Searching for a new church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by R.D., Feb 16, 2006.

  1. R.D.

    R.D.
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    We left our church about a month ago because of false statements by our new pastor, along with a HUGE lack of commitment and discipline by the congregation and deacons.

    We have since visited 4 churches. We enjoyed worshiping at all of them, and feel that God is leading us towards 2 of the 4.

    My question is how do we keep from getting involved with another church that has the same or worse problems than our previous one? We are praying for God to lead/point us in the direction of the church that he wants us in.

    All opinions/advice are welcomed.
     
  2. bapmom

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    From what you have shared, I think the only really valid reason you had for leaving your church was that your pastor made false statements.....at least if they were false because they were patently unBiblical. If they were opinions you disagreed with, than I think you are on shaky ground. Not necessarily wrong, just shaky. And if you left because of rumors you heard about something the pastor said....then thats not right at all.

    But I don't think you can judge a church based on the perfection of its people. Im not sure what you mean by a "lack of commitment and discipline". Outright sin and immorality that was not being dealt with is an obvious problem. But all of us have a problem with discipline in some way or another.

    THe reason Im saying all this is because with what you wrote it sounds like you are looking for the perfect church and the perfect congregation who is "committed" and "disciplined" according to a standard that you hold. You can't hold other people to that. Get into a church that is preaching and teaching Bible doctrine straight and true. See what kind of ministries they have, as that gives you a clue as to where their heart is. Then again, not having a certain ministry isn't a clincher either, as they may just not have the manpower needed for something.

    Determine if you can be an asset to that church, rather than trying to decide what they can do for you.......after determining doctrinal correctness of course.
     
  3. GLC

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    R.D.
    I'm very glad to see a Baptist actually looking for God's leadership in finding a place to serve and worship. It has been so common in our day for people to shop for a church the way one would shop for an apartment, asking only "Are all the programs good for ME"? You appear to be asking the two questions that I think are the only real important ones. 1) Does this church preach/teach the Word and are they true to the gospel as revealed in scripture? 2) Do I feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing/leading in such a way that I'm convinced He would have me serve in this place? I really think that if a Christian will take the time and ask enough questions to come to grips with #1 and then also take enough time to allow the Spirit to lead for #2, they will find themselves in the right place of service. May God bless you as you seek to be used of Him.
     
  4. donnA

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    I think I'd talk with the pastor about his false statements first, see if you two can straighten that up. It isn't right to leave with something against someone. As bapmom said, is it a difference of opinion about scripture, or is it something way off from scripture.
    As for the congregation, you aren't going to find a perfect congregation anywhere, they don't exists. Nor a perfect church, or pastor. So your reasons for leaving concerning them isn't good enough reason to leave.
    Rather seek out how God might want to use you in that church to make changes in people hearts.
    Have you tried praying for the people in your church? Not just them but you also. Your as imperfect as they are.
     
  5. Trotter

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    That you feel a leading is great... but make sure before you take a leap of faith.

    I've been in your shoes. Well, I still am. And I have learned one thing... that it takes time to know a church, especially after you've been burned in one already.

    Pick one of the two you feel a leading toward, and visit there exclusively for a while, at least a month or two. Yes, I am serious, and the reason for it is to see just what is preached and taught, as well as to get to know how things happen. Plus, it let's you get in tune with God's will for you and that church.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  6. R.D.

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    bapmom-

    I'll be more specific. The new pastor(9 mths.) made a derogatory statement about one of my friends in our church in front of me and the church secretary. I spoke to my friend about what could have caused such a statement. When my friend talked to the pastor, he denied ever making the statement, basically calling me a liar. This is what I meant by false statements. As the chairman of our finance committee, he also asked me to do something I thought was deceiving to the congregation. I question his ethics.

    One of the members of the church(for 65 yrs.) cursed out the church organist, literally. Nothing was ever done. No counciling, apoligy, repentance, or anything. This member/family was one of the founding families of the church(106 yrs. old). There are other examples of NO discipline, but I think you get the picture. In my OP I should have said NO discipline.

    When a congregation chooses(by majority) to reduce the amount of money that is sent to missions/ministries, instead of doing some of the work around the church(cleaning-$12,000)that is being paid for out of the budget, I call that a lack of committment. (I was the first/only one to commit my family to help clean)

    Besides being the chairman of the finance committee, I was also chairman of the sound committee, and changed the church sign every weeek. I have been very committed and loyal for 6 years. I'm usually the first one to admit that I'm a sinner. I'm FAR from being perfect and I know this. I'm not looking for a perfect church. I'm looking for a church that has "some" discipline and "some" committment. I'm not looking for what a church can do for me, but where and what God would have me do. God not only lead me and my family away from this church, but has also lead 50% of the congregation away in the last 3 years.

    Just a little more info. The average length of stay for a pastor at this church is 2.5 years, over the entire 106 years. Membership is 380 with around 100 that actually support/attend services. Half of the supporting members(approx.50)have been members for over 60 years(senior citizens).
     
  7. Salamander

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    Don't join that "perfect church" you'll mess it up when you do.
     
  8. bapmom

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    Sorry sir, I question YOUR ethics in taking this to your friend! I can't believe you would do such a thing to someone you'd call your friend. It seems to me that if someone said something truly nasty about a friend then you'd do what you could to NOT let your friend hear it, EVER, not just go running off to your friend carrying tales. You very well may have misconstrued what your pastor said, and rather than "tattling" on the pastor, you SHOULD have asked that pastor right then and there what he meant, and if he realized how derogatory he sounded. Perhaps you could have even cleared up an honest misconception that the pastor had about your friend, and the matter would have been settled once and for all, without it every having to go any further.....THAT, my friend, would have been the right thing to do.
     
  9. bapmom

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    I commend Salamander on his restraint, and I must concur.


    As to this 65 yr old member.....you don't know how it was handled. Are you privvy to every counselling session that takes place in the church? Is the pastor required to go to you and inform you that he has dealt with the man who did wrong? You do realize that not every instance of misbehavior has to be a matter of church discipline? Maybe the church organist has a little more grace than to break down and cause a ruckus just because she was mistreated by a cranky old man. MAYBE the issue was settled between the two of them (none of which includes YOU) and they are able to go on with their ministry together. That is the ideal situation when a wrongdoing has occurred......the offense is confronted privately and if forgiveness happens than nothing more needs to be said!

    The missions money thing, while extremely unfortunate, happens in churches all over the country, all year round. This alone is not a reason to LEAVE a church, on the other hand, it is a reason to try to help GROW the church so that the missionaries can be supported properly and faithfully. By leaving you did nothing but make a bad situation, in that regard, even worse.

    Ive got to say, now that theres been more info, I think you were totally out of line to even consider leaving over these sorts of things.
     
  10. blackbird

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    I'm with DonnA on this one. When one can't seem to see "eye to eye" with the Pastor---the easy thing to do is to move his/her letter---too easy---working it out is the hard thing!!! But we're lazy Baptists, aren't we!!! Rather than work it out and forgive each other---we move letters!!! But you know what happens when we move our letters??? We move our bitterness along with the letter!!! And pretty soon---our bitterness we brought is vented against the pastor of the church we just moved our letters to!!! Then you've got TWO pastors your harbor bitterness against!!! See???

    Stay and work it out!!! Forgive the guy---like you would want the Lord Jesus to forgive you!! Cast your bitterness behind you----and forsake it!!!
     
  11. GLC

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    I thought R.D. asked for help in seeking a new place of service/worship. I did not see where he asked for a jury to critique his reasons for leaving his old church. Only he knows first hand the events that transpired in his old church.
     
  12. partialrapture

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  13. Salamander

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    Only two reasons to leave a good church: Doctrine and having to move ( death included in moving)
     
  14. partialrapture

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    A lot of wisdom I see and think it is all needed for R.D.
    I am glad for bapmom being concerned about his departure and not just expecting a fellow Christian to always do whats right.
    I would ask for R.D. to exercise humility in what he does at this point.

    Proverbs 27:19 ¶ As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

    You know whether or not things have been done the way Jesus would have done them and if not then don't expect truth and the right way answer to show up before your flesh and other carnal influence does. Don't be quick to go with your feeling's. seek according to God's word and ye shall find.
     
  15. Craigbythesea

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    Hi R.D.,

    Welcome to the Baptist Board! [​IMG]

    There are not many things more important than being a part of a good church pastored by a man of God who is beyond reproach. Contrary to the very ill advised opinion of one poster to this thread, it is not your responsibility to stay in a church where sin abounds and “work it out.” Working it out is the responsibility of the leadership, and if they are failing the congregation, shake the dust from your feet and find a good church.

    My personal experience with churches is that God is not nearly as concerned with minute details of theology and other matters as He is with a pastor with clean hands and a pure heart and a burning desire in his heart to serve his congregation with the anointing of God upon him. I will be praying with you that the Holy Spirit will lead you to the church of His choosing for you.

    Psalm 24:3. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?
    4. He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.
    5. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation. (NASB, 1995)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. JackRUS

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    I would recommend that you pray about which church could use you. Not the other way around. Then the Lord will lead you directly.

    If one looks for a church where they can get something, they will be always disapointed. But if they look for a church where they can give of themselves, they will never be disapointed.

    I'm not saying this is the case with you. But it is a truth for everyone looking for a church.

    "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
    which is your reasonable service.
    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Rom. 12:1-2
     
  17. bapmom

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    GLC,

    Im very against "church-hopping", and far too much of what happens today to cause people to be "led to leave their church" is not sufficient grounds. Not to mention the fact that when a person leaves like this they will very likely take the problems along with them to the new church.

    So, I already gave what I believe about how to determine a good new church....but he also asked for ANY and all comments.
     
  18. mountainrun

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    BP, I for one, am willing to take your word for what happened and believe you fully understand what took place.

    I have been in your shoes and posters here did the same thing to me when I asked for advice... telling me that I completely misunderstood a lying, lazy, money lover of a pastor {who ended up leaving with our money}.

    No one here knows your situation so ignore the criticism.

    I believe the any and all comments request concerned how to avoid entering a church with the same problems, not whether or not you know what you are talking about concerning events in your own church.

    Why some people here think they know more than you do about the situation you experienced is beyond me and yet very a very common mindset, especially among the holier-than crowd.

    My answer is that you must carefully seek God's will, as you are apparently doing.

    Before you go to church or meet with anyone from there, pray for God to reveal their character to you.

    Don't talk much. Observe.
    Hang back after service and watch the people.
    Do they hang around and laugh and visit for 10 or 15 minutes after the service.
    We do, because we truly love one another and are interested in each others lives.

    If the church is empty two minutes after the close that tells you a lot.

    Watch the pastor as he meets the departing congregation. More importantly, watch the people who are departing and how they interact with the pastor.

    Look for any pride or arrogance in the leadership.
    Any sign of this should lead you to the door immediately.

    Don't put to much importance in people coming up to you and being welcoming and friendly.

    Some feel that this is their job, but are they friendly and welcoming to the people who are already members or do they just want you on the rolls? Watch for this.

    When you get home after service, pray again for God's guidance.

    Let us know how it goes.

    MR
     
  19. drfuss

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    bapmom writes:
    Im very against "church-hopping", and far too much of what happens today to cause people to be "led to leave their church" is not sufficient grounds. Not to mention the fact that when a person leaves like this they will very likely take the problems along with them to the new church.

    I agree with the above. However, there is the other side of the issue. If someone is working in a church and gets nothing out of the preaching or the worship service for a year or so, then they should find another church where they will get something.

    In our previous church, a new pastor came and changed many aspects of the church. The worship part of the service went from traditional to totally contempory music (for 45 minutes); the preaching went towards "sin is no big deal, everyone does it"; and business meetings were discontinued. After a year, we saw what was happening and stayed for three more years hoping things would turn around. Fourteen years ago, we left that church and have been very happy in our current church.

    There were many who stayed in that church with the idea that - he is not going to drive them out of my church. They stayed and complained and complained. We attend the previous church on some special occasions, because some of the family still attends there, and go away from the service thanking God we are free of that church. Sometimes a pastor has his own agenda which he will pursue regardless of the effect it has on the spiritual life of the laymen.

    I do not believe you should leave a church because of some instance that happened between you and someone else. But if after a year you are still unhappy, then it is time to consider looking for another church.
     
  20. bapmom

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    drfuss,

    I agree completely. Sounds as if your issues were far more serious and Id have left right along with ya.

    I just think its far too common for people to come along and give this reason for leaving that sounds very spiritual, and if we take it at face value we contribute to their breaking fellowship.....when perhaps we should not have done so. I talked to one lady who claimed her church had an "unloving and unaccepting" spirit, so she wanted to leave. Others were commiserating with her and becoming just as outraged at that "awful church." Some of us who were talking with her dug deeper, and found that she was miffed because the choir director wouldn't let her sing a solo in the service! And we almost encouraged her to break fellowship over such a thing! I don't want to be guilty of contributing in any way to a person remaining angry over some trivial OR easily solved issue when we ought to be exhorting and promoting healing in many cases.

    mountainrun, Im sorry if you think Ive come across as one of those "holier than thou's". Im not, but I can't help it if you've made up your mind in that regard. There's just some times when we have to do more than just agree with each other. Id rather not assume that the church or pastor is some "evil entity" to be fled from.
     

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