So, I had a moment over this past weekend where I didn’t know what to do, or how to feel, and the only word I can think of to describe it is surreal.
If you have read any of my past blog posts, you know a little bit about what happened between me and my parent’s church. They decided, after I had been singing with the praise team for several months, that they didn’t like the way I was living my life. They told my dad, who informed me, that by living with my (now) fiancé, I was a bad influence on the youth on the congregation and asked me to step down from the praise team and get into religious counseling with the pastor to save my spiritual life.. Needless to say, after reflecting on the entire situation, I also met with the pastor and the praise team leader, it was requested that I step down, and I left the praise team and the church. I didn’t feel comfortable there, I felt very judged, I felt very upset about the entire situation and how it was approached.
I didn’t know how I felt and I really needed to do some soul searching to determine if my faith, while I was attending that church, was placed in the people I attended church with, or if my faith was in God. And the results of that soul searching made me a little nervous at first. I enjoyed the community I was involved in. I loved the people there. I LOVED singing.. And when all of that was taken away from me. I really had to lean on God. I really had to pray my way through being rejected by the “family” of Christians I thought I had around me. It was a really hard and devastating time for me. I tried several other churches searching for that feeling of belonging but now I find that trying new churches makes me feel.. incredibly shameful.
I do realize that living with my fiancé is against the bible. I do realize that there are rules in the bible about premarital relationships. I realized that my lifestyle and the traditional biblical lifestyle do not “mesh” well together.. That being said, I feel like church is supposed to be a judgment free zone. Should they offer counsel to people in need of it? Absolutely. But should you judge and condemn the members of your congregation? I don’t think so.. It leads to resentment among members, it leads to anger, it leads to hurt feelings.
So, this Sunday was one of the only other times since last October, when I was asked to leave the worship team, that I have been back to that church. And the entire sermon just.. was surreal for me. The pastor spent the sermon talking about how his (extremely) traditional church is failing. The church consists of an extremely old congregation. My parents are one of the youngest couples there. There are NO youth. NO members under 30. NO children’s church. And he can’t figure out why.
I really had to bite my tongue. Because I can tell him why he doesn’t have any millennial age people attending his church. It’s not that people my age don’t believe in Christianity. It’s not that people my age have problems with the bible. Are we a bit more lax as far as following the traditional biblical rules? Yes. Myself included. But all we really want, is to feel accepted. To feel welcomed at church. No matter what church it happens to be. That’s all I want. To walk into a church and not instantly feel like people are judging me. Like I am unwelcome. Like I am a terrible person just because I made different choices.
I feel like I was pushed out of church. I feel like my generation is being slowly pushed out of church. I feel like you should definitely preach on what you’re called to preach on. But I don’t think you should specifically attack members of your congregation in your sermons when they have confided in you about intimate details of their lives.. Which has happened multiple times at that church.. And it has pushed people away. Not just me. I have watched multiple couples, young adults, youth, and couples with young children leave the church.. It doesn’t feel like a welcoming environment.
I can’t just blame the pastor. The entire congregation is very unwelcoming. They’re all older. They’re all extremely hypocritical. They’re all judgmental.
I am struggling today. I don’t want to be happy that the church is struggling. As a Christian, you want to church to do well. But, I am really having a hard time being gracious towards this church. Towards these members. These people who essentially abandoned me when they “found out” about my lifestyle. I know I am supposed to be upset that they’re struggling, but I’m not..
I need to get a handle on things. But I don’t think it will be today.