Changing denominations

A little over a year ago, when I left my job at the church and walked away to find a new one, I also left my church. The church, that church, the old church? For 17 years, it had been my church and then it was not. Ron and I had taught more classes than I can remember – together and apart. We worked with discipleship, new members and of course, the library. The boys spent their teenage years there and were in countless programs, went to numerous camps as campers and then as counselors. They went on mission trips and made their first international trips with this church.

But the time had come to go. We had different jobs and Ron continued teaching Sunday School until the year ended. I didn’t go anywhere in that time period. It was in many ways a time of healing. A few people knew why I wasn’t there. I’d see other people out and about and they’d mention that they hadn’t seen me at church in a while. One of the problems in going to a really big church with multiple services across campuses. It’s not hard to lose track of someone. You change a service time, they change a campus. Contact is gone. I’m sure there are many people who don’t even know we are no longer there. I think it was Brian LePort who mentioned that he wanted to go to a church that wasn’t so big or that wasn’t so small. Well, that’s it.

When you work and worship at the same place, the sense of loss is great when that place and those people are no longer a part of your life.

Time passed and we began to visit – searching for where God would have us worship, a place to fellowship and serve. We had always gone to an SBC Baptist church, so that’s where we started and it just wasn’t clicking. It wasn’t that things didn’t seem perfectly wonderful at those churches, but there was just that mmmmmm can’t put your finger on it kind of feeling. It’s awkward not belonging, not having a regular place to go on Sunday – being at odds on a location. It’s like going out to dinner when no one is hungry for anything specific. Where do you want to go this week? We went to another church and another and then at Easter, we visited a Moravian Church. We saw an ad in the paper for a Great Saturday Sabbath service. We’ve been going there since without a second thought of going anywhere else. To say this has surprised me would be an understatement. To say that I have been surprised that Ron has felt the same way would be a greater understatement. The church we were in had a blended service and lots of opportunities for Amens and clapping with the sound of Bible pages flipping filling the air. This church is traditional, liturgical, smaller, quieter.

We met with the pastor today to talk about joining and getting more involved. We’ll meet again with another one of the pastors. I thought it would be hard to make a denominational change, but I didn’t know anything else.

———————–

I went back and tried to find the specific post by Brian over at Near Emmaus where he talked about the churches in which he’d been a member and found this one. I don’t know how I missed it, but there’s an interesting conversation going on, and it fits well with this post. I couldn’t find the one I was thinking about and mentioned earlier. Maybe I imagined it 😉

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12 thoughts on “Changing denominations

  1. Thanks for sharing Bitsy. Beck and I, when we left the AG didn’t go anywhere for 3 years! We visted a few places and went with friends but it was a hard slog. 🙂

  2. Yaah, I’d love to hear more Bitsy – even if you’re willing to share why you left, but I understand why you wouldn’t. Its been nearly 7 years for me and I am only just ready to talk about it.

  3. I agree, too. Would love to hear your story. We have seriously considered leaving the SBC as well, but as for now, we are staying put. The cooperative effort for missions is the best anywhere (at least for now) and that is very important to us. However, I, too, am drawn to the liturgy, so I can definitely see how you went Moravian. I think my main issue would be the sacramental view of Communion. I know Moravians are not transubstantiationalists, but are they consubstantiationalists?

  4. One of the problems in going to a really big church with multiple services across campuses. It’s not hard to lose track of someone. You change a service time, they change a campus. Contact is gone. I’m sure there are many people who don’t even know we are no longer there.

    Years ago I started with this very small but totally awesome Church. It grew and grew and grew; one new building project after another. New people always coming in. Those you’ve known forever it seems like start to drop off, friendships becoming a fog because everyone’s in a rush. Personal contact is gone. After a decade your band of brothers and sisters that you started with drop off, Ghosts floating away.

    Then I floated away. I knew a lot of people, they knew me. No one called, no one missed me. Construction didn’t miss a beat. Someone replaced me. Someone, I’m sure, replaced the replacement. Someone I’m sure replaced the replacement they replaced originally. Today, that Church Campus reminds me of a Borg Cube from Star Trek.

  5. Joel, I’m so glad you guys have finally found a place! Although I did enjoy reading about your worship experiences in the part with the ducks.

    Mark, I’d be happy to share about the reasons I left, but right now, they’ll have to be behind the scenes. Since those reasons started with my work (at least in part) and are still relatively fresh history, I’ve got to be mindful of what I say that may come back at me. But, I’d be happy to write a private post or talk through a message at FB with any who are interested.

    Tater, the cooperative program is one of several things I really, really love about the SBC. Whenever we had to look for a church, missions involvement was one of the first things we asked about and looked for evidence of. The Moravians have a Board of World Mission. As to communion, this is from the Moriavians in North America site (which is one of the first pages we went to when we started seriously thinking about this move.

    In respect to the sacrament of holy communion, the Moravian Church does not try to define the mystery of Christ’s presence in the communion elements, but recognizes that the believer participates in a unique act of covenant with Christ as Savior and with other believers in Christ.

    bm – that is it exactly. The community will go on. The individual looses identity. Lots of variety and opportunity though for those going.

  6. We went through this about 3 years ago. The circumstances were a little different-our campus closed, but we decided to find a church locally rather than travel to the main campus. It was hard, but when you guys finally land where the Lord will have you, you will (1) know it’s right and (2) develop deeper spiritually. It should be exciting.

  7. We have already seen some of that excitement. The Southern Provence of the Moravian Church as been reorganizing and a great deal emphasis has been place on healthy churches. We went to the first session on this Sunday and we walked out both talking at the same time about the possibilities.

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