Leaving Church. Leaving Community.

Part 1

We stayed there because we did not know where else we could go. We stayed there because we had many responsibilities. We stayed there regardless of how we were treated. I stayed there because it would have made things uncomfortable for my wife I left. We stayed there because of our sons. We stayed at our church when we had every reason to leave.

My wife and I attended our former house of worship for more than a decade. During that time we had participated on committees, organized programs, facilitated classes, and held a number of roles and responsibilities. We were the typical “good old” church goers.

However, also during that entire time we were talked about and mistreated. In so many words we were emotionally abused and professionally misused. We did everything we could to overlook abuses, explain away misuses, and try to make ourselves better in the eyes of leadership. Yet, no matter what we did, said, tried, or attempted changed how we were treated.

Often, we sacrificed jobs, opportunities, revenue, and time away from each other and our sons in the name of church and supporting leadership. We did not have to do any of the things that we did. But, we did them anyway. We did them not because of a “call of God on our lives” for the things that we did.

We did them because we just wanted to help. We were raised to help people. We were taught that if someone has a need and you have the capacity and ability to help them, help them. We did not think anything of it. It was who we were and that is what we did. We helped…and helped…and helped…and helped. In the end, we were tired, frustrated, angry, hurt, and in pain.

Over a decade of service and ministry and everything we did was minimized, ridiculed, discarded, and explained away. If anything that we were involved with was wrong, it was our fault and we were the problem. We were the reason things were wrong in our areas of service. Time and time again I tried to chase down the every changing standard for success and acceptance. I never succeeded. I never became what leadership wanted or thought they wanted me to become.

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