Prayer for my church situation

Truckerboy

Member
I would greatly value your prayer support for my family over the next few days with respect to a meeting which my wife, Veronica, and myself have with the pastor of the church which we are attending at the moment. We will be meeting him and his wife next Sunday evening, (10th May)

We have been going to this church for around three years but have not made the commitment to membership during that time for reasons that will become clear. A little background may well be of help for you.

We had been members of an Elim Pentecostal Church for seven years but were forced to leave when they adopted the Purpose Driven philosophy. As with many in this situation it was not a pleasant experience. On the launch night of the program I questioned Rick Warren's appalling use of Scripture but had to face a severe verbal barrage from the pastor. He did offer an apology and suggested any other queries would willingly be talked through. I began to dig deeper and decided that it would be wiser to put my thoughts down on paper, but this was also rejected out of hand. This included an observation that to the end of chapter 3 of the Purpose Driven Life book, just under two thirds of the scriptures used were wrong in some way or other, and therefore pastor and his assistant pastor effectively told me that my handling of Scripture was virtually 99% wrong. I therefore sent my written notes to a number of ministers who were independent of the situation, and they were very supportive, suggesting I look beyond the "what's wrong with ....." approach and looking at all the influences that have resulted in Rick Warren ministering in the way that he does. They also suggested that I look at possibly writing a book with the results of my research.

We set about looking for a new church, knowing that many of the more lively, active churches in the area were following similar philosophies, but we settled on the one which we have been attending because of a tremendously warm welcome and teaching which was very Bible-based. It is a relatively small fellowship of around 70 members. We made it clear that we would take our time in deciding on membership because of the painful experiences we had just gone through.

The leadership team consists of four elders, two of whom being the pastor and assistant pastor and although sometimes appearing to be a little naive, their leadership seemed pretty sound. A high proportion of the congregation seemed to be very biblically aware, and the church does seem to be a testament to the love of God in action, with people being saved because of how the church members live - people have even become saved at funerals! However, from time to time we began to see fleeting glimpses of the same signs as we had seen at the Elim Church.

After a while the pastor stepped back from his duties in order to do more overseas evangelistic work, with the assistant pastor stepping up. In actual fact, in terms of their involvement or responsibility to the church they had effectively swapped roles, but from that time onwards the worrying glimpses of our previous problems started occurring more and more. My research into the arrival of the seeker sensitive church philosophy has discovered influences from the Church Growth Movement, Latter Rain/Kingdom Now/Apostles and Prophets movement, Emergent Church and Contemplative Spirituality and other mystical/pagan meditational practices. By now, you may well be thinking "Get out now!", but in actual fact there hasn't been a great deal of actual definite links to any of these influences, just mere hints that they may be lurking behind the scenes.

We as a family have been wanting to get more involved and commit to full membership, but each time we were about to make the move something has happened to make us take a step back and consider things. This included references to popular, "trendy" books like "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell, and "the Shack" by William Young, all of which bringing theological alarm bells. This meant obtaining copies of these books and reading them so that I could be properly informed about them (incidentally in situations like this I will only buy second-hand copies to save paying royalties to people who are theologically unsound). We have also had to defer our meeting with the pastor because of his ministry trips abroad, plus my problem of getting time off from work, which is part of the reason for my last prayer request.

At long last we will be getting to meet with the pastor and his wife next Sunday, and the blessing is that the leaders of this church are open to being questioned, and they do listen and do respond where appropriate. We are not meeting to discuss the ins and outs of membership, we are already happy with all of that side of things. We will simply be asking very clearly whether or not the pastor has any intention of taking the church into the problem areas which I have highlighted. The last thing that we want to do is to commit to a church which we then have to leave again because they have followed the same direction which made us leave the last church. We want to offer a long-term commitment, but we can only commit to something which is completely biblical.

I apologise for this lengthy prayer requests, but it is a major issue and one which is very important both for church and our family.

Yours in Jesus,

Truckerboy.
 

Ruthlyn

Beta Tester
It was very interesting reading your prayer request and thanks for being so comprehensive. I do know the pain of having to leave an assembly due to serious doctrinal errors. It is not a move that can be taken lightly and it takes a great deal out of you, spiritualy, emotionally and even physically (the church I attended before went into the Branham movement). I also took quite a while before I committed to the chuch I now attend, also not wanting a repeat of such an experience.

My heart goes out to you and your family and I will be praying for you. May the Spirit of God continue to guide you in this major decision.


Ruthlyn
 

marty

Beta Tester
I will certainly continue praying for God's leading in your Church situation, Truckerboy.

My own church experience is much less formal - I've lived in tiny communities (50-100 people) for most of my life and the choice was Catholic, Mormon or whichever Protestant faction happened to be in the area. Mostly we had Non-Denominational Community Church, often just led by Godly men, augmented by traveling ministers.
 

TerriP

Active Member
Truckerboy

How is it working out for you, how was your meeting?

God Bless you

TerriP & family
 

Truckerboy

Member
Hi TerriP,

Thanks for your interest. Veronica and I had our meeting with the pastor and his wife as planned, and it was a very pleasant evening.

With us having suspicions about where the pastor might be taking the church, my opening question was simply "Where do you see this church, and the church in general in 5 years time and in 20 years time?" His response was excellent, with his overall motive being that the church should be having an impact on the society around us. Now although this sounds like Dominion Theology, i.e. building the kingdom of God on earth, I would have to agree that it is no use spending our time in the church studying theology and doctrine if it doesn't affect how we live, both as individuals and as a church, so there were possibilities that we could commit our futures to working with this fellowship.

We did discuss many of the issues I want to raise with him, and as we went home we felt fairly happy with how the evening had gone. But when we discussed the meeting over the next couple of days we realise that what had happened was that the pastor hadn't really given us any hard and fast answers. Now given our concerns that he is trying to shift the church into becoming an Emergent Church, the fact that we weren't able to pin him down as to exactly where he stood is maybe only to be expected! On the following Sunday morning, he asked me how we had felt about the meeting, and actually admitted that he had deliberately not given me many specific answers because he felt that if he did, all I would do is come back to him with yet another list of questions!

It would seem that all he sees is a husband and wife who want everything sorted out, all the boxes ticked, and so on and are therefore likely to keep coming back with a whole load of new issues that need sorting out. He seems to have missed the fact that all of the issues we want to talk about are related to the same thing, which is the church moving in the same direction as a whole load of other fellowships which have gone apostate. We have therefore decided to write a letter to the pastor, giving a detailed listing of all our concerns, along with examples of things which have happened in the church which have caused concern. Remember, we have already had experience of noting little issues and events cropping up in the way in which church is run which are signs of where the leadership are taking the church. We have seen it happen, and we can point to direct links between these little "signs" and the inevitable results. Writing this letter will have the effect of putting all our cards on the table, so the pastor will know for sure exactly what our issues are, and why we have these concerns. There is some risk to this, of course as he could simply say that he doesn't want us to be part of the church!

Ultimately, our hope is that the issues turn out to be unconnected and entirely irrelevant, but if the pastor is having designs on the church it may well be that he is completely unaware of the implications of what he is getting involved in. If this is the case, then it may well be that our conversations with him could well help to give him the information he needs in order to remain biblically based in everything that he is doing. Both Veronica and I really want to commit to this fellowship and get really involved in what the church is doing, but the last thing we want to do is to make that commitment and then find ourselves face-to-face with the very things that we had to walk away from in our last church.

Your continued prayers would be appreciated.

Yours in Him,

Truckerboy.
 
Top