For people looking for something real and genuine, a church that actually lives like one and does intentional things to live life together, finally finding a fellowship that does that is like a breath of fresh air, rain on parched ground. There is a great deal of excitement in meeting new people, learning new things, and expectation that there are wonderful things ahead.
This is a natural and good time in any relationship, and for those attempting to find and participate in real Christian community, there is a definite honeymoon period where everything feels amazing.
And then the honeymoon ends. Reality sets in. There are several reasons.
When people begin to deal with the real church, the real Body of Christ, and attempt to live life together with them, it is not like any other church experience. So they begin to compare. Some people who were once so excited to find an organic church setting begin to miss the trappings of the more institutional setting. They are held more accountable for their own spirituality in ways they never have before. Weaknesses in them that a “normal” church would never see are exposed. That’s not fun. The people you once thought were awesome begin to be far more human than previously thought. What was once fun is now work.
Of course in the midst of all this we have a spiritual enemy that does his best to take this time and manipulate it for his own ends, which is ultimately division.
So as the honeymoon period ends, people begin to pull away, usually disappointed and discouraged. Maybe they start to miss little gatherings here and there, or maybe begin choosing things that are more entertaining than being disciplined with their walk with the church. Maybe they even start looking for another church to begin feeding a “need.” They are trying to get that honeymoon feeling again.
And it can be found in a new group that doesn’t want to live so closely and share deeper things.
But just as real love in a marriage begins to happen when you get over yourself and get past expectations and misconceptions about what its supposed to be, begin to get past the fantasy and deal with the reality, begin to love the person that you are with instead of who you want them to be … it is the same in the church.
Those who are willing to grow up a little bit and get past the honeymoon period and stay just as committed … they will find a treasure of what it really means to have brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers in the faith.