Jan 12, 2009

Change of Venue

This past week brought very big changes for us. On Friday, our church small group split and went two directions, something even a month ago I never dreamed would be so. If you didn't see a few posts down, our family has had to make the decision to leave our church home due to some 'emerging' issues.

Last night, we attended a start up church being led by a former member of our church. He reserved space in a local retirement community building--and rather than meeting Sunday morning, we met Sunday evening. It was so hard. Going to church in the dark (for now), walking into this building we didn't know, and sitting through a sermon that was not led by my pastor. I felt so out of sorts - -all the things about my church I loved have been taken away from me. No more walking through the doors and immediately seeing someone I needed to hug or catch up with.

We could have stayed, I know that, but we couldn't have. And yes, we do need to go out and love others, there's nothing more important than that, to be sure. But we need to stand for something, we need to be able to bring something to those we love on and meet. And for me, I'd better be prepared to share when I do. No worries, you won't see me running behind you waving my NIV in my hands shouting words of salvation! Well, maybe JenGi needs a little extra...but no. But you'd better believe I want to be equipped with substance if I get the opportunity to share.

It just isn't something John and I can compromise on--we want to know we have a church with sound Biblical doctrine. And (this is a dicey one) we need to have judgment within the church walls. Why Stacey, what ever do you mean by that? you ask. I don't mean pointing fingers and not loving, loving, loving. That's so often misinterpreted. But when I've done something stinkin outrageous should I do something wrong, I would hope someone within the church would approach me with love and direct me back to where I needed to be. And I will do the same. Too often this is considered 'arrogant' and 'judgmental' and who wants those labels on their foreheads? Not me. So we go along and do say anything because judgmental would be the worst thing we could be called within the confines of church. That makes me so sad--there is a vast difference between lovingly calling someone on their sin and being judge and jury.

So....last night as I took in all the changes--new building, new pastor, some new friends, some the same, some I haven't seen in awhile, I felt a rush of emotions wash over me. And then, because He knows me so very well, this came to mind: "Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them." (Matt 18:20). Now I'm a fairly simplistic person, I don't need expensive anything, I've never had my nails done (gasp!), no facials, no designer clothes, my car seats are cloth, not leather--I could go on but you get the point. But this was just too easy! Come on, God, give me something here...give me something to take home, research, study, understand, learn!!! I listened again and heard it again. So simple--He doesn't want me to be confused, why do I continue to believe I'm not supposed to understand?

He was there last night, arms around my shoulders, as I struggled to take in the unfamiliar. And I felt at peace with where I've been called and I can't wait to see where this takes me. If I know me (I really don't), I'll be knee-deep in it before long. The message was thought-provoking and I have homework, but how wonderful that God is never-changing and what was true then remains true today. For the first time in several days I knew it would be okay. Because while I talked the talk, to be honest, I honestly wasn't so sure for awhile.


Bubba's Sis said...

Stacey-Sweetie - if anyone doubted your heart and your motivations for doing what ya'll have done (and I certainly haven't), you have just proven your own point. Of course you want a church that values and teaches God's Word - because so often He speaks to us thru His Word, as He did to you last night! Like the author of Psalm 119, you have hidden God's Word in your heart - and by doing that you are making it a vital guide for everything you do! Blessings to you, my dear friend.

Mrs. C said...

There is a lot in this post I need to think about. I will come back when I have something constructive to say, but for now please know you've been in my thoughts!!!

Donna said...

I do believe God has something to tell me through YOU. So keep on sharing your thoughts.

Mrs. C said...

I'm with Donna. There is something very deep and true here that can't just be commented on with a couple of internet ((hugs)) though you know you have those and my genuine prayers.

As you know I struggle greatly in the area of church attendance myself and I can't even chalk it up to a doctrinal issue. :]

Edwards Family said...

Hey girlie...We just left our church home (my chuch home since I was 9) in August. We knew God wanted us to move on...our home church is a Bible preaching church, we loved the people, we loved our minister, but God still had a different plan. I love my church now too,I am so blessed because Richard has found his place with the men of the church, my kids love the youth program, and I love the women I have met however I am still learning where I fit in-I have been waiting for God to tell me what my ministry is at our new church, and so far.. SILENCE! It is about do me in! I NEED A MINISTRY! :) He knows what He is doing, He knows your heart, and He has a plan for YOU....buckle your seatbelt!!

On the other idea of judging....IT IS CALLED ACCOUNTABILITY PEOPLE and it is a GOOOD thing if it is done with love and sensitivity and to glorify our GOD! :) Ok, I feel better- thank you very much!

Your heart is golden my friend--


Memarie Lane said...

You know, I didn't think it was really possible, but I think I found a great church this Sunday. I wrote about it on my homeschooling blog.

D... said...

{{{Stacey}}} Just {{{Stacey}}} The others have already taken what I would have said or wanted to say.

You are beautiful.

Tammy said...

I have faith that God will show you the right direction to go. Love ya girl!

Angela Williams Duea said...

Stacey, I just left my church family of 15 years, and I KNOW how incredibly hard that is. I'm walking the same path.

And THANK YOU for saying that we must hold each other accountable. Even if some people choose to call that judgemental, the bible explicitly tells us to encourage and point out sin between Christians.

I'm so proud of you for taking the hard road and listening to God's direction. I can't wait to hear what you learn from all this!

Anonymous said...

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Especially Heather said...

We talked to Jeff about this situation when he was down 2 weeks ago. It is a tough tough place to be, and the emergent church is emerging everywhere... I agree with you about needing to love on others, but also agree that God NEVER changes, and scripture NEVER changes. I think that you and your family are so very brave for taking this step and following Christ even when it doesnt make any sense.

I hurt for you. I hurt for Jeff, and I pray for you both (and your old pastor and youth minister) daily.