These last 7 or so years, have nearly done us in. We went from thinking we were in the best church around, to feeling shunned, not quite good enough, and on and on. One pastor left and took 3/4ths of the people with him. Next pastor, immediately began telling us how he was the one in control, the one with authority, the one running things. He was deceitful, manipulating and controlling. And, if all that wasn't bad enough, he was twisting scripture around to make points in his 'sermons'. It took a while for all this to hit us in the face. It caused problems in our family, when one saw and the other one didn't. It has put distance between two brothers and their families - one stayed, one left. It's hurtful, and awful. I know there are others who have been in churches like this, and would like some helpful advice. When you are visiting churches, what are the very first things you need to watch for, in order to avoid this kind of mess again? I know a few: pastor always stressing his authority, discrepencies in what he says compared to what he does, and people who you know are sincere, caring Christians that start dropping out of sight without a word. When we first started visiting this church, it seemed so great. We really felt like God wanted us to be there. And, I guess we did learn a lot - just not the kind of things we thought we'd be learning. Any advice from others who have been there and done that would be appreciated.