Monday, December 13, 2004

August 9, 2004 - My Joy has left, should I go next?

Things are getting harder to deal with at church. There seems to be a few people, particularly one family, that seems to have it out/in for me. It doesn't matter what I do or how I do it, they still oppose me. Nothing seems right or acceptable. What's worse, it seems that it's spreading. You know how it goes, one family gets upset, they talk to their relatives, who are also members of the church, are now against you also.

Everytime they get an opportunity, they oppose me, publicly, sometimes while in church conference. The latest outburst happened when I conveniently wasn't there to defend myself. There was no particular point to the accusations, but a blanket criticism of just about everything I do. It was probably better that I wasn't there. It might have gotten ugly.

I am a fighter, not a quitter. Sometimes that gets me in more trouble because there are times that you just have to hold your tongue. I have been holding my tongue for over a year and I'm getting to the point where I can't hold it much longer.

The tension at church is palpable. I have had many people console me since then, and I do get the impression that those who are unhappy with me, are in the minority.

Many think it's their job to be the church police and criticize everything they think is wrong with the world. Of course these people are less than faithful in service and example and never have any constructive suggestions nor do they seem willing to offer any kind of service as a solution. It's always about everyone else.

I am really struggling right now. For a few months now I have been pondering leaving this ministry. Not because of the problems, the burden came before the problems began. We just got a new pastor almost a year ago and I have had some good talks with him. He supports me, but I'm not sure how much support he has right now.

I don't want to leave. It is a big hassle. I have built relationships here and tried to build a ministry vision. My vision is being somewhat hindered but I think the decision to leave is about more than youth ministry. Even when things are going well, I still don't have a peace. I don't know if this is the work of satan or if God won't allow me to have peace until I step out on faith and make a decision.

I say it's not just a youth ministry decision because I get the feeling that my family is not happy either. In fact they have told me. My joy is gone. Their joy is gone. We don't look forward to church anymore. Moving churches is more than just youth ministry. It's also a life decision. As a regular church member, am I happy? Is my family happy where they are at? Can the problems we face be solved in the near future? I honestly have to answer No to all those questions. I don't see an improvement or an end in sight to this burden I feel. Every time I decide that I am going to stick it out, I get this nagging feeling that the decision is still not made, even though I feel I have already made it.

I had prepared my resume even before conflict surfaced, sent my resume to two churches a few weeks back and even interviewed with one pastor. All I need to do now is follow up. I had hoped that they would call me instead that way I would know that the Lord was leading me in that direction. But I guess He wants me to take the next step. I just want to make sure that I am doing the right thing for the right reasons. I know that leaving will appear that I am leaving because of conflict. That makes me want to stay in spite of that. I don't want to leave because of conflict and I don't want to leave before my ministry is completed here. There are always more things to be done. But I don't think there is any other option. I pray that there is.

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