July 20, 2005

Changing Churches

I don't know if you have every chosen to change churches or not, but for us it is something we have done several times during our 21 years of marriage. Most of the time, the reason was due to moving from one home to another, or to be able to fellowship with friends and family. This year we have chosen to leave our large, non-denominational Bible church for a smaller church that is around the corner from our home. It was a tough decision for us because we loved our church and had been fellowshipping there for 9 years. We had friends from sunday school, Awana, church staff, enrichment groups, and bible study. It was home for us and we loved it.

We were at a cross-roads as ds is in Jr. High now and we need to find a good solid Youth program that offered both fellowship and discipleship opportunities. The youth program at our bible church was active and had over 200 members regularly attending. It had a solid message -- reaching teens for the Gospel of Christ -- especially those that do not attend church or know about Jesus. It was evangelistic. It was pulling in teens from the high schools and Jr. Highs and was serving a segment of the population that desparately needed that message.

The problem for us was the culture and environment that this program supported. It reflected the current scene in most metropolitan secondary schools. Worldly. Sensual. Provocative. Hip. You can imagine it because I am sure you have seen the kids that get on the bus near your home or who hang at the mall. There are language issues, modesty issues, and other tangible issues that can easily confuse tender and sensitive children who have not been exposed to this so-called 'normal' part of being a teenager.

One of the main reasons we chose to homeschool was to remove our son from that particular culture and to teach him solid biblical values so that he could grow strong and be a mature Christian. It is a difficult position and I have good friends who feel as I do as well as just as many who believe that their children need to be light in a very dark world. I understand and accept this position. but for my child, I knew that he would not benefit from being exposed to that culture on a regular basis. We pulled him from public school because of this culture and we believed then as we do now that while it may be the norm in our society, it is not the norm that God desires for his people.

So we made the choice to attend a much smaller church near us. This church is no different from our large bible church except for the size. It has an active youth program and about half the students who attend it are not members of the church. Almost all are public school kids. You might be asking, "well, what's the difference?" The difference is in it's size. It is much easier to work with a smaller group of kids and have a greater impact on them, then to try and reach hundreds with the same message.

Anyway, it was a hard choice to make but we are committed to finding the right group for our son and we feel that this place will work best for us.

1 comment:

School Marm said...

It has been six months since we left our beloved church family. We have had some great times and some not so great times. DH and I are trying very hard to remember that we need to not judge a new community of believers with the same zeal as our former home church. Every group in the body of Christ will be different and as such we need to be open and welcoming and accepting of our differences.

I guess the main problem we are having is with the part about accepting our differences. I am not talking about accepting spiritual growth in individuals -- we are all on our own journey and the H.S. is responsible for maturing believers. I am talking about not meshing with the philosophy and mission of the pastoral staff. There are some issues taking place in this fellowship that neither DH nor I want to really be a part. It is not that what they are doing is biblically wrong, it is just that our spirits are troubled by it. Please pray for direction for us. We want to give the staff time and allow them to fully develop their purpose statement before we make another change.