This journey my family and I have been on for over a year, searching for a new church, has been a long and grueling one. As I’ve said before, there have been a lot of mistakes made on my part.
I don’t know why I’m having a difficult time letting go of the past. I guess it was because we had so much wrapped up in our last church. It was our life. It was where all of our friends were at. It was where all of our time and life was spent. It was where what we thought was God’s plans for our life were going to be fulfilled.
It was where we were tossed to the side like yesterday’s trash.
We first came to the church because my wife came to know the pastor’s wife through my daughter’s kindergarten class at school. In other words there was a friendship developed outside the church first. We were never invited to the church, and looking back, we had to even do a little research to find out which church her husband pastored.
Once we started attending this church, we were hooked. The pastor was a good teacher. He preached through certain books of the bible expository style. Just the way proper teaching of God’s word should be. In fact, when the pastor went overseas on mission trips he taught expository preaching techniques to foreign bible school students.
Over time this expository preaching style changed to more of a topical style. This main topic of preaching, of course, became a “Fulfill God’s Destiny For Your Life” subject nearly every Sunday for about 3 years. During that same time the pastor stopped Sunday schools, Sunday evening services, and Wednesday night Bible study. Outside of his Sunday morning preaching or his pre-taped DVD’s for home group use, there was no longer any group Bible teaching.
The youth group and children’s ministries had turned into nothing more than games and candy giveaways. There was absolutely no biblical messages at all. It was this more than anything that caused my wife and I to know it was time to go. My kids weren’t getting fed at all.
Before I made the decision to leave, I had a meeting with the pastor. Keep in mind we were personal friends. We had done much outside church with each other. We had gone on a mission trip together to the Republic of Georgia south of Russia. We homeschooled our kids together.
First off I asked the pastor if we were ever going to return to Sunday school or Wednesday Bible study or any other form of systematic Bible study. He informed me that was so “old fashioned” and now days people weren’t making decisions for Christ that way. It was through relationships that people made decisions for Christ and we were going to head in a more “serving the community” direction instead of studying the Bible.
Never before had we ever had cross words. At all. But after about a 45 minute monologue of his vision for the church I was asked to leave. Just like that. It hit me like a ton of bricks. In fact it didn’t really register until I got home exactly what he had told me.
Over time there have many good solid families that have had similar discussions with the pastor. All personal friends of the pastor and all have been asked to leave. The church has been emptied of its leadership. I can only guess that’s the way he wanted it all along.
I give all of this previous story for this: on the Gospel Driven Church Blog I ran across this post here called 10 Simple Things Good Pastors Say describing what a good pastor is like. We’ve ran across a lot of pastors this past year. You can see the ones that like the spotlight. The ones that like to control the attention. They’re the ones that like to use stories and a lot of illustrations in their preaching. The good ones get right to the scriptures without a lot of flamboyant excess.
I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever find a place to settle. I don’t know. I do know one thing, however, I can’t take another narcissistic pastor who puts no preeminence on the systematic preaching through scripture. I guess that’s getting harder to find the closer we get to Jesus’ return. I guess it’ll only get worse.
Again, take a look at this article linked here. It’s pretty good.