The return to ministry was mixed. I came back to the office after three months away to a barrage of news. It was overwhelming and I just had to ask for a few moments to breathe.
However the big news that occurred in this year was that we eventually had found a place. The team I formed to find a new home had found a old warehouse in the right area, of the right size and with enough potential that we got excited. When a significant leader and I walked through the place, we knew the ‘ruins could come to life”. There were a lot of bridges to cross and difficulties and wisdom was needed. If things were not done just right I would again find myself in a stressful place.
One property needed to be sold and it was around November that the negotiations started. I found myself in the position of needing to sell one property in order to buy the other. Notice how many ‘I’s’ I am using. A very hard lesson was learnt. While I am a fairly wise person, a crucial error led to what was probably the most stressful time of my life. But my greatest strength, that of relational networks and trust, would be my salvation. Along with a lot of grace and good will.
The negotiations over the building we were going to buy were in full swing and the church agreed to an offer being made. The negotiations for the building we were to sell were also in full swing, and we had agreements of sorts. I cannot go into to much detail, but suffice to say I made two rookie errors. One of which was technical, one of which was a lifelong lesson learned. Basically we became committed to buying a property, but our buyer was not fully committed to buying our property.
I went on my annual leave and it was the worst holiday I have ever had. Normally my holiday is relaxation. We go there because there is no mobile coverage. But mobile and email coverage was exactly what I needed.
I remember floating in the ocean with the beautiful sun shining overhead in utter stress at a situation of my own making and asking myself the question, why did I not get someone to check these details? The reason I didn’t was rashness, self confidence and a desire to just get it done. Sometimes those qualities are great in a leader. At other times they can put the organisation in peril. This was a valuable lesson learnt the very hard way, but it could have been worse, I may not have had friends.
My friends in high places did some extraordinary negotiations based entirely, and I mean entirely, on trust. Thinking back now, because situations and people have changed, this just would not have happened. But these were friends, people I knew, had relationship with, and who, thank God, trusted me. They put in place a plan which meant I had time, and time was what I needed, to negotiate and save the situation.
We sold the property, we purchased a property and began the process to welcome people home.