Rod's Church Experiences
Thanks for a web site that really addresses my problems.
Well, where do we start?? It seems like so much has happened and I find it hard to find a place to begin. I have just left an abusive church that I was very much involved with. And by no means am I trying to gossip or start "talking" about other people. I just really need to spill my guts and find someone that can relate to me.
I have grown up in church basically; my step father was a pastor. He ended up getting another woman pregnant and leaving the church and his family. This man was like my paternal father to me. He walked out one day, never to be seen or spoke to again. That was 20 years ago. I began a life of drugs and crime to escape the pain and support the habit.
Needless to say, Jesus brought me back, to do a great work for Him. All that I have wanted to do is get involved and do something for God. I am a peaceful person, I believe in hearing people out, and I always give the benefit of the doubt. I hate to see people hurt and I hold family values high.
Anyway, I ended up getting involved in one church when I was 16. This church had gone through some things and the church purchased some land, but through the move they lost a third of the congregation. So things were going somewhat well. The church needed people to work and I was prime for working. I played the piano and they put me in charge of the youth group. Seeing that God had done a miraculous thing in me, and cleaning me up from the street, they saw it fitting that I would help influence the other young people.
Well a few years went by, the pastor was arrested for soliciting a prostitute, and the church went from 150 people to 40. I stayed, basically because I didn't know any better. I was quoted scripture about what God was doing and not to lean on the understanding of man.
Well, financial hard times hit the church, and they had people sign their homes away so the church could purchase property to build homes and resell and the profit would help support the church. All in the name of God. I am really skipping over a lot of detail, but I'm sure you get the gist. At that time I had a girlfriend in the church. Her father was in the church, and he used to be a pastor, until he got involved with another woman and then decided that God had spoken to him to start a church.
By the way, my girlfriend and her father and his new wife, half his age, were all going to this church. So my girlfriend's father asks me if I would leave the church and help him start a church. Play the piano for him and some other stuff. He would get the benefit of having his family there with him. Well let me tell you, leaving this one church caused soooooo many problems.
I could not tell who was telling me the truth. I would go to my pastor, he would tell me that my girlfriend's father is out of the will of God, and then proceed to tell me things that would just smear his name for leaving and starting a church. I mean everything from, if you're starting a church it should be in another state, to, we will mark you for leaving here. I was like 22 at the time, and I was thoroughly confused. Anyway, we started the new church; everything was great. God was on the move and we were growing. We just wanted a place where the love of God could flow. No worry about positions, what he or she is doing. Just come together and worship Jesus.
That was 7 years ago. In those 7 years I was the piano player, the music director, I became an elder, adult Sunday School teacher, and I married my girlfriend so the pastor was now my father in law. I was one of 10 people to sign papers to buy the church a 500,000 dollar building.
All along, I would have small arguments with my father in law/pastor over things that I thought was unfair. Stuff like, no organization in departments, people getting put into positions without discussing it with the leaders. Things that I just wanted to talk about before a final decision was made. He would never listen to his leadership. He basically thought he could handle it all on his own.
All the while, he and his new wife were constantly fighting with each other. He would show up at my house drunk, telling me he wanted out of his marriage. She would call me wondering where he was for 2 days. Story after story. But I hung in there. I just wanted to see what God was going to do.
My wife and myself where very involved. She became head of the Sunday School department, VBS director, she did the bulletin, became the song leader. All the while my wife and I did not care about position, we just wanted to do something for God. We long for the moments of fellowshipping with the Father.
Well, it all hit the fan one day, 2 years ago. After numerous arguments, marking people that had left, ( we had about 100 attenders) and the topic of our leadership meetings would focus a lot on which people are trying to tear the ministry down. The Pastor of the church decides that he needs to make his inexperienced, immature, gossiping wife the associate pastor. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I am an elder in the church and I didn't even know that this was happening. I found out because the church ordered name plates for the office doors and hers said PASTOR on it! Like I said, I don't want the position. I am not into positions, but I would have liked to throw in my 2 cents on this one.
Well since this happened, all I can really say is that my wife and I have been beat up so much indirectly, with mind games and comments and meetings and being told about loyalty and submission, and being told that we have to answer to the associate pastor and we can't go to the pastor for things, being told that we are adults and my wife should not need her father anymore.
The step mother also forced her way into song leading, which she can't sing, kicked my wife off the music team and I gave up playing the piano. All the while having to grin and bear it, because we don't want to upset what God was doing.
Well, now my pastor is abusing prescription pain killers. We had a meeting about it to try an intervention, but that ended up in being forced to leave the church. After the meeting he asked me to turn in my eldership and he asked the other elder to turn his in also. The 'set man' is looking for the "yes" people, which I have turned out not to be. Anyway, I am skipping over so much else.
So now, I have started going to another church. We have been cut off from the family. They only talk to us when the have to. The church people avoid us, afraid that they will be yelled at and told that they are doing wrong. People are told not to associate with people that have left.
How has this left me? In short, I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and some obsessive thinking problems. I have had to return to therapy. I am deeply hurt and confused. I lay out on my lawn at night and look up to the sky and pray and ask God to heal my heart. This new church is doing a good job of healing me. I go to the altar at every service until I feel a release and a healing...completely. I hope I made some sense of this. I hope someone can relate to me!
God Bless You.
Posted March 17, 2002
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August 23, 1997
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