171/365 days of blogging.
I have started to write this post so many times over the last 4 months…and every time I start, well it just seems such a hard subject in my life because it involves so many different aspects, that I decided to do it in several posts. So this one starts the journey.
A little over two years ago we were serving 3 churches in the United Methodist Conference. Because of the direction that the UMC was heading, (issues that were of moral concern that were directly in conflict with God’s Word), and after much prayer and fasting we decided to leave the UMC. With no plans for our future as a ministry couple, we left what would be one of the last Sunday’s in the pulpit in one of those churches and headed to town for lunch at our favorite mexican restaurant Tequila Jalisco.
When we arrived we noticed a couple sitting in the corner who we knew quite well. They looked at us with a surprised look. Turns out their pastor had just resigned that day. So fast forward a few weeks and Richard and I came to serve at CSBC It was definitive to all of us that it was God ordained. It was like God opened the door, slammed it shut, drove a few nails in it, and then posted a “keep out” sign on the door. We all knew it, believed it, and trusted in God that it was His will that we begin our journey there.
And what a journey it has been. And this is where my story picks up…
The church we arrived at 2 years ago was a very different church than we serve today. It was a very stiff SBC church, a church of yesteryear. Now for the people who were there, all 5 of them, this was ok. They relished the idea of singing old southern gospel hymns and having a traditional service of prayer, singing, offering, a 20 minute sermon, an invitation, and going home…all within an hour. The problem is that they put God back in the box they had created for Him and placed Him back on the shelf.
A few months later, we started growing. I mean REALLY growing. The church went from 5 plus the 3 of us, to about 60. Some came because of wanting to hear my husband preach. Others came because they were eager for the Word of God. Some because they were friends of friends that attended. I remember one girl who came to a service, and I don’t even recall who invited her or how she heard about the church, but she worked so hard at getting her family into church that she was responsible for about 15 people joining our church. Soon we were up to 75+ on a Sunday morning.
Our worship service had transformed from a traditional service to a mixture of contemporary and traditional. Our music was about half contemporary and half traditional hymns. Some can music and some piano accompaniment. The older people of the church didn’t like this change. But it was bringing in new young people into the church. We kept telling them over and over that young people in the church were the future of our churches. The agreed but wanted the younger generation to conform to their ways.
Now the problem with this was the they considered it THEIR ways…not God’s way. My husband was given a vision about the church he had been called to minister to. I stood by his side as he looked out the upstairs window of the Sunday School rooms and saw a building, not specifically a church or sanctuary, but more importantly a building that was more like a mission that reached out to the least, the last, and the lost.
Almost 1 year to the date of our arrival, that group of people left the church. They felt that God was pulling them in a different direction. Just as we felt led to CSBC, they were led to another place in their lives. They felt the pull to leave just as strongly as we did to stay.
The rest of the story….in the next post.