The expectations for the potential merger between Heritage Baptist Church and Grace Baptist Church are high on both sides.
In my experience, people often hope for the best but expect the worst. It is a self-defense mechanism built into the human brain. We want things to work out, but we often do not believe they will. Here are a couple of examples from pop culture:
HIGH HOPE, LOW EXPECTATION AND HIGH FULFILLMENT
My expectations for Batman Begins were pretty low. I hoped that the movie would be good, but my experience with the Spider-man franchise as well as the other well-known superhero movie franchises had disallusioned me. I expected the film to be sub-par, even though it was directed by Chris Nolan and had an all-star cast. When the movie turned out to be awesome, I was very pleased. I saw it three times in the theater.
HIGH HOPE, HIGH EXPECTATIONS, BUT LOW FULFILLMENT
In another situation, my expectations for Hulk (the Ang Lee directed failure from 2003) were very high. I wanted it to be fantastic. In reality, it was pretty terrible. In fact, it was probably the worst big budget superhero movie ever made. Because my expectations were so high, I felt frustrated and even a little annoyed by the film.
HIGH HOPE, HIGH EXPECTATION AND HIGH FULFILLMENT
Here’s another situation: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, particularly Fellowship of the Ring. My expectations were very high for this franchise. I wanted the films to be incredible, and they were.
LOW HOPE, LOW EXPECTATION, BUT HIGH FULFILLMENT
Then, every once in awhile there is a film that you really don’t think will be any good and have no expectations of and it turns out to be excellent. I’ve had this happen to me a lot. Most recently, it was the TV show “Super Hero Squad” but probably the best example of this for me was 17 Again. This film had multiple strikes against it, not the least of which was that it starred Zach Ephron – of High School Musicial trilogy fame. But when I watched the film, it was funny and well-made.
My point is that we have to strike a balance whenever we come to something like the proposed merger. If we get our expectations too high, we can only fail. We need to set realistic expectations. If you are talking about Peter Jackson, the crew and cast of Lord of the Rings, then your expectations should be epic. If you are talking Zach Ephron then your expectations should be minimal.
We want to strike the balance. We do expect God to do something awesome and we hope that this is what will happen. But we cannot expect this merger to fix all of our problems or answer all of our questions. Those expectations are too high and no matter how successful the merged congregation is, you are bound to disappointed.
Here are some realistic expectations:
- God will unite us in the transition as long as his glory is our central theme (and our glory, position or territory is not)
- Leaders and volunteers from both congregations will work together and develop plans that will strengthen ministry all around.
- There will be some confusion and frustration during the transition.
- The transition will be months of hard work and hard conversations.
- All of us will have to change and compromise somewhat.
Some realistic expectations for us. I am sure you can think of more.