This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

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This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by exo152 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:12 pm

Almost a year ago my husband and I stepped down from 20-plus years of ministry. We knew it was to be a season of rest for us. But the church we started attending almost a year ago is a hard place for us to attend. It is a thirty minute drive from our home, it is larger than we are used to and the people are either cliquey, unfriendly or just uncaring. After a year of attending this church, the pastor still does not know my name, his wife has never said anything to me, no hi, bye or anything in between. The only people who speak to us are the greeters when we walk in the door (unless they are conversing with each other, which does happen a lot!). We just attended a weekend of special services and had no interaction with anyone other than each other the whole time we were there.
We have tried to find a different church. But the Holy Spirit will not release us from this place. We both keep getting a quiet "stay put in this place" every time we pray about it. Our oldest son has already bailed, stating the unfriendly factor and is now faithfully attending a Baptist church in our community. Our younger son refuses to go to the children's church and sits with us through services, saying that the children's church is difficult and the kids are unfriendly.
I have to say, it isn't just us "getting our feelings hurt". We were in ministry for over twenty years, worked in all kinds of churches....big, small, city, country, etc. This is the coldest church we have ever attended. It feels like attending church in a shopping mall---very impersonal. The pastor continually is having to beg for workers, and there have been things said when they are promoting special services; "don't accuse this church of being unfriendly if you aren't coming out to the special services, that is how you connect".......well, we've been to them, we have tried to be open and friendly ourselves, but it is as if we are invisible. So now we go, we worship, we receive from the preaching of the word (both of which are excellent) and then we go home. We try not to make eye-contact, because no one else is. There are groups that are standing around talking and laughing, but there are just as many who are walking out the door with their heads down.
Please just pray that whatever the reason God will not release us from this place, that He will reveal it to us. And if we are there to pray and intercede for these people, that God will show us what we need to know! Thank you and God Bless!!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Daisy on Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:40 pm

Hi Exo!! Im so sorry to hear about this!!! Please pray on what Im about to say and toss if its not a fit. Perhaps, you could set up a meeting with the pastor and discuss these things with him. I wonder if you are not being 'released' yet, because someone needs to be communicated to about how you guys feel (and others who might be intimidated to communicate this issue). Maybe your not being released, bc God wants you be an active part of changing the culture of this church before he leads you elsewhere. Especially with you guys being in leadership for so long, you know how important a warm and welcoming feel is to the growth and thriving of a church body. If you come to the pastor in the spirit of meekness, love and concern for the other members as well, I cant see how he wouldnt hear you out. Perhaps, when you go to the pastor you could also have some ideas on hand for him to help the church in this area. Also, since you are experiencing this first hand, you know how hurtful this feels when its not easy to get connected for people. Maybe you and your husband might even consider praying about being on a committee, or starting up a program within this church to help get people connected. As you said, there are just as many walking out the door with their heads down as there are of those fellowshipping and enjoying themselves not caring about those walking out unconnected. Maybe you guys could start up a once a month event/gathering for those who long to get better connected. Those who are already connected may not feel the need to come, but those who long for this like you would probably LOVE to find others to connect with!! Just some ideas...plz pray on these things...

Also, I just came from a church that I was committed to for ten years. After being involved heavily with the church body, its so hard to go somewhere else and to feel that level of comfort. We just had an event that there were many people from our old church there, and it was like a family reunion! I cried when I got in the car bc I miss that feeling of 'family' and 'comfort' that being connected can bring. We are still in search of our new church home, and have it narrowed down to two different ones. I have to remind myself that it took ten years of effort to build those relationships, and that feeling of comfort and connection doesnt happen overnight. Be encouraged, if your meant to stay there, God will bring those right connections to you that are needed. I will be praying for you to have the wisdom and grace to handle this situation.

I hope something helps. Bless You praying


Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by dreamster on Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:39 pm

nerd hi exo, Flower Power,,i sure relate 2 wat ur experianceing an feeling,, and i can understand your wanting 2 leave,, to be blunt, ive had way more frendlyness wiv my non beleava frends ,,i can only summise that you kud be the cattalyst for change ther,,i know about the ''in group ''thing,, ther must be a reason for this major issue,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, d,,,

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by exo152 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:46 am

Thank you so much for the prayers and comments. I do not mean to belittle this pastor or this church. I will say they have excellent worship and ministry of the word and there are souls saved quite often. So the work of the ministry is being done. The pastor does seem to be a man of humility, but there also seems to be a thick wall around him and only a select few are given access. Not that we are wanting him or his wife to shower us with attention. We do not. We actually are not seeking that at all. However, to be on a first name basis (or an any name basis) with just a couple or two of the lay persons would go a long way. My husband and I are workers, always have been, but when we do not feel connected it is hard to want to volunteer. And when our son, who had attended the children's classes faithfully, both Sunday and Wednesday night, suddenly quit going after five months, no one from the children's department contacted us. No one stopped us in the foyer (when we walked right by them, our son in tow) to ask him where he'd been or to say they'd missed him. It just has a really weird feel.......like they are distantly polite but really do not want us there? Anyway, God has not released us and we are going anyway, to worship Him, to connect with Him, and to continue to pray for them.
I did have a dream about this church last fall, about the musicians stacking their instruments against the stage and leaving while the pastor was preaching through an opaque curtain.
Thanks again for the prayers!!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Deborah on Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:04 pm

Boy, I can relate!!!! I was in a church like that about five years and very little changed in that time as far as the church warming up to me and my family. I lived 45 miles away so it was hard getting involved with the church although I did help with praise and worship and my husband was on the board of trustees. In one year I lost two sisters one to a suicide (probably a murder), I had a cancer scare, I suffered such excruciating back pain I couldn't sit stand or walk much for the next three years, my dog died...well it was a really bad year and I had very little if any support from my church. I felt like an outsider. Eventually my family and I found a home church. I really think the unfriendly church experience was a test of our obedience and being able to empathize with those in similar situations.

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by exo152 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:45 pm

Wow! Thank you Deborah! That really makes sense to me. We actually attended a similar church for a short time before we took a senior pastor position ten years ago. Although at that church we did have a good relationship with the pastor, but everyone else was frigid. Our oldest son quit the children's church at that one and I remember him telling me when we took the pastor position that he was going to make sure no child felt like he did at the other church. He personally took it upon himself to make the children coming to our new church feel welcome and important. He did an amazing job too!! If you can imagine a ten year old child being his own little welcoming committee for the new kids!! We ended up having an awesome children's ministry at that church....
And I can also relate about the bad year.....sick, elderly parents, son in a car wreck, financial stress, etc. Out of all of that the only thing the pastor really knew anything about was our son's accident. And that was because his former girlfriend saw his friend's post on fb about it and notified the pastor.
And I believe you are right about learning to empathize with others in similar situations. Thanks again!!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Deborah on Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:24 pm

You're welcome! I can tell a similar story about my own son. At the home church two teenage boys there ignored my 10-year-old. David vowed he'd always be as nice as he could to younger people and I can say he's demonstrated that sensitivity for 12 years now. When he was working on his Eagle Scout project his 15 helpers were all younger than him and eager to help their hero. So see? Good fruit can come out of rejection. The enemy didn't win and let's not let him win in your current situation OK?
On behalf of the body of Christ I ask your forgiveness for the way your church is treating you and your family and others in your church. I ask everyone who reads these experiences to be especially sensitive to the new people who cross your path, not only in church but out in the world too. It's amazing what something as simple as a smile can do.

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Deborah on Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:27 pm

hee hee Me, practicing what I'm preaching. lol!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Dove-Solutions on Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:55 am

Amen Deborah and couldn't agree more!

Love in Jesus,

Connie


~Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Himand He will direct your path.~ Proverbs 3:5-6

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Cholette on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:39 pm

I've been waiting to respond to this because I also have some experience in this. I agree with what Daisy is saying and you have to make sure that if you are to stay there to be an example or to help in any capacity, that you get instructions from the Lord on what you are supposed to be doing there.

When I was in my turmoil at the church I was apart of for 20 years, the hard times lasted for an entire year, but my circumstance involved verbal abuse. The pastor and his wife were very verbal abusive to me. I was the church administrator and the pastor that hired me was quickly taken out of the church by the "head" pastor, who was over 18 different churches. I was devastated and so was the church, but they brought in this inexperienced pastor and wife to take over and t hey came in with very haughty spirits, yet they were the most insecure. DUring this time, the Lord kept telling me that I needed to be still and know that he was God. I didn't understand because if I'm being told ANYTHING contrary to the Word of God then that should be my sign to leave, but He wouldn't let me go. One night the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night and led me to read the story of Mordecai and Haman. If you know the story, Haman set up this plan to hang Mordecai on a gallow, but in the end, he was the one who hung and died.

It wasn't until the next day that I realized why God led me to that story. It was to prepare me for what was to happen next. They said they were going to lay me off and the reasons they were giving me were lies and I knew it. It was to make me look bad in front of everyone else. God told me through a song that was playing on the radio BEFORE I went into the meeting that "It's not over until GOD says it's over". To make a long story short...6 months later, the pastor and his wife were let go for the exact reasons why they wanted people to know why I was being let go. God is faithful because he restored my name and didn't allow the people within the church who were hearing lies about me to believe them. My character had already been established in that church so anything that they were told, God wouldn't let them believe.

I finally left the church, but I couldn't leave until my life was vindicated. had I left when I wanted, I believe my character would have been tarnished and the people who asked me how did I last through all of that, were able to see God in a whole new way.

God doesn't intend for us to be abused, but He will lead us down paths that are hard to deal with only to bring us out better than before. This is why I say, make sure you are hearing God correctly if He's telling you to stay and make sure you have your instructions on WHY you are supposed to stay. My reason was for a few good people...your's may be too or even for the entire church.

I'm a firm believer that if the people are mean and rude, it's rooted in the heart of the Pastor. There is a scripture that says that the oil runs from the head, down to the beard and then down to the hem of the garment. Whatever the head is doing, so does the body. I know it may appear that the Pastor may be humbled, but you would see fruit of that in the people within the church. It's not a judgement, it's the Word. Being in leadership is a whole different ball game because whatever is in your heart, the people will struggle with. I use to have a pastor friend who was an adulterer. I pleaded with him to repent to the Lord, but he didn't. Do you know that the marriages in his church began to break up and it was all due to ADULTRY! He was eventually put out of the church and now that church is thriving.

I will pray for you because I feel your pain...believe me, I do. If God tells you to stay then you will have to love the "unloveable". Keep pouring your love to them no matter what their response is. Remember that love NEVER fails and it's not love until you can love those who don't deserve it. Jesus is our best example of that.


Do not fight FOR victory, but fight FROM THE PLACE of victory. Jesus has ALREADY won the battle!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by exo152 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:17 pm

Thank you so much Cholette!! You know after I posted this prayer request, I really judged myself harshly, feeling like I was sounding like a big baby! But your post helped so much. We have been in these kind of hard places before and always in the past I felt like it was a learning experience, that I was learning things that would help me in ministry. And every time they did. When we pastored the main comment we got from visitors was how warm and friendly and "family" our church felt. But this time is different. We are so to the bone tired, not burned out, just so tired. We are in that place that if God never calls us back to ministry, we will still be happy and serve him wherever we are at. But, I do feel like we are needing some real ministry from the church we are attending. My husband met this pastor the first Sunday we attended the church. He let him know we were in a resting place and felt called to rest at his church. He was kind, prayed with my husband, then made a comment that kind of stuck with me. He made a big deal about being where God wanted us to be, and if it was there, then fine, and if it wasn't that we would find the place. He made it sound like he really didn't feel we shouldn be in his church. He also made this comment a few times from the pulpit after that; basically that he was praying that everyone there was in the place God wanted them, if not at his church, then in the right place for them. It did make me wonder. And the man has never really acknowledged us since. I am definitely praying that God show us the reasons he wants us there!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by Cholette on Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:32 pm

I'm so happy! The church family is so important and if it's not quite coming together, it can be quite hurtful.

May I share something with you that I heard while reading your response? The gifts and Calling of God is without repentance. God doesn't call you and then change his mind. You and your husband are still ministers and will go back to ministry. I see you in a holding pattern...that thing that the airplanes does when it circles in the sky until the conditions on the runway are good enough for it to land. What's in my heart for you is that God is preparing the right set of circumstances for the two of you to go back. You've poured and poured out to others, but nothing has been poured back in. Take this season to restore yourselves. If you can't get it from your church right now, get into prayer together and cry out to the Lord and ask Him to fill you up again. I really feel like God is going to refresh the two of you and when he does, you will hear him more clearly and you will feel the leading of the Holy Spirit in this season. What God is putting in you is what you will be pouring into the people you are encountering at the church. I even see the two of you sowing prophetic seeds into the hearts of the people there. The scripture I hear is Psalm 107:20 "He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions" I really feel that the word of healing is in the mouths of the two of you for that ministry. God loves them and they are in a bad state. One by one I see the two of you pouring words that heal...including the Pastor.

Seek God like never before in this hour...I truly believe that your ministry is getting ready to go to another level. I also see another level coming in your marriage.


Do not fight FOR victory, but fight FROM THE PLACE of victory. Jesus has ALREADY won the battle!

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Re: This church is driving us nuts!! Need prayer!!

Post by exo152 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:53 pm

Thank you Cholette! I receive that!! May God bless you abundantly!!

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