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kerrick

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PostSubject: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:37 am

I started an identical thread on CMR but since many here don't "double dip" haha, I thought I'd post this here too.  I really appreciate your thoughts and input, as I believe this community has a lot of collective godly wisdom. I love you

Hello my wise friends (and foes... Twisted Evil ) of the Christian Hard Music board.  My wife and I are in a sorta tough spot with regards to a big decision.  I've been going to the same church for the past six years - ever since I graduated college and moved back to my hometown.  It has been crucial and central in my development as a Christian, my understanding of God and who He is, my worldview, etc.  I feel like I've really grown there.  I have made so many awesome friends there too - many of whom I believe are the kind of friends I'll have for my lifetime - all that to say, my church has "community" in spades (in the social part, at least).  I've been able to serve in numerous ways including leading multiple weekly Bible studies, going on mission trips locally and abroad, writing the weekly small-group discussion guides, and a ton of other ways too.  Theology/doctrine-wise, they're solid (IMO, of course).
 
HOWEVER... in the more recent months and years, I've become less and less content with the depth of their teaching.  We have many guest speakers and staff speak so it's not like there's one pastor who speaks every Sunday.  Anyways, so often, well over half of the spoken sermon is "fluff" - it's some story about their childhood or family or whatever... which is then used to illustrate some biblical theme.  And oftentimes the theme they're preaching is pretty surfacy itself, despite the fact that I know the leadership has a passion for deep theology.  Additionally, the songs they choose are often more about one's own feelings than what I would consider "worship" or "praise" to our Lord, Savior, and Creator.  I believe this all has greatly affected the congregation, as the mid-week Bible studies are often just social gatherings.  I was leading one group through the young adults ministry and attending another for the ~30s age group and just prior to my three-month trip to Europe, people from BOTH my groups innocently joked about "with you gone Kerrick, who's going to keep us talking about the Bible?" Even though there were joking, it speaks to the general culture at my church...  Another example is writing the mid-week study guides for the small groups.  There was a team of us taking turns writing them (based off of the previous Sunday's teaching) and the vast majority of the questions would be something along the lines of, "when has Jesus invited you to step out of the boat and walk on water in your own life?" or "have you ever felt you were at sea for 40 days and 40 nights?" or "share a time when ___________."  As a small group leader, when it had been someone else's turn to write the discussion guides and it'd be something like that, I would just completely discard it because I see very little value in questions like that within the context of a Bible study group.

For me, it's been something that has been bothering me for a while, but for my wife it is absolutely excruciating.  She's used to a more traditional church with expositional preaching which I think is really great.  I actually just wrote my pastor about our decision to start looking for other churches.  He wrote me a fantastic email back to which I'm unsure how to respond.  Already I think I came off as being a bit accusatory which I really don't want to do...

Anyways, as I said, we're considering looking at other churches and last week went to a different church that is much more in line with what we want.  However, if my current church is not heretical in any way, should we leave?  How "consumerish" should attending church be?  Should we seek to help change our church into something better/different or should we just let it be and keep attending or should we bail ship or...?  We're not going to find a "perfect" church but where do you draw the line?  One of our concerns is that we might lose our "saltiness" were we to continue attending - or the extension would be once we have children and they grow up in the church...  I have MANY questions and there are more details to all of it, but that's the gist.  Your wisdom, encouragement, and input is much appreciated.  Thank you!


Last edited by kerrick on Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed to who it was addressed to :))
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Xid

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:39 pm

Leaving one church for another is tough.  Especially if you're with good people that you gel with.  In your situation I would stay put and pray about what God would have you do.  Maybe you're there to feed rather than be fed.  I grew up in the church and could hardly care less if I hear another sermon.  No, I don't know it all and haven't "arrived".  We need the gathering of believers to keep each other sharp.  Iron sharpens iron.

I was in a position about 20 years ago where I had been going to the same church for about 17 years.  The pastor moved on and a new pastor came in about the time that my youth group core had grown up and started moving different directions in life.  Church all of a sudden didn't feel like home any longer.  Nothing bad was happening or anything like that.  We started attending other churches and found a new home.  Turns out the Lord was just moving us to a different place.
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Through The Dark Radio

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:16 pm

I'll give you the engineer answer - it depends  Very Happy

First, you're married now.  It's no longer "me" but it's "us".  So finding the right church may be a bit more difficult.  But if y'all share similar theologies then it might not be as difficult.

My wife and I moved from one UMC to another when we felt like the pastor wasn't really providing for us.  He was more of an administrator than a preaching pastor.  But when we were at our new church, we both felt "at home".  There is no such thing as a "perfect" church.  But there are churches that are "perfect" for you at certain stages in your life.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:20 pm

Wise words above. I would mildly disagree with Xid that you can't feed others if you aren't being fed, but perhaps that's being nitpicky.

That aside, we left our church in June 2014. The od church was much bigger, had tons of programs, and we had numerous friends. What we didn't have though, was God's approval to stay any longer.

I could go into a laundry list of why we left - the head pastor was more interested in people giving to the fund to start a second location, I had a scare where cancer was a real possibility and no one on the leadership team seemed to care, the "culture" as a whole didn't fit what we envisioned a "Jesus" church looking like - but the point is, God told us to go somewhere else.

It sounds like a similar situation to me. I firmly believe that some folks aren't meant to attend the same church for a hundred years. But that's just a man's opinion.

I'm going to suggest you and Veronika (who I really want to call Ronnie) do something and if you want I'll join you. Fast about it. Together. Praying is great and you can't do too much of it (well, generally). But fasting, giving up something you care about, really puts it on a whole other level. It doesn't have to be food - I'm an avid reader and one time I fasted any book but the Bible for ninety days - as long as it's something you care about. Instead of doing that thing, pray and seek God during that time.

Like I said, i'll be happy to join you but I think this will provide you with an answer pretty quickly and pretty solidly.
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:50 pm

Through The Dark Radio wrote:
I'll give you the engineer answer - it depends  Very Happy

First, you're married now.  It's no longer "me" but it's "us".  So finding the right church may be a bit more difficult.  But if y'all share similar theologies then it might not be as difficult.

My wife and I moved from one UMC to another when we felt like the pastor wasn't really providing for us.  He was more of an administrator than a preaching pastor.  But when we were at our new church, we both felt "at home".  There is no such thing as a "perfect" church.  But there are churches that are "perfect" for you at certain stages in your life.



I am no engineer.  As a youth pastor for a local church, this advice is SPOT on.  It is no longer about just the needs of you.  It is the needs of BOTH of you.  Some compromise for what you feel you want and need to grow a both individuals and as a couple will be needed.  However, for your relationship at this stage, moving could make a lot of sense.

However, before you do, maybe the two of you are sent to this current church to be a catalyst for change.  Are they soft on biblical teaching?  Pray that God will use you to help take it to a new level where learning and loving are equally important.  Churches get off kilter when either part is weak.  My church does well in the teaching/preaching area, but we are short on love right now.  We need more of that without compromising the other.  Your ministry as a couple may be to help this church add the learning to the loving.

Pray about that before you go.  If you feel that God is telling you that it is time to go, then do so with His peace ruling your hearts.

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BearDad



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:50 pm

I believe it is possible for someone to outgrow their church, and it sounds like that's what you've done. Some of your friends may not like it if you leave, but if they can't take it then they aren't really friends, are they. The real friends will understand why you are leaving and will even support you in your decision. 

As for finding a new church, beware of running a steeple chase (ode to Steve Taylor! Smile ), and beware of landing where you are comfortable. I believe a Christian should never be comfortable, because then he is not yearning for more. But neither do I believe one should be uncomfortable in the direction it sounds like you are in your current church; that's more of a "not getting fed" discomfort, one I am all to familiar with!

Whatever church you go to you should feel like you are being fed, but not too much nor too little, and not necessarily what you like to be fed. And you need to recognize that being fed doesn't necessarily mean how the church serves you, but also how you serve the church.

My two cents' worth. Not worth much in most circles.
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:28 am

While I do agree with Beardad, I did want to throw out one more thought related to his post.  He mentioned the whole "not being fed" aspect of leaving a church.  I get that sometimes.  However, in my current situation with our church, it isn't that at all.  The people who have been complaining to the deacons about our pastor and "not being fed" aren't engaged at all.  They may tithe, but they do nothing else.  Churches are NOT about being fed.  They are training grounds for us to enter into ministry ourselves.  If we aren't helping with the feeding, then we are gonna starve.  Churches are not made for pew warming for the believer.  They are opportunities to connect you to like-minded people who love Jesus and want to serve Him through the local church.  They are there to help you be the best disciple you can be.

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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:56 pm

My view is your pastor (church) is to equip you to grow the Kingdom. If your current church has gotten to where it's no longer doing that, it's time to find one that can continue that. That being said, however, maybe you have grown so much that it's your turn to start equipping others. Just something to think about.

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you should be concerned about your own."
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kerrick

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:41 pm

Thanks all!  I am honored to have such wise friends.  I love you

I have been in conversation over email with my pastor and we will be meeting (along with a new member of my church's staff who will be in charge of the teaching realm within the church) soon, probably next week.  Your prayers appreciated.  What in particular I need prayer for is:

-to be loving, no matter what.
-to be the best spiritual leader for my wife and I as possible (and therefore let God's Holy Spirit move!).
-to understand my place in "reforming" what needs to be changed and accepting what doesn't - even if I don't like it, as well as appropriately trusting my church's leadership.
-to choose wisely in how to provide for my wife and I but also how to give to and serve our church body.

One of the biggest things right now is that last one (which piggybacks on the second point).  If it was just about me and my wife... we would have an easier time leaving.  We've attended now for two Sundays a church that is much more in line with what we're looking for and I think would be the natural place to become members at.  What do we "owe" my old church though?  I fully agree with Alldat's outlook of what a church is.  How better to train than by living it out?  I'm nowhere near capable of being a pastor, but should I be "training" through helping others at my church?  Or should I go elsewhere at which I will receive more teaching/training?  Sigh... so many questions!  It really is pretty overwhelming for Veronika and I...
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:45 pm

I don't think you owe your old church anything - we're all part of the same Church (even though we don't act like it sometimes...).

Anyway, i'll be praying for you and your meeting. I agree that the purpose of the church is to make disciples and a training ground for us as believers but if you both feel as though you aren't being trained that presents a problem.

Of course everything we say is pointless. What matters is what Jesus wants you to do.
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:53 am

Not to be critical, but this is just something I've noticed since becoming Catholic. There's quite a bit of "church jumping" among Protestants, for various reasons, I did quite a bit of it myself! I've not really seen that too much among Catholics. Not that there isn't any, but it's just not that common. I suppose because among Catholics, you simply attend the parish that is in your area. Plus the mass is not about expository preaching, but about the sacrifice of the mass. Scripture is read, and there is a short homily, much easier to retain than a half hour or so of long winded preaching, even w/out taking notes! Since Church teaching does not change, you don't have to worry about you denomination changing it's views on marriage, homosexuality, abortion, etc...though you may find liberal parishes that are not faithful to the Church, then it's time to leave...
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:40 am

Candlemass wrote:
Not to be critical, but this is just something I've noticed since becoming Catholic. There's quite a bit of "church jumping" among Protestants, for various reasons, I did quite a bit of it myself! I've not really seen that too much among Catholics. Not that there isn't any, but it's just not that common. I suppose because among Catholics, you simply attend the parish that is in your area. Plus the mass is not about expository preaching, but about the sacrifice of the mass. Scripture is read, and there is a short homily, much easier to retain than a half hour or so of long winded preaching, even w/out taking notes! Since Church teaching does not change, you don't have to worry about you denomination changing it's views on marriage, homosexuality, abortion, etc...though you may find liberal parishes that are not faithful to the Church, then it's time to leave...


I'm sorry but I have to ask. I have several friends who are former Catholics and they have plenty of example of RCC teaching changing it's position over the years.

I just want to make sure I understand what they're saying as well as what you're saying.

Do you mean a group of some fundamental teachings or all teachings?
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:25 pm

Give me some examples, not aware of any...
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:59 am

1. Well, as I understand it (from former Catholics, mind you), the RCC taught that anyone who wasn't Catholic and attended a Catholic Church could not get salvation (I believe it's called Extra ecclesia nulla salus). Prior to Second Vatican Council, the church taught this pretty uniformly. At SVC, the council stated regarding the Christian communities that are only in "partial communion" with the Catholic Church:
"...though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church".

Sounds like they don't believe Extra ecclesia nulla salus there.

2. The Apochrypha wasn't added until 1545 at the Council of Trent.

3. Mass was said in native tongues until 1546, when it switched to Latin. Then in 1964 (I think) it switched back.

4. Catholics couldn't believe in evolution until 1996.

5. The Pope wasn't considered infallible until 1870. This seems like a big one.

This is just 5 off the top of my head that I've picked up in conversations.
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:13 pm

None of those were dogmas that were changed, yet a few were widely held teachings that were later ratified as dogmatic.

#4 is made up out of whole cloth, where did you get that one from?
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:20 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
1. Well, as I understand it (from former Catholics, mind you), the RCC taught that anyone who wasn't Catholic and attended a Catholic Church could not get salvation (I believe it's called Extra ecclesia nulla salus). Prior to Second Vatican Council, the church taught this pretty uniformly. At SVC, the council stated regarding the Christian communities that are only in "partial communion" with the Catholic Church:
"...though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church".

Sounds like they don't believe Extra ecclesia nulla salus there.


http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:44 am

Kerrick, I didn't know you two got married. Awesome. I'm probably really late knowing this lol
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:22 am

Candlemass wrote:
None of those were dogmas that were changed, yet a few were widely held teachings that were later ratified as dogmatic.

#4 is made up out of whole cloth, where did you get that one from?


Like I said, that's one I've been told. After I posted this, I did a little research and couldn't really find anything about this.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:28 am

Candlemass wrote:
ishmael81 wrote:
1. Well, as I understand it (from former Catholics, mind you), the RCC taught that anyone who wasn't Catholic and attended a Catholic Church could not get salvation (I believe it's called Extra ecclesia nulla salus). Prior to Second Vatican Council, the church taught this pretty uniformly. At SVC, the council stated regarding the Christian communities that are only in "partial communion" with the Catholic Church:
"...though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church".

Sounds like they don't believe Extra ecclesia nulla salus there.


http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means


So to sum up, if I'm "aware" that the Catholic Church is the way to salvation and reject it by remaining Protestant or non-Catholic, I'm going to Hell. Good to know.
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:59 pm

You don't seem to be aware...
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kerrick

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:20 pm

Catholic Answers wrote:
Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (CCC 846)

Shocked

Whoa.  I'll refrain from turning this into too much of a theological debate about Catholicism... but it's safe to say I won't be joining the Catholic church if/when I change churches, among other reasons.
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:01 pm

kerrick wrote:
Catholic Answers wrote:
Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (CCC 846)

Shocked

Whoa.  I'll refrain from turning this into too much of a theological debate about Catholicism... but it's safe to say I won't be joining the Catholic church if/when I change churches, among other reasons.

Not really shocking if it is indeed the one true Church founded on Peter by Christ, if not, then yea, it's laughable...
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:28 am

Candlemass wrote:
You don't seem to be aware...

I don't seem to be aware of what? The RCC claiming that I don't really have salvation because I'm Protestant? I've had Catholics tell me that before (some of them family members). So I'm aware that the church teaches it.
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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:43 pm

You're aware that the Church teaches it, not likely many Protestants aren't, but you don't "know" that it's true. To wit, you're not willfully rejecting this to have some easier path, or to follow your own will...
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Leaving/Choosing Your Church   Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:42 pm

So I'm unwillfully Protestant?

I'm not trying to be difficult - I just truly don't understand this whole line of thought.
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