"I don't think it would be good for you and your family to attend church here any more....."
2 weekends ago my wife and I attended a membership workshop at Hope Fellowship, a church we have been attending since October www.hopefellowship.net . During the meeting the pastor shared what he feels lots of people go through when they are hunting for a church. He described it like a business life cycle where things are good and eventually peak. When the honeymoon period wears off it is normal to find certain flaws in a church whether it be the pastor, the people, the parking or something else. He said many people then leave the church in hopes to find that spark again. Well my wife and I discussed it and it made us wonder if that is what we did when we decided to leave our last church home. Even though we sought spiritual counsel from a well respected friend and former pastor, Bro Bill. Even though we prayed about it and read scriptures. Even though we had a gnawing feeling for about 6 months which made it hard to invite friends.
That said, our decision to leave was reaffirmed this weekend. I met up with about 10 friends which I met at this church. We all attended an intense "To Your Health" training together last Feb-April. Ironically of the 11 people who attended this seminar only 2 are still attending this church. I arrived at the get together on time and had about 20 minutes to talk to the host. She came right out and talked about how she is ready to leave the church. She also said she knew why we left which she was told by the pastor and it was pretty accurate, which surprised me. Her final straw was a bit different than ours, but really fits into the mold of why we left.
She shared that her friend was asked not to come back to the church A. It seems this lady and her husband visited a church B of someone who had left church A to start his own church B. This friend attended a New Year's Ever service of this new church B. This group had been meeting in a home and on Jan 1st they met corporately in a business warehouse. This lady really loved the worship experience and has decided to attend the new church B on Sundays. Since church B didn't offer any kids programs on Wednesday nights she brought her 4 kids to the Wednesday programs of church A. A program they have been involved with for about a year. This is when the pastor suggested that it would be best if they didn't come on Wednesday nights because it could disrupt the harmony of church A if people began asking why they weren't coming on Sundays.
Really? He said that? Basically saying I know that you are a new Christian who just got baptized with your whole family and you've been in the Jehovah Witness church since childhood and you are just coming to know Christ and develop that relationship. Your kids really need Jesus, BUT not at our church. How is this a Christ like action?
I am so glad we left when we did. It was really hard not to talk about why 9 of the 11 of us left this church within the last year. It is also hard not to talk to a special friend who is still there and enlighten him to the spiritual abuse that is going on at this church.
Now we just have to decide if we are ready to become members at Hope Fellowship. We have truly enjoyed worshipping there. We found out that they are affiliated with the Assemblies of God church and one of the doctrine I'm not sure about is the speaking in tongues upon receiving the Holy Spirit. We haven't experienced it there nor has a friend of mine who has attended for 2 years Must not be a non-negotiable. Can I take an online course for this?