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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Letting go is hard to do

I've been quietly, slightly, depressed over the past few months (if that makes sense!), and I've been trying to figure out why. If you don't know me, I can be quite melancholy and introspective, which sometimes isn't a good thing :)

I think I've finally put my finger on the problem.

I've now been living in Sydney for just over 2 years. However, before I moved here, I'd lived in the same town for 22 years - and that includes attending the same church for that time also. I was heavily involved in ministry and leadership from the time I was 10 years old until 3 months before I moved here. In the last year or so of attending my old church, something wasn't sitting right in my spirit - I felt uneasy and on the "outer", but at the same time I believed that my relationship with God wasn't the problem - there was something going on in the church that was wrong - I believe God was giving me discernment to protect myself. I believed that whatever was happening was going to be revealed sooner or later, and I really felt in my spirit that I needed to get out of that environment, as I was feeling quite stifled. So I had decided that come the new year, I was either going to leave the church (and go to another), or leave town.

Circumstances happened, which meant that I was given the opportunity to move to Sydney - my preferred new home! However, as I moved here, things were gradually getting worse in my old church. Before I left, sunday attendance averaged around 200 per service - at the most, we'd get 250, which is great for a small town. However, things were happening, people were leaving the church - and not just your "fly-by-nighters" - foundational members of the church were leaving, and going to the church down the road.

And then, late last year, it seemed as if God said "right that's enough! I'm going to show you all what's been going on" - and the reverberations hit far and wide! Due to the treatment that he was receiving (and definitely not due to misconduct), the Associate Pastor resigned. An elderley friend of mine needed to confront our Senior Pastor about certain issues - and after the meeting was so stressed that he had a stroke, which left him in a rehabilitation hospital for the next 6 months, relearning how to do EVERYTHING. Circumstances led to the Senior Pastor being stepped down from all forms of ministry and being asked to leave the church. The church is now being run by another church, and has a "temporary" senior pastor, who's job I do not envy at all.

It's even to the point now, where a friend of mine who was leading a ministry has been stepped down for "moral" reasons, and he's the last person that I thought that would happen to.

It's like seeing "the deeds that are hidden being brought into the light". (I'd put the scripture reference there, but I can't remember where it is!)

It's truly breaking my heart. I can only imagine how God feels about His church.

My whole family is still in attendance at that church, so I'm fully aware of how it's been over the past few months. Mum and dad both say that things are slowly getting better. If there's any goodness to be found in this whole debacle, it's that my parent's faith is stronger than ever, and the church now has a solid core of people who are committed to following Christ, not neccesarily following the Pastor.

But some days, I still just want to sit down and cry for my old church. It wasn't until I started attending my current church that I realised how legalistic and "super-spiritual my old church was. Hopefully, that will all change, and that the church will become one full of Grace and Mercy - without that, we cannot truly show the love of Christ to our world.

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