It had probably been happening all along. We started to notice that some of the faces we had grown accustomed to weren't around. Everything was shrouded in secrecy. We didn't want to be nosy, we just wanted to serve so we didn't ask questions. We started to hear rumors. I have never given much stock to rumors so I let it go in one ear and out the other.
Then things began to change out in the open. The clothes, the music, the messages. It seemed like everything was transforming around us and the only option was to get on board or get out. Change is a fact of life. The way church looks changes about every 5-10 years. Remember when we all had projectors with transparencies? Remember when we sang from the redbacks? Things change and its ok. One generation wears hats and suits to church while another wears ripped up jeans and I don't think either is wrong.
I found myself restless on Sundays. I sang and enjoyed the worship, but when it came to listening to a message I hesitated. I roamed the foyer, I picked up the kids early and sometimes just left. I was losing that excitement for church and I didn't know why. Maybe I didn't want to admit why. What kind of Christian am I anyway? I can't preach? Who am I to be so critical? So I forced myself to sit there.
I decided the answer was to get some teaching outside of church. I listened to tv preachers and downloaded podcasts for my ipod. I started to get charged again and I started to look around. The more of the word I heard, the less I was happy with my home church. Why couldn't I have this on Sunday morning? I started to realize Sunday morning was no longer about feeding me. I had to make a decision.
I never wanted to have a "meeting". I hated that. How could I say all the things inside me? It would hurt people. I might offend. Then I was reminded of how offended people were at Jesus. He spoke his mind. He told the truth and not everyone liked him for it. I had to give it one last chance. I had to speak my heart. Maybe if they heard me and saw my desperation they would change. Maybe if they knew how much I wanted to stay, how much I still loved the place they would change. Or maybe they had already changed and it wasn't what I was after.
I got my meeting.
I got my feelings hurt.
I got stonewalled.
We had to walk away. It is painful to look for another church. I don't want to do it, but I have needs and my family has needs. I have to find a place that is willing to meet them. I pray the Lord will lead us and guide us. I pray for all the folks who are still hurting. The ones who have left and the ones who remain are all good people. I still love them all. I left the church. I didn't leave my friends.
I hope this answers any questions anyone might have about why we aren't around anymore. I pray that our decision would not sway you, but that you would closely listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you. I believe we were there for a season and that season is over. We hold no anger toward anyone. It will take time to recover. The wounds are still fresh, but my God is a healer so I give it to him.