Category Archives: Churchplanting

Basilica nostalgia

The last 48 hours have converged into the perfect storm of friendship & memories.

Friday, during my sick timewasting, Joel told me about Facebook timeline. It’s kinda addictive. It combines photos & chronology which I love.

As I sorted through pictures on Facebook, correcting the dates on each album (so it appears in the right spot on my life’s Timeline!), I tagged this picture I uploaded 2 years ago:


This is the group that helped us get the BSM building ready for Basilica’s public launch in September 2006.

The comments from the “tagged” people warmed my heart, the 1st being my favorite:
20111218-155554.jpg

It was nice to share these feelings as we prepared to see a large group of our former Basilica members today, as Joel preached at Covenant Community Church.
——

So I guess this was filling my mind as I slept, because I dreamt about today last night. Of course, the church location in my dream was different, and, as with all dreams, out of context people were there.

But the close of the dream was AWESOME.

I was introduced as being Joel’s wife, and the closing of our church was alluded to.
Then I witnessed my own internal dialogue in response:
“80% of churches fail within the first 2 years. Basilica made it 3 years, but we did not have a healthy, sustainable body.
So we closed. And were able to be Organ Donors, sending strong members, into other churches, like Covenant.”

The wonderful, mature families that came out of Basilica are a huge source of motherly pride for me! I am so proud of them. But I had never thought of it like organ donation before this dream.
Now I’m even more proud, that Basilica was, and that we were able to fail TO THE GLORY OF GOD.
—–

I was still contemplating my dream as we headed to Covenant Community Church Pearland this morning.

It was a surreal-ly peaceful worship service for me.
1. I got to see some of my favorite families:

  • The Cowarts
  • The Fosters
  • The Fisks
  • The LaCazes
  • The Morkins
  • The Parks
  • The Von Kanels
  • The Willis
  • Marissa Stephens

2. I got to meet baby Matthew Foster & hold him during the sermon.

3. My husband preached an awesome sermon, pulling together several areas of the Bible in a glorious way.

It’s nice to get some clear hindsight.

the Glorious Beards of Basilica
The Glorious Beards of Basilica

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Post-Basilica Syndrome (PBS)

In the past week, I’ve been a part of several conversations talking about how Basilica was the best church, and hard to replace.
These are really great conversations to be in.
They are also really reinforcing that we made the right decision in closing Basilica.
I miss Basilica too.
In many ways, it is like an old relationship:

  • easy to remember the good parts,
  • easy to forget the hard parts,
  • easy to wonder if it could be better if you tried it again.

I wonder about that third one, too.
And I wonder if we could bring our growth from our mistakes in as an asset.
But I mainly feel like we would be trying to relive our “first kiss” and live in a constant state of comparison.
I could be wrong.

Processing Basilica

I have hesitated to write on this topic for awhile… wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to put out for public critic.

But I definitely need to process, and I would like my own record, so read at your own risk.

In 2 days, The Basilica Community, a church started by Joel, Jessica and I, will be closing. This has been a shock to some people, confusing for others, and expected for a few.

I wasn’t shocked. But I am sad. And happy.
In many ways, Basilica shares the role of a dysfunctional boyfriend in my life – I know I will miss it, and it will be weird when people don’t identify us together, but hopefully there is something even better down the road.

Jessica started me dwelling on this sentiment when she said that it will be sad that her children (yet to be born) will never know about this huge part of her & Jimmy’s life.
I guess that’s true. I think for a child, much of their parent’s life is like this – unfathomable, like finding out your mom had a fiance before your dad, or that your mom was a ___________ or _____________.

And I realized it’s not as sad as it seems right now.
Because I don’t look back and wish my children could know the men I dated before. I am thankful for the beautiful life we have together.

Tangent… back to Basilica.

So, as many close to me have seen, there have been many faces of Basilica for me:
– hopeful, energetic, and entrepreneurial
– carefree and fun
– trying my hand at counseling girls, and making lots of mistakes
– planning a mission trip, with some personal baggage
– experiencing loss and burn out
– stepping back and healing

As I look back, I cannot imagine NOT having these experiences. I have learned so much!

So, while it was hard to consider that this work has been completed, for me, it does feel completed. I don’t feel like we are leaving anyone “incomplete”. I feel like the core that we have are all strong in faith, gifted in different ways, and they can shake up some churches in their areas.

In reflecting with Joel last night, I realized several really pleasant things:

This experience has really changed (improved) our relationship. How I see him is totally different, and much more biblical.

We have gained skills that are huge and open up many more options for us than we had before. It feels like we are much more equipped to join many different types of ministries, and able to understand the roles, and where they need us to step up and follow and support and lead – depending on the situation. I guess the word might be versatile.

—-
For the past year, as I healed from burn out and hurt, I have had trouble seeing any good in Basilica – as a church and as a people.
But in the month since the decision was made to close, I have been able to stop analyzing everything and everyone.
And I have been flooded with peace.
And I have felt empowered once again to speak into lives.
And I have been able to remember all God has done here.

I think it is a healthy sadness in the completion.
I wonder if this is how it feels when your children grow up, and you finally step back and realize that your “raising them” job is done.
I hope I am able to look back and see all the evidences of grace as I can in Basilica now.

Processing

So, we had a 'ministry meeting' last night with some Basilica folks,
to discuss the state of the ministry…
I think it was good for me, if not them. We haven't done one in
awhile, and I dreaded it, because I knew I had a lot of confused
feelings toward our church. But since I started trying to express
them, I think it helped me realize a few things.
1. I wore myself out in the 1st 1.5 yrs of Basilica.
2. I thought I was angry with God… But I have prayed about this a
ton, and never really feel like this description fits…. Now I think
that I feel like I've been a disappointment to Him.
3. I am empty and don't know how to refill.

But a positive thing I realized is that drawing people to Christ is
still my only hope.

I'm having a lot of trouble putting myself out there anymore. It's
been really hard to disciple so many who have walked away from Him,
after they really got serious.

It's hard to be a pastor's wife… It feels like everything anyone
says about Basilica is about you. When I hear someone felt neglected
or left out, I internalize it, and worry about how I should have spent
my time.
I am trying to feel satisfied that I answered each time God led me….
But that is hard.

Life is passing so quickly…

My ideal scenario: I plan something, tell others about it, then execute it with perfect timing.
My real scenario: God puts dreams in our heart. We begin to pray about them. Things start happening that are way beyond our control… and may not even involve us.

Case in point:
We have been praying about going to Russia for about 2 years. Almost everything in our life has been leading up to that. At Christmas this year, Joel quit his job and I returned to work, so he could pursue a degree in Russian studies at UH. In March, we went to the Hope for CEE conference, where I really began to feel direction on what to begin doing for a move in 3-4 years… start learning about the city (Rostov na Donu), sharing the information with others so they will pray, building a team of prayers and a team of go-ers…
Honestly, I was ready to put all my energy into this.
Then along came our little angel Darin Michael. And my time has been reassigned.
But the work for Russia is not waiting. I barely have time to pray, but God is still preparing people. Obviously this is a good thing. But it also feels like I am left behind and like it is very out of my control. These are feelings I don’t really like.
What’s happening is good – our friend Jessica has become interested in joining our team to work in Rostov. She has started planning a trip to get exposure to the country. And she will possibly even meet our native Russian teammember, Sam – he might translate for the trip she will go on in December.

The same thing is happening with the church plant that God has laid on Joel’s heart for here in Houston. I can pray for it, but Mike & Tammi are making connections, telling people, enlisting possible co-workers. Once again, this is really good. But it is also overwhelming because I am not very involved.

All I can figure is God is teaching me to be content to pray, and then watch Him pull together the logistics. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue how to pull together all this stuff. And now God is doing an awesome job. I should be glad I get to know about it at all.