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  1. #1
    Master of Fundamentalism
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    862

    Default Should I stay at my church or should I leave?

    First of all, I need prayer. Second, I need advice.

    I want to know if my experience at my church is common among all believers. Am I going through a phase or do I have some real, legitimate concerns.

    Some people on this forum may know me, but since I havenít posted here in a while, a little about me. I have been a Christian since December 31st, 1995. I have attended many churches, but I am not a church hopper. The first church I left because the pastor was stealing from the church, the leadership of the church knew about it and wouldnít do anything about it. Turned out later that he was having an affair with four different women as wellÖ So I left that church.

    The second church I went to, I didnít want to leave, but I was in the Navy and transferred away from that area and had to find a new church. We attended our third church for almost three years before the Navy moved me again.

    We returned to the area we were in before, but the pastor who had started the church we attended before had been called to another ministry, the congregation never called a new pastor and the church fell apart after the founding pastor left. So, we attended a new church. That church was very exciting and I frankly didnít want to leave, butÖ after only a year in that area, the Navy moved me again.

    When we arrived in our present location, we spent about two months looking for a church. I am in The South, the Bible Belt, so I thought I would have no problem finding a church. Unfortunately, it seems many of the churches in this area seem to be playing church. We found a church we liked. I talked to the pastor about the churchís beliefs and doctrine and I was very specific. When I was done, he said he felt like he had gone through his ordination council again. At any rate, after two years of attending that church, we found out during a Sunday morning Worship service that the pastor had misled us.

    During the service in question, he preached on a doctrinal issue that I had very specifically asked him about. He said that he was in agreement with me when I first spoke with him. But that morning, he held a different position. When I approached him that afternoon, he said that he has always held that position. I told him that as long as he held that position, I could not be a member of the church. As bad as that sounds, we actually parted on friendly terms and we still maintain contact with our friends from that church.

    But we were back to square one, looking for a church again. And again, we spent about two months looking for a church. Again, I tried to speak to the pastor of those churches about their doctrinal positions. Most churches never even followed up with me after I visited their church and indicated that I was interested in finding out more about them. I donít always expect a pastoral visit, but I thought at least a phone call.

    Anyway, I did speak to some of the pastors. Some were offended that I would actually ask them to tell me what they believed. Some were very patronizing. There were a total of three pastors who sat down with me man-to-man and spoke to me about their beliefs. One of them held the same position as the pastor of the church I had just left. A second had a good doctrinal position, but he didnít seem to take ministry seriously (I do ask about things other than doctrine).

    Finally, I found a church that felt right, I talked to the pastor and his doctrine was good. My family and I decided to join.

    I donít look for a perfect church because one doesnít exist. I also donít think I am a church hopper. I want to go into ministry myself. I have a Divinity degree, but I canít move from this area just yet. It will probably be another six years before I can leave. I was hoping to stay at one church and serve until I can find a church in this area that will accept me as pastor or I can move and start a church in an area that needs a church.

    Unfortunately, I am starting to have some problems and I want to know from people who have spent more than a few years in their church if what I am going to explain to you is part of the normal church membership experience or if I need to move on.
    Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

  2. #2
    Master of Fundamentalism
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Norfolk, VA
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    862

    Default Should I stay at my church or should I leave? Part 2

    As I stated before, I feel called into the ministry. I even pursued and have earned a Divinity degree. I have more than a decade of church preaching experience as well as almost 16 years of preaching experience altogether. I started by street preaching, preaching in rescue missions, rest homes, half-way houses, anywhere I could preach, I would preach. Then, pastors started asking me to fill their pulpits in their absence.

    I already said I was in the Navy. Of the eleven years that I spent on sea duty, I was a Lay Leader for 9 of those years. My last ship had no chaplain and I was the only qualified and trained Lay Leader. The crew, the officers and even the Squadron chaplain looked to me for ministry on my ship. The last two squadron chaplains I had (both were Baptists) considered me to be the de facto chaplain as I was essentially doing all the duties of a chaplain assigned to a ship. I did all that as a collateral duty. My normal job was Leading Petty Officer of the SONAR division on the ship and every chaplain who visited my ship said I had the best ministry program on the waterfront.

    Most good Christians will attend their own church while in port and I would expect that as well as encourage it. I had people ask me if I was going to do a service when we were in port. Overseas, I would do it if I couldn’t find a church which was rare. In home port or in American ports, I would always find a good church and arrange transportation for anyone who wanted to attend. But underway, we were it. I took the ministry program underway from a small Sunday service that almost nobody attended to the point where we had two Sunday services, a midweek bible study, and a prayer meeting that was held each evening.

    As you can see I have some experience preaching.

    At each church I have attended, I get involved in outreach. I have been the member of three churches that had wonderful, coordinated and systematic outreach programs. The second church I attended grew until the church left and the man who took over slowly let the outreach program die. The third church I attended split three times while I was there. Not because of disagreements, but because the pastor didn’t like big churches. So each time we got around 200 people, he would split the church and send about 100 people to start a new congregation. Two of those congregations still exist today and the third decided to merge with one of the other two.

    The fourth church I attended started in 2003. When I got there in 2005, they were consistently running more than 150 people in spite of not having their own building yet and it consistently grew during the entire time I was there.

    The last church I attended said they had an outreach program, but what I consider outreach and what they consider outreach are two different things. I decided to start a systematic outreach program with just my family. We started it about two and a half months before I left the church. The very first night we went out, we had a man make a profession of faith. After 10 weeks or so, we had seen four more professions of faith, about 20 families came to the church and three of the people who made professions of faith were baptized before we left the church.

    I have experience in outreach.

    I also have experience planning and executing a worship service. I have tried a lot of different things and there are more than a few different worship structures that work. But I am not committed to any particular structure or liturgy. My concern is that things are kept moving to keep people’s attention and that people are drawn into the presence of God and prepared to receive God’s Word.

    One of my burdens and areas of expertise in worship is music.

    I performed with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the University of Arizona Opera from 1988 to 1990. I was the music director at my second church, the orchestra director at my third church, part of the choir at my fourth church, the choir director at my fifth church and I am currently singing with a local Symphony Orchestra Chorus and will be auditioning for an instrumental position in a local symphony this summer.
    Last edited by godssailor; 04-11-2012 at 06:50 PM.
    Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

  3. #3
    Master of Fundamentalism
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    862

    Default Should I stay at my church or should I leave? Part 3

    So what are the problems?

    The pastor of the church has never let me preach. Ever. He has let complete strangers preach in his pulpit because they were recommended by another pastor. One of those complete strangers preached heresy from the pulpit and I approached the pastor about it and he said he wonít have that man back to preach. However, he never addressed the heresy from the pulpit to explain to the congregation that what we wonít be having that man back again, that what he had preached was heresy and why. I donít understand that.

    But the pastor wonít let me preach. I asked him once why and he said, ďI move a little slow. I want to get to know a man before I let him preach.Ē He even told me once that he thinks I need a little more experience. What?! I have been preaching longerÖ I have been a Christian longer than some of the men he has allowed in his pulpit.

    He has let me take over the single adult Sunday school class. It seems a little strange to me that he would let me teach Sunday school if he has concerns over how I handle Godís word.

    Our church has an outreach program, but it is the most disorganized thing I have ever seen. There was one time I was encouraged about the direction of the outreach program. Unfortunately, it was when the pastor was on vacation and he let someone else run it for two weeks.

    Basically what we do is we sit down and the pastor says, ďHey, we havenít been over to this area for a while.Ē We all spend about half an hour trying to figure out what he is talking about and then we drive to that area and that leaves us about 15 to 20 minutes of door knocking because we donít even get together until 7:00pm. I think itís hard enough to reach people after dark, but do you really want people knocking on your door after 8:00pm?

    Donít get me started on the garbage he wants us to pass out to people.

    I approached him about the outreach program a couple of times. I never challenge his authority, rather I make recommendations. Now the recommendations I make are based on experience of seeing what works and what doesnít work. What we do doesnít work. I donít tell him that, I just say, ďHey have you thought about trying this?Ē The last time I talked to him was when he came back from vacation. I told him what a blessing the brother who ran the program was and that pastor ought to consider letting that man take some of the burden off the pastor by letting him run the program.

    His answer? ďWell, I will think about it.Ē

    I hate to sound like I am two, but I have learned from experience that when he says, ďI will think about it,Ē it really means ďI will forget about it,Ē or just plain, ďno.Ē

    The other problem we have in our outreach program is that we just donít have a lot of people involved. On Thursday nights, the church has soul-winning and visitation right alongside AWANA. I think that AWANA is a great program. The problem is that all the faithful workers who would get involved in outreach are sucked into AWANA.

    I once mentioned the pastor that we ought to consider moving AWANA to Wednesday night during our prayer meeting and Bible study. His response is that AWANA is a great outreach. My response is not really. OK, I didnít tell him that, but if you spent a couple of months going to my church and working in AWANA, you would learn a couple things.

    One: the majority of the children in AWANA at our church are children from our church.

    Two: almost all the rest of the other kids are church kids from other churches that donít have AWANA programs.

    Three: the only non-church kids we have are friends of members or AWANA kids. That can be statistically proven.

    If the only people we are bringing in are kids from other churches AWANA is not an outreach program. That means that all the workers we could have for outreach are being used up in AWANA. When AWANA is out, maybe one or two families switch over to outreach, but the rest of them say, well I am an AWANA worker, outreach isnít my ministry? That usually means they arenít carrying out the Great Commission in any other way either.
    Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

  4. #4
    Master of Fundamentalism
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    862

    Default Should I stay at my church or should I leave? Part 4

    The next area I have an issue with is music. As I stated before that the structure of a service should be used to draw people into the presence of God and prepare them to receive Godís Word. Music can be a big help or a big hindrance to that.

    When a church is small, people donít have a whole lot of expectations. If there is a problem with music, it is usually chalked up to being an issue with the size of the church. But when the church grows, people begin to expect more from the music ministry. When they see a choir, they expect at least a basic level of musicianship from the choir. Being able to sing in tune and having a sense of rhythm. Occasionally, they should even be able to sing in parts.

    When I first arrived at my current church, we had a wonderful music ministry. We had several very talented musicians and lots of people with musical backgrounds. The music director was not a music major, he was a law student. But, he and his wife were very talented. Our pianist was a music education major and very talented. We had a very deep bench musically and our choir sang a variety of music and did so very well. We had also had a core group of four people who could sing parts and we were able to do a lot of different special music.

    When the law student finished his JD, he got a job in South Carolina and moved away. We still had a lot of talented musicians, but the leadership of the choir was given to a man who knows very little about music and frankly didnít want the position. Song leading duties were given to a man who knows nothing about music and also didnít want the position.

    I spoke to the pastor and told him that I would be willing to fill the song leader and choir director position while I was not out at sea and when I got out of the Navy, I would be willing to take over both of those slots, effectually becoming the music director and I would do it as a volunteer.

    The pastor said that he appreciated the offer, but he wanted to develop these men as leaders in the music ministry. I asked the pastor if he asked the men how they felt about the position. He said that they were happy to serve. I agreed they were happy to serve, but they are waiting for someone to take it away from them and they have both asked me on numerous occasions to take over. The pastor said he would think about it and would reconsider the issue when I was out of the Navy.

    Well, I am out of the Navy and I asked him how he felt about the issue. He said that we are doing just fine where we are and that the men he has in the music ministry are really coming along nicely. I disagreed with him as politely as possible.

    Regarding the song leader:
    First, just because you have a man singing behind the pulpit during worship service doesnít mean he is a song leader. If he is only following the piano, he is a piano follower, not a song leader. That hasnít changed since day one.

    Second, the man has difficulty following the melody if even one person sings a harmony part.

    Third, the man sings in the choir and absolutely cannot sing any part other than the melody, but only if someone is singing the melody in his ear. If one person sings a harmony part (as I do) he is completely lost and out of tune.

    Fourth, the man almost never shows up to choir ďrehearsalĒ and if he does show up, he is late and does the same thing Sunday morning when we are getting ready for the service, he is out goofing around while the rest of us are waiting to get started.

    Fifth, the man knows nothing about music.

    Regarding the choir director:
    First, the man is not a choir director. He is a hymn singing facilitator. There are many times he wants to sing a song that he knows, but nobody else in the choir knows. This isnít a problem for me as I can sight read. But he doesnít know how to teach people to sing. I have tried to make recommendations, but I am ignored because I am not the choir director. It doesnít seem to matter that I am the only person in the choir who is actually a professional musician.

    Second, the man knows very little about music. His extent of musical knowledge is that he played trumpet in Junior High School and High School. He hasnít picked up the trumpet in 30 years. He said that when he was playing, he could play the harmony just fine when he was practicing on his own, but when he heard the melody being played, he became confused, tried to play what he was hearing and ended up just playing wrong notes.

    Third, he has no discipline over the choir. Choir practice starts at 5:15pm on Sunday. Most people donít show up until 5:20pm at the earliest. Punctuality is part of faithfulness. If you arenít going to take this ministry seriously, if you arenít going to be a good steward of my time and yours, why are you here?

    Fourth, as I mentioned, he doesnít want the position.

    Since the pastor wonít let me lead the music ministry, I have offered every kind of help I can think of. I have offered to teach both ďleadersĒ how to actually lead and direct music. I have offered to teach music and music theory to the choir and anyone else who wants to learn. There are several people who were very excited about that prospect, but pastor said no.

    I already feel marginalized and when I bring issues up, I am given a patronizing answer. I am also starting to feel like an outcast. With all the things the pastor has said no to and the people knowing my experience and background, I think that they believe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I am just paranoid. But as to being marginalized and patronized, I am not being paranoid and I donít think I am over reacting.

    I am starting to feel very discouraged and I am feeling burnt out. I donít want to end up bitter too.

    So should I stay or should I move on? Itís not just me I am worried about, I have my family to think of too. I try not to badmouth my pastor, but my family is always asking, why arenít you doing this and why arenít you doing that? I come up with an excuse, but I am afraid that my children can see right through the excuses.

    We do have friends in the church, so if leaving is the right thing, I want to leave on the best terms possible with both the pastor and the congregation. I donít want to burn any bridges.

    I also want to note that I didnít mention the name of the church or the pastor because I donít want anyone to feel like I am attacking my pastor. Certainly I am complaining, but I donít want to undermine my pastor by speaking to others in church about this and I already know he wonít listen. I donít even know if venting here is the right thing to do, but I need some input.

    Please pray and if you have some constructive advice, I would be glad to receive it.

    Thank you.
    Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

  5. #5
    Fundamental Thinker
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Looks like you got sum good pasturing experience. We's is looking for a good pastur. Send us your rezoomay, and hear's our job posting:

    Pastor Job in Coal Township, PA, Other Other Job Opening in Coal Township, PA - ChurchJobFinder.com
    If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans - Van Zant

  6. #6
    Master of Fundamentalism
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by StandingTall View Post
    Looks like you got sum good pasturing experience. We's is looking for a good pastur. Send us your rezoomay, and hear's our job posting:

    Pastor Job in Coal Township, PA, Other Other Job Opening in Coal Township, PA - ChurchJobFinder.com
    Thanks for the offer. I considered sending my resume when that listing first came up, but unfortunately, I am not in a position to move. I am in an upside down loan and until I can get in a position where I sell my house without hurting my credit, I am stuck in this part of the country.

    I do pray that your congregation finds the man it needs for the ministry.

    God bless.
    Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    5,813

    Default What is missing

    Upon reading this recitation, the problem is:

    You


    And your lack of [humility]

    1.) Proverbs 15:33 -
    
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.


    2.) Proverbs 18:12 -
    
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

    
3.) Proverbs 22:4
 -
    By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.


    4.) Acts 20:19 -
    
Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:


    5.) Colossians 2:18 -
    
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,


    6.) Colossians 2:23
 -
    Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.


    7.) 1 Peter 5:5 -
    
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

    Last edited by remnant; 04-11-2012 at 03:23 PM.

  8. #8
    Master of Fundamentalism
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    862

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by remnant View Post
    Upon reading this recitation, the problem is:

    You


    And your lack of [humility]

    1.) Proverbs 15:33 -
    
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.


    2.) Proverbs 18:12 -
    
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

    
3.) Proverbs 22:4
 -
    By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.


    4.) Acts 20:19 -
    
Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:


    5.) Colossians 2:18 -
    
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,


    6.) Colossians 2:23
 -
    Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.


    7.) 1 Peter 5:5 -
    
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

    Remnant. Thank you for your input and I do realize that humility is or may be part of my problem. I have and am praying for humility. I don't think that lack of humility is the only problem and in other words, I am not the only problem.
    Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

  9. #9
    Fundamental Thinker
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Twilight Zone
    Posts
    1,208

    Default

    Loyalty should be earned, not forced!

    It's a free country too!


    JUST READ IT AGAIN....

    It seems your pastor is biased, and you, in fact, are being robbed or deprived from what tools you have. Get out of there NOW. Find a new church that will appreciate you. Shake the dust off your feet, my friend, do it today!
    Last edited by GenX; 04-11-2012 at 07:16 PM.
    .
    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" -MLK


    "First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
    Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them,
    so I did notspeak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did
    not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me." -Martin Niemoeller

  10. #10
    Fundamental Thinker
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    4,603

    Default

    Pray for God's leading for you and your family. There maybe some things that God may want to teach you or still has to teach you through this church and the events that are going on. He may also lead you away from this church.
    Eastland Baptist Church

    Spirituality is an internal matter of the heart.

    οὐ γὰρ ἑαυτοὺς κηρύσσομεν ἀλλὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν κύριον ἑαυτοὺς δὲ δούλους ὑμῶν διὰ Ἰησοῦν

    Disclaimer:
    The views expressed here are imho.


 

 

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