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How do you know when it's time to leave your church? (CC)


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#1 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:33 AM

We have been members of a particular non-denominational church for over 10 years now. We are involved in Children's ministry, and hubby has recently been asked to consider Eldership. The problem is that we have grown in a different direction than our church and I no longer feel like I am worshiping with like-minded believers.

We have many acquaintances there, our children, mainly youngest, were basically brought up with this congregation of people. We are comfortable there...but we are no longer growing Spiritually. Half the time on Sunday I disagree with a portion of our pastors often times watered down sermon. I disagree with the mainstream seeker-friendly direction the church seems to want to go, and if we do another 40-day Warren program I will probably lose my MIND. I am tired of singing choruses that say...well...nothing but say it over and over and over again. And, well, I am just wanting so much to be with like-minded people.

You see, we [hubby and I] have become Calvinists. Our pastor calls himself a Modified Calvinist, but in actuality he is truly more of an Armenian in all that he preaches. I am finding this harder and harder to live with.

So tell me, how does one leave a church where one knows almost EVERYONE...and would leaving be the right thing to do? I already know that no church we go to will be perfect; they all have their flaws. Should we just live with the flaws in our current church, or do you think the doctrinal differences warrant us leaving? And yikes...where would we GO! :001_huh:

I would love to hear your thoughts...

#2 tibbyl

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:37 AM

Have you ever considered deinstutionalizing your worship? Moving from organized church to a home church with small group of like minded believers?

#3 Chris in VA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:43 AM

I have special circumstances, including being the pastor's wife, so I don't know if I'm qualified to answer (but of course I will...:D).

We have dear, dear friends who left our church due to doctrinal and human issues. It was hard, at first, for me to "let them go," but God had clearly given them a word, and they found a great place. He was even gracious enough to give me total peace about it!

I'd start the Great Church Hunt now. You need a place where you are fed, but it is not the only indication that the church is right for you. You are to give, too. If there's that much conflict with what you feel is right (I don't mean "feel," exactly, but maybe "discern" is a better word) at your current place, and you don't think you are called to be a prophetic voice, i.e., usher in changes there, then I think you probably have permission--Holy permission, as it were--to go somewhere else.

Where to go? You could make a list of what you are looking for, but that somehow doesn't sit right with me. Maybe just visiting is ok for now. It can be hard on a family to go to many churches, looking for the right one, so I'd say check out websites, call pastors, etc., first, in order to at least rule out some of the available choices. You indicated you are Calvinist, and I think that's one thing that can be an obvious "sifter," if you will.

As you look around, remember to keep up your own devotions and study, maybe even with your hubby (ideally) and kids. Don't be the log removed from the fire that is in danger of going out. Pray that God prepares a place for you, and you for a place, and opens your eyes to see it.

Blessings.

#4 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:45 AM

...where and how you want to raise your children.

Are they going to be pushed from the faith by being torn from their friends and Christian companionship? That would be the decider for me. OTOH, will they learn things that you just can't stand at this church? That would be key also. Have you found the church that you would like to join yet? If not, I suggest looking for it without your children along, at least at first. Evaluate whether you have a place to run TO as well as something that you would like to leave behind, before you make a final decision.

I'm very sympathetic to your plight. I do not want to belong to a 'seeker' style church nor to follow pop-culture Christianity myself. Although I respect those who do, and often their reasons have some merit. (But not as much as MY reasons, which I will not go into here. Heh.)

I would avoid deeper volunteer commitments right now, as your heart is not in it, but I would think very carefully about the possible impact on your children one way or another. This is a season, not forever. Their need to grow and be firmly rooted is almost certainly more important than yours is right now.

#5 VaKim

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:50 AM

We had the same thing happen (becoming Calvinists) a few years ago. We had to leave when we realized that every Sunday after we came home, we had to explain to the girls that the pastor said such-and-such, but the Bible actually says something different.
We are currently church-less because there are absolutely no Calvinist churches anywhere near us. We drove an hour and a half to one for over a year, but since it was so far away, we never could actually be a "part" of it. After being there over a year, we were still like strangers (even though the people were wonderful and loving).

Anyhow, we just could not stay in a church where we disagree with doctrine. That is first in line when it comes to choosing a church, in my opinion.

#6 Alenee

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:51 AM

First a :grouphug:. We went through this last year. Your post could've been written by me. We saw gradual changes in our church that left us saying, "hmmm, something's not right here." After a year of praying and a particular sermon that was just.not.biblical in any way, we contunued to pray and find a new church. In my heart I wanted a small church, not Warren-ish in any way, through the bible teaching, a pastor who was not afraid to speak the truth, a place where they build up their believers so they can then be equipped to lead and care for others. I prayed, "Lord, does a church like this exist?" After that prayer, in a matter of a week I had several people tell me about a particular church so we looked at their doctrinal statement online and then tried it out. After two visits, we were convinced this new church was where we were supposed to be for the time being. (we did visit another church for 2 months but it just wasn't for us) We also needed a church that had a Saturday night service because dh has to work on Sundays so we were very limited in where we could go.

We're open to God leading us out of it again if that is His will for us. But for now, we are growing. And we're truly serving *individuals* now. At our last church they had a hundred different "programs". Our new church has none. There are a few bible studies going on but other than that, we are challenged to serve eachother in a way God is leading us, rather than volunteering to "fill a position". We are small, only about 80 people (and will plant a new church if the body gets to be over 180), but we all know eachother and the needs within the body. Something that was severely lacking in our old church.

My advice would be to pray about it and if you feel God's leading, check out websites first to get the doctrinal statement. No sense wasting your time going to a new church if you won't agree anyway. Then, remember to honor where you've been. Don't throw stones at your old church. If you leave, people WILL ask you why. Try to keep it off of personal issues. Be prepared that there are people who will disagree with you. That's okay. Love them anyway and hold fast to what you know to be true.

HTH

#7 tess in the burbs

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 11:55 AM

they were teaching the macarena dance during VBS. um, what happened to Jesus/praise and such?

I knew we were more conservative and less worldly than most there but again, it's about feeling comfortable. I finally said enough!

we are taking a break and doing church at home for a bit as a family. then we plan to visit more churches in the area but are completely open to worshiping at home and perhaps finding others to join us in the future.

Obviously you have different views. It's ok and you should go and find someplace that spiritual grows you and your family!

praying you find the right place for you...

#8 milovany

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:07 PM

Here's some advice a pastor gave us as we were leaving his church: Go to the church that you think is most like the New Testament church.

Now, that doesn't mean jumping from church to church whenever something comes up that you don't care for, of course! But since you find yourself in a position where you ARE considering a change, this is a good principle to ponder.

Some of my thoughts:
  • While I understand "likemindedness" to a degree, I have also seen it go too far at times. There was an article in the paper recently about a couple and their children; they live a very homestead-y lifestyle, homechool their kids, believe the economy is going to crash and are preparing for that, etc. They said they love their lifestyle but their one unfulfilled wish is fellowship with "likeminded" believers (and the way it was quoted it sounded like they even tried home-fellowship but just hadn't found *anyone* likeminded enough). That just doesn't seem right to me in an area w/a population of 20,000 and dozens of churches; seems too focused on how faith is worked out rather than the faith itself.
  • I'm fine with home fellowship and thought our family would go that direction when we moved three years ago, but we found a church body we love and have really connected with the people. To us, that's a very important apart of choosing a church -- the people. Much more important than style of worship and minor doctrinal points.
  • I'm with you on the seeker-friendly church style that's popular right now!!! I don't care for it one bit. Another thing that bothers me is the constant "building program" theme we've seen in numerous churches we've been a part of. Always planning a big building project or purchase, usually out in the suburbs. I love this about our current church -- it's in a 100-year old building downtown.
Well, there are some thoughts from this corner of the country!

#9 gardening momma

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:09 PM

Melissa, I completely understand. We just went through a difficult transition to another church this summer. There were some things that complicated matters, but I absolutely love the new church. I've even found more things I like about the new church vs. the old church that I didn't even expect (things I wasn't consciously aware that I was dissatisfied with). Every week I find more things that I appreciate about our new church.

#10 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:10 PM

You need a place where you are fed, but it is not the only indication that the church is right for you. You are to give, too. If there's that much conflict with what you feel is right (I don't mean "feel," exactly, but maybe "discern" is a better word) at your current place, and you don't think you are called to be a prophetic voice, i.e., usher in changes there, then I think you probably have permission--Holy permission, as it were--to go somewhere else.


Yes, I feel that is part of the problem, we are no longer being fed. Hubby and I have been Calvinists for about 6+ years now. It was after a sermon our Pastor gave on Lordship Salvation that we decided to look into the beliefs of Calvinists. We studied the doctrine on our own and came to see such truths in it that we can not go back to believing as we did. At the time, we did not feel the need to leave our current church at all. We were quite happy there and accepted that not all would believe as we. No biggie. But lately it has started to grate on me and I cannot decide if it is the Lord speaking to me, or just me in my sinfulness. I want to hear a sermon that speaks to me on Sunday, instead of picking out points of doctrine in it that I don't believe.

As for giving. We definitely give of ourselves. We have been involved in Children's Ministry for many years and also host an in-home bible study each week.

Pray that God prepares a place for you, and you for a place, and opens your eyes to see it.


Great wisdom. Thank you. I actually do have a place in mind I guess, but I don't know if it is the place. It is a small church with none of the bells and whistles our church has; meaning very small where our church is very large. We have visited twice. But, it too, is not perfect. It is almost a little TOO old fashioned and I don't know if I would like that. :confused:

John MacArthur's church is about 1 1/2 hours away; perhaps we should commute?! :D

#11 QuirkyKapers

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:15 PM

:grouphug:
Leaving a community of believers that you have been connected to for a long time is a big decision. It is really hard to think about the change that could happen and the friendships that might be lost/gained. The good news is that relationships can continue. The bad news is it takes a lot of work. I have had 3 of my good friends leave our church in the past 5 years. Those relationships have taken a lot of time and work to stay connected. One of the things that was hardest was not to talk as much about our church since my friends were connecting in different communities of faith.
What also has been hard is that my friends have left but God has not released us from that church. My husband and I have been part of a church for 14 years. For the past 4 years, we have been praying about whether we should leave or not. It makes it even more difficult to stay when your friends are leaving but you just don't feel God's leading to go elsewhere! For us, it is do the goals/direction/concerns regarding faith and spiritual growth match where God wants us to be. This is difficult because life is all about change. Also, the Holy Spirit can work in people's lives and changes can happen. However, it certainly is a longgggggg process:) At any time, things could get better or worse. When you have a vision of what a church could be and how it could be making a difference in others lives and it isn't. It is really difficult. When is the right time? Boy that was helpful right:glare:

Echoing what others have said, pray for God's leading and release.
Check out other churches in the area, if you can via the web first.
Talk to Pastors at places you are considering. I know that we have taken our kids to a few places where they had been involved in other activities before. When we visited, we have been to places that were worse than ours, some maybe better.

God's leading is so important since no matter where you go the church is people - people aren't perfect therfore no church will be perfect. This means that you might change and be happy with certain things that you weren't happy about before and exchange them for a whole new set of things that you aren't happy with in the new place! I know for myself, God has been putting before me things I need to work through in order to be a healthier person. So, maybe once I resovle some of those things- God will release us. The things I am working on most likely only rear it's ugly head in situations where there is a strong connection in a community. So, for me, if I leave, guess what, me follows me everywhere I go and that means if I don't deal with the ugly stuff, it will just happen again somewhere else...... Of course, personal stuff versus spiritual/doctrinal stuff are two different things.....

#12 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:34 PM

they were teaching the macarena dance during VBS. um, what happened to Jesus/praise and such?


I COMPLETELY understand your reason for leaving! I cannot tell you how many times hubby and I have complained to each other regarding our Sunday School curriculum and how WORLDLY it is! It is all about entertainment. And our Children's Ministry Leader has come out and said that the Sunday School services for children will always be geared towards the unchurched child. :001_huh::001_huh::001_huh: We have maybe 3 visiting children out of 200-400 members' children a week, yet we are gearing our entire Children's Ministry for those 3 visitors? I don't agree with that. Now hubby and I change that with OUR class. We get into the nitty gritty of scripture with them (all the while holding back our Calvinist beliefs of course) but the majority of the teachers just go with the program. The only reason we have been able to handle this is that we feel we are actually making a difference with OUR class. But on a whole, the children in our church are not being fed as they should.

#13 laylamcb

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:58 PM

As so many others have said, Melissa, I could've WRITTEN your post about 3 years ago. I was just sitting there one day in church, drifting off (per usual), and I realized, This isn't me anymore. I think it was when the pastor said something along the lines of, "You'll never hear me saying a bunch of high-falutin' Thees and Thous up here. The Bible is for you and me--no holier-than-thou language and stuff." I thought, Huh? I've never been to a church where the pastor used Thees and Thous (no offense to my Quaker friends). Then I realized he must be referring to the KJV and also, I suppose, to pastors who have a more analytical message to bring. Suddenly the apparent anti-intellectualism of it made me want to scream, "Don't you see? This 'check your brains at the door and come on in and feel good while you watch our slide show and sing these mind-numbing, monosyllabic choruses over and over and over' mentality is exactly why people who are not Christians think we're such dolts!"

Ahem. Sorry. The memory is still painful for me. Anyhoo, DH felt exactly the same way, and we headed out the door. They were and are wonderful people and spiritual brothers and sisters--we just realized, as you did, that we'd grown apart.

We've also gone over to the dark side: Calvinists here, too. ;) We found a small PCA church where each week the pastor brings a message with sermon notes 2 pages long. My DH says I'm in geek heaven! No, we don't have all of the fancy programs--or, actually, ANY of the fancy programs--but I love the intellectual stimulation. I love really digging into the Word. I love singing a mix of *meaningful* praise choruses and hymns (in fact, sometimes I wonder under what moss-covered rock they found some of these musty old hymns. Wow, we're talkin' back of the book here, y'all! ;)). It's awesome.

So talk with your DH. You two have to pray about and decide what's right for your family. Programs can be wonderful, but IMHO it's more important that you leave there on Sunday morning (or after a prayer meeting, or after a Bible study, etc.) feeling encouraged, built up, convicted, edified, exhorted, corrected, intellectually stimulated, trained in righteousness. Y'know?


:grouphug:

#14 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:31 PM

We've also gone over to the dark side: Calvinists here, too. ;) We found a small PCA church where each week the pastor brings a message with sermon notes 2 pages long. My DH says I'm in geek heaven! No, we don't have all of the fancy programs--or, actually, ANY of the fancy programs--but I love the intellectual stimulation. I love really digging into the Word. I love singing a mix of *meaningful* praise choruses and hymns (in fact, sometimes I wonder under what moss-covered rock they found some of these musty old hymns. Wow, we're talkin' back of the book here, y'all! ;)). It's awesome.


This is EXACTLY what I am wanting. hubby and I both love biblical intellectual stimulation. I want something that I can sink my teeth into and chew on. :drool5:

I hate to admit this, but for several years now I have not looked forward to church. I go because as leaders we are required to attend regularly, and I love the girls we teach on Sunday. But my heart is not there...I am bored by the same sermons said in different ways. OK, got it Pastor...can we dig a bit deeper now? Maybe if you could tell us the history of what was going on at the time the scripture was written we could better understand the meaning? Please? Something deeper...anything? :lol: I am horrible huh? [sigh]

it's more important that you leave there on Sunday morning (or after a prayer meeting, or after a Bible study, etc.) feeling encouraged, built up, convicted, edified, exhorted, corrected, intellectually stimulated, trained in righteousness. Y'know?


:iagree: completely.

#15 Heather in Neverland

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:33 PM

We had the same thing happen (becoming Calvinists) a few years ago. We had to leave when we realized that every Sunday after we came home, we had to explain to the girls that the pastor said such-and-such, but the Bible actually says something different.
We are currently church-less because there are absolutely no Calvinist churches anywhere near us. We drove an hour and a half to one for over a year, but since it was so far away, we never could actually be a "part" of it. After being there over a year, we were still like strangers (even though the people were wonderful and loving).

Anyhow, we just could not stay in a church where we disagree with doctrine. That is first in line when it comes to choosing a church, in my opinion.


We left our church for the exact same reason...except opposite. We do not hold to Calvinist teachings but the church we were attending was slowly becoming very Calvinist. While we may have been able to overlook some of it ourselves, we didn't want to have to explain to our children why the pastor was saying things that the Bible doesn't say, etc.

It was hard but if you and your dh cannot uphold the doctrine of that church then you should find a different church. It can be a long and lonely process but in the end it was totally worth it.

#16 Jugglin'5

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:34 PM

This is where we were several years also. I think you've got to weigh your family's possible influence over the church vs the church's influence over your family. Would your husband becoming an elder make it possible for him to challenge the direction of the church? If the answer is for the most part, no, then you should probably look at settling elsewhere. Tough decision.:grouphug:

#17 Jugglin'5

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:44 PM

This is EXACTLY what I am wanting. hubby and I both love biblical intellectual stimulation. I want something that I can sink my teeth into and chew on. :drool5:


I also suspect that if you and you DH are like this, it is at least probable that some of your children are like this (of course I have no idea what your children are actually like). So, I would consider which kind of church would be most likely to keep them in the faith as they grow older. I think this would be the #1 consideration for me, and a perfectly valid one. Which church would be less likely to prove a millstone around their necks? Maybe not in the immediate gratification sense, but in the sense of giving them something that will give them a strong foundation in stormy weather.

#18 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 01:47 PM

I also suspect that if you and you DH are like this, it is at least probable that some of your children are like this (of course I have no idea what your children are actually like). So, I would consider which kind of church would be most likely to keep them in the faith as they grow older. I think this would be the #1 consideration for me, and a perfectly valid one. Which church would be less likely to prove a millstone around their necks? Maybe not in the immediate gratification sense, but in the sense of giving them something that will give them a strong foundation in stormy weather.


Great point! In fact all three of our children are like us. That is definitely something I didn't consider.

#19 NevadaRabbit

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:36 PM

This is EXACTLY what I am wanting. hubby and I both love biblical intellectual stimulation. I want something that I can sink my teeth into and chew on. :drool5:

I hate to admit this, but for several years now I have not looked forward to church. I go because as leaders we are required to attend regularly, and I love the girls we teach on Sunday. But my heart is not there...I am bored by the same sermons said in different ways. OK, got it Pastor...can we dig a bit deeper now? Maybe if you could tell us the history of what was going on at the time the scripture was written we could better understand the meaning? Please? Something deeper...anything? :lol: I am horrible huh? [sigh]


Melissa, I'm just looking at this from another angle. Bit o background: we left a seeker church for these exact reasons 3 years ago - not as deeply rooted in that congregation as you are in yours - but still a difficult and painful decision. We found a church where the Word is preached to us as a gathering of believers, and where the body seeks to honor and glorify God with our worship.

The seeker model makes a wrong assumption at its foundation: that The Church is any gathering of people in a church building where they talk about God, regardless of whether the individual's faith is sincere or their walk obedient to His Word. This is not the body of Christ. The NT church was a gathering of believers, not a place where the curious came to hear messages designed to titillate the flesh and lure them into walking the aisle. Likewise, our church gatherings should be for the edification of believers; we should have elders/pastors teaching us the meat of the Word, encouraging us to grow up and hate our sin and grow in obedience to Christ. The seeker church is a gathering of potential believers, and if that is the case, there will never be an audience there which is prepared to move from milk to meat. It will always be serving Pablum. No wonder, when our eyes are opened to see, it is foul in our mouths.

The reason you are discontent is because you see that this is not glorifying to God. Milque-toast worship, watery sermons, rejection of doctrine and avoidance of any exhortation to personal maturity and purity is the lukewarmness that Christ will spew from His mouth. We are to be presenting ourselves, holy and pure, as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God. Read Leviticus and see what He requires in His holy presence; it's not 7-11 "praise" songs and sermons based on Leave it to Beaver.

Seek (no pun intended) a true church - a gathering of believers - where God is glorified in the worship, where His Word is the only foundation, and you won't be hungry for long. Choosing a church and becoming a member is not about how we feel when we leave church; it's about how we worship when we're there.

#20 NevadaRabbit

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:42 PM

Are they going to be pushed from the faith by being torn from their friends and Christian companionship? That would be the decider for me. OTOH, will they learn things that you just can't stand at this church? That would be key also.


If the children's faith is sincere, they'll only be aided in their faith by transferring to a church where there is true worship, kwim?

As I said earlier, we left a seeker church, and our kids were heartbroken at first because the seeker church entertained them so mightily. But they both agree now, heartily, that our current church teaches the Word, and they prefer the meat. I just don't think the church itself is what will push them from faith or keep them in it - that's all the work of the Lord. :001_smile:

#21 Jenn in Mo

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:50 PM

The only deciding factor for me is whether God says go or stay. If God says "Go," then it doesn't matter if the church is a perfect fit and I really, really want to stay. It's time to obey and move on. If God says "Stay," then it doesn't matter if the church is not meeting my needs and I really, really want to leave. It's time to obey and stay put.

If God leads you onward, it will be hard to leave what you've known, but He has something better in store. He will protect your children and provide what they need. He cares about what's best for each of you. If God leads you to stay put, HE will meet your needs. He will help you grow in whatever way He has determined you need grown. I'm praying you have peace with whatever direction He's leading you.

On a sidenote, sometimes those choruses that repeat the same thing over and over again are repeating a message that is so simple that we often miss it. But, Oh! how powerful those simple messages can be!

#22 Jugglin'5

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:52 PM

If the children's faith is sincere, they'll only be aided in their faith by transferring to a church where there is true worship, kwim?

As I said earlier, we left a seeker church, and our kids were heartbroken at first because the seeker church entertained them so mightily. But they both agree now, heartily, that our current church teaches the Word, and they prefer the meat. I just don't think the church itself is what will push them from faith or keep them in it - that's all the work of the Lord. :001_smile:



A small quibble - I can still say as a good Calvinist, that God uses means. :) It is all the work of the Lord, but He still uses our decisions and actions to bring them about. And I could hypothesize certain scenarios when it would be unwise to change. I think these decisions do take wisdom, but in this situation I would be inclined to leave.

#23 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:46 PM

If the children's faith is sincere, they'll only be aided in their faith by transferring to a church where there is true worship, kwim?

As I said earlier, we left a seeker church, and our kids were heartbroken at first because the seeker church entertained them so mightily. But they both agree now, heartily, that our current church teaches the Word, and they prefer the meat. I just don't think the church itself is what will push them from faith or keep them in it - that's all the work of the Lord. :001_smile:


It's funny, I'm the LAST person you would find at a seeker church. I think that they are an unBiblical, secular marketing institution. However, I also think that there is a period during which kids' emotions are very susceptible to upset and during which they are vulnerable from a faith standpoint--roughly late middle school to about age 23. I think that during those years they are the bruised reed and the tender wick, and that things that should leave them resilient do not. Earlier, no problem; but 12-13 and up, stability is really, really important.

Of course, if the teachings themselves are intolerable, that is another story. But if it is a matter of changing focusses within Christianity, I think that the effect on the children has to be considered more so than the spiritual growth of the parents, FOR A TIME.

(Personally, I found my liturgical, medium sized, stodgy, deep thinking church when I was pregnant with DD, thanks be to God. I had been hunting for a while, and really got serious when I was pregnant. So I do not personally have to worry about this, for which I am very grateful. But if I had raised DD in a more seeker church, it would be very hard to tear her away cavelierly right now.)

#24 Jugglin'5

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:55 PM

It's funny, I'm the LAST person you would find at a seeker church. I think that they are an unBiblical, secular marketing institution. However, I also think that there is a period during which kids' emotions are very susceptible to upset and during which they are vulnerable from a faith standpoint--roughly late middle school to about age 23. I think that during those years they are the bruised reed and the tender wick, and that things that should leave them resilient do not. Earlier, no problem; but 12-13 and up, stability is really, really important.

Of course, if the teachings themselves are intolerable, that is another story. But if it is a matter of changing focusses within Christianity, I think that the effect on the children has to be considered more so than the spiritual growth of the parents, FOR A TIME.


Yeah, this is kind of what I was thinking of when I said I could hypothesize a scenario where it might be better not to leave. I think, Melissa, you and dh are the only ones who could answer that question. In our church we have some kids who weathered the change of churches beautifully after the initial shock wore off, and love the theology and worship now. But I do know of one who became somewhat estranged from her parents (though she has healed that somewhat). She never bought "Calvinism", and she didn't have a lot in common with the kids her age at our church. He younger siblings all did fine. It is only fair to say that there were other issues in that family, though.

#25 tinag

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:00 PM

No real wisdom hear, but praying for you. I have been in the same situation.
We did leave a seeker friendly church to attend a 5 point Calvanist church and even though it was hard, it was worth it. Teaching was great and it was nice to be around like minded Christians. I really grew a lot during that time.

#26 LisaNY

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:01 PM

In order to leave a congregation, our family would have to be CLEARLY called by the L-rd to do so. We would also have to be CLEARLY called to another place *beforehand*. We believe that G-d has a specific calling for all believers, and it would make no sense for Him to lead us out of one place without directing us to another. (Unless, for some reason, He makes it *very* clear that we are to be out of community for a time. But, we stand by the "...Do not neglect the fellowship of the believers..." verse.)

Our family believes strongly that we are G-d's servants, and He will put us wherever He wants to so that we can serve Him. With that belief, we are confident that the L-rd will take care of us and give us His leading, guidance, and protection. :001_smile:

#27 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:03 PM

If the children's faith is sincere, they'll only be aided in their faith by transferring to a church where there is true worship, kwim?

As I said earlier, we left a seeker church, and our kids were heartbroken at first because the seeker church entertained them so mightily. But they both agree now, heartily, that our current church teaches the Word, and they prefer the meat. I just don't think the church itself is what will push them from faith or keep them in it - that's all the work of the Lord. :001_smile:


Thanks Jill,

My older boys would not be too terribly distressed as they have outgrown the peer factor. I don't know how my youngest would feel. I mentioned the other church I thought I would like to try and he said that he liked it there the few times he's gone, but isn't sure. This other church has A LOT of homeschooled kids though which I think would be refreshing.

In fact, something he just told me about an hour ago is really bugging me. And this is actually not about the doctrine of the church, but about what kind of children are coming out of the church. He was at youth group (my 11 yo) and a boy skated slowly by on his skate board. My son noticed the board and nicely asked the boy what kind it was. The boy looked at him and said, "Shut up faggot." My son said he, and his friend with him, got a bit ticked and asked the kid what his problem was, that he was just curious about the board because he'd never seen one like it. The kid then said some other foul thing and skated off.

I ask you. Is THAT what I want my son exposed to at church? I have always had a problem with the worldliness of our youth programs. In fact my older two boys never went because they felt it was too worldly and was always geared towards the unchurched with rock-like worship music, etc.. They didn't fit in.

Now I am debating whether to send my youngest...good grief! :001_huh:

#28 Jugglin'5

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:14 PM

Well, if you don't think it would tear his heart out to change, I think it makes the decision MUCH easier.

Thanks Jill,

My older boys would not be too terribly distressed as they have outgrown the peer factor. I don't know how my youngest would feel. I mentioned the other church I thought I would like to try and he said that he liked it there the few times he's gone, but isn't sure. This other church has A LOT of homeschooled kids though which I think would be refreshing.

In fact, something he just told me about an hour ago is really bugging me. And this is actually not about the doctrine of the church, but about what kind of children are coming out of the church. He was at youth group (my 11 yo) and a boy skated slowly by on his skate board. My son noticed the board and nicely asked the boy what kind it was. The boy looked at him and said, "Shut up faggot." My son said he, and his friend with him, got a bit ticked and asked the kid what his problem was, that he was just curious about the board because he'd never seen one like it. The kid then said some other foul thing and skated off.

I ask you. Is THAT what I want my son exposed to at church? I have always had a problem with the worldliness of our youth programs. In fact my older two boys never went because they felt it was too worldly and was always geared towards the unchurched with rock-like worship music, etc.. They didn't fit in.

Now I am debating whether to send my youngest...good grief! :001_huh:



#29 Melissa in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:17 PM

In order to leave a congregation, our family would have to be CLEARLY called by the L-rd to do so. We would also have to be CLEARLY called to another place *beforehand*. We believe that G-d has a specific calling for all believers, and it would make no sense for Him to lead us out of one place without directing us to another. (Unless, for some reason, He makes it *very* clear that we are to be out of community for a time. But, we stand by the "...Do not neglect the fellowship of the believers..." verse.)

Our family believes strongly that we are G-d's servants, and He will put us wherever He wants to so that we can serve Him. With that belief, we are confident that the L-rd will take care of us and give us His leading, guidance, and protection. :001_smile:


You're right Lisa, and I do personally feel He is calling us to a specific church, but I am still not FOR SURE ya now? Is it me that thinks we should go there...or the Lord telling me that? I don't know 'bout you, but He's yet to speak audibly to me. :D That would definitely makes things easier.

Plus, regardless of my thoughts, I really have to wait on my husband...it is his call on if we leave and where we go. He has family that attends that church, and for some reason I don't think he wants to go there with them...even though he TOTALLY agrees with their doctrine and even recommended that church to them when they left their church two years ago.

If the Lords truly wants us there, or somewhere else, he will have to tell my hubby. I do know that he is discontent too. [hubby that is...not the Lord :lol:]

#30 gardening momma

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:25 PM

In order to leave a congregation, our family would have to be CLEARLY called by the L-rd to do so. We would also have to be CLEARLY called to another place *beforehand*. We believe that G-d has a specific calling for all believers, and it would make no sense for Him to lead us out of one place without directing us to another.

I felt that we were being called out of our church, but I did not know what church we were being called to. I was interested in one church, my husband was interested in another. We started by visiting the church my husband was interested in, and I feel strongly that this is where God is calling us to.

#31 Remudamom

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:31 PM

I hope I'm not repeating (too much!) but we did the same thing when we became Calvinistic. We were having to de-progam our children every Sunday. Biting our tongues during sermons. Refusing to let our kids participate in youth groups.

I despise those singy-thingys where you sing the same thing over and over and over and over......whoops, sorry. I want some hymns with some doctrine in em!

We drive 180 miles on Sunday to go to a reformed church. It's absolutely worth it. It's just the only way we can stay sane.

Someone mentioned how it would affect your children. If your kids are going to leave the faith just because you leave a church then it ain't much of a faith IMO. My sister's family lets their little miss dictate where they go to church because they want her to go to church. Guess what? They go to a circus on Sundays, not church.

Find a church you agree with doctrinally. Go there. Eat the cost of gas. Grow. Worship.

#32 LisaNY

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:32 PM

You're right Lisa, and I do personally feel He is calling us to a specific church, but I am still not FOR SURE ya now? Is it me that thinks we should go there...or the Lord telling me that? I don't know 'bout you, but He's yet to speak audibly to me. :D That would definitely makes things easier.

Plus, regardless of my thoughts, I really have to wait on my husband...it is his call on if we leave and where we go. He has family that attends that church, and for some reason I don't think he wants to go there with them...even though he TOTALLY agrees with their doctrine and even recommended that church to them when they left their church two years ago.

If the Lords truly wants us there, or somewhere else, he will have to tell my hubby. I do know that he is discontent too. [hubby that is...not the Lord :lol:]


I forgot to add - It is wonderful, and I think the right thing to have someone in leadership, or someone that you trust to be strong in the L-rd to be accountable to. "In the multitude of counselors there is safety."

#33 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:43 PM

I hope I'm not repeating (too much!) but we did the same thing when we became Calvinistic. We were having to de-progam our children every Sunday. Biting our tongues during sermons. Refusing to let our kids participate in youth groups.

I despise those singy-thingys where you sing the same thing over and over and over and over......whoops, sorry. I want some hymns with some doctrine in em!

We drive 180 miles on Sunday to go to a reformed church. It's absolutely worth it. It's just the only way we can stay sane.

Someone mentioned how it would affect your children. If your kids are going to leave the faith just because you leave a church then it ain't much of a faith IMO. My sister's family lets their little miss dictate where they go to church because they want her to go to church. Guess what? They go to a circus on Sundays, not church.

Find a church you agree with doctrinally. Go there. Eat the cost of gas. Grow. Worship.


It is so weird to agree with your views of worship so heartily and yet disagree about the children.

I certainly don't let 'little miss' dictate where we go to church. However, I went and found a good church before she was born. All I'm saying about the child factor is that for certain ages, moving churches from one that is loved to one that is stern might cause damage and that that should be considered. I have no doubt that at 12 DD would probably rather go to a church with a circus atmosphere and lots of Hannah Montana-like music, but she don't RESENT not going there because it has never been an option. That is very different from a situation where we might be going there now and want to switch.

Our church (very, VERY traditional in worship) added a more or less liturgical praise band service 1 1/2 years ago. We visited it. DH hates it. I don't hate it, but I do like actual hymn content, and don't really feel like I have been to church when I go there--although it does have the same good teaching that the traditional service does. So I told DD that as a family we would always attend the traditional service, and that whenever she also wants to stay for the late service I will stay with her.

But if that was where we had started, it would be an eat your heart out proposition to tear DD away from it, and I think that during the teen years especially, that has to be approached very cautiously.

#34 NevadaRabbit

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:05 PM

It's funny, I'm the LAST person you would find at a seeker church. I think that they are an unBiblical, secular marketing institution. However, I also think that there is a period during which kids' emotions are very susceptible to upset and during which they are vulnerable from a faith standpoint--roughly late middle school to about age 23. I think that during those years they are the bruised reed and the tender wick, and that things that should leave them resilient do not. Earlier, no problem; but 12-13 and up, stability is really, really important.

Of course, if the teachings themselves are intolerable, that is another story. But if it is a matter of changing focusses within Christianity, I think that the effect on the children has to be considered more so than the spiritual growth of the parents, FOR A TIME.


I see what you're saying, Carol, and with both my kids still under 10, I can't agree or disagree with your assertion. :001_smile: However, I am convinced that God will not let His children slip through His fingers, not that we should tempt Him to do so by church-hopping and seeing how far He will reach! Seeker churches run the gamut from "we welcome visitors" (which isn't true Seeker, that's just being friendly) to "we chew it up for you, so you don't have to!" It really must be a case-by-case evaluation of the church and the family in question. But I will continue to assert that sound doctrine and sound teaching must trump the subjective stuff. He will strengthen that bruised reed and fan the smoldering wick into flame, especially when they are bathed in Truth and sincere worship in the midst of a body of true believers. :001_smile:

#35 Jugglin'5

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:08 PM

I see what you're saying, Carol, and with both my kids still under 10, I can't agree or disagree with your assertion. :001_smile: However, I am convinced that God will not let His children slip through His fingers, not that we should tempt Him to do so by church-hopping and seeing how far He will reach! Seeker churches run the gamut from "we welcome visitors" (which isn't true Seeker, that's just being friendly) to "we chew it up for you, so you don't have to!" It really must be a case-by-case evaluation of the church and the family in question. But I will continue to assert that sound doctrine and sound teaching must trump the subjective stuff. He will strengthen that bruised reed and fan the smoldering wick into flame, especially when they are bathed in Truth and sincere worship in the midst of a body of true believers. :001_smile:


Well said.:iagree:

#36 Erica in PA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:17 PM

I hate to admit this, but for several years now I have not looked forward to church. I go because as leaders we are required to attend regularly, and I love the girls we teach on Sunday. But my heart is not there...I am bored by the same sermons said in different ways. OK, got it Pastor...can we dig a bit deeper now? Maybe if you could tell us the history of what was going on at the time the scripture was written we could better understand the meaning? Please? Something deeper...anything? [sigh]




For me, this would be a much stronger reason to leave a church than because of the Reformed issue, fwiw. I would absolutely leave a church if I did not feel the Bible was being taught well. I would be less likely to do so over theological points.

Erica

#37 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:19 PM

I see what you're saying, Carol, and with both my kids still under 10, I can't agree or disagree with your assertion. :001_smile: However, I am convinced that God will not let His children slip through His fingers, not that we should tempt Him to do so by church-hopping and seeing how far He will reach! Seeker churches run the gamut from "we welcome visitors" (which isn't true Seeker, that's just being friendly) to "we chew it up for you, so you don't have to!" It really must be a case-by-case evaluation of the church and the family in question. But I will continue to assert that sound doctrine and sound teaching must trump the subjective stuff. He will strengthen that bruised reed and fan the smoldering wick into flame, especially when they are bathed in Truth and sincere worship in the midst of a body of true believers. :001_smile:


I agree, except the first part of the 'however' sentence.

And a what a great description: 'we chew it up...' heh.

ITA that sound doctrine trumps all, except salvation itself. What a shame that there would ever be a real or perceived conflict between the two.

#38 Tutor

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:23 PM

In order to leave a congregation, our family would have to be CLEARLY called by the L-rd to do so. We would also have to be CLEARLY called to another place *beforehand*. We believe that G-d has a specific calling for all believers, and it would make no sense for Him to lead us out of one place without directing us to another. (Unless, for some reason, He makes it *very* clear that we are to be out of community for a time. But, we stand by the "...Do not neglect the fellowship of the believers..." verse.)

Our family believes strongly that we are G-d's servants, and He will put us wherever He wants to so that we can serve Him. With that belief, we are confident that the L-rd will take care of us and give us His leading, guidance, and protection. :001_smile:




Lica, could you please clarify what you mean by "clearly called by the L-rd"? I hear others use this phrase or discuss this idea of being called to this or that place, action, etc, but I am not sure I understand what that would look like? Is it a feeling, a series of circumstances, randomly flipping the pages of the Bible until landing on a random verse that seems to be speaking to your specific circumstance, or something else? I hope I am not coming across snarky. I am just curious and this seemed like a good opportunity to ask. :D

Melissa, I want to respond to you directly, also (not just hijack :001_smile: ). If your family is reading Scripture and "reading" your current church and seeing a disconnect, then that would be a clear "calling" that you should not be there. As to picking a new church, I like R.C. Sproul's response to a young man who was asking which of 5 women he was interested in should he pursue in marriage. R.C. first asked him, "Are any of them Christians?" The young man responded that two were. R.C. then said, "Then ask the prettier of those two." The same can be applied to church choices, I believe. There are some things that are clearly required of a church in Scripture. If a church preaches the Word unashamedly and uncompromisingly and administers the Sacraments faithfully, takes care of widows and orphans, etc. then it passes the "test." Once you've narrowed down available churches to those that pass the test, then pick the pretty one. Pretty is different for everyone, so only you and your family decide that. Pretty could be determined by distance from home, type of music, types of programs (or lack of programs), size of congregation, racial diversity, etc.

If you can stand another parable... One day two shoe salesmen arrived on an island and they both quickly realized that none of the island's inhabitants wore shoes. One salesman said, "This is a waste of time. No one here needs what I have to offer; I'm going to move on." The other salesman's response was, "What an opportunity! Everyone here needs what I have to offer!" and set up shop on the island. When looking at churches, don't forget to not only look at whether or not you will be encouraged and challenged in your sanctification there (although that is very important), but also look at whether or not your gifts will be useful at a particular place or redundant. And see if there are areas where your gifts could be used where you haven't used them before. For example, you like to work with children and are very organized, but the church already has a children's Sunday School director and teachers (although, realistically, I don't think this happens often :D ). Maybe you could use your talent to introduce children's worship packets that help children participate in the worship service instead of helping in Sunday School as you have done before.

I hope that you will find the peace and worship experience that you are looking for. Many of us have been in your shoes and it can be a difficult and uncomfortable place to be, but it can also be a wonderful opportunity to really examine your spiritual self and focus on God's character and what proper/ true worship of Him looks like. Blessings to you!

#39 Laurie in CA

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:06 PM

We left our church after 24 years, not for doctrinal reasons. Without going into the reasons (it would take days there were so many) we felt like never going to church again. We found a church close to us that has shown great love to our family even though we do have differences in doctrine. We are making the best of it and trying to have a good attitude and not be divisive. We try to find what we have in common and keep our differences to ourselves for the most part. My daughter attends youth group and we have some pretty lively discussions afterward about what we believe. We are not interested in searching anymore because every church we look at has something goofy going on right now with following the latest books, seeker-friendly ideas, and especially emergent influences. I am grateful for stability right now and feeling no pressure whatsoever from these people even after being there 2 years. They actually tolerate our beliefs and are pretty open to discussions and questions. This is rare. The internet has been a great source for us for listening to teachings we agree with and attending church on Sundays for us is for fellowship and corporate worship. Mostly we feel the love of God there and that is very important to us. If you leave your current church, the relationships with those people will be gone. That was our experience even though I homeschooled with many of them. But we found relationships can be made with new people and that has been rewarding too.

#40 VaKim

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:36 AM

I hope I'm not repeating (too much!) but we did the same thing when we became Calvinistic. We were having to de-progam our children every Sunday. Biting our tongues during sermons. Refusing to let our kids participate in youth groups.

I despise those singy-thingys where you sing the same thing over and over and over and over......whoops, sorry. I want some hymns with some doctrine in em!

We drive 180 miles on Sunday to go to a reformed church. It's absolutely worth it. It's just the only way we can stay sane.

Someone mentioned how it would affect your children. If your kids are going to leave the faith just because you leave a church then it ain't much of a faith IMO. My sister's family lets their little miss dictate where they go to church because they want her to go to church. Guess what? They go to a circus on Sundays, not church.

Find a church you agree with doctrinally. Go there. Eat the cost of gas. Grow. Worship.


Great post! As to the driving part, we did that for over a year, and while the church was great, we were still "outsiders" after all that time because we just could not be an actual part of the lives of the people there, living so far away. We found that all we were really getting from it was a good sermon, which we can get on the internet, and we couldn't give anything, which is what was really sad.

Even at that though, we may start doing it again, simply to be with people who worship the same God we do, even if only for a couple hours once a week. I really am missing it now.

As to the thing with kids, the way I see it, we are the parents and make all major decisions for our kids. If we don't fret about it, they won't either. And they never have. Whatever we say is fine with them. They know we know what is best for them. And in the end, we are the ones responsible for how we raise them and what we expose them to. Also, to have my kids sitting under what we consider false teaching would not be doing a thing for their faith. As someone else has said, it is God who saves.

If your kids are going to leave the faith just because you leave a church then it ain't much of a faith IMO.

Amen!!


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