I think the two of us have pondered that question more than once over the last 9-1/2 months, which, incidentally, is the gestation period for a human mama when she is pregnant (more on that later).
My husband is a preacher. Not a pastor, but a preacher. What is the difference? A church home in which to pastor, I suppose. While we were content where we were at, we felt the not-so-gentle pulling in a new and different direction for God. We were in a state of contented "discontent" and felt the Lord leading us to find a new church in which to serve. There isn't one particular incident that stands out in my mind where we said, "Oh...that's it. The final straw. We're leaving." We told no one that we were "looking", as is often the case. We just began to look for another place to serve. It felt really weird.
It was a little like having an affair, to be honest. I felt like we were "cheating" on our current church when there was nothing really all that horribly wrong...yet here we were searching for another church because we felt that was what we were supposed to do. Can anyone else identify with this? Why did we feel so guilty about doign something we felt God was leading us to do? We finally settled on an SBC church that was mostly full of older people (probably 75%) and had a few young families, as well as an Awana program and youth activities.
So...my husband and I interviewed the prospective Pastor to see if he believed what we did and all seemed to be in order - we felt this was really where God was leading us...felt really good about it. We decided to join the church, but before we could do that, we needed to tell our current Pastor what was going on. And so we went back to our IFB church and told our pastor we were leaving.
He was shocked to say the least, because we had given absolutely no warning...we weren't missing excessive amounts of church, we were still tithing and being faithful to our church duties, so he asked if it was anything he had done. To which we had to reply "No, Pastor. It's not you...it's us." Sounds like a really terrible break up line, doesn't it? Honestly...it felt cheesy and we felt terrible for not giving him more information. But how do you tell your IFB Pastor you're leaving him for a more liberal SBC Pastor?
So...we left the following week for our new church. We were put to work immediately in Awana, Choir, as Children's Church workers -- our eldest daughter was asked to be in the children's choir and my husband was doing supply preaching for the Pastor in his absence. Our kids were caught up in the Awana program and for the first time, experienced what it was like to have structured Church-sponsored game time with Bible lessons and handbook time. They loved it - made new friends and were excited about the possibility of what was to come. We were just as busy in our new church as we had been in our old church.
But things were about to change, and we would soon discover why were were "called" there by the Lord...(to be continued...)
**Read the Final Installment Here**