I’m a victim.
I was a victim of some bad church experiences.
I don’t trust [some] leadership or church communities.
I have [some] negative feelings towards church.
I’m tired of trying to analyze, understand, and “get over it”.
I’ve known many people with the same experiences. Many have found peace and are in a thriving church community. I’m not.
I’ve known many people who overcame their bad church experiences and are now pastors of a church plant. I’m not.
I’ve heard of people who had bad church experiences and abandoned God and the Church. I haven’t.
I’ve heard stories where a pastor or priest said an inappropriate, hurtful comment during a trying time. And the victim wants nothing to do with God or the Church. I was there. I’m not anymore.
To be honest, I’m a disgruntled Church person who is lost. I miss being part of a church community, having a leadership role and finding ways to help people connect with God. I miss that. But I’m deathly emotional about being part of a church community. What if the pastor is an idiot and is teaching a bunch of crap? What if I disagree with the way the service is being run? What if I’m not participating and just sitting on the pew? What if there’s another church split? What if I disagree with the church’s theology and orthopraxy?
What if my kids lose out on knowing God through a church community because I can’t figure this out? What if I do a poor job of passing down my faith to my kids and they grow up with no sense of wonder of God?
I had aspirations to plant a church. I had aspirations to pastor a congregation. I had aspirations of providing a caring presence to others where they could share their experiences with God and we could journey with one another. I think I still have them….but I’m not sure.
Honestly, I’m tired of not having this all resolved and sounding like a record player. It’s the same story…over and over again. I’m tired of it. I want closure. But more importantly, I want direction and faith that it will all work out somehow.
There are some things/people/communities I’m very grateful for:
1. my immediate family. My wife has been my partner through this hell. I love her to no ends. My boys are compelling me to think through my faith. I’d do anything for them!
2. http://coastvineyard.org. They were our previous church community and we enjoyed our time there. They’re in La Jolla so it doesn’t make sense to be there still (though, if they were local, I’d be there!).
3. www.northcoastcalvary.org. I’m so impressed with this mega church! They’re big AND small! They’re the most missional mega church I know. We’re currently attending this community but I feel lost. I feel useless there, but not because there’s not any opportunities to serve. It’s more that I want to be leading/pastoring in a community.
4. The sites I get to serve as a company chaplain. I LOVE all the employees I get to serve. They have saved my faith! I’m so grateful for them and their lives. They’ve given me a gift I would never have imagined.
I may have shared some of these things here and there with you. But I feel like, in some way, I’m “coming out of the church closet”. I love God deeply and the Church. I’m just struggling with figuring out how to do this within a church community. Pray that God would come to my aid and help me. At times, I feel so lost that I’m not sure which way He is guiding. I do hope that you see this post as more of a cry for prayer and for hope. This is not a dig at the church or that I hate the church or that I’m leaving the church or that I’m completely lost. I have a lot of great things happening. But I’m an external processor and need others to know where I’m at.
Peace be with you.