Churches are pretty human [duh. they're made up of humans!]. They each have their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, etc. And while they might be similar to other churches in some ways, they can also be drastically different in other ways. I have friends from college in every single ministry setting you can imagine, and yet, I see the same situation popping up all across the board. I call it the Glory Days Syndrome, and it's something ministries [well, and let's be honest- it happens a lot in secular settings as well] are constantly combating.
The past is easy to grasp, because we've been there. We've lived through it. It's tangible. We can easily recall the highs and lows- but who really wants to remember the lows? Lows = bummers, so we kind of brush them under the rug and settle in nicely into only remembering the mountain top moments. I actually was just doing this last night about high school- I was talking about how great my senior year was when we went to State for marching band, and I didn't bring up freshman year, when we had to bust our butts just to come in next to last.
We'd all like to go back to those high moments- we easily find ourselves living in them today by recollecting them. The problem with this is that when we live in the past, we lose sight of the future. I used to say this all the time at my last church, because we had a real problem with the Glory Days Syndrome for awhile. Anything that's alive should change and evolve at some rate; the moment it stops doing those things, it begins to die. So when we find ourselves living in the past, we're halting change. We're not evolving. We limit our growth, because all we can see is where we've been. We put our lives in jeopardy because we have a hard time trusting in the unknown that the future brings.
I'm extremely excited that our church is going through this new visioning process, because we're being intentional about NOT living in the past. We're looking towards the future and jumping into the unknown with both feet, because we DO know that God is with us in the journey. We're ready to make some new "Glory Days-" days that glorify and reveal the love of our Creator.
If you're in the tension between the Glory Days Syndrome and envisioning the future, I encourage you to be a voice, not an echo. Echos are a passive result of something that's already happened, while a voice is active in the moment. A voice is a conscious decision to take part in the conversation that is happening now. Be a part of the movement and experience the glory of a new adventure with Christ.