Why I Walked Away From My Church On Easter 2018
For a number of years I've attended the same church and I have blogged extensively about their teachings.
When I moved out of state, I made sure to be on-line to watch the teachings. I continued to blog about the church from out of state.
After a few years, when i moved back into town, I filled out a volunteer application in order to incorporate myself back into my church.
In only 4 short months I have made the decision to walk away permanently, from this church, and here's why.
But first, to be clear, my love for Pastor Charles, and his children, Pastor Shannon and Pastor Jared has been unconditional and always will be. It is thanks to these pastors that i felt God's Grace in my life, even when i was out of state. Pastor Charles' late wife, Rochelle is often quoted in my blogs and i have several links to her legacy page.
I have also published quite a few links to this church throughout the years of blogging. Because this church brought so much faith, so much love, so much grace into my life, I feel compelled to leave all of my posts just the way they are.
If You Follow God's Word, Then You Will Always Continue To Grow.
When i first went to this church, almost 10 years ago, the church had one campus. After Pastor Rochelle's passing, i noticed a massive growth explosion in attendance. A lot of things began to change after her passing. The church would never be the same again.
In this new era of my church, Pastor Rochelle's children began preaching more often. Pastor Shannon and Pastor Jared have taken on leadership roles in the two campuses, while Pastor Charles has taken more of a backseat role, especially in 2018.
Where There Is A Void, Something Will Fill It.
Due to the growth of my church, new pastors were needed. An entire new team of pastors, volunteers, and behind the scenes people were needed. This sudden and very large demand placed the church in a position to seek out those most qualified, in their eyes, and place them into positions of high responsibility.
As any CEO will attest, the growing pains of any company are so tough that some companies face major structural challenges to the point of loosing their identity in the process. It is my opinion that this is what happened to my beloved church.
The First Impression Of The Serving Family When I Went Back.
While the familiar faces that I was used to were gone, I noticed something else very new. The attitude of the serving family was one of self importance and not one of heart felt wanting to give back to the community.
Let me explain. When i used to volunteer, my Ministry Director was a jack of all trades. Pastor Shannon and my Ministry Director were a strong tie for my second most admired woman (to this day Pastor Rochelle continues to be in my first place of most admired woman.)
All of us in the serving family had a passion for helping others, for living and breathing the Word of Chris, for spreading the gospel, and for helping the church grow.
Friction Every Where And Between Everyone.
As soon as i began the process of reintegration, into the new serving family, there was an issue with the Volunteer Coordinator, which is now a paid position. The lady in this position is a kind Christian woman who has many gifts and talents. She, however, has a tough time returning calls, answering texts, helping with everyday problems, and there was noticeable friction with my First Impressions volunteer leader (which is a volunteer).
Within 3 short weeks my frustration grew, at not getting the help that i needed. We had a talk and worked thru some of the communication issues and we touched on the fact that i did not feel it appropriate for her to make comments about my weight.
As time passed, the friction between the volunteer coordinator, my volunteer leader and me only increased as time passed. The result has been my volunteer lead will end her position in April and i left the church today, on Resurrection Day!
The other volunteers' behavior also caught my attention. The staff that I used to volunteer with in Children's church, oozed love for children.Their dedication to teaching children the Word was inspirational. The information desk ladies, with whom i also used to volunteer with, were women of God who loved nothing more than speaking the Word and living it!
Coming into this new environment, it is my opinion that most of the people involved in volunteering, now behaved in a way that was to uplift themselves, and not the Word. This behavior took me by surprise at first. However, today I learned that this set of principles seems to trickle down from the leadership pastors (NOT Pastor Charles, Pastor Shannon or Pastor Jared). This young pastor's behavior clearly states that entitlement is a right (as long as you pay enough in tithes to the church) and not seen as a personality flaw.
My beloved church has become a church where if you tithe enough, you can do anything you want. I was warned about the protection the heavy tithers enjoyed, before submitting my complaint. I decided to put myself, my (then) church, and those involved in God's hands.
My Experience With Jealousy At Church.
From the beginning, I noticed an unusual high number of women clenching to their husbands when I was volunteering. (the volunteers' wives) This is normal behavior that i see women exhibit consistently out in public, though usually not at church. Regardless, I chose to ignore the behavior. It wasn't until one specific married woman, with obvious PTSD from a prior infidelity began attacking me, that her behavior alarmed me.
Her attacks grew to include other members of the church serving family. Then today, almost all of the people volunteering were ignoring me. (From my first impressions group.)
Jealousy has been part of my interactions with women who have low self esteem, low self worth or some form of PTSD from prior infidelities. I am used to the low level passive aggressive attacks. This woman, however, not only attacked me verbally on several occasions, but she began attacking me in front of other volunteers, while i was volunteering, inside of the church.
After confronting her on numerous occasions and being subjected to her worsening abusive behavior, I decided to report her ongoing harassing to church administration.
Today I learned that church leadership has sided with her and requested me to stay away from them both. (Could their hearty tithing have influenced church administration's decision?)
Today's Result Of The Complaint.
As i took notes on my notepad during Pastor Jared's teaching, a member of the First Impressions volunteer group finally stopped by to say hello. He asked me if i had seen a leadership pastor. I answered yes and advised on his whereabouts. The man just stood next to me and would not leave. I felt his tension as he stood next to me.
Then, I had this leadership pastor and another leadership person ask me to go into a conference room, in the middle of service. I went in. The leadership pastor (who had ignored my requests for an appointment since March 1) began his speech explaining how everyone had been interviewed and the church had made the decision that the other parties will remain in their leadership roles. I was told that the woman in question (she and her husband tithe heavily to the church) would be ignoring me from now on and that I was to stay away from them.
The Pastor Then Asked For My Point Of View.
Despite the fact that church leadership had already made up their mind that the witnesses and i were lesser in importance to the church than the heavy tithers, I began to tell him my experience with the situation.
Without allowing me to finish, I was told that all of the people mentioned were highly respectable (heavy tithers) and that no need to finish explaining my point of view. He reiterated the decision of the church.
The other leadership person in the room, asked me to finish my point of view and I was asked what would i have done differently. I could sense the tension and almost heat from this young pastor who felt his authority questioned.
To put him at ease i let him know that i would never challenge church leadership or any leadership. (I have had enough troubles by questioning people's self serving mistakes.) I reiterated over and over that i accepted leadership's decision and that i was making my own decision to guard my own heart, guard my own well being and that i refused to subject myself to more humiliating and abusive behavior by this woman and her group of heavy tithers.
His immediate response was to call me emotional. Enough was enough. I corrected him and said that i was making a logical and rational decision regarding my safety and to not call me emotional. He apologized yet reiterated the church's position on protecting these individuals.
When We Walked Into The Room It Was To Tell Me Their Decision And Not To Hear My Point Of View.
As I stated the obvious, regarding my safety, the pastor agreed that i must follow my heart. If that meant leaving church, (on Easter) so be it. The church (and their decision) would always be there waiting if i decided to come back.
I gave back my volunteer badge and walked out of the room. When i went to go pick up my items, the same volunteer was still standing there with my things. As I gathered my purse, I said good bye. He walked away in what looked like relief. (Relief that i was leaving?)
Lessons Learned. Moving Forward, Always Forward.
When my happiness is being destroyed, when I am being attacked mercilessly, when i am told that these actions are reasonable because those people are worth more than me, then, it is time for me to walk away and not look back.
The devil and only the devil cheats, lies, steals, kills and destroys. I believe that this woman and her friends were behaving in a manner that's not Christian-like and in fact was very much in a manner that was lying, stealing my joy, killing my happiness and destroying my ability to serve in God's house, for the sole reason of my physical appearance.
With my head held high, i wish this church the best in moving forward.
After what I've been subjected to by the corrupt judges in NM, and the corrupt DA's in El Paso, i have learned to walk away and simply to share my experience online. I am living proof that God fights these kinds of battles.
Others will decide for themselves if this is a good fit for them, but for me, leadership at this church was not a good fit anymore.
In God's name, i wave a heartfelt farewell and wish them the best on their journey as i move on to finding a new church home for me. After all, Easter is the day of resurrection. New beginnings start today!
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