Tornadoes - April 27, 2011

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    Pictures of the destruction following the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes in Alabama
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  • Hi, my name is Jan Owen. I am a woman following, loving, seeking and worshiping Jesus. These writings are my thoughts as I journey through both the pains and joys of life. After serving as a worship pastor for 15 years, I am now a worship missionary, serving as the President of the Give Worship Project, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to help equip indigenous church leaders, particularly in the area of worship. You can donate by using the DONATE button below. All your gifts are tax-deductible and very appreciated. Thanks! Check it out! www.giveworship.com

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    « An Honest Look | Main | What Would YOU Talk About? »

    August 10, 2010

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    Linda

    Just curious... did you write this before or after I left?

    Thanks for sharing your insight and wisdom. I know that we, who are church leaders, could all benefit from reading and really listening to these nuggets of truth.

    I love you and am so very proud of the work you are doing. Not only abroad but the love and compassion you have for local churches and leaders is inspiring.

    Jan Owen

    Linda, I wrote it afterwards. Talking to you helped me formulate my thoughts into a more concrete form! Thanks for listening!

    Collfosh

    Jan,
    I love what God is doing in your heart. In my experience, God's been more interested in my heart condition than a church postion.

    Lynn

    I think leaving a church is something that is hard to talk about with other people because I'm not sure there is anyway to make them truly understand your feelings. When spoken aloud, those reasons sometimes sound trivial to others.

    Your points #5 and #6 truly resonate with me. It is very hard to be honest when you know the truth would hurt someone else the way you have been hurt. It's hard for me to see the wisdom in a situation like that. Even now, I want to choose my words very carefully for fear of someone reading them that may wonder if I am speaking of them.

    Thank you for sharing from the depths of your soul. I can see God truly working within you. I love you Jan!

    Jan Owen

    Lynn, I love you too! I think we *might* could have constructive conversations if we could de-personalize things a bit. (All of us!) But that is hard. I've been terribly guilty of taking EVERYTHING personally, which is probably pretty silly. I don't know the answer. Maybe if we approached it from what we'd LIKE to see, instead of what we HATE. ????

    I don't know for sure. I just know there must be a better way! And I want to be a part of something better.

    Prudence

    I can't begin to say how timely this post was. Yesterday my husband met with the pastor of our current church to let him know we believed God was telling us our time of ministry there was over and we were leaving. We'd helped plant the church nearly a year and a half ago. There were things that we had issues with, but our main reason for leaving being that we know that God is moving us in a certain direction, and leaving there was one of many first steps.

    Jan Owen

    Friend, it sounds like we have so much in common!!! Praying for you to clearly know the path God is leading you on - and that you will feel peace as you go.

    Peter O'Neill

    Thank you for this very thoughtful post. I'm wondering if it is always necessary to voice concerns before leaving or just move on. On one hand, it would be great for leadership to be aware of them, but on the other I'm not sure if it's always constructive to address that.

    After walking with the Lord for over 30 years and seeing this happen time and again, I'm beginning to realize that there is something inherently wrong with the way we do church governance and culture. The seperation of clergy and laity ultimately breeds a resentful atmosphere, because it creates an "us and them" mentality. Official titles gender a disordinate reverence for leadership, so there is always a disconnect. It should be less formal and void of membership rules, where everyone is invited to participate at their own level of commitment, not to Christ, but to church activity.

    If we met as the early church, going from house to house, in a less restrive institutional manner, there would be less separation anxiety of people coming and going, because there are no ultimatums. No one has to offically sign up or officially sign out when they feel like moving on. Of course they would have to operate in love and compassion, but that never fails.

    Just a thought . . . Peter

    Jan

    Hi Peter, Thank you for your thoughts. It sounds like we've reached some of the same conclusions about how church and how the Body of Christ should operate, but sadly fails to do so most of the time. A good book that has encouraged me is "Community 101" by Dr. Gilbert Bilzekian. He addresses the issues of how true community is unable to flourish within a hierarchial and authoritarian system.

    I guess that my concern about believers "quietly" leaving church is that people and institutions are unable to ever learn and grow if some honest feedback is not - at times - lovingly given. As a staff member I grew weary of people's reasons for leaving always being dismissed so lightly.

    Stop back by!

    Linda

    I just found this post while searching for 'leaving your church' help. Yesterday was my last day at a church I've been with since it was a prayer group, approximately 12 years. I've been dealing with guilt today and thoughts of just gritting my teeth and going back. My belief is, though, that I shouldn't have to grit my teeth at church. I feel bad leaving my church family, but feel little choice is given to me. Our pastor has become a dictator and I'm unwilling to follow all of the latest 'rules'. Makes me very sad and frustrated. Your article helped me alot. Thank you!

    Linda

    Hi again. It has been several months since I left my home church. I have been unable to find a new church family in that time. It's very discouraging. Do you have any recommendations to getting through the time of transition?

    Jan

    Linda, I'm sending you an email!

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