Change where I worship?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Gina B, Apr 19, 2001.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    Here's a question I'd like to get some input on.
    I have been a member of the church I go to now for about a year. I've felt it was the church that best believed in what the Bible says-that's why I joined. None of the other ones where I live seemed for real.
    Anyhow, it was small to begin with, and our pastor has been gone a few months. And we haven't found a new one yet. We pretty much had full attendance last night, which is down to 14 adults, counting me.
    I'd hate to find somewhere else, especially since I've been everywhere else and haven't been happy with their teachings, but there is not really any leadership right now, not really anyone to talk to about any trouble, and my children are the only ones in their age group. I would feel like a traitor if I left, but my kids have no friends from good Christian families, and I've been feeling the need for some spiritual guidance lately. I'm not quite sure what I should do. I feel like my spiritual life may suffer if I go somewhere else, but it already has been, and there's really nobody there to talk about it with!
    Opinions anyone?
     
  2. Barnabas H.

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    Gina, I can empathize with you. We were members of the First Hungarian Baptist Church of New York City for over 28 years. It is a small ethnic church in the heart of the Big Apple. In the sixties the membership was going down from forty to twenty (and that included visitors). Since the ABC-USA was instrumental in getting the building for the Congregation back some 80 years ago, they advised us to close the doors and recognize that we have arrived to the end of the road.

    Some of the old timers were heart broken. They said that they do not know where to go. All their life they were coming to that church, and now they could not envision that the doors have to be closed. My wife and I were the only “young” couple, with two small children (both girls). I had a job offering myself in Florida, which I could not refuse. A rich businessman, who had interests in Paris, Athens, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, and mid Florida, offered me a job. He left the salary requirements in my hands. He wanted me badly, but I told him that I would pray about it. He respected that.

    My wife and I were praying fervently. Our two children were alone in the church, no one to talk to, and no one to make friends with. They only had old folks to contend with. But we had Sunday School for them, and during the week we took them to an English church where a friend of ours’ daughter (a Columbia University graduate) was teaching Bible for kids. When our children told their friends at school (and they attended NYC Public Schools at the time), they all wanted to come. We had a small Toyota Corolla station wagon. At times we had 11 kids stuffed in there, all with their parents’ permission and brought them to Bible school.

    When the time came to give an answer to the gentleman, the Sunday before, I was complimented by an 85-year-old lady about the tie I was wearing at church. She was everybody’s Mom. A naturally charming lady. After the exchange of pleasantries, she asked me a direct question. “Bro. Halo, are you going away too? Because if you do, then we will have to close the door of this church, and we do not know where we will go!” Without any hesitation I answered, “No, Mama, we are not going away.” At that moment I just realized that the Lord answered our prayers. Our place was there in that small church where the Lord has placed us. On the way home I told my wife what took place at church, and she replied: “Darling, what ever you decide I will follow. If this is from the Lord then we will abide by it.” I loved her for that. She was willing to give up financial success and be faithful in what the Lord was providing for us daily.

    The gentleman did not like my answer but he respected it. His eyes filled with tears and said, “I will leave this job open for you. If you change your mind, just give me a call and the job is yours.” It wasn’t easy to stay in a small church, which by all appearances was slowly dying. We started to work, invite, and adopt newly arriving emigrants who needed housing and job. Our pastor retired but the church ordained two of us with an other brother, to be elders and to carry on the work. The Lord blessed our faithfulness. In seven years (the Biblical number of perfection) the church membership tripled. In addition we had about 25 young people. We had visitation, nursing home, and radio ministry with lost of other activities for the youth. The work was so taxing that I recommended to the Congregation call a permanent pastor. At first they rejected the idea saying, that the work is going on so wonderful that they do not remember if it was ever better. But I insisted and they have finally seen the light. We have imported a wonderful preacher and leader from Transylvania (former Hungarian territory in Romania), who spoke three languages: Hungarian, English, and Romanian. He was installed on March 15, 1987 and he is still serving in there for the glory of God.

    You see, Gina, the Lord does not promise gold at the end of the rainbow, but He says that He will be with us to the end. And all He requires from us in return is FAITHFULNESS in the place where He placed us. If you remain faithful, your children will see in you the joy of the Lord and they will be happy where ever you are. Do not look for large church with various activities but be sure to provide the basic Biblical requirements your children NEED. The Lord will take care of the rest, and He will reward your faithfulness! Hope that this will encourage you to carry on for the Lord, and your family. [​IMG]
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Wonderful story, Barnabas. God does reward faithfulness.

    More advice. As a missionary pastor who works with churches that are "closed" or "should be closed" it is heartbreaking to see the attitude of some Christians toward these small, struggling works.

    Most Christians are looking to be served, to see what a church will offer them, and not looking for a mission field in which to serve.

    Folks come to a struggling work and ask "What programs do you have for youth? We have 3 teens and want them to have fellowship." I tell them, "You want a youth program, you head it up!" MOST don't want to work; they want to be ministered to.

    In 1991 we took on the daunting task of helping Emmanuel Baptist in Casper. It was in the poorest neighborhood. Building paid for but 10 would be a good morning service. My three kids were all high schoolers and we left a church with a youth program of 20+ teens AND MY KIDS WERE HAPPY. Why?

    We had talked over the possible aspects of working, painting, cleaning, ministering, reaching out to new folks, working with adults and all ages - that I would need all three of them to be "assistant pastors" in song leading, communion, lawn, janitor. And they jumped to the task.

    It was not easy. Lots of discouragement. Some of the adults did not like the idea of teens helping so much; (It isn't the way we've always done it). Families came and left because we didn't have it "all" like other bigger ifb churches in town.

    Finally the church settled at about 50+ and were able to call a full time pastor. And all three of my kids are in the ministry today . . perhaps influenced by what they learned from "staying by the stuff". <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>For the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  4. Joy

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    Just a short addition to what has already been said- it is important for children to learn how to minister at the earliest age possible. If they don't do it when they are young, chances are, they will be willing to let eveyone else do it when they are older.

    My vote would be to stick to it. God rewards faithful servants and churches. He isn't interested in big numbers.
     
  5. His Name is Wonderful

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    Remember, What happens... When My people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray...

    My church similarly decreased in numbers, but a change occurred. We began to earnestly seek the Lord. Then we too realized that we are servants of others. We needed to minister to others. Just as the above person wrote.

    Start prayer meetings, breakfasts, cottage meetings, whatever. Get together with the others. Fellowship. Love one another and serve.

    At times it hard being out of your comfort zone, but some times God calls you to do that. I would not leave the church. Hang in there, be faithful, and see what God has in store.
     
  6. SPAM

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    Gina, if the truth is to be compromised at another church, then the decision to leave should be a little clearer. If staying and hearing the truth is the option, by all means stay. But, there is no one on this board that knows exactly how you feel and what you are up against. We all have our own stories to tell, but I have been part of small churches all my life. The experiences I had, I wouldn't change them for the world. I too, was part of a small church that grew to over 1000, but I will say this, God was always true to be there either way, and I know you know that. Be encouraged, I will definitel keep you in our churches prayers.

    FYI: I just began pastoring a small church; had 31 on Easter Sunday. It's easy as was reflected already to be ministered to, the real test comes when you are doing the minstering.

    Godspeed.
     
  7. firedome

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    Gina,
    I cannot top the advice that bjh gave you I can only give you something that I recently read:
    Acts 8:1
    And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
    I think this can be applied to you and your situation. It is also quite interesting to me that it comes in the time of the fledgling church.


    except the apostles.
     
  8. SaggyWoman

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    BJH, That is a beautiful story. :D
     
  9. Gina B

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    Ok guys and gals. I get it. :D I'm thinking it's more than likely I'm resolving to stay.
     
  10. Barnabas H.

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    Praise the Lord, Gina! We'll be praying for you and your family that Lord may show you what He requires of you in the "body" where He placed you. God bless! [​IMG]
     
  11. Squire Robertsson

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    I can understand the reasons behind your question. American churchs in the last 100 years or so have developed a dependency on a full time pastor and (if any) staff. So, when a situation like yours develops, the membership is cast adrift as to what to do :confused:. "It says right here in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)that we need a full time pastor."

    I would commend for your examination the "Typical Order EC-B Order of Service" I posted on in the Missions....Forum. The EC-B developed in the USSR without fulltime Pastors (unless the man had retired from his other employment). This order of service has the genius of spreading the responsibilities around amoung the members. So one man doesn't feel he has to preach for 30-40 minutes and be the only spiritual food the his listeners will have for the service. Nor does it require a choir or any one else in the choir loft. Neither do EC-B (at least those of the unregistared/underground persuasion) have nurseries. Families with infants sit in the back and in good weather if Baby Vanya or Luba get cranky Mama takes them outside. Otherwise, even if babies are letting the world know they are alive, the service and preaching continues without batting an eye. Again this cuts down on the manpower needs under American SOP.

    Hope this helps,
    Keith
     
  12. Gina B

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    That almost sounds like where I go. The pastor always wanted all the kids in the service. We have a tiny room that has a crib in it, but half the time I would let my youngest go in and play and just left the door open so we could see them. It would be a lot easier to have people take turns speaking if there were people there! I suppose if we all started doing our job (especially me) and getting people there we wouldn't have that problem.
    Yeesh. I'm feeling very convicted about my attitude lately. :eek:
     
  13. Karen

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    I, too, have been involved in mission churches. Sometimes we (my husband and I)
    had to make sure we coordinated our
    absences with other people so that
    SOMEONE could unlock the door, arrange the
    chairs, turn up heat, etc. We
    spent years doing this and learned a lot.

    But, on the other hand, we don't do it now.
    Sometimes it is time to go somewhere else,
    and not all individual churches are meant
    to go on in perpetuity. I think a key
    is look at it first with a servant attitude
    instead of just how will it serve me.

    Karen
     
  14. SPAM

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    Gina, how are things going? I get that you are staying?

    Be encouraged, there are those of us that are praying for you. You really can make "the" difference.

    As for your attitude, we all should address ours: daily. good one to remember. [​IMG]
     
  15. Gina B

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    Well, yes, I am staying. I haven't attended for a while now because of some personal reasons that would have prevented me from going anywhere, but by May 13th things will be straightened out and I will be back into things. Thanks! ;)
    I'll keep you updated.
    Gina
     
  16. bb_baptist

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    I've never seen this thread before. I'm puzzled as to how that happened :confused:

    Anyhow, thanks for sharing these wonderful stories. Especially, Bro. Halo's story moved me so much that I found myself close to tears.

    It's a true story and thanks to his faithfulness, I now have a church to attend.

    [ August 31, 2001: Message edited by: webmaster ]
     
  17. Gina B

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    And I lied and didn't update! Our new pastor is coming in Sunday. I didn't go back when I thought I was going to, I've only been back in on any regular basis recently. The church got down to twelve. (go ahead, say it, lol) Back and forth.
    I blew the first meeting with the pastor and his wife before, ha ha. It was horrible, but they kept trying to be so nice and the nicer they were the more I wanted to kick them in the shins or something, ask them when THEY planned on packing up and leaving town. Poor people. And I've spent the rest of the time since they left to get ready wracked with guilt, making plans to help them with their house and with the church and with the new town and so on and so forth, and making the poor wife comfortable in a whole new place.
    So that's the scoop.
    See, aren't you glad you ain't MY pastor? :D :eek:
    Gina
     
  18. myreflection26

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    Gina,

    Reading your post made me basically relive the feelings I had growing up as a teenager in a small church. I'm not suggesting that you leave or stay, but before you set your mind to a choice sit down with your children and ask them how they feel about it too. Find out if they are growing or suffering from being the only kids in thier age group there.

    I was the only kid in my age group for years and years, I was also in home school and was very sheltered to the point of severe depression. I wanted to serve God but felt totally alone and I was suffering spiritually at the church I was in but my father refused to let me go to another church with a healthy youth ministry because it wasn't "his" church. It wasn't until an evangelist whom I didn't like and didn't agree with in most issues sat my parents down while he was in the area and told my father that I was being damaged as a teen because he could see that I loved God but at this church I was not growing but hurting instead. He told my father that he should be glad that the basic argument in our home was my wanting to go to a church with a youth group. At that point, my dad realized that his refusal to let me attend the other church was a big mistake on his part and he broke down and let me go.

    I'm not sure where your kids are at with spiritual growth, only you and they can know that but please do not let them suffer due to the churches suffering. Yes youth can lead at an earily age but at the same time not every kid is ready for that position.

    Gina, blessings on what God leads you to do I know you want to serve God and do whats right and only you can know what that is by praying and searching God out on this.

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  19. Gina B

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    Thank you Sue, but today was the final "episode" to knowing it was the right decision to stay. Praise God for his guidance. [​IMG]
    For His Name can testify with me....she was there today too and the church is truly blessed. Today was amazing. The new pastor was worth the wait, ha ha. He was sent there, that's for sure.
    As far as the girls not having anyone else in their age group....some more witnessing and bringing people in might just solve that. ;)
    da Gina
     
  20. Manstrom

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    I do believe I have to agree that to stay is the right thing to do. You are being prayed for by many, Gina.

    Agape,

    Mike :D :D :D
     

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