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Switch to Forum Live View 'Look the other Way' - type Churches
7 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 11:17AM #1
Lily05
Posts: 24
I am new to the forum stuff but I would like to know if anyone has had a similar experience and what they did about it. 
My church of 31 years where I attended since my physical birth  and joined at my spiritual birth, has developed such a "look the other way" attitude about everything.  The pastor of the last 10 years is not very active in doing thing for or with the church and is very active in speaking derogatory about everyone else in the church, so that many people have moved away or have stopped doing anything for the church as well.  The pastor admits to not being "much of a visitation person" - I'll say he did not visit the acting head deacon when he had a heart attack and does no visitation to witness to community persons.  He did not attend seminary, although a requirement on hiring was that he would continue to work on his degree (he dropped out soon thereafter and nobody will make the stand to hold him to his word).  Most of his sermons are off-the-cuff and about what he did the day before and how  his latest sinful episode will be forgiven since he has admitted it to the congregation - yes he used a sermon to admit to an affair.  Now, I understand that he has many problems that need to be addressed - however, my biggest concern is that the people in the church are ok with letting him continue to do these things.  Many of the members are just going because they are set in that church, but there is no love there.  My husband and I tried many times to get people motivated (not even addressing the pastor, but just in Bible study etc) but we were spoken so poorly of for going against the blah-ness that we finally had to move. 
Now we are in a fabulous church that has such a wonderful base in Bible teachings - it has worked out great for us but I still feel guilty about leaving "my" church.   
Sorry for my rantings.  Any thoughts?
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 12:26PM #2
Anesis
Posts: 1,542
Lily05, it is good to have you here! Welcome!

I'm a little surprised about the congregation allowing this to continue - in nearly every church I've been to, there has been discipline for the pastors, if the pastor was caught in sin. They were not necessarily fired, but there were consequences. One of the problems I believe is that many Christians assume that if they simply apologize for their sin, they will not have to deal with consequences of that sin. This is very untrue. Also, there is a huge difference between apology and repentance. True repentance is a godly sorrow that leads to a complete change of action. Apology leaves room to do it again.

In your previous church, it is important that someone confronts the board and holds THEM accountable for the man they hired. The board hired the pastor with a condition attached. The condition was not met, and so the board should be held accountable to THEIR end of the agreement, which it seems to me would be to release him from employment if he did not meet the condition of employment within the given time. The board should also be aware of what is going on in the church with regards to why people are leaving. Are they so set in their church that there is no room for risk? If they keep this man, eventually what will happen is that the whole congregation will either die or leave, and that will leave the pastor and the board. Will they be able to keep their church alive? If they are aware of why people are leaving, they can be sensitive to the needs of the church and go out of their way to meet those needs. If the church needs a pastor who is more inclined socially, then they need to find a pastor who will meet that need.

My personal opinion is that I have trouble with pastors who are not qualified. What if someone wanted to get married? That pastor would not be able to officiate! I personally want to attend a church where I know that the pastor(s) are qualified, having spent so many years immersed in biblical and theological studies. I once went to a church where the pastor told my dad how 'hot' I was - after he had told me that if he were not married already, he would ask me out. I left the church and found another one where the pastor loved his wife! That was the church I grew up in - although a relatively new pastor.

Your first loyalty is to God and to his will. I think it was in Blackaby's "Experiencing God" study, who said that to know we are in God's will, we should look around us and see where God is working, and then join him there. It seems to me that is what you did. You saw that God was not working in your church, you looked around for one where he was working and being preached, and you went to join him there in that work. Although you may grieve for a while about leaving the church you had attended for so many years, you are in a place now that seeks to glorify God. It sounds to me like in the other church, the pastor only sought to fill his own needs.

Really think about your 'guilt'. Is it really guilt, or is it grief? If it is guilt, repent and go back (but I caution you on that), and if it is grief, then allow yourself the time to mourn the loss of something that had been such a huge part of your life, even to your childhood. It's okay to miss it, and to feel sad about it. It's even okay to feel mad about what happened! And you can use that as a motivator as well, by perhaps bringing it not to the old pastor's attention, but to the board's attention.

An
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 2:37PM #3
Lily05
Posts: 24
Thanks An,
I think you are right - more grief than guilt.  I really feel bad for everyone who is still there - so many have expressed that they hate going to church now, but they still won't leave or "cause waves".  The church is very small and the deacons (who are the primary leaders at that church) won't call for his resignation.  I pray that God will do something soon, as I have many family members there.
Again, thanks for your help.
L.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2007 - 1:16PM #4
mas21
Posts: 24
Hi

I have been in a similar situation, when the minister was first called to the church it was as a student and he was very good for the church, but after he qualified he changed and started to build a group around himself, he 'chose' the deacons and did not let anyone who might confront him stand for election, he would tell them it was not 'God's' calling for them. I was child protection officer for the church and he refused to comply  with the policy. When I confronted him about this he made accusations about me. He has also done the same to others who have disagreed with him. I tried to continue going to the church but was made to feel very uncomfortable, and it was not helping my faith. I am now a member at an amazing church where I am growing spiritually and am really happy.
At first I felt that I should have stayed at the church, but now I know that it was right for me to put my relationship with God first
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2007 - 6:07PM #5
Anesis
Posts: 1,542
Thanks for sharing, Mas21. It's hard to leave a church you have strong ties to! But you hit the nail on the head - you need to put your relationship with God before your loyalty to a church, especially when that church has started to do things that do not line up with scripture.

I'm glad you found a great place to go!
An
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2007 - 6:13PM #6
Anesis
Posts: 1,542
Lily,
You said, "....so many have expressed that they hate going to church now, but they still won't leave or "cause waves"."

I don't like to cause waves either - I seek peace, sometimes at a heavy price. However, it's important to look at the prophets of old, and what they did. Who was it - I forget - that went to King David and exposed his sin? What about people like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or some of the others who did make waves. Why did they do it? Because they were not there for their own glory, but for God's - and sometimes his glory comes at our expense. It's a terrible thing to say, but if there is no one to make waves, the sin in leadership will never be exposed, and the church will ultimately be destroyed.

That is not to say you should be the one, but you might know of someone else who is confident in the Lord to do that - one who is a modern day prophet - fearless to make waves - even big ones.

Blessings.
An
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