Brian's Blog: Three Phases

Sunday, August 18th, the Transitions Team met for the first time together as we begin to walk in these months together. It is this amazing group of people with a heart for the church and for our future.  

A transition is what takes place anytime we encounter change.  Most of us know that that would be the case, but most also do not realize that transitions are often poorly done.  For example, we graduate from High School and leave for college but often do not take time to really walk through the realities of “letting go” of the phase we were in, High School, and feeling the feelings that may accompany that departure, for we are so busy heading into the future, that new beginning, in this case college.  In his book of the same title, William Bridges, describes transitions as having three distinct parts -- first the ending, a neutral phase and then a new beginning. 

Endings include:  Shock, Anger, denial, fear, sadness.  There are emotions there. And there is a real need to actually feel them. You have to end something in order to begin. We all will need to process emotions this year, that’s healthy and normal.  

The Neutral Zone often involves a sense of confusion, being displaced, disoriented, and skeptical; it even can feel apathetic.

When I look back at the transitions of my life, I think I have often just looked toward the future, the new beginning, to such an extent that I diminished the fact that I needed to let go and say goodbye to a current place. I didn’t walk through a transition, I hopscotched.  I hope I am learning to be more honest with the process now. 

Then the New Beginnings can bring excitement, joy, energy, commitment, and acceptance.

We have a transitions team because we are entering a season of transition.  The team is mostly made up of people already on church council with a few others added who were keenly interested in the process. Please feel free to communicate with any of them your own thoughts and your own heart as we walk in this year.  The members are: Chris and Debbie Gabel, Kari Suppes, Wendy Fedderly, Mark Smith, Randy and Cindy Loayza, Francie Stacey, Gayellyn Jacobson, Jane Williams, Susan Brehmer, Kristin Walters, and Martha Tunall.  

What I loved about this first meeting was the openness and honesty this group possessed to really talk about what it feels like to them to begin this journey.  We have lots to look at this year and our desire is to involve the whole congregation in walking out this journey together. All of you have things to share, feelings to process and the need to both end and begin well.  It is tough to do but so necessary.  

If you had been there you might have caught some of us crying tears of sadness and immense joy, both. One person said, “I didn’t expect this kind of ab workout.”  That was from the laughter. One thing I have loved and continue to love about this congregation is all that you have taught me about authenticity. How we have learned to walk alongside one another. 

We were reminded that with my sabbatical in 2016 we all learned that you are a great congregation together and you will continue to be that great group of dynamic people with heart and vision after I move on and another pastor steps into leadership among you.  God has this and has you. This is good to remember. And as another member of the team said, “Change is good. It is an opportunity for all of us to grow.”  

Keep praying and keep communicating as we walk through transition.