Congregation birth!—No post-partum depression…yet

The hopeful sky that welcomed us after our meetings last night was good for whatever challenges we faced—like giving birth! It helped me believe we could do it! (Thank God, since we DID it!).

How does it feel now that the baby is here?

Thank God that only 15% of childbirths each year in the U.S. are accompanied by post-partum depression. Child-rearing is hard enough as it is!

I am not sure how many churchbirths result in depression. As I enjoyed the South Broad stakeholders meeting the other night I began to wonder. 4-8 thousand churches close every year, we are told. But we are also told that new plantings outpace the old and they are filled with people who were not involved with Jesus or his people before. Circle of Hope was born out of the realization that God was doing something “next” like multiplying new churches for a new era. We’ve kept doing it with Jesus and we keep trying to stay on the edge. But giving birth always risks the aftermath.

  • For one thing, there is that new baby to deal with.
  • For another thing, you just gave birth and now you are new, too.
  • Yet another thing, having an actual reproductive church life is as demanding as any other reproductive relationship.

Birthing new cells and congregations is hard. I think a few of us had our church-planting tubes tied some time ago because the process took a lot out of us. Even Rachel had to be convinced in her dream that she was not going to bleed to death when the new congregation left. The other night the stakeholders had to admit a sense of loss. We are like a mother who just lost 30 pounds in an afternoon!

The new congregations seem pretty exciting

At the same time, we are just so happy. The meeting at South Broad last night was electric. Having a baby is exhilarating. It is like you just did one of the best things a human can do—because you did!

Apologies to everyone who was out of the room feeding from the nine boxes of chicken that arrived.

Jerome is getting everyone started at the new Circle of Hope in the Northwest

And that baby! Thank God, our latest child is doing well—and she is so beautiful! And, truth be told, South Broad was glad to get him out! Circle of Hope, as a whole, had a long gestation period with this one and it was time to give birth.

How do we all feel?  Do you feel lighter and ready to get into what is next? If you are in the Northwest, how does it feel to be taking your first breaths as a living body in Christ? The first weeks have some common perils, let’s take care of everyone.

It looks like it is all going to turn out well

If the enthusiasm and genius of the group of South Broad stakeholders who gathered the other night is any indication of what we’ll be like as a new mother, I think I’ll be delighted, not depressed. It is in the losing of our former lives that we gain the new one; that’s still not easy even when we know it is true. So let’s take care of each other.

Our new congregation in the Northwest has some growing to do as a people and as a mission, but they seemed full of devotion and hope to me last night. We paved their way with prayer last weekend. Let’s keep praying as they spend the fall meeting and incorporating people and figuring out how to be another circle of hope.

And if you are just looking in on this unusual thing we do, welcome! You are getting a peek into one of the deep things Jesus is teaching us. It might strike a chord someplace deep in you, too.

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