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Posts Tagged ‘pastor’

I have not told the pastor left behind more than, “I don’t think we did well in the meeting.”  He would not like to hear how the lead pastor put things, I’m sure.  I don’t know if we should tell him or if there is some sort of confidentiality thing.  I want to be fair, and want to give the feel of the meeting should I share.  I mean, we weren’t getting yelled at.  It was a calm discussion, and I believe the lead pastor honestly thinks we are in sin, and we aren’t teachable anymore in his church.  I believe he is in error for sure, and how he handled that last meeting was wrong.  Defensiveness, I could understand as it’s human.  He doesn’t see his errors, and our letter was pretty stinging.  It did not directly address his sermons, and his sermons were less obvious anyway.  However, in the meeting we tried to focus on his responsibility as leader to study what the others speaking from the pulpit were saying and redirect their sermons to what the Bible teaches and what the church claims to believe.  In the few things we asked him, I could tell this pastor has gone into spiritual disciplines and said when I was concerned with the little Christ term, “you are a little Christ if you have Jesus in your heart.”  Some of that scares me.  So, there’s a little family with a husband hired as pastor in this church who sees the emergent popping up at this church and who encouraged the letter, and what he’ll hear of the meeting was that we did not listen and aren’t teachable.  He’ll hear we’re going to a good church now.  That’s maybe it.  Maybe even he’ll hear that we are extreme?  Maybe crazy? 

We have friends left there too.  We’ve spoken to one couple who knows all this, and was helping us to decide if what we saw was real.  They weren’t concerned, didn’t buy what we saw at Lighthouse trails.  They really know the ins and outs of the church in different ways than we do.  It took a while, but eventually, they could see it too.  Because they had been out of church for illness, they really hadn’t seen the changes that were happening.  Once the pastor started inserting “new age” style terms (the associate, not the head pastor), this couple could agree there’s something amiss.  Outside sources, for example, long conference speeches we were able to link to our friends showed them what a few leaders emergent/even missional were thinking and the direction it looks to all be heading.  It was this combined with the words of the pastors that really convinced them.  They have chosen to stay, and help out in the children’s ministry.  I’m told they see how Christ is a part of the curriculum for children in messages and training for the instructors, but somewhere it’s dropped by the time it’s given to the kids.  They, along with the pastor of children and others working with the curriculum are putting Christ back in.  This is good to know, that the younger ones in church, the children up to 6th grade, are still hearing the gospel in children’s ministry.  So, though our friends are left behind (as is another woman who often works in children’s music ministry)…I believe God has them there for a time.  Their teaching is likely reaching the children God intends for it to.  God has mercy, and I believe may still have this church in His sight.  The lead pastor and others in leadership may have their plans, but really, there is hope that things can get better….or if things don’t get better at least the children haven’t been left without some truth.  The minister left behind also speaks occassionally from the pulpit, and has a visual role in the church almost every week.  Therefore, I believe he is one reason people are hearing the true gospel focused on Christ rather than man.  I do not feel the leaders intend for the focus to be off, but it’s just happening because they are following so hard after faulty men and faulty plans. 

God save them from themselves!  I pray for our former church, that the leadership see what is wrong.  Not what we presented, or what we believe is wrong.  I pray God shows them what HE sees is wrong, and there is repentence and humility and a turning toward Him.  We may have some areas we are picking on that aren’t as bad as we make them, we’re not sure.  However, obviously, there’s something going on if people are jumping ship and we haven’t even talked to them…people were doing it in the months and years before we left.  We had nothing to do with any of it as we were clueless.  God please bless our former church, whatever that means…

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Response

Recieved and email response from our pastor from the old church.  He wants a face to face…doesn’t see what we’re talking about.  Told a couple we know that the pastor wishes to meet.  The wife laughed outloud (she’s such a meek, kind woman…so this shocked me).  She said, “we’ll be praying for you on that.”  She then said that this pastor is intimidating in a face to face.  I will not publish his letter here, but I feel the tone is one of challenge.  He may not see it, we’ll give him that wiggle room.  He didn’t deny the problems completely in his response, just seems he thinks he’s not  part of the problem.  Even if he preached all of his sermons from the Bible, I think he, being the lead pastor, is responsible.  Our old church is elder controlled and yet the pastors teach and so the pastors are, in my view, responsible.  After all, they endorse books, encourage the way people study, and have a big impact on the thinking of people in the week.  They are recognized as an authority even if they want to deny they have power.  He should be speaking against things, if he cannot change the church through vote power and eldership power, he sure can preach the truth and preach against the wrong things going on.  Why hasn’t he done this?  I believe it’s because he’s in it…but then again, if he really doesn’t know what he’s part of is wrong, he could possibly be opened up to the actual truth. 

Pray, pray, pray.  I will be praying also.  I hope for something good to come from all this mess…but Gods will be done.  God tends to use messes for good even when we cannot see it ourselves.

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Anyone have this feeling?  I wish I was wrong.  I wish I didn’t know what I was talking about.  I am really getting frustrated thinking about how many churches are falling for this falsehood.  All this interconnection.  The Bible says you’ll know them by their fruits.  Wonder if it also applies that you’ll know them by their roots?  (I do not want to write something new into the Bible, so don’t take “know them by their roots” as a Biblical statement…).  Trace the fruit.  You hear your pastor say something about “just say a word while in prayer, say it over and over again but not at all in an eastern meditative way…” during a sermon.  So, you begin to wonder where this is coming from.  I mean, your church went through the 40 days series (is it three books now???) and religiously uses Hybels materials in small group.  Your women go to Beth Moore conferences, and you note your pastor mentions new names.  Campolo, Willard, Donald Miller…every week a new author.  Follow the vines. 

My old pastor positively quotes Donald Miller and in fact used his material for a recent sermon.  www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com has an article that shows what Donald Miller’s roots go down to.  I quote from their page…

“In Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller, in the Acknowledgements, Miller thanks New Age meditation proponent Daniel Goleman, who writes books about mantra meditation, Buddhism. He was the editor for Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health

“For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not explained.” Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, p. 115 See The New Missiology

Following to the root shows that the plant is not wheat but weeds.  Ugh.

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I spoke with one carefully selected pastor today.  He was amazing.  He first prayed, and asked God that I would speak in “truth” with “clarity” and “boldly.”  I cried before I started, but got it together so that I could speak at all.  He agreed with me that the “emergent” themes are popping up in our church.  He agreed that the youth organization camp (YF) outside of our church is emergent and that the emergent is linked with the New Age.  He also feels that our church pastors have historically been focused on Christ and are saved, but that they are trying to replace language with new language and it’s not just the language that’s the problem but the meaning behind it, and the focus.  He believes this church’s focus is now just off enough that they are no longer focusing on Christ, on the Word of God, and it’s subtle, but it’s truly there.  He says he’s spoken to pastors about his concerns.  One pastor even brought a book from lighthouse trails research to him and asked him to read it.  He said he did, but he’s also reading another book much more technical and looking at theology and emergent.  I am facinated to hear this.  He really almost begged us to stay, that we would share our concerns carefully in love.  He did say he understands though if we really feel called to leave because our children are important.  He was glad I came to him and am honest, and he feels our family is rooted in the faith and loosing families like ours is bad for our congregation.  Many have already left, he’s spoken to them.  He suggests before we make our final exit, we write to a few of the pastors and outline our struggle specifically, telling them truthfully what we are seeing and where the message has gotten off.  He says to wait for their response.  He says he prays they will admit their mistake, and that they will put their focus back on Christ, the gospel, and reaching people for Christ. 

I feel for him, I really do.  He says he is not “a warrior” in this church trying to be on a high horse and change them back.  He does feel he’s welcome to speak the truth here (and I’ve never heard any of this stuff from him).  This is very good to hear.  He says he doesn’t feel he needs to leave and then he added, “yet.”  He wants to stay in contact with us, and really is concerned with things I brought up, and made it clear he has seen it too.  His hope is that the church will get off of man centered focus and back to focus on glorifying God.

I believe him.  I don’t think he’s playing any games.  He might be let go if he does push forward, and may have to find another job someday.  However, it’s possible, maybe, the church will be brought back.  Now we are back to square one, almost.  Actually, my husband has released himself from the area of ministry he was involved in.  He let the pastor of that area know we were leaving.  Of course, if we do decide to stay, we will not hide anything at all.  We will stay with the hope that our church does change back.  We can still participate in missions, service, and arts worship.  We just have to START with the focus on God.  The works can flow from this.  Oh, I believe there needs to be a humility, repentance, call for forgiveness, and then maybe a pruning, and then we’ll see what God will do.  Of course, I only spoke with someone who “got” what I was saying.  I think we’re going to come upon resistance like we’ve never seen if we really push forward.  At least we’re not in any positions of power, we don’t have anything to loose.  I am nobody.  I am not worth anything.  I am just a sinner who is saved by the mercy, grace, and faith given me by Christ Jesus.  Period.  That’s what I got. 

 

So now it’s to prayer, and talk with my husband to see what we should do.

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Heard another pastor on the radio this week, and he was speaking about having a “purpose driven life.”  Ugh.  You know what, I am about sick of this theme!  I think it’s all backwards.  Instead of trying to figure out our gifts, plug in to a small group, and figure out God’s purpose for us (all this is focused on me finding my  gifts, me plugging in to a small group, and me figuring out God’s purpose for me) we should be turning our eyes upon Jesus, focusing on Him and not on me or anyone else’s idea of what we should do.  Yet another pastor is pointing Christians (and he was speaking to those already claiming to be Christians) to themselves, to spend time on figuring their thing out so they could follow some sort of purpose (supposedly God’s purpose).  Now, I want to know, you out there who are seeking God’s purpose for your life, what exactly is this purpose?  How did you begin to search it out?  What was the thing that got you searching for God’s purpose to drive your life? 

I’ll tell you how I have come to where I am in my life.  In my sinful self, nowhere.  I am nothing.  My Jesus, He’s everything.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I believe whether I am a janitor or the most famous writer and missionary, what I need to keep doing is keep seeking Christ Jesus.  God does have something in my life for me to do, but it’s up to Him to show me.  I can make my plans, but He is to direct my steps.  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is my strength and my portion forever.”  Period.

C’mon, pastors, quit following a plan written by a man in a book.  Lift your heads from that book and turn your eyes upon Jesus.

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