Thursday, June 2, 2011

Going back to church

For those who may have heard "crazy" things about the family integrated church, don't stress. I haven't taken part in any sort of kool-aid drinking party! Promise! Every church model or denomination or movement has radicals among the "normals". They always ruin it for everyone else. Hate that! Just in case some reading this may have heard about some of the radical beliefs among a few Family Integrated leaders, let me clear up MY OWN beliefs.

If I run across anymore radical beliefs I feel I need to address, I will post them. Here are a couple to start with.

*I DO NOT believe sending your children to public school is a sin. Homeschooling is what WE feel is best, but it is NOT for everyone.

*we will raise Ava Beth or any other daughter we are blessed with to go to college. We WANT our daughters to go to college if that is the path they choose.

Also, the church we are visiting doesn't appear to land on the radical side of things. The President of our Homeschool group is a member and her daughters are in college! :) One of them is "away" at college. I've spoken with her at length about our background and our inability to go back to the "mainstream" church. We want to be surrounded by like-minded families and approve the Family Integrated church model. We want our kids with us.

Jeremy and I don't believe for one second there is a perfect church. Not possible. We do believe we will "wrestle" no matter where we go. But, we refuse to go backwards and wrestle with false teaching, or watered down theology. We desire expository preaching of the text. We do not wish to be in a church that may adjust to today's culture. We want a church that adjusts to the Word of God. We don't want trendy preaching, trendy music, and silly church advertisement with tags lines used to draw in the seeker. I've been on staff at a church, volunteer staff at a church and served my guts out at a church that modeled those types of things. In fact, I came up with many of the "creative" ideas to try and draw people in by attracting them with worldly entertainment from the stage. I repent.

We will not be told that our children have to go to the nursery or children's church. We will not be told that we do not "get it" because we say NO to constant church involvement. We will not show up at church and be dispersed in five different directions or fill our week nights up with women's studies, men's studies, small groups, and many other things to prove we love people. Instead, we will serve God, love people, and grow TOGETHER as a family, not apart. Not all the things I mentioned are bad, but the church today has forgotten FAMILY. Promoting "community" instead of family. They even proclaim the church to be THE family. Not biblical. The church should be an extension of our family, not something taking up all of our family time at home. This season we are in is precious. Raising babies, Homeschooling, parenting, it is work, and requires total commitment. Wolehearted commitment.

We want to be rooted in a church modeling Titus 2. This is very hard to find when churches are seeking a certain demographic or age group.

 1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

It is no longer easy to find a church who seeks to do nothing more than follow the word of God and model the new testament church. Now it is muddled with methods and approach to seek those that will grow their building or movement in order to spread their ideas. These ideas usually have little or nothing to do with scripture. These types of "movements" are not churches. They abuse Christ followers who seek truth. They do not welcome questions or accountability. You agree or you go. You do it their way or your salvation is questioned. We have met family after family who have chosen to stay home instead of going "somewhere" just to go. And that is where we have been.

I don't expect this church to solve all of our problems or meet all of our needs. I expect to have questions, I expect a good "wrestle" here and there. But, I also expect my family will be encouraged, homeschool will be supported (instead of being discouraged), my husband will be taught how to be the leader of the home instead of bombarded with how he can "serve the church". The growth of our family will be affirmed and encouraged instead of constant comments such as "bless your heart" or "you know what causes that". We will be appreciated for who God has created us to be.

We have been lied to, abused, manipulated, gossiped about, and even exiled because we chose to put family first. We have served under leadership who spent more time with the church instead of their own families. Scheduling family time because their calendar was so full of "events" and meetings. It should be the opposite. We have been encouraged to abandon our families by pouring all of our time and energy into the building of the church. Needless to say, it took us out. We abandoned the church, and wondered if there would ever be anything to draw us back.

The time has come, we have chosen to re-engage. I PRAY with all of my heart this will be the healing balm we have needed. I pray our faith can be restored in the local church. I pray that we can trust leaders again and be led by men who truly seek the face of God, instead of approval from the masses. Four years ago, when we chose Homeschool for our children's education, we had no idea how much it would go against the grain. Now we know, and we desire to plant our family in a church that does the same. Our family will not be a part of a church that adjusts the text to fit the culture. No more playing patty cake with God!

If you know me, know my family or have read this blog for the last six years, I trust you also know my heart. You have witnessed the pain inflicted by the church and you have watched us sit still. Please pray for us as we move forward. We need it! When I stepped down from my position as a worship leader several years ago, I was told by the church that it was a mistake. As I explained to leadership what I knew the Lord was asking of me, I was discouraged. I was even told by one of my Pastor's wives that I must have heard wrong. My choice to homeschool was not accepted and even mocked. Regardless, I obeyed. I love my life as a wife and mother. It is the greatest calling on my life. My family, NOT the church, is my passion.

We shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God's grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Anonymous said...

Amen!! LOVE your heart for your family and for GOD's word,no one elses!! I so relate to this post...thank you!!

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness, I LOVE YOUR HEART! This is a lot of good stuff to digest, I need to read, and re-read this. So much wisdom Amanda, wow! (And I am praying for you as you make this transition... can't wait to hear about it).

Anonymous said...

I love this Amanda! So glad you have found what you were looking for.

Wendy said...

Would you believe that you have a like-minded person living in the neighborhood right next to yours? ;) My name is Wendy and we have two mutual friends (Naomi and Kim). Well, it would take more time to type than I have at this moment but I wanted to say that I am so incredibly beyond blessed and encouraged to read your latest 2 entries in your blog. Naomi gave me your blog address last night and I've only made it two posts in but I almost wept from happiness to discover that I am not the only one who feels this way about church. I JUST discoverd the website on Family Integrated Church (on Sunday actually) and I could finally see exactly where my disatisfaction with the modern day church was coming from. Your latest post, I could have written it myself!!! All this time, my husband and I have known what we were NOT looking for in a church, but not WHAT we were looking for. Finding the FIC site, connecting with your blog (and amazingly, one other blog came to my attention yesterday, completely out of left field b/c I was looking for things to do with my preschoolers while homeschooling and the blog I went to had a post about big families in church), this is such confirmation and encouragement to me! I thought I was alone!!!!! And I've felt so alone on this homeschooling journey up until the past year. And almost completely alone on the church issues. Anyway, God bless you and your family on your journey. And if you agree, I think we need to meet ;)