Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the great church search.........

 My friends probably rolled their eyes upon seeing the title of this post.

 It's a never ending problem for me. I am never happy for many years in the church I go to. A Mormon friend even wondered if maybe she needed to send the missionaries to talk to me. Nah. :) I wonder why I do this? I know that sometimes, it's simply God calling me to move on, while at other times I'd just really like to know why I don't like the church.

 I'm actually a little bit disgusted with the pastor of the church I've been going to. He took over the helm probably two years ago, and has done a good job. In fact, I'd say that he has done a fantastic job in many respects. When you look at him though, you sense that he's going to turn the church into the Crystal Cathedral. I just get that sense and always have. He denigrated the word pastor once, which was odd, but he gave a great explanation for it. He did something recently though that made me know that it's time to move on once again. A black man in the church would always praise God out loud during the service. It never bothered me, but apparently it bothered someone. He was told to stop praising God out loud because he was too distracting......

 I find that sad and morally reprehensible that a church would tell someone that. I don't believe that said black man (who is now at a different church) is making it up either. If you looked at the pastor, you'd sense that he'd put someone up to telling him that.

 And there are other things about the church also that get me feeling that it's time to move on. I won't lie. I really hate this. I wish I could be one of those people that could stay at a church until I die. It just never works out that way for me though.

 I attended this church for the first time when I was in college, as it's across the street from my alma mater. It provided a great need for me spiritually and also had a humongous College group. The college group was 700 strong, and we broke off and formed our own church where I was baptized as an adult and really strengthened my faith. I became disenchanted with the church though a few years after we broke off. It was a myriad of reasons, actually. The head pastor (whom I love, mind you) must have been going through something because every message had him in tears. And then 9/11 came.......

 The British assistant pastor gave the message after 9/11 and I was shocked when he said that Americans were too concerned about themselves! I actually walked out of church when I heard him say that. Yes, I was that mad. I e-mailed him the next day and asked why he would say that. I felt that was just plain wrong after such a horrific event. The pastor was shocked that I was upset and attached his message to the e-mail so that I could read it. I did-and the words were still there. We agreed to disagree and I felt that I could not go back to a church where in my opinion, my country was being denigrated. So, I went back to the church we broke off from. It's really sad to see this church now. It's a shell of its former self and is on its third name change. Friends of mine who had moved told me that they completely supported and understood why I went back to the church we broke off from. They said that if they wouldn't have moved that they would have joined me back at the church we broke off from, as did a lot of other people.

 So, I went back to the church we broke off from and it felt right.  I joined a singles group that was just the right size for me, and I am friends with many of these people to this day. I joined the women's group also and really felt my walk strengthen. And then, many people in the singles group began to get married and the pastor for our group seemed to lose his zeal. I began to flake and wouldn't go on Sundays. Something told me to move on. Again.......

 I started going to the singles group at another big church in the same city. The guy who ran it was great. I made friends again and I enjoyed the preaching in the evening services. And then, the evening services went away, our meeting locations changed and I just broke away. Only one person cared to call me or come over to see me. And I went back to the other church down the street again. This is really laughable, isn't it?! 

 By this time, the current pastor had taken over and everyone was loving him. The church had even helped me out with something that I won't mention. I was grateful, to put it mildly. I keep going, but honestly, I just don't feel a connection there anymore. 

 One of my neighbors and also someone that I went to one of the singles groups with suggested a church a few cities away. I said why not. My neighbor made a lot of friends in this group before getting married and loved it. Nice church, nice building, but the leadership core actually did some things that the pastor got mad at them about-in front of everybody. Even though the activities were great, I just really got the sense that there was no spirit in the group. I felt that it was just a big cattle call.

 One positive thing I have done is stayed in the same small group since January. :) This group is part of one of the former singles groups I was in and I love them all. We are about the same age and I am just so happy to do life with them. And yes, we are all in different churches!

 So.... once again, I search. Am I just not searching for a good, consistent bible believing church but am going to church for only the singles group? Am I making decisions too quickly about church and then regretting them later? I wonder about that. I am praying to God to show me the way and help me not just be at a church for a few years and up and move again.

 How do you all know when you have found a good church to attend?


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