Is that what they did to you at Vineyard?
Yeah, that’s certainly what I felt was waiting for me when I made the announcement that I was leaving. One of the leaders said that I had taken far more from the church than I had ever given! Those words hurt, and have stayed with me ever since.
I had served with my music for eight years and given private lessons ( no charge ) to kids, encouraged people in every way I could, always showed up for practice ( sometimes the only one who did ) showed up for every meeting they ever held, and passionately shared my spiritual journey with them. I was honest and open about my weaknesses and my struggles, but I guess that wasn’t enough. They needed to tear me to shreds to make their point that I wasn’t really allowed to leave. They heard from God, not me.
@Crystal — That’s not a church. That’s a cult. There are an estimated 3 million Americans in cults right now. Check out a book by Steven Hassan called “Combatting Cult Mind Control.” It does a great job of exposing the mind control techniques employed by churches such as the one you describe. It was a great help to me in showing me that I wasn’t turning my back on God, but rather on a manipulative cult leader who had destroyed quite enough of my life already.
Hey! Me and the Anglican Church! At least I stood a chance of survival and it wasn’t the auto de fe.
Interesting how the person says, “my” church.
Too true in some of my experience. Not all of it, thank God.
Oh wait. Nobody said crap to me when I left.
This would have been a dream for me.
never had an “exit interview” because I figured by the time I’d decided to leave and the process of disengagement begun, someone would have noticed I wasn’t around much anymore and commented.
Romanhokie, in some ways, exit interviews would be a good idea, and maybe some churches do them. But a couple of problems I see is that a church would have to be open to the feedback and not defensive about it. Secondly, a lot of people would probably avoid the interview out of fear of retribution or not wanting to offend. I think if someone wants to give feedback, they should do it, whether asked or not. I told my fellow elders why I was stepping down from my position (ultimately, some of the same reasons for leaving altogether) and the church before that, I wrote the pastor a letter explaining my reasons. What they do (or don’t do) with the feedback is on them.
Crystal I am sorry you went through this kind of stuff. Pastors too sometimes get slammed when the people leave. One of the mantras many use out of the get out of church playbook is, “I just wasn’t being fed”. That sure is a loaded statement. On the other hand I had one lady leave the church because her brother committed suicide. I tried to reach her the best I could, but she refused my help. Then she turned around and told everyone that I was not, “there” for her. In my view she is mad at God because she blames him for what her brother decided to do. Since God is invisible she decided to lash out at me I guess.