Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why I left my church.

We were smitten with our church. We loved every minute of it. We woke each Sunday with an excitement. The feeling in the air was electric the second you crossed the threshold. We were sold. We were faithful in attending, tithing, and saying yes to anything we were asked to do. But something changed. Something started to shift.

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.


Lisa said...

Well spoken, my friend :'-)

Anonymous said...

You know I am sorry that you went through this... I pray that you will find somewhere and soon. you have always listened to the Holy Spirit leading and I know that you will this time too. I love you-Candy

Tammy said...

Very well spoken, not an easy thing to do either.

Katie Partridge said...

It has been so great to get to know you a little. I respect you and love the choice of words you used. You obviously are a woman who listens to her heart and to what the Lord has for her and her family. Not every church is for every person. We left our church after years of being involved and even being on staff. When He calls you somewhere else, there is no debating it. I feel that when It is time to leave there is always that unsettling feeling that prompts you to really go to God. I like how you said that "you left your church, not your friends." Very well put. Thank you for writing it.

Cheri-Beri said...

It takes a lot of guts to leave a church. Tyler and I grew up in the same church and continued on after we were married . . . we should have left years before we moved. But I was too chicken and too comfortable with my friends. Thank the Lord we moved to Vancouver or we might still be stuck there!!! Praying for you to find a new church.

David Cho said...

I gave up on the "institutional church" long ago. That my faith somehow survived the church is a miracle. I am now involved with a house church which has fundamentally altered the very notion of "church" that had been hard wired in me for decades.

Wish you the best as you embark on a new journey.