I sat across the table from my spiritual mother, drawing life and comfort from her healing words. I was lonely, confused, scared, and feeling unwanted. My husband and I had recently left our church and church family of nine years. The senior pastor had said from the pulpit that if people left the church because they were frustrated then no church would want them. And we had left because we were frustrated. And I felt unwanted and that no church would want me. I was like a spiritual leper – an outcast – and undesirable.
That dear, sweet spiritual mother tried to speak some truth into my defeated self. She said that a church WOULD want me and my family. We WERE desirable.
My husband and I struggled through the search for a new church home with two children in tow. We finally settled at a Vineyard church on the other side of town. But I still felt unwanted. It took years for me to cease feeling like our new church really didn’t want us there. It wasn’t until my husband was asked to be an elder and I became the ladies ministry leader that the power of that lie was broken in my life.
Perhaps you have been scarred by hurtful words that were said about you when you left a church. If so, then as a church leader myself, please allow me to apologize for the hurtful words that were said. I’m sorry for what was said and done to you. Just let that sink into your soul for a few moments. And now, let me encourage you to not give up in the difficult search for a new church home.
Church hunting is hard. There is nothing more intimidating than dragging yourself and your family into a church for the first time. I know – I’ve been there. It’s much easier just to stay at home and have “home church” with a few worship songs and a TV preacher. If you are actively looking for a new church, I applaud you. You are a brave soul.
I want to tell you this truth – there IS a church that wants YOU. There is a church that is praying for the exact things that you and your family have to offer. Right now, church leaders and members are praying for musicians, spiritual mothers, Sunday school teachers, nursery workers, greeters, and ushers. There is a church that needs what you have to bring to them. There is a church family that longs to welcome you into its arms and to love you.
You won’t find a perfect church. You will find imperfect buildings filled with imperfect people leading imperfect services and programs. But instead of focusing on what is missing in the church, instead focus on what you have to bring to it. How can you serve or meet a need in that church? What gifts and skills do you have to offer? That changes your focus from your needs to the greater good.
God has a place to plant your family where you can flourish and grow. Keep praying and looking and you will find it!
What about you? Have you been hurt by words said about you as you’ve left a church? Let me know. I would love to speak the truth over you.
You can find further encouragement in your church hunt in this great blog post by my friend and fellow blogger Jelise Ballon (NeitherHeightNorDepth.com).