In the last 18 months I have watched 7 men I know in ministry leave their churches out of frustration. They finally just got tired and decided to go somewhere else (4 to other churches, 3 out of ministry all together) because they could not support the “direction” of their church. It was NOT that they had a biblical disagreement (at least nothing significant) it was just that they did not like the style of worship, methods of reaching people, long hours, criticism etc… all culminated in discouragement and finally drove them to “greener pastures”. But of all of these men, ONLY 1 was glad he left his church.
So what do you do if you are feeling trapped but God clearly tells you to stay put?
Over the next few days we will look at several principles that may help you….they sure helped me!
# 1. REMEMBER: YOU CAN EMBRACE THE BIG PICTURE WITHOUT LIKING ALL THE LITTLE STUFF – if your church is doctrinally sound then you will be fine. (I love what Rick Warren says: I believe in the absolute inerrancy of the Bible….just not the inerrancy of my interpretation of the Bible…your’s either.)
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
So it is a little too formal for your liking …the music is so 1990’s (or 1890’s) So your pastor wears a tie! (oh my!) So you have big buildings…enjoy them as a gift from God. So your church openly embrace the tithe… So you have drums in the service or a choir…… so what?
- Can you still serve Jesus there? Then do it!
- Can you still impact lives for the kingdom there? Then do it!
- Can you recruit, equip and launch other people into ministry there? Then do it!
PROBLEM MIGHT BE: Your focus is on the wrong thing (mine was) … maybe it is on yourself, your comfort, your “relevance”.
REMEMBER: You don’t have to agree with everything that your church does, everything your pastor says, or every decision made. You just have to agree to “walk well” with the Lord according to the CORE and CULTURE of the church you serve.
Most folks I know who are reaching people for Christ, training them and sending them out to do the exact same thing…. rarely complain or gripe about what other people are NOT doing, the style they do it or the recognition the receive for doing it. Most Ministers I know who are busy doing the same thing are pretty happy where they are too. And if they leave their church it is to do what they are doing on a grander scale and not out of protest or discouragement.
May 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Hallelujah!! Houston, we no longer have a problem!!!
(and btw….amen to the post!!)
July 16, 2011 at 12:42 am
Hixon, this is a nice post. I am one of those struggling pastors right now. The word that comes to my mind is culture. On the grand scale, I would like the culture of the church I serve to be about generosity, passionate worship of Jesus, and connection with the community that our church is in. My disappointment comes with the fact that after three years I continue to find that I am working by myself in those three areas. The church has made it clear to our family that they are not with us in ministry. I hate moving. I hate the thought of uprooting my family to another community. I am at the point of dropping out of ministry just so that I can give my family a chance to be a part of a healthier church and see that the Way of Jesus is a joy and not a chore. Connection with fellow Followers is uplifting and life giving, not a dogfight over styles and methods.
My hope is that we can see more churches working out of the unity of the body so that newcomers can come in and receive Jesus and not get caught up in the divisive fights over methods. Its really a tool of the enemy to steal the Followers positive thoughts on God, kill their faith, and continue to destroy their soul.
July 16, 2011 at 11:03 am
I am sorry your are struggling so greatly at your church. Where do you serve? What is your role?
There are times…certainly… when we come to a point where leaving is a healthy option. The trick is knowing when God determines we leave and when we stay and fight for His Bride.
I prayed for you this morning.