the same time dispassionate and critical. It is a schizophrenia that literally tears us apart inside.

Then there is the bitterness of public failure and "what people will think" — think of us mostly. We have seen in our hearts what could be, and yet have not seen it be fulfilled. If only, if only. With it comes self-doubt and self-recrimination. We are angry and hurt. Sometimes angry with ourselves for our lack of seeing what we should have seen — no, what we could have seen had we not been holding onto the God-given Dream. Sometimes angry with others who failed us. And sometimes we are angry with God. God, why didn't You ....?

I think the hardest part is for the Keeper of the Dream to lay the Dream down before the feet of His Master and say, "I tried, Lord. I'm sorry, Lord, but I must give this Dream back to you."

For the Giver of the Dream is the ultimate Owner of the Dream, not we. He knows what purposes He sought to fulfill through the Dream in us and in others. We seek the Glory of the Dream Fulfilled, while He seeks the Working of the Dream as it changes and molds our hearts and lives into new and more purified places. And He is the One who is able to heal our hurts and our hearts, and renew our broken spirits with His Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus,
Heal Bud's heart and soul. Soothe his inner pain. And as he lays down this Dream at your feet, lift him up again, and make him ever fruitful in your Kingdom's work.
Amen.
Your brother in Christ's service,
Ralph

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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