Monday, September 28, 2009

Church: Leaving Gracefully

[A couple of you have expressed interested in hearing about our current church situation--so here's the first of two posts to fill you in.]

Steve and I settled into a church fairly quickly after moving to Tennessee. We weren't at all interested in "church-shopping," and we were anxious to get connected. So when we found an incredibly warm and welcoming church with solid, biblical teaching, we jumped right in. We spent three and a half years serving with that body of believers, and we grew a lot during that time, especially in our understanding of the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace. And the people there were a blessing to us in many ways.

But after three years, it was well past time for us to become members. We are convinced of the importance of church membership...and after a lot of time spent praying, talking, and seeking wise counsel, we came to see that this particular church simply wasn't a good fit for us.

That said, we were desperate to leave gracefully. I think so often when people leave a church, it's messy and ugly--angry church splits, broken relationships, nasty gossip, etc. We so wanted to avoid all that. The truth was, nothing *happened* to drive us away; we didn't leave with any hard feelings toward anyone there. On the contrary, we love the wonderful people who have been part of our lives over these last few years, and we're still grateful for all we learned there.

We simply grew to believe that God, in His sovereignty and goodness, was leading us to move into a new season of life and to seek a new church home in which to grow and serve. The decision was incredibly difficult, but in the end, we both felt very confident that it was time to go. So in February, we said goodbye (though we still keep in touch with many of our friends there) and stepped out in faith that God would provide a place for us to settle.

(To be continued...)

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