Finding Hope on Third Street.
Last weekend, we had company from out of town and spent Saturday’s sunny afternoon strolling down Third Street. We parked at the church. Started down on the eastside of Third Street, stopping in shops, looking at menus along the way. We returned up the westside of Third Street. We talked about the community, visited a few more stores, and had a nice long stop at Graham’s to indulge our sweet tooth. My friend, who is also a pastor, was astonished at how vibrant and busy Third Street was that day and we commented on how quiet it was for such a sunny Saturday. He noted that nearly every downtown in America is struggling or has already become desolate, but in Geneva, it’s the opposite. Geneva is a vibrant. energetic, growing downtown.
We continued our walk back to church and I snapped this picture of ‘Hope’ on the Courthouse lawn and pondered how it got there and would there be peace next week and I just kinda took it in for a moment while the rest of our company walked ahead.
Once I caught up to our party after my moment, my friend was still thinking about how it is that Geneva has a thriving downtown. I didn’t pretend to know all the answers as to how or why, but I did share what I knew about the development of downtown and Third Street. It came from a vision of having a thriving downtown again. It took careful planning, turning down good ideas and opportunities that didn’t serve the long-term purpose. Working hard to build the infrastructure that would support entrepreneurs, dedication to recruitment of the kinds of businesses that consumers want to visit and also fits the vision of a thriving downtown. It takes a lot of work and planning to not only maintain, but to keep growing with experimentation, innovation and incentivizing reinvestment.
I woke up Sunday and walked half a block to church and realized this whole conversation is analogous to where we are as a church. I hear so many people in our church longly speak of wanting a vibrant, young church again. There are plenty of people who have no church connection to reach but its time we undergo the long, hard but fruitful work of setting a vision for vital ministry. Letting go and saying no to great things that take us away from our vision. We have to plan carefully, experiment and adapt regularly. We have to invest and reinvest in ministry that reaches the people God is calling us to reach. We’re investing heavily in the infrastructure now and we need to keep going. We need to look down Third Street and realize there is hope for our church – because of the message of hope we have in Jesus to share with those around us and need it the most.
I guess you have one more insight to what comes to mind in your pastor’s head about hope. Or at least when there is a 8 foot tall ‘hope’ a few blocks down from the church. But what about you? When you see this public display of ‘hope’ what comes to you mind?
Drop me a note or message. I’d enjoy hearing what comes to your mind when finding ‘hope’ on Third Street.