I started this post in August and was unable to finish it due to the raw emotion it drew upon writing. I'm posting it now, though it was unfinished, because I think it's important.....
A simple search on amazon.com demonstrates a lack of instruction on this topic. There isn't a handbook that I have found that includes a section of what to do when your church plant fails, when your church closes under your watch, and how to begin again. I akin this feeling to losing a loved one. There are stabbing reminders everywhere we turn that life is very different than we had anticipated, and the only thing we know to do is to grieve this as a death, and try to start anew.
When my husband and I began this church plant, failure never was a possibility. We believed that the only reason a plant would fail is if we gave up and by golly, we could out stubborn anything. Like an unexpected death, we looked around one day and realized, our church was operating on life support and nothing could be done.
The self examination is grueling and I know my husband feels it even worse. What could we have done different? What did we do wrong? What training did we miss? What book should we have read? Did we not pray enough? Did we not lead enough? Did we not serve enough? Did we, did we, did we.
The last month has been painful. Excruciating. My tears are random; my heart aches.
Yesterday was the day everyone gathered to clean out the church building. My husband, walking through the church building alone and with it mostly empty, expressed an ache all over again. I have begun to long for the 'headstone' to be put in place so we can truly finish this chapter and move on.