Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Getting it off my chest...

If you actually try and read this, then I'll apologize in advance. It is probably going to be long, rambling, and confusing.

There are things going on. Church things. We love our church. We fell in love with it right away.

Perhaps the honeymoon is over?!? Have we outgrown the church, has the church outgrown us? Is it the right place for us now?

It is a contemporary non-denominational church. It's very welcoming and everyone is friendly. It has fantastic atmosphere, SUPERB children's ministry, and a kickin' band (though I'll admit, not as good as when Rick was with us). Our church's mission is to reach non-believers. To bring in those disconnected from Christ and the church. It's a terrific mission, and it is really what we needed in the beginning (over 3 years ago). We were what you'd consider "baby" christians. We had commited our lives to Christ, but didn't really know where to go from there. We found the church, fell in love, got baptized, and joined all within 4 months time. We started a small group, began volunteering and everything was going beautifully. Really it was! I'd say things were great up until late last year. We (the hubby and I) started wanting something more in depth. More bible teaching and less of the "commit your life to Christ" sermons. More meat and less milk. Are you following?

Anyway, we had grew a little tired of the church's small groups. They were great for fellowship, but we just weren't getting what we needed out of them. Along came some friends (and fellow church members), and they offered us a chance to do a study with them. It was a bible based study, and they ok'd it with the church before even moving forward. We jumped in. It was what we were looking for. More in depth teaching and great fellowship. Fast forward a few months, and we are on our 3rd study. Again, bible-based, more in-depth, church approved. The church calls in the facilitator of our study and tells him that we must stop. Immediately. Their reasoning was because we were doing these studies instead of the church's small group. If we were doing it in addition to, then it would be different. Ok, maybe I can understand this. BUT, does it really matter as long as we are doing something that is doctrinally sound? Should they really discourage one who wants to grow deeper? Maybe it isn't the way that they want you to do it, but to say that it's wrong....is that right?

As a said earlier, our church's mission is to bring people to Christ. But what about once you've accepted Him? They don't have a plan for that. They'll tell you that. They don't plan on offering anything "deeper". I understand that we shouldn't rely on them to take us deeper. I understand that we have a responsibility to do it ourselves. But isn't that what we were doing with our outside studies? The ones that they nixed. Is it really right that they won't offer any "deeper" alternatives, and when you do it your way, not their way, then it's looked down on?

So, now there are doubts. Is our church still the place that we belong? Is it still right for us? Is it time for us to move on? Will we ever be able to get were we want to be at this church? Will we ever be able to attend another service with feeling the "weirdness" that's there now? They know us. They know that we were in the study that they axed. They know that we weren't doing it their way. We know that we can't continue on in studies the way we want without worrying that we'll be chastised, or given the cold shoulder. If we stay is our only alternative to conform, and follow their directions? If we leave, where will we go? Will we be able to find a church that meets all of our needs (great children's program, contemporary, friendly, AND deep)?

Right now, there is a lot of praying going on. Praying for His guidance in this situation. Taking the hurt feelings and emotions out of it, and listening to Him. It's hard. But I know that He has a plan for us, and a church home for us. Perhaps, it is our church. I'd love to move past this and discover that we already are home. That like all families, we had problems, but we got past it. Perhaps it is somewhere else. A church that is waiting for us with open arms, and will fit better than we ever imagined.

HE knows. I'm just ready for us to know too!

1 comment:

Pat said...

I'm so sorry you are facing this. It's legalism, and very sad (but ever so common) in the church. We remained in such a church for over 20 years, hoping that we could fit in, but it stunted our growth and we weren't able to serve. A very bad situation, especially for my husband. I do hope that you will be able to find a place where you are comfortable and able to grow at God indicates. Remember 2 Cor. 3:17 "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." I'd invite you to visit my blog at www.whydidntyouwarnme.com where I will deal with these issues from time to time.