On the way out

We’ve decided to stop going to our church. Man, it’s been such a difficult decision – church shouldn’t cause this much stress! It just comes to a point where there’s so much weighing on you and you have to make a decision. We’ve been to so many churches in our married life and we really wanted to stick this one out. And we just couldn’t. Really we’re not leaving our church; our church left us. The whole entire pastoral staff is different than when we started going there. It’s a totally different place. And it’s really a lot more painful that I thought it would be.

So we’re left trying to figure out where we should be now. Although my bad experiences with church outweigh the good ones, I still feel it’s important (oh, how I wish I didn’t.) But I’m not going to play church anymore. I want something real. Church isn’t meant to be a place that does nothing but make you feel guilty and unwelcome. It should be just the opposite: accepting (really accepting) people for WHO. THEY. ARE. and accepting them with open arms.

There’s a few things I need and I don’t want to compromise on those anymore. (In order of importance.)

1. A church that is doing something BIG in the community. What is the point of church if it’s so totally inwardly focused that it doesn’t see the needs of the community around it? Feeding the homeless is WAY more Gods work than preaching a lengthy sermon.

2. A sense of community. I need to feel like I’m wanted and loved and like I belong. I don’t want to be another face in the crowd. I want to pour my heart into it, but I want to know that when I need something, it will be there for me too.

3. A safe, fun, organized place for my kids. (You’d be surprised how hard this is to come by.)

4.God. I see a trend in the post-modern church, and it kind of scares me. People come to church because they want God, and when they listen to the sermon and a Bible is not cracked open once, it makes me think that they’re not getting what they need. (I put this fourth because I can get this on my own. But I want a church that values the word of God above all else.)

5. I don’t even know if this belongs on the list, but it is really important to me. I want a pastor who respects my time. I think it is possible to preach a fantastic sermon in 30 minutes. The average adult doesn’t even have an attention span much longer than that. I find it to be disrespectful to keep a congregation sitting there for 2 hours.

I could probably add a lot more, but these are the deal breakers. Now I have to go about finding this imaginary place…. and isn’t that going to be fun…..

Category: church/spiritual beliefs 16 comments »

16 Responses to “On the way out”

  1. Becky

    I understand what you are talking about. I totally get what you are saying, especially when it comes to the kiddos. These are all issues I have been dealing with throughout the last couple of years. In my ladies bible study we have been doing a book called The Bait of Satan and it has helped me tremendously. I just thought I’d mention it, it might help you out.

  2. Becky

    By the way, I really enjoy your blog! Thanks!

  3. Jill

    So sorry… I’m sure you’ll find the right church. We’ve been so shocked after movign how hard it can be to find the “right” church. But God has a place for us all and I’ll pray that He leads you four to just the perfect place for you.

  4. neurochic

    I still miss the temple I went to years ago when I lived in Pittsburgh. I’ve found one that is okay here, but not as great as that one was, so I don’t go as often and I’ve tried others that were just so wrong for me.

    Good luck finding a new church that meets your needs. It can feel so lonely when you’re without a comfy spiritual home.

  5. sarahgrace

    Here, here! Sister. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  6. Brooke

    At least you know what you are looking for and want in a church. Now the hard part…finding one that meets that criteria. Keep believing that God has a place for you, and praying you will know it when you get there….

  7. Heidi

    We had problems in our church too. The old say of “There is no business like church business”!! is sooooooo true. The only advice I can give you, is that to make a church what you want is to get involved. Change it from the inside. Maybe God is trying to lead you to be the “active” one and to take a big lead on the things that are important to you. I dont mean to sound like a know-it-all, I’m just speaking from experience. This happened in our church and we had to change it.

    I think that paster should respect a persons time, but when our pastor gets long winded – I try to think of why Jesus wants me to hear this. Not that he always does either!!!! :) :):)
    Hang in there and we will pray for you.

  8. LeAnne

    Church church church. It’s so hard to find what you want. The church I most recently belonged to and left is still, years later a source of sharp resentment in my heart. When I was getting separated from my husband, the mothers’ group stopped including me in close conversations, playdates outside of church, etc. etc. NO ONE asked EVER how I was doing, whether I needed help with my kids, whether I needed a friend, NOTHING. I think that church should be a place like you said, where you pour yourself into it but that when you need it, it’s there for you too. (You meaning your whole family and kids etc.) Also, my pastor drove a BMW 700 Series and his kids were going to Ivy League schools and I was scraping by to pay the bills. Something was not right there. I am hoping you and Jim and the kids truly find what you are looking for!

  9. Bee

    I couldn’t agree more about shortening the sermons! Some of the best services I’ve been to have been the shortest.

  10. alex

    I don’t got to church anymore I haven’t since my father died he was a priest. I have looked since then for something different but still spiritaul. I haven’t found it. I hope you find that community. I wish I was able to instead I do my own things from home and hope that it is enough.

  11. kat

    i say that if you can’t preach it in 15 minutes or less then it doesn’t need to be said. actually i’m studying to be a minister and have been practicing lots of 5-minute sermons.

    good luck on finding a new church. it can be so difficult to find a conscious and functional religious community.

  12. kelli

    You need to move here. We have plenty of churches that fit your criteria! :0) I know what you mean :0)

  13. Candice

    The biggest thing that going to a christian college taught me: the “church” as we know it is a political body. And the church that is referred to in the bible is the body of christ, the fellowship. It’s not a building or an agenda or a pastor. We too have had the same problems. For instance I can’t keep giving money to better a BUILDING. I want to give my money and see it go to feed and cure people in need. I don’t need to mix my politics and religion. And I am not interested in being more christian than the next person, or judging someone. But all I find at churches, and sorry if I offend, is a whole lot of hypocrites. It affected my views for a long time. And then I decided that it wasn’t my faith or the bible or this idea, it was these PEOPLE. It has been tough to find the right people. But when you do, you will know it!

  14. Elaine

    I’m not really a religious person, but I think we all yern for a place where we feel supported and like we’re part of a community. I hope you find it soon!

  15. Sarah E.

    I have to say that I would vote against staying and trying to be an agent of change in a community that has made it clear that they want to be as they are. I can think of little else that would be more futile or more painful. Even the Holy Spirit waits for openness of heart before working change.

    I think you are right on with what you want in a church. Even if a church has an open atmosphere, you could bring some of these things in later, such as an outreach to the poor.

  16. pretendingsanity » today, on this day of matzo eating, I have a thought or two

    […] 2. If we go back to church, we’d actually have to find a church that we both like. This has proven to be no easy feat. I’ve got my list of things I want in a church and I think that Jim mostly agrees with them. But even so, agreeing on a church will be… difficult, if nothing else. But I think this all boils down to thought #3. […]

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