I'm leaving my church home of 20 years

Robin - posted on 09/11/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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Good morning everyone. I have something that is weighing on my heart so I'm just going to start. I am an ordained elder at my church. Problem is, I am having a hard time with the church. It all began 5 years ago. I got married and we took a 3 week honeymoon. When we returned to church, have of the church had left. Now we have had church splits before but this one was different. I am a part of a small church that is mostly how do I say this? Well lets say 98 % of the members does not work. Every time some thing goes on in the church we have no say so and every one acts like they are afraid of the pastor. His word goes and thats it. If he does not agree with someone he preaches about the person and everyone always know who he is talking about. I have been a member of this church for 20 years and I love the pastor and his wife and family dearly. But I just can't take it anymore. My husband and I started a business 2 years ago and we tried to help some of the members by introducing them to the business. We were preached about and it was said that it was a scam! Now everyone looks at us like we are crazy. I have decided to leave the church but my husband contines to go. I tried 2 times to go so that my husband would be happy. I went this past Sunday and every one and every thing is the same. The people are same as they were 20 years ago. No one has progressed! You mean to tell me that the power of God has not brought you live up? It is a lot more to my story but I am tearing up now and I just have to stop. I'm looking for a new church home because I just can't go back there. Lord please help me. I need your prayers.

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Ancela - posted on 09/13/2012

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My sister it is time to go and get out fast. If there is no growth in 20yrs..God is not there! sounds like the Pastor needs Jesus. You cannot stay because of being there for so long, you have to move on to protect your faith. What word can you get there? if I were you I would just leave leave and ask God to help your husband see the light. I will pray for you because in this season we need the word of God like we need water and the right word from the right man of God.

Margaret - posted on 09/16/2012

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Robin it sounds like you need to do a lot of praying yourself and ask the Lord to show you where he wants you. We here on earth are so handicapped by our own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. I think, from what you said that you pastor holds everyone down and he likes to be in charge but the Lord is the one who needs to be in charge of you and your church. Talk to your husband and ask him to pray with you about this until you are both satisfied you are doing the right thing. Let not your heart be troubles. I will pray that God leads you where he wants you..

Angela - posted on 09/14/2012

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So who exactly is going to Hell, according to this Pastor? Is it all Christians outside of the Church he is running? Or just the ones who once attended his Church and have now left?



Sorry but the man sounds like a lunatic. Although you can't compromise on the word of God or on God's omnipotence, there is still room for democracy amongst Church members. The set up described by Carla with her old Church sounds dodgy as well. Are the accounts books open to scrutiny from amongst the congregation? Or would people be too scared to ask? Or would they maybe not be able to understand/follow the written records? Sorry to ask this but I'm inclined to believe that where there's a situation like this, dishonesty isn't very far away either.



When Carla stated that the others at your Church " ...... are probably less educated, and I mean both in the Word and the world, so they will go along with whatever the Pastor wants ......" she's recognising something which I already suspected myself. I'm inclined to believe that a mature Christian (who is well-educated in not only Scripture and religious matters but also secular knowledge - and social & political issues as they impact on Churches and the way they're run) would not be made terribly welcome by your Pastor, or at least would be treated with suspicion!



If I lived in your district, I'd be tempted to come along posing as a new Church member and do a bit of snooping, gathering evidence! But I don't even live in your country ....



Organisations (including Churches) can be run in several different ways .....



Laissez-faire - the person at the head of the organisation allows the others to each run their own departments or niches in the way they choose - works well when they're motivated and experienced enough to value their own roles and contributions to the extent that they wish to do their best. This method works particularly well under a charismatic leader. Charismatic in this sense does NOT refer to the Christian meaning of the word, but rather it simply means the leader is gifted and motivational.



Democratic - those beneath the one at the head have input and decisions are made according to majority vote. An effective method for most organisations.



Consultative - Similar to persuasive (see below) but the person at the top DOES consult with the others, and although the head person has the final say, decisions are made with the interests of the organisation and all involved with it, in mind.



Persuasive - the head person controls all the decision making but is able to convince the others of the"wisdom" of his/her choices and advice.



Autocratic - The decision of the boss is final. No-one else's opinion counts. Can be a useful form of leadership when running an establishment like a school as children are regarded as too young to make decisions wisely in their own interests.



Dictatorial - people are told exactly what to do and how to do it by the leader. Often used in the military.



Tyrannical - What the leader decides is final - even if there is no sense, rhyme or reason to it. An extreme version of autocratic leadership and the leader is "drunk with power" and out to feather their own nest, financially and psychologically.



Take your pick! Which applies to YOUR Pastor? He sounds like an autocrat, a dictator AND a tyrant!



Get out of there! If you can't face challenging him on his methods of leadership etc .... just quietly leave. He may have helped you enormously in the past, he may have done you favours etc .... you don't have to sell your soul to recognise that though! Your own integrity and peace of mind is always worth preserving. He has already been richly rewarded for any favours he did you by your attendance - it's NOT a sin to leave a Church you don't feel comfortable in, whatever misplaced loyalty you feel you owe them for kindnesses in the past.



I really HATE the concept of "buying" a person. As in doing somebody enough favours and you can rely on them to back you, no matter what. What would he do if you moved right out of the area? He couldn't reasonably expect you to remain in his Church community then, could he?

Jacquelyn - posted on 09/13/2012

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Sounds to me like that you do just need to find a new church to attend. It is sad to see though since you have been a member of that church for 20 years. Its also sad to see that there is a church that can not be united and not be put down or talked about. You are suppose to be there to not only listen to the word of God but also be there for one another , you know a church family. I don't think you said if you were a member or not. If oyu are you should have a say so in that church and what goes. Maybe it is just that the church needs a new preacher. On another note , how does the church stay afloat with most of the people attending not working ? Good luck with whatever you do. I am sure God will help guide you in the direction you need to go. Jacque

Anne - posted on 09/13/2012

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Robin I have not gone through anything even close to what you have gone through. Yes there have been differences of opinion and some people have left our church. But I have never gone through what your family has gone through. That being said I also do not have any better advice that these ladies have given you. BUT what I can and will do is to Pray for you and your family.

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Carla - posted on 09/13/2012

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Right, ladies. Once we left the church I was talking about, one of the couples who left with us got with us and we decided to start a church down here in the hood. Because of my dream for a ministry, I felt this was God's will. We filled out incorporation forms, naming ourselves as board members, ordained this man as pastor, and thought God had answered our prayers. UNTIL we started writing our by-laws. He wanted ultimate power over the board. It got kinda heated, but we talked it out and decided to go ahead. Sure enough, he went straight out on a power trip. We ended up walking away. Mark, our daughter and I were devastated. We so have a heart for ministry, and felt so defeated!



Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Run, run, run!

Linda - posted on 09/13/2012

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Wow, Robin! If the pastor is really saying that everyone that does not go to his church is going to hell, then what you have there is a full-blown cult! I would heed Angela's advice carefully. I'm not even sure I would take him out to lunch. I would run as fast as I can the other way! He is clearly more interested in power than in the Scriptures. Be very careful, please.

Robin - posted on 09/13/2012

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Carla, you would not believe some of the things that people do and say. Most of the people there now are all elders, deacons, and pastors. All of whom the pastor ordained. He says that he started that church and that it's his church and no one can vote him out. It's a lot of double talk. bottom line is that I am not going back but I am heart broken over the whole thing. I Never thought I would be going through this. I was thinking about my husband and I taking the pastor to lunch and I tell him how I'm feeling and let him know that I'm not coming back. But I don't think I can sit and have lunch with him and the conversation not get heated. If you let them tell it, they (the church members) are the only ones who are going to make it into heaven and everyone else (who ever leaves) are going to hell! It's all a HOT Mess. I thank God for this site because I get to express my feelings with other saints. People who don't know us and therefore wont be bias. I was searching for ideas for my soon-to-be 2 year olds party and I came across this site. Thank you Jesus!

Carla - posted on 09/13/2012

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Robin, read the Timothies and Titus. These are Paul's guidelines for running the Church. They are very eye-opening. I don't understand the reasoning behind 'who are we to check him'. YOU are an ELDER! An elder is a mature person given to the church to help guide it, and also helps keep the pastor on track. I Corinthians 5:12 and 13 says the Church body is absolutely supposed to judge the members. God judges the unbelievers, but those of wisdom are to watch over the Body. You say you felt, in your twenties, that he had your best interests at heart. You have grown up, and matured, and understand LOTS more than you did then.



Those you are speaking of that have stayed are probably less educated, and I mean both in the Word and the world, so they will go along with whatever the pastor wants. But yes men have NO place inside a healthy church. This causes someone to feel the need to exercise power over them--fact of life. Abuse of power happens everywhere, Church or no church.



Jeremiah (6) talks about Watchers within the church. I fully believe these are those who have educated themselves in the Word of God thoroughly. With this knowledge, discrepancies are seen. This is what I faced in the church I left. Of course, a blind man could have seen what was going on there! Those that have stayed are unlearned, who feel comfortable with what is familiar.



Bottom line is, honey, what are you going to do with your knowledge? Are you going to stay there, figuratively in bondage, or are you going to make the hard decision and take yourself out of there? Your soul is at stake.



I pray wisdom for you in this, honey. God bless.

Robin - posted on 09/13/2012

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Wow. The church is a part of a Network of Churches. Only thing is that No one will go against this pastor. They say even if he is wrong, who are we to check him. I do agree with this. I'm not trying to belittle anyone or even start any conflict. I have sat under this leadership for 20 years and I see things today that I did not see when I was in my twenties. I can remember when I would do whatever my pastor said. I do believe that he had my best interest at heart. I just don't agree with how things are run and that everyone walks around on egg shells and NO one can make any decisions on their own. It is a non-denomination church and I was drawn to the church because the word of God was being preached and taught and I loved the Praise and Worship. Thanks for all your wisdom and encouragement.

Carla - posted on 09/13/2012

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Unfortunately, there are a lot of non-denominational churches out there, and I like the concept, in it's purest form. There is no one governing your sermons, and you are free to preach, whereas some denominations actually send out pre-arranged sermons and that's what you preach. But the thing that sounds so good usually ends up being bad. There is NO ONE you can take complaints to, except the Lord.



Evil is everywhere anymore. Satan's best work is done within the church building. And his work has a two-fold benefit--it scatters the sheep, and it makes the Church look bad to those who are unbelievers. I don't have the answer, otherwise I would be in a church ;)



All we can do is follow Jesus the best we can, keep ourselves pure and go on.



God bless, sweethearts!

Angela - posted on 09/13/2012

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Yes, Keisha has touched on an important point! Your Church MUST surely have a headquarters or main point of contact? Every denomination generally does have one ..... A head office that oversees several Churches in the region for that particular denomination - even a national head office for the whole country? Try writing to them. Do not phone or e-mail - WRITE!!



Put in examples and evidence. Don't be rude, be polite. Mention that a lot of people have left this Church but make it clear you're not influenced by them, you're making your own mind up about this based on how the ministry is led. Make sure you mention that any opposition or challenges are mentioned in Church during preaching and people's names are given (that is psychological blackmail, by the way!!).



Also use a few scripture quotations as examples of why this Pastor isn't acting in the best interests of this congregation or in the Lord's will.



It may take a few hours or even a few days for you to get this letter absolutely how you want it for the most effective impact.



But this could well be your best means of dealing with this.



Good luck!

Keisha - posted on 09/12/2012

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I have seen this many times, unfortunately. I don't know what kind of church you go to but most belong to an association, a group of other churches. Sometimes you can talk to the people at the association and they can help by talking to the pastor, etc. Unless other members stand up and agree to vote this pastor out there isn't a lot to be done but going to the association. This pastor obviously isn't preaching the Word of God and he isn't living it.



I am so sorry to hear all that you have gone through, I can't imagine a preacher openly disrespecting and demeaning a member of his congregation. This man is a dying branch that is not connected to the vine of the Lord, he is not producing good fruit and eventually he will be dealt with. It is so sad to hear stories like this because these are the kind of people that turn non-Christians and Christians alike away from church. We have been there too and had to leave a church that we loved.



I personally would look for another church, part of going to church is the fellowship and to be "fed" and lifted up, don't let this church bring you down with it. If you have friends that go to another church you could try that, or find a totally different church. Sending up prayers for you and your family, may God guide you to where He wants you to be. ♥

Angela - posted on 09/12/2012

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When you're fulfilling a need for a vulnerable group, you're in a very powerful position. A Church community from a neighbourhood where there is massive unemployment with the accompanying economic difficulties and social deprivation, is a very vulnerable group. Any Church will fulfill a social as well as a spiritual need. Add "good Christian works" to that mix (helping the impoverished - either materially or in practical terms) and you have POWER. Power in any guise is very easily abused. And a taste of power often leads to individuals wanting to tighten their stranglehold on that very power. This means tightening their stranglehold on the people in their fellowship. Many people will succumb to accepting this treatment - after all, there's no such thing as a free lunch - both literally and metaphorically!



Cult religions owe their success to two very effective techniques they employ.... Firstly the new recruit is "love-bombed" - they get attention, admiration and approval for the person they are, plus sympathy, empathy and understanding for the problems they're facing in life. When they've been thoroughly love-bombed, then they're brainwashed! What a formula! It results in power for those at the top of the tree, and loyal servitude from the others.



Cults are an extreme example though. But mainstream churches can also be led by those who get drunk with power! Remember though, that the supreme power lies with God, not with Church leaders, pastors etc ... Half of the fellowship have now voted with their feet and quit this Church community anyway. Your Pastor is worried about losing more people and has effectively stepped up his techniques. You can either state your case confidently in person or by letter (and freely invite him to preach about you if he wishes - don't show you're scared!!!) or you might be more cautious and attend as normal whilst searching for a different fellowship to be part of!



Pray for God's help and influence in all this. He will not let you down. In my humble opinion, this Church should not be the choice of any individual who loves the Lord, the Bible and his/her own God-given freewill.



Good luck and God bless you!

Marisa - posted on 09/12/2012

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We move around a lot so we have to find new churches each time. I pray that God will lead us to a church where we can have great Christian fellowship and that we can grow in our walk with Jesus. He always provides! I know he will provide for you! We serve a mighty God!

Marisa - posted on 09/12/2012

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I'm so sorry you're going through this! Praying for you and that God will lead you to a church that you will grow spiritually . I'll also be praying for your husband. God will bless you for serving HIM !

Robin - posted on 09/12/2012

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Thank you Paula and Carla. Finding a new church home is so very hard. Thanks for all your kinds words and prayers. It really means a lot to me.

Paula - posted on 09/12/2012

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Robin, So sorry to hear of your trouble with your church and pastor. If this pastor is unwilling to listen to the elders of the church and come under the authority of the Bible, then I believe you are right to leave the church. Pray for the church and ministry there, but do not allow the disfunction of the leadership to drag you under. If you are not lifted up in your faith there, then that is a dying church. I will be praying for you in this difficult time. It is so hard when there is not unity in the body of Christ. Once you find your new church, I do recommend you let this pastor know why you have left... even if he won't listen or change, He still needs to know. I know that is easier said than done, so I'll pray for your courage to stand up for Truth.

Carla - posted on 09/12/2012

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Uh, yeah, Robin, I hear you. We left the church we had gone to, on and off, for 35 years. It is heart-breaking. I won't go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say that they were NOT running the church according to the Bible.



When I left I met with the pastor, letter in hand. I HAD to tell him the church was in serious trouble! Of course, this was met with denial, but by that time, there was NO way I would EVER be able to sit under their ministry.



If your husband doesn't want to leave, let him stay. Pray for the Spirit to speak to him. I stayed at this church, long after my husband left. Oh, how I wish I had listened to him! I am praying, sweetheart, that you find an awesome place to go. Yes, we need the Body, but if the body is diseased, the best thing to do is cut yourself off and find a new Body to graft into. Be prepared, though. Finding a church that believes and preaches the True Word anymore is hard to find. Pray hard.



God bless

Robin - posted on 09/11/2012

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Hi Linda. Thanks for your response. I saw the pastor on Sunday and he wanted to know what was wrong. I saw me outside the church and I did not want to talk with everyone coming up to him. I just told him nothing. I have been holding every thing in for too long. I just feel like so much time has passed that it does not make any difference now. My pastor is a man of God but he is stubbring. He believes that if your not with him your against him. When people leave our church the rest of the congragation does not speak to the people who left. It's crazy. He asked me was I back slding and told him No. He said what about not foresaking the assembling together with the saints. I said that I do try very hard but when I come there someone Always has something to say. He asked me what about the fruits of the spirit. I told him that I have not lost that. It's just time to move on. I want my husband to be happy but he does not want to leave. He feels like it would be breaking covenant. I feel like the covenant is with God not the pastor. Over the year my pastor has done a lot for me and will never forget that but I don't want to say the wrong thing so I just don't say anything.



When I said the people don't work I mean that the church is in a least fortunate neighborhood. Everyone (including most of the leadership) are struggling. Education is NOT encouraged. I became a member when I was 21...I am 41 now and my life has changed because of the word of God preached. I just feel like I don't have anything in common and I don't belong. This is very hard for me and Every time a talk about it I break down. The pastor is open to hear what I have to say but he will NOT receive it. I know him. I have been on vacation with his family and house sat for them when they were out of town. I know he will not like what I have to say so I just keep it to myself. I would write him a letter but people have done that in the past and he preached about it, called out their names and said don't send him any letters. So I'm just done. I am going to pray and ask the Lord to lead me to a new home. I still love the Lord and Love being Saved. Thanks again for the post.

Linda - posted on 09/11/2012

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Robin...I'm sorry. I know this must be a painful decision. The pastor should be preaching the Word of God on Sunday. If he disagrees with someone on any issue, that should be dealt with privately. I don't know what you mean when you say they don't work....Do they not have a job outside the church? Or do they not help with the work of the church?



Pray about where God would have you. Also, pray about what, if anything, you should say to your pastor. If he is truly trying to do the Lord's will, perhaps he will be open to hear what you have to say.

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