It’s been almost a year since my wife and I decided to leave our old church in search for a new one. It wasn’t a decision that we came to quickly nor was it something we took lightly. After all, we had both been there for over 10 years. We were small group leaders there. Our kids were loving the kids ministry. We had a bunch of friends there. How could we really consider leaving? The answer to that difficult question is actually quite an easy one. It was time to go.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight
Leaving A Church
It would be easy for me to focus on specific reasons that cumulatively added up to the decision for us to leave the only church that I and the kids had ever known. However, I am just going to say that it wasn’t 1 thing. It wasn’t 2 or even 3 things. It was a growing list of things that finally grew to the point where I could no longer hear the message through the messenger. I could no longer worship with a pure heart and focus on Jesus because my heart was hurting and my mind would start to always look sideways at worldly stuff rather than up to God. That’s not a healthy way to attend a church and it certainly is an impossible way to worship a God who has blessed me with so much.
We Found A Home At The Bridge
We had heard from several people about a church called ‘The Bridge’. It wasn’t too far from our house so I decided to check it out one Sunday while Amy took the kids to our old church still. We weren’t going to tell the kids anything until we actually found a church that fit.
As soon as I walked in to The Bridge, I felt at home. I was greeted by people with smiles on their faces and it was very easy to feel at home. I knew I had to bring Amy here to experience the church for herself. A few weeks later she came with me and had the same feelings I did.
It was during that visit that we noticed a board with a drawing of what looked like a new church. It turns out that this church was adding a 2nd location, The Bridge-Randhurst. I looked at the address on the drawing and realized where it was. No way! It was literally 2 miles from our house. I had driven by this building under construction countless times and I had no idea it was a church, let alone that it was going to be our future church. God certainly gave us a huge blessing, not only with this church but placing it almost in our backyard! Yay God!
Now that we are plugged in to our new church, ready to serve God here as small group leaders and leaders at the weekend services, we are getting ready for the grand opening of The Bridge Randhurst this weekend. To say that I am excited about being a part of this is a huge understatement. I can’t wait to see all the different ways that God is going to show up at this new building. It’s going to be an incredible sight to see and be a part of, in whatever way that He sees fit.
Reflecting On My Old Church
Leaving a church that we never thought we would leave was not easy. We had heard that when you leave, be prepared to lose friends. I truly thought that would be a crazy thing to have happen but it turned out that they were right. We didn’t burn bridges leaving, at least I didn’t think so. We had only told a few people that we served under, and a handful of friends that we were going to another church. Shortly after that, I did notice some strange things happening. I got de-friended on Facebook by a few friends, another person stopped answering my texts, and a few others stopped reaching out to us like they had before. Maybe it was just purely coincidence. Maybe it wasn’t. I can’t truly know what happened and I guess it truly doesn’t matter.
I guess I still don’t understand why we had to lose relationships over going to another church. It’s not like we did anything personally to them, at least I didn’t think we did. I thought “the church” was about the greater body of people doing what they can to serve Jesus and to spread the news about Him. I know that some people truly embrace this concept and for that I am truly blessed with their friendship and blessed to be part of that mission with them.
I do know that as much as it hurt to lose people who we thought were friends, we knew we were doing the right thing by leaving and going to a church that we believe God opened a door for us to go to. Situations still come up though when we run across people that also left that church. It would be easy to focus on the negative things but what does that accomplish? Nothing.
I’m choosing to focus on all of the positive things that happened to me and my family at my old church.
- I met my wife in the parking lot on the very first day I went there
- We got married there
- Our kids were dedicated there
- We were involved in many great groups
- Experienced amazing teaching and worship
- Still have some amazing relationships
There are many other great things that I got from that church but most importantly, I found Jesus and my faith grew in Him.
As God opens the doors on The Bridge Randhurst, I am so thankful for the path the He has us on. From being lost on the first day I met Amy in the parking lot at the old church, to serving at the brand new building this weekend, and everything in between.
I truly couldn’t be more blessed.
Revelation 3:8 I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.
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