This past Sunday morning, I walked into our youth building to get the coffee and hot water ready for our Jr. & Sr. High Sunday school students. Our youth building is about a block away from our current church facility. We remodeled an old bank building in town for our students because our current church was becoming too small for all that was happening.
The building has served us well over the last 3 years, but our new church is almost complete so we will be moving in a couple of months to our new location. Thus far, it was a typical Sunday morning. But as I approached the building, I noticed that the small windows on our main entrance were steamy. I thought that is odd, never seen that before. But as I stepped into the main welcome area I was shocked…there was water, LOTS of water.
I moved through the welcome area and into the main room to see a waterfall, pouring gallons of water in the space. At my feet, 1.5″ of water. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I shut of the main water valve, unplugged the various power strips, extension cords, and cables, made a few quick phone calls, and stood in amazement as water dripped from random places in the ceiling.
Thoughts raced through my head. What are we going to do about Sunday school less than two hour away? What about youth group tonight? Then there’s the women’s Bible study, the after school Bible study, Praise Team practice, my office…
Displacement is never a fun thing. And many are displayed for far greater reasons. But in that moment my heart ached for the space, the items and materials now lost, for the owners of the building, for my students, for the ministry. And yet, I found myself saying out loud, “God, I know you have some great planned because of this. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do.”
So this morning I grabbed my laptop and went to the church office a little earlier than usual. Since my office was under water, and because Monday’s are busy days at the church, I wanted a few minutes to take care of some email and and website updating that needed to be done. I grabbed a small TV tray table and a folding chair and my Mac, and set up in the sanctuary to begin working. When the M.O.P.S. moms arrived, I relocated to our local Starbucks. From there it was back to the church for a staff meeting, then to the youth building to meet a claims adjuster. Now, I’m back at the church, sitting in our “lounge” (really just a room with a couple sofas, coffee tables, and chairs) finishing tis post.
Last night, we had youth group. It wasn’t the big rah-rah event like usual. About 20 students in the basement of our little church, eating pizza, laughing, talking, and having fun together. We are displayed for about two weeks, four or more depending on what is needing to be replaced. In the meantime, the youth group will meet in the church basement like we use to before we were given our own space. We will have to share space, meeting rooms, time, and materials with the rest of the church again.
I’m looking at the time of displacement as a good thing. I’ve been struggling lately with our programs and ministry; fearing that we’re settling for the status quo. Now without the “comforts of home,” we’re going to have to do things a little differently. It’s also going to provide a time for us to experiment with some new ideas and think about our approaching move to the new church facility. But I am most excited about what this might mean for relationships. We have to leave some of our “entertainment” items behind. This means we’re going to have to work a little harder than usual to engage our students.
Displacement often means difficulties and hardships. But displacement can also be the opportunity for a fresh start. That’s what I’m hoping for; a fresh start!