(This blog was first posted on Dennis Gingerich.com earlier in May)
This month marked the 35th year of an adventure that started with the arrival of our chock-full rental truck, three young children and a God-sized vision for a new church in a new city. Milestones are a great time for reflections and musings. Musings are dictionary-defined as “your thoughts or comments on something you have been thinking about carefully and for a long time.” So, here are 3 musings—35 years in the making.
GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME. Sylvain Saurel wrote an article called, “Overnight Success Exists, But it Happens Only for Those Who Build It Daily Over Years.” That’s definitely true in the founding of Cape Christian. When we arrived in Cape Coral, FL on May 7, 1986 to begin the adventure of “planting” a church, that was just the first day of over 12,775 days of hard work, action, discipline, risk, failures, sacrifices, changes, resilience, consistency, lack of sleep, persistence, patience, stress, struggle, late nights, disappointments, doubts, motivation and more. Good things take time. To grow a church from three couples to three thousand regular participants involved all of the above multiplied by decades of time.
Guests who visit Cape Christian often look around at a 14-acre campus that includes an auditorium filled with hundreds of worshippers, a student center full of teens, a preschool, a café and a park with laughing children enjoying its playgrounds, splash pad, basketball court, play field, as well as people-filled benches and tables under blooming Crepe Myrtle trees connecting with each other as they enjoy the soothing sounds of fountains and waterfalls… and our guests ask me or my wife, “Are you surprised?” Our standard answer is always, “Not surprised. Always in Awe.” We’re not surprised because we know all of the words listed in the paragraph above were our constant reality over three and a half decades. We had setbacks, resistance, criticism and mountains to climb. But good things take time. Success happens only for those who build it daily over years and decades.
GOD ALWAYS PROVIDES. Looking back over the years, I can assure you that we had times when we didn’t know where the money was going to come from or if people would show up. I’ve learned, God always knows what we need and in what order. People that had specific gifts that were needed to go to the next level, have always had a way of non-chalantly appearing when the time was right. We have repeatedly watched people and financial resources provided at strategic times in the growth of Cape Christian. Even when a person with leadership gifts or significant financial resources moved on to other pursuits, I’ve observed God fill the gaps with someone or something that had even greater capacity for what was coming next. I’m very grateful for God’s constant, exceedingly above and beyond provision.
PASSIONATE OBEDIENCE BRINGS SIGNIFICANCE. My wife Linda and I are frequently filled with a deep sense of satisfaction and significance. We find peace in knowing that we’ve been living out our purpose for many years now. We can physically observe the legacy and the harvest of fruit from seeds we planted decades ago. We view God-transformed individuals and families that have shaped the outcome of the present and future generations. We don’t have to wait for the “well-done good and faithful servant” phrase to be spoken at our funerals. We hear and see it nearly every day. And we are reminded that using our unique gifts and passions has had its rewards. For the times we were tempted to take short-cuts because some decisions were difficult to make, we are most grateful now that we were obedient to the God-nudgings and whisperings. We’ve discovered that passion coupled with obedience, always leads to a destination of significance.
Milestones are always a good time to reflect, muse and give thanks. Thank you to each and every one of you who had a small or large part in walking with us the past 35 years. All of it matters. You matter… to God and to us. Thank you.
QUESTION: Which one of three key musings speaks to you the most at this season of your life? I would love to hear from you in the Comment section below. Thanks!