Christians shaken by pastor's infidelity - 11/30/2004
This is a little about my past. For 15 years I served in a church where the Pastor was on fire for God up until the last 13 years. The Pastor took of with the secretary and ened up devorcing his wife and ultimitely divorcing his church. He left without another Pastor take over. Many people left the faith and went back to the world. One person even committed suicide.
The remainder seperated to different churches. I have been going for a while with some friends of mine to this new church. The problem is that I feel like all that I had prayed for and believed in is now aborted.
I had pretty much free rein over the other church near the end. I would clean the building, help out in ministries of helps, and even stayed overnight when no one was there to pray for the congragation. I annoited the platform and chairs and prayed in tongues. But the times I miss the most was the quiet times when I felt God's presence so close I couldn't do a thing.
I guess my question is now with the new church (which presently operates in a school setting) Why don't I feel like I belong? And also when I pray at home it's not the same, I truthfully don't pray in tongues anymore unless I am with the others, has God forgotten me? I gave up so much including a relationship with my son that could have been better if I didn't spend so much time(by faith) staying at the church.
I've tried to have some relationships with the new church members and leaders, and it's not happening. I also had to take a job that I work a lot of Sundays and Wed. nights. Has God forgotten me? I've tried to contact many ministries and only one actually answered me, but not with what I needed to hear. They said that they couldn't tell me what church to go to, when that wasn't even a question I asked. Please, prayerfully answer this. I feel like I'm giving up on everything about churches and promises that God would exalt you and give you the desires of you're heart. Thank you again for putting up with all of us who write in to you. God Bless You! Priscilla
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Priscilla. I'm sorry it's taken so long to reply. I remember when I read this when you first sent it, I wanted to reply right away. Unfortunately, we got a glut of emails, and I'm sorry to say this got lost in the shuffle.
I don't know if you're from the United States, but President Kennedy is well known for a speech in which he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask rather what you can do for your country." He borrowed those words from someone else, but they still resound. In a way, I think they're applicable to your situation. Instead of asking what you can do for the Kingdom of God, you're asking why God isn't doing for you like He used to. Speaking quite honestly, that is not the attitude of a humble servant. We must always remember who is God, and what our role is. We must not expect God to always glorify us. He has purchased our salvation, and for that we owe Him our lives and our service. We shouldn't be asking for more in return.
With that said, I think I see what has happened. It sounds like your former pastor was well respected. In fact, it sounds like He was too respected. He was and is a fallible human being. If we place to much faith in men instead of God, we are sure to be disappointed. When he sinned and abandoned your congregation, it fell apart. A body of believers should never have as its cornerstone a mere man. The reasons are clear now. When that man fails, the body collapses. That's why our churches must have Christ as the cornerstone. That way they will never fall. Men and women may come and go; pastors may sin and even leave, but the cornerstone will stand strong. I feel led to believe that too much reverence was paid to a mere man in that church, and that caused the ultimate collapse.
Apparently your former church was very charismatic. There's nothing wrong with that. A Spirit-filled church is a wonderful thing. Yet when Paul laid out the rules for using the gifts of the Spirit, there was a reason. The gifts can be misused, and they can become an idol if we allow them. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are just that -- gifts. God does not OWE them to us, and we should not be angry if He takes them from us. Of the various gifts, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:11, "All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines." I encourage you to read through this chapter. There is nothing to say that all believers will be given the gift of tongues, and there is nothing to say that these gifts are permanent. The Holy Spirit gives them "just as he determines." We must not feel angry or forsaken if the Holy Spirit acts in a way that we don't like. It is not our place. In verses 29-31 Paul writes, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts." His questions are rhetorical, and that gives us the obvious answer -- no. Not all are blessed with the gifts, and not all who are so blessed should expect the gifts to be permanent. I also encourage you to read 1 Corinthians chapter 14. In verses 14 and 15 we read, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind." You mentioned anointing the platform and chairs. I'm not sure what purpose that served, as the New Testament speaks only of anointing people. I believe one of the dangers that Paul wanted us to avoid was placing so much importance on spiritual gifts that we lose sight of Jesus Christ. We risk becoming a generation that demands a sign (Matthew 12:39), rather than rejoices in the salvation we share in Christ Jesus.
Priscilla, some of this may be hard to hear, but I feel led to speak the truth in love. I encourage you to work on your spiritual life with Christ, rejoicing in the miracle of your creation and your salvation, without demanding more. Work hard to have a heart of a servant of Christ, rather than a servant of one church body. In the Old Testament, the Jews created the Tabernacle and Temple as a place for God to dwell on earth. Yet with the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ, we have all become God's temple. We don't need a church building to be near to our Saviour. Our heart is His temple, and that's where we must meet Him. We hope this makes sense, and will pray that your relationship with Christ be restored. Just remember Who is in charge, and meet Him in the quietness of your servant's heart.
Ben and Jennifer Rast