It has been an amazing three-and-a-half years at RISE.
We have packaged tens of thousands of meals,
given away thousands of hygiene items,
discovered how sweet a Chocolate Walk can be,
packed countless backpacks full of food,
welcomed amazing guest speakers,
mentored some beautiful children,
participated in taco eating competitions,
… and much, much more.
There has been lots of laughter, a few tears, and many images of transformation. We are humbled to be a small part of what God is doing in our community and around the world.
But over the past few months, our Core Team (the leadership team here at RISE) has slowed down and realized that the pace at which we were moving was unsustainable.
We realized we were doing things for the sake of doing them.
We realized that connection and depth of relationships had been sacrificed for busyness.
It happened slowly, but we didn’t see it until we stopped and took a breath. And we’re not okay with this. We believe that this is not who RISE is called to be. One of our biggest fears from the beginning was that we would succumb to what we’ve called “sparkler syndrome.” You know. It’s the idea that we burn brightly for a while and we have a lot of momentum and then it’s gone. Poof. In an instant.
And so our Core Team has discerned that God is calling us to slow down and enter a season of intentional listening and identity-work.
Because in the life of any healthy faith community, there must be seasons of rest, listening and discernment so that our spark doesn’t disappear.
And so we’re doing this work. We’re beginning to ask questions like
Who are we?
What does the future look like?
Who is God calling us to be?
How do we find balance?
And we’ve heard some of your questions, too. (Good questions, we might add …)
How long will this season last?
What will RISE look like on the other side of this?
What’s actually stopping?
And, well, we don’t know all the answers, but we can say that nothing is stopping right now; rather, we’re pausing a number of our events to make space for the identity-work and relationship building that is taking a lot of time and effort.
We also have fears about this season, too. We’re afraid people will leave. We’re afraid that many won’t want to be involved in the community if we don’t have 200 different things going on all the time.
But we hope you’ll stick with us in this season and ask the same questions we’re asking. And we encourage you to focus on depth of relationship with us, because that’s really what community is.
Because this community — this movement of love — called RISE is beautiful and we want it to live, thrive, spread and be sustainable. We want the spark to continue. And we want to find balance, too — a healthy balance between being active in our community and depth of relationships.
Thanks for journeying with us, friends. Each of you is a gift.