Life Beyond The Pulpit

Life Beyond The Pulpit

Have you ever been on a journey?  Life takes you on those sometimes, whether you want to get on board or not.  You don’t always have a choice, and to tell you the truth, it’s probably better that way.  If you knew you were going to go on some of the journeys ahead, you’d probably jump ship ahead of time.  Most of the time we don’t realize the journey has begun until we’ve pushed off into deep waters.

My journey has taken a bit of a twist in the last year.  I made a shift from working full-time as a pastor to working full-time as an IT technician.  I was very torn about the decision but I knew it was the right one to make.  Ministry has been pretty much all I have known for the past 13 years.  Any area of the church, you name it, I’ve probably worked in it.  I love ministry, the people, the relationships, the challenge of helping people to move forward in their relationship with God and with each other.  But there have been too many nagging questions I’ve buried deep under the surface in order to tow the company line.

As part of a denomination, I really didn’t have time to question if what I believed was true.  It was written in my denominational statement of beliefs provided by the denomination and I was tasked with enforcing it in the local church.  As I started to discover Grace and what that really means for the believer and for the church, it became more and more difficult to remain in ministry agreeing to uphold standards and theological stances that I could no longer commit to.  Don’t misunderstand me. I value denominations. They provide a framework and support for both leadership and congregations to thrive and find mutual help and encouragement. Denominations can encourage community amongst their churches and can create momentum for the work of the kingdom. But they can also box in.

My two main passions: the supernatural power of God and the message of God’s grace. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find a church that is pro supernatural and pro-grace. Lots of churches and denominations say they are pro-grace and pro-supernatural, but when it really comes down to it, most of them are too scared to rock the boat. They may be one or the other, but they are rarely both. I must confess, I have felt a little boxed in at times while working in the church.

During this past year away from ministry, my wife and I sort of dropped off of the face of Christianity. We still maintained our relationships with God, but mostly stayed away from church. We averaged attendance at church about once per month, but every month was a different church. Some people were a little appalled that we weren’t going to church regularly, but to tell you the truth, I enjoyed it! After having to be “on” every Sunday for 13 years, it felt so good to sleep in and enjoy a Sunday morning without pressure. It also allowed us to step outside the bounds of Sunday denominational indoctrination to study for ourselves and establish roots to our changing theology.

Our future is a bit of a mystery right now, but Roma and I are at peace with life and the decisions we have made. Roma has begun a blog of her own as well. Please take a moment to check out her blog at thegracediary.comShe has patiently supported me in the different roles I have taken on in the church over the past 13 years. I would have been lost without her. Now it is her turn to carry the mantle. She has an incredible passion for the unchurched, combined with prophetic giftings and a message and story that will move you. Stop by her blog and be sure to follow her!

By faith, through grace alone,

Rennie

Comments

    • says

      Hey Connie. I’ve felt like a church “culture rebel” for a while now. It was a major challenge being in ministry and not agreeing with what you’ve been charged to teach and preach. Loving the freedom that I’ve found now!

  1. says

    Interesting to here other people’s journey to a similar conclusion. My faith is probably as strong as ever, I believe in the power giftings, but more importantly, I believe in Him. His love, grace, and mercy. I believe we as individuals have to live a life that is relevant to our communities, yet so distinctly emulating Christ people are drawn to not only our actions, but the Spirit of them. I think, if we lived that way we wouldn’t need evangelism programs…. 1 Peter 3:15, 16 tells me I should be prepared to answer those who ASK me about my hope. When was the last time I was asked about my faith? How often do we hear about people who are? I can tell you, I recognize my life has had the greatest impact and I’ve seen the most miraculous things when this was the case. At those times, our faith will be treasured not only by ourselves, but by the community around us. I believe the key is to be intertwined with our communities so they can actually see the Light of the God in the minutiae of our daily actions of faith, grace, hope and love so they can’t help but ask. Sadly, I’m in the same boat. I left the ministry 6 years ago and have bounced from church to church dissatisfied with what I’ve seen. Looking back at my writings here, I guess I miss preaching. ;) Be blessed.

    • says

      Hi Dave, great to hear from you. I absolutely agree with you. We’ve talked about “the no church is perfect” aspect to finding a church, but that wasn’t the problem for us. We loved the churches, the communities of faith composed of beautiful believers. What we had an issue with was the leadership. I just couldn’t come to a place where I could submit to their leadership. The two biggest factors were controlling leaders and misuse of the scriptures (of which I unwittingly took part in for years). However, there are pockets of believers really getting back to the teachings taught by the early church that are embracing grace and dumping the OT law mindset that has filtered into the church. We have to drive 45 minutes to get to church, but we’ve finally found a church that we can get on board with. It’s not perfect, not even close, but neither am I :). I don’t what options are available where you live, but I pray you find the community you need. Church doesn’t always have to look like our traditional view either. Check out a book called So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore.

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