My husband and I have been on a journey of faith since the day that we got married 18 years ago. When my husband and I met, we had both been newly saved (born again) and we were hungry babes in Christ. As we grew in our faith, we searched for a church. We longed for fellowship in a body of believers who truly believed the Bible. Although we eventually settled on a foursquare church and got involved in it for about 7 years, we found several inconsistencies in the doctrine taught there.
A few years later we moved to the east coast. After searching for a church there and finding the results disheartening to say the least, we decided to have church at home with just our family. We sang songs and listened to preaching cd's by Michael Pearl which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were always inspired to study on our own after listening to them.
A few years after that, we relocated westward and have searched where we are now, too. We found a small church here a year ago that taught from the King James Bible and we began attending. We immediately noticed that the congregation of about 20-30 people (on a full day) didn't really show much fruit that born again believers ought to have - namely, joy.
The pastor is a younger man with a wife and young kids. They're very nice people and King James Bible believers. They agree with most of the doctrines taught in the Bible. (Most.)
In the beginning, there was no offering taken, no children's church or child segregation. We were beginning to think we finally found somewhere to gather for fellowship. However, over the past year the pastor (and his wife) have shown us that those things were only temporary. It's becoming apparent that hearts are not set on a family integrated church as we had thought because their priorities are shifting. They've begun to emphasize church membership which is an unbiblical standing. The only "membership" promoted and taught in the word of God is as members of the body of Christ.
They have talked of a bigger congregation and more church programs and have begun segregating the children to nursery and Sunday School. The pastor's wife has repeatedly mentioned the importance of being "faithful to church". I'd never heard such a term. We believe in being faithful to God and assembling together. But being 'faithful to church'? That's a new one.
After about 4 years of having church at home, hearing the preacher "sermonize"is, frankly, annoying. Sermonizing is a very different thing than Bible teaching. The first time we attended this church my husband shared his thoughts in the car ride home that they are "playing church". This is traditional, it is common and "normal" but after years of meaty bible study and no stuffed shirts, it is quite a jolt to sit through all the rigamarole of a church "service".
At the home men's Bible studies, the pastor pulls out a mini-pulpit and stands and preaches from it rather than sitting on the sofa with the other men. Which is unfortunate because the main point of home bible study is for men to expound and discuss God's word.
Realizing that the leaders of this church are turning out to be about churchianity just like the others is so disheartening. But it is a minor annoyance compared to the real issue. The doctrine.
I will finish that thought tomorrow. Right now it's time to get my dinner on. Have a blessed day in Christ!