August 18, 2013

New Direction...

This morning, I'll be officially placing membership at the church that I attended in my teenage years. I and that congregation have both changed a lot in thirty years, and I've felt completely comfortable in the past few weeks I've been attending services there.

Why did I leave the last church I was attending? Primarily because they're going in a direction that I didn't feel had very much to offer me in terms of my usefulness to others. I honestly can't tell you how many ministers ordained by the denomination attend there, but it turns out to be many more than I ever realized. Being someone who believes in the universal priesthood of believers, the concept of official ordination doesn't really sit well with me, and the clergy/laity boundary only makes me feel somewhat alienated and minimally useful to the Church.

There was a wonderful husband and wife serving as the co-pastors there, but they left for various reasons, one of which is becoming evident to me now as I read the words that the husband writes. I don't think that they were completely free to exercise their gifts within that congregation, and I now know that there was some opposition to some of the new things they were trying to do to help people in their spiritual formation. I should have given them more support in their endeavors, but I still think the outcome would have been the same.

Now, that congregation is seeking a new pastor to guide them in a somewhat different direction, and I have sought a new direction for myself. I'm no longer satisfied with merely occupying a spot in a pew; I want to become active and useful in a congregation, and I've found a place where I can do just that.

I'm also done with debating theological topics with people, trying to defend dogma and doctrine. There's very little that is edifying in that, it usually just serves to bolster people's own certitude. We're called to help each other grow in and closer to Christ, speaking things that are beneficial to that purpose. Debates, doctrines and dogma don't serve that purpose, compassion and love shared with wisdom do. The church I'm now attending has shown me a commitment to empowering each member to grow as a true servant of Christ and fellow man, and I'm ready to step into that growth and work.

I wish the best for my former congregation and all its members, and hope that they can find new growth and direction to bring glory to Christ and His love. And I ask that you pray for me as I find a new direction by returning to my roots.

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