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Stirring The Deep

Out of the Church System – Into God’s Arms

27 Comments

Out of the Church System

Into God’s Arms

 

As I read and hear about all the unrest around this issue, I felt compelled to share part of my story with you. This is a difficult topic to talk about – no doubt. My prayer is that you will listen with an open heart and that you will get from it whatever God has for you.

This second video is my thoughts on an issue that is often raised when people mention leaving the church system – the assembling of believers mentioned in Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Some Unhealthy Fellowship Verses: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Psalm 26:4-5, 1 Timothy 6:5, 2 Timothy 3:5

I’ll be posting more related videos in the following weeks.

First Video Transcriped . . .

Out of the Church System – Into His Arms (Video Transcribed)

Hi, I’m Rachel with Stirring the Deep and I wanted to talk to you about what has been happening in the church community regarding people leaving the church system – not the true church, the body of believers, but the system, the institution, the business.  I see a lot of restlessness occurring, so I wanted to share with you my story.  Now, I know this topic brings up an lot of different questions and issues. I want to address some of those – not in this video but in a later one when I have more time. For example, the verse Hebrews 10:25 where it talks about not forsaking the assembling together, issues about young Christians, fellowship and those sorts of issues.

But here I want to tell you about my story.

I grew up in the church. Like a lot of us that grew up in the Church, there comes a time when you have to make God your God and the faith your faith.  God brought me to a point in my life where He basically turned everything upside down. Where I was just tired of my life. I wanted God to take over. It came to a point that I wanted a relationship with God that was real. I didn’t want a religion. I didn’t want to go through the acts anymore. I wanted a real relationship with God.

So I started seeking Him in His Word. But now when I read, I was reading on a daily basis getting to know Him – asking God who are you? Show me who you are. I want this to be real because that is what a real relationship is, right? It is communication back and forth. It’s really getting to know somebody.  And God started to open up His Word to me. It was slow . . that development of a relationship with Him because I had a lot of things I had to let go of. It was a process. But that is what started to happen in my life, this relationship developing.  I was no longer reading to do a Bible Study or to “fix” myself. I was reading to build intimacy with God.

Around this same time, I was involved in a church, highly involved. My husband and I would go to Bible Studies and small groups. We helped out at the church, and built a great sense of community, friends and support. It was wonderful what we had. But over time, a gap started forming between the cultivation of our relationship/intimacy with God as we spent time in His Word one-on-one, listening to His Spirit in our life AND our church involvement. It wasn’t just that we disagreed about different truths in the Bible. It was more than that – it was a bigger gap happening underneath it all. This gap created a restlessness in us that at first we really didn’t understand. As this restlessness continued, we decided to take a break from the church. Whenever you are so wrapped up in something it’s very hard to hear clearly. We said, God we just want to be still and be with you and give ourselves time and not be influenced by all these other things, including our own thoughts because we had enjoyed all that community, all the social aspects and all that it offered.  We had to honor that restlessness and figure out what was going on.

We sat with God day after day seeking, reading in His Word – old prophets, Revelation, reading everything. Over time, from His Word and the prompting of the Spirit, we felt that God was calling us out of the church, not the true body of believers. We’re always connected with them, but the church system, the business, the institution. This was a radical thought, because I had grown up in the church. I had always been in the church. It was a part of my life. Can this be? But the more I prayed and the more I read, I felt YES, this is exactly what you’re hearing. I started seeking around and other people where feeling the same thing and had already left the church. It was incredible.

Having been in the church for so long, we decided to go back and see how we felt in our spirits. This is now we often are – we ask God and He answers us in His Word, confirms it in our spirits, and through other people, but we still say, are you sure God?

Leaving was such a big deal and it was hard because we had a community of friends. But when we went back, it was like the spirit was pushing us out the door. It was undeniable that we weren’t supposed to be there.  We haven’t been back since, that was 2004. It wasn’t to go find another church that is also something else that was very clear. It was to come out of the church system.

It was difficult and I continued to pray, why, is this right? Because I have friends and family in the church. But the message has only grown clearer and stronger over time. The basic message was, that I’m reading from God’s Word, judgment is coming upon the church. And part of that judgment is that the sanctuary, the house of God, will be given over to the enemy. It talks about this in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and so on and it all connects back to Revelations – it’s incredible. That’s prophecy and that’s what is going to happen, I believe. God is going to call His people out and He will protect them. Those who are really listening to Him will follow Him, His voice wherever He leads. He will be their sanctuary, their Shepherd, and protect, guard and provide for them in every way. This message is what I’ve been seeing happening exactly. You see what the church is starting to and has become. How the enemy is taking over the sanctuary. How people are giving into a big delusion. The church has become the center and not God. People are trusting in the church and man for their provision, protection, comfort, and teaching. Everything is really centered on the church. They can’t pull away from it because they wonder what’s going to happen to them. That kind of dependency means that is where your trust is thus your idol.  And all of this is exactly what God’s Word talks about. Our trust should be in God. God can use different things, but who is the source of our trust – our dependency will tell us.

Anyway, God continued to unfold His Word and lay out this plan. It has been hard because being outside the system isn’t where the majority of people are. But the choice really came down not so much leave the church or not, because you can give all these reasons why church can be bad or good, but it was about whose voice was I going to listen to, man’s or God’s?

I hope that my story encourages you to seek God’s truth in this, not anyone else’s like your church’s, but what is God saying to you. What is His will? And give yourself time to really listen to His voice – that still small voice. If we truly seek and we really want to know the truth, then He will open up His Word to us. He will lead and show us His will for us. But we have to be willing to listen. We have to be willing to truly follow Him. It’s my prayer that you would have that seeking heart.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

27 thoughts on “Out of the Church System – Into God’s Arms

  1. Rachel

    Good videos…thanks for sharing!

    We left our home church a couple just shy of a couple of years ago…we had questions what is the purpose in all this? Our church was becoming more relevant more like the Willows and Saddleback, the message was weak, the music was terrific. More and more questions began to come to my mind that seemed very much against every that I knew off. Our focus was not in leaving the IC, but seeking a “biblical church”. So we left found a couple to visit that meet the biblical standards…but oddly after a couple or so months…the same questions arose. Then i began to worry, because these churches had John MacAthur visit, some leaders came from his college…I mean this was the doctrine I held too and now I am questioning the whole church system…it came out of left field. I believe now that it wasn’t the doctrine or seeker methods…it was the system God was taking us out of. It hasn’t been pretty…I have been rebuked from others…I have been blocked from a so called brothers FB page because I am, in there opinion…”lost and a heretic! There is so much more to tell. But felt compelled to tell you this because your story is similar to mine and from what I know from others in the same boat…it is the same. Our church friends pretty much think we are crazy most don’t talk to us, the ones that do, which is a very small few..still fellowship when we can. Its funny though they try to stay away from the “church” subject…except one dear brother who oddly enough likes to bring up Hebrews 10:25? Huh! Sometimes I can be a little to bold and opinionated, I suppose that is the Italian and German in me!:)

    We are be stretched and our minds are being scrubbed from all the religion in our minds. I trust that the Lord will bring us through the wilderness and if He leaves us in the desert…then that is OK too!

    Blessings to you
    Mike

    • Mike – thanks so much for sharing your story! I know others are hearing this call out and it can be hard facing the judgment, rebuke and rejection of others – and some opt to keep with others instead of following the Spirit’s prompting. That is why it’s encouraging to share our stories with one another – that is why I wanted to share my story. Jesus told us we would face persecution – and I too have faced rejection. It isn’t easy being the odd man out – but it is peace with God we seek not the world. And to experience His provision and care out in the wilderness is amazing.

  2. How did your children respond in not going to church?
    Did you ever feel like that if somethings were disruptive in your life and walk you contributed it to leaving the church? Sometimes I wonder if my circumstances are because I am not going to church? I know that is religion but I suppose it also says on much control it has on you.

    Hope you don’t mind me asking questions periodically?

    mike

    • Mike,

      I don’t mind at all – I enjoy the dialogue. I enjoy the interaction.

      I don’t have any children of my own, but step-children who live on the opposite coast – so we don’t get to see them that much. But from my friends and even growing up, I think too often people rely on the church to teach and train their children in spiritual truths, when it should be the parents’ responsibility. I think to start a family fellowship is really important – being in God’s Word talking about His truths and why we live as we do.

      As for things being disruptive in my life – I don’t feel that – but actually the opposite. Yes, there has been persecution from other believers, but that is always to be expected as Jesus warned us. So I’m not quite sure I am understanding your question right – so let me know 😉 my walk and life has gotten much stronger and far better since leaving the church in every way – I’m often amazed and overwhelmed with praise – but it has more to do with cultivating a real intimacy and relationship with God that changes everything in your life for the better than leaving the church. Not that you don’t go through challenges but the challenges are always an instruction from God to walk more inline with His truth and will and bring you closer to Him. Before I truly drew near to God in spirit and truth – I was always running in circles, fighting the same battles, living without wisdom that created all kinds of havoc – not anymore.

      God desires us to draw near to Him and worship Him in truth and spirit and draw near to Him through His Word. I think He is drawing people to Himself to abide in a intimate and powerful relationship. It should have always been this way, but things turned upside down and made it more about the church. Most people are actually drawing near the church and its truth and ways and not truly God. Because of what the structure has become – the church gets in the way of developing that intimacy with God and that is why God is drawing people to Him outside the system and into His Word with power. It’s like the church puts blinders on people – they see just enough to think they are walking in the light but they are being blocked from truly abiding in the fullness of the light, make sense? Life is abiding in Him. I am rambling bit here – so I’ll stop. But let me know if I addressed your question.

  3. I suppose what I meant was when you leave church and circumstances arise in your life…challenges whatever the case maybe and instinctively you think and others will reinforce that it is because your not in “church”. So God is disciplining you. You know the same concept, if your financially poor, its because you aren’t “tithing” or let me see your check book and see who you love more? Something along those lines.

    Your right about the family leading there children through the word. My previous pastor and I had a meeting before I left the church and that is one thing he told me…find a church with a good children’s ministry to teach your kids…I thought, isn’t that my responsibility.

    Ironically I was invited to my old church tonight to play pool and games with an old friend from there. They didn’t have a “game room” when I was there…I guess nothing has changed whatever it takes to bring them in.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions….it has been edifying.

    mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Oh I see . . . but I don’t believe that nor have I experienced it. Others are quick to judge or place blame including ourselves. We have to seek what is happening in our livers from God and His truth.

      Anytime 😉

  4. I love your response to the church is being taken over. The inference to the Bible is good. Could you point out the verses that speak directly to Gods Word. This will make it crystal clear for me. The Word is everything. Great job. Thank you.

  5. Pingback: Foundation for Young Believers « Stirring the Deep

  6. I’m currently struggling to find a church home, but for slightly different reasons than you talked about in your videos. I’d like to hear your take though and see what advice you might have in my case.

    I’ve been attending a Baptist church for nearly two years (I’m not a member, just an attender). The true gospel is preached at this church and they are blessed to have between 5-10 elders who are all terrific preachers and faithful to the Word of God. Everyone is extremely welcoming there. My issue (and this is my issue, not theirs) is that I feel like I live a bit too far away to contribute to the church in a meaningful way. The church is centered around a major university and most of the members and attendees are within walking distance or a few minutes away. It takes me 30-35 minutes to get to church, and the same amount of time for any small group as well. I’m also probably one of the oldest people in the congregation as well (I’m 39). So coming from a bit of a distance and not having any ties to the university makes me feel like somewhat of an outsider. I’ll stress again that this is my issue and that everyone there has always been 100% welcoming.

    I’m struggling with what to do next. I’ve felt convicted of late that I’m merely a church consumer who shows up for the sermon and then returns a week later to take in the sermon again. Should distance be a reason to look elsewhere for a church ? The former pastor at the church called New England “hard soil” and I’ve definitely found that to be the case. Solid, Bible-based churches in my area are few and far between, and where I attend now is by far the best I’ve seen near where I live.

    Your videos struck a chord with me because I definitely long for the kind of fellowship you talk about, but I’m not sure if I will find it doing what I’m doing now. I don’t want this comment to turn into a manuscript, so I’ll stop for now. Would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this Rachel….

    Blessings to you 🙂

    • Joe,

      Finding the right fellowship is one that takes a listening ear to God’s voice. And sometimes that means we have to seek in His Word for awhile to quiet all the other voices that we have heard (from our past, society, other Christians and our own) on this topic. We have been so indoctrinate about what we should do in this area that sometimes it is difficult to hear what God wants us to do- especially these days. As you know from my videos, I believe God is calling people out of the church system to His Word and to other types of fellowships.

      My thought is that you would take some time to seek God’s will for you in His Word. You need to know from Him where He wants you – not to rationalize it out or hear it from someone else. You need to know you are living His will from Him then you will live it with conviction. Not that you aren’t seeking but I would encourage you to persist and be patient – to allow time for all the other voices to quiet so you can hear His.

      We often get to anxious to “do” because of outside pressures and the will of others being pressed upon us, when we need to be still in His presence and trust His guidance. If we seek with all our heart, soul and mind and that means putting our ideas aside, He will lead.

  7. I got run out of my church that I pastored for 10 years. I would have never gone back, but I wanted to raise my sons in church. I dont blame you though. Church is full of a*sholes

    • John – no doubt there are MANY issues with the church – but it was God’s spirit that pulled us out – it was His Word and truth. We actually had a great time socially speaking.

  8. John are you related to Jonathan Edwards? 🙂

    I agree with having your kids in church…have you had any luck?

    Since we have not been in church for a couple of years now..I have still been feed and continue to lead my family the best that I can. i do however feel the pull to go back to get my sons involved? But then I ask myself what will they be involved with how will it change them? My fear is when I feel I need the “church” to help raise my kids who am I putting my trust in? I should walk humbly and fear God before my children. Like I said, it is a pull to go…but I wrestle with it. A good source for a teaching children, having a Godly home is a man named, Denny Kensaton..http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=28568&forum=35

    blessing to you brother….

  9. We left the organized church sys on Sept 6, 09. Our story is a long one, but I’ll keep it brief by leaving out numerous details. We knew Holy Spirit wanted us to leave the church due to a series of events over the summer, which included the pastor getting extremely angry & viciously (verbally) attacking an innocent believer because she questioned whether is was Biblical for the church go deep into debt rather than to pray & believe God for His provision; then by Autumn, we knew we had to leave. We were on the leadership team. The pastor asked us three times to put our names on a credit card so that he could use it to buy materials to remodel the building and told us that the payments would be our tithe! After agonizing over losing many close friends, we obeyed Holy Spirit and left. We visited a few other churches, but knew they didn’t welcome Holy Spirit’s presence, either. We are now seeking God and waiting on Him for further direction.

    • Debirrah – sorry it took me awhile to get back to you – I’ve been out of town. Thanks for sharing your story. A lot is happening in the churches and the church system in general that is far from what is God’s will and it is hurting and affecting people on many levels. It is tough because we do get so connected, but as you faithfully did – we have to follow the Spirit above all else – even our own justifications sometimes. I believe the times are changing and God is calling those who are truly His to Him and to His Word to truly live in and by His truth. I’ll be praying for you and that you will clearly hear His voice and will and faithfully follow it whatever it may be.

  10. Hello Rachel
    I myself am deaf, I like the title:Out of the Church System – Into God’s Arms. But I can t hear your video. Hmmm, I understand it can be long to write. I know same my church, many deaf had bad experinces and also they can be blind that they thought church has answered. Most deaf dont understand what is different like home church vs tradition church, or churchianity vs christianity.
    I hope you dont mind to write what you say on your video, or your freinds can help. Thank you

    Perry Belleau from BC Canada

  11. Pingback: A Time to Leave …. « Stirring the Deep

  12. Wonderful stuff. Be encouraged and press into ALL that God is challenging you in.

    I have to tell you this. -God is wanting to take you even deeper in undoing the things which you still hold dear, (and that HOLD YOU DEARLY). However you are on a journey of HIS making and you must not be in doubt that he is able to take you the whole way.
    (I do not know to what this refers, but HE says to me that your practice of saying YES to the Father will suffice)

    God spoke to me about 25 years ago regarding the false institutional church. He showed me the roots of pride and idolatry in the hierarchical system.
    However at the time He told us not to leave. In fact when we asked about leaving the Lord said that he would make it abundantly clear when it was the right time.

    It did become abundantly clear when I was publicly denounced as a rebellious heretic and thrown out of the church! I was “rendered unto Satan” for judgement and overnight lost all our friends of nearly 20 years.

    The resulting wilderness was extremely painful at the time, and the recovery from spiritual abuse was over a long period of time as the Lord took me even deeper into understanding what was happening in the heavens.

    My real sin was in biblically challenging the serious idolatry towards the church leadership. I regularly cried out to the Lord to let me off the hook. I absolutely did not want to bring bad news. I was banned from speaking on several periods. Yet even in meetings when I gave a word in tongues,( trying to avoid direct accusation), it would be interpreted by a visitor and would only confirm the rejected “words”.

    My biggest sadness in watching anyone leave church, for whatever dissatisfaction, is that far too many leave and then rebuild the same structure that they have just left. I know that down the line it will replicate the same as before.

    The root issue of idolatry is in the idea of hierarchy of leadership. It is little more than spiritual fornication. Jesus is not really enthroned, the pastor is! It is the pastor that the saints seek for direction and permission to do anything. The doctrine is further reinforced with the notion that obedience to the church leadership is indicative of submission to God when the direct opposite is the case.

    • Hi Frank – thanks so much for your encouraging words – it spoke to my heart. Thanks for sharing your experience and thougths on this often tough topic. You made some great points that I agree with. It is sad for people to leave the bondage only to enter into more bondage. That is why it is my passion to help others develop that relationship with God … only in truly abiding with God in truth and spirit will they be truly freed.

  13. I admit that I haven’t read your blog in depth to know everything you’ve said and written about leaving the church. I know that there are many many problems in the church. However, I also know that the church is what Jesus said he was going to build. That church began with a small assembly in an upper room and grew into over three thousands almost instantly on the day of Pentecost. From there the apostles and other disciples went everywhere preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and establishing local churches, organized bodies of believers with elders, rules, agendas, etc. It wasn’t to the scattered separate Christians that the seven letters were written to in Rev. but the seven churches, with the seven stars that were in the hand of Jesus. Jesus is seen as standing in the midst of those local congregations, all of which had major problems with the exception of two. There was a call to repentance and warnings of judgment if there was no repentance. Point is, Jesus didn’t say that he was going to annul the church system and call people away from the assembly of the saints, which is joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies. Paul labored arduously with local congregations, complete with pastors, singers, worship, members, teaching, preaching, evangelism, and problems. The church at Corinth was filled with problems, but Paul did not advocate abandonment by the true Christians. What he advocated was purging the fellowship of blatant sinners who refused to repent. He also sharply reprimanded the church for their acceptance of the sinner and his practice. But the Spirit never instructed him or anyone in the scriptures to leave the church system. This idea of abandoning the church, the assembly of the saints is extra biblical. The church is what Jesus purchased with His own blood. I am deeply concerned that your departure and advocacy of leaving the church has no biblical foundation whatsoever. The very definition of the word church means the called out assembly. I hope and pray that you will reconsider the voices you have heard leading you contrary to what the scriptures teach. If anyone, including an angel preaches or teaches any other gospel than that which we have received from the scriptures, let them be accursed.
    In truth, much of the modern American church is in apostasy, complete with the idol worship of the worshipper, serving up seeker friendly worship styles that have little to nothing to do with the true worship of God. There is no sacrifice, or death to the world, self, or bearing the cross in much of what is coming out of the American church. But the church is not compromised by these things. Jesus said there would be tares among the wheat. Furthermore, didn’t he say “let both grow together?” And did not God say to the church that was the most deplorable of them all in the book of Revelation, “strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die?” You cannot stay at home and be a church. You can start a church in your home, but then you’ll have to have an assembly. Then, if you want to have the Spirit gift the church, there will have to the gifts of apostle (there are 12), prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to perfect the saints unto the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Eph.4:11-16). Chances are, if you have already reasoned away the meaning of the scriptures that speak about the church, the body, the assemblies, the local congregations, the leaders of those flocks, none of this is likely to make a difference. But at least I’ve spoken and you are not without my witness.
    rob

    • Hi Robbie – I appreciate your concerns … the Bible speaks of what will happen in the church system – what you see today. Read Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the minor prophets, Revelation, Matthew 24

      When you are a part of Christ, you are the true church wherever you are … it is His body … not some organized religion full of man’s doctrines and rules. It isn’t about a building just as Jesus wasn’t about a building. He uses you however He wants to use you. He is life. He fills and consumes all. He is life.

      Leaving the CS isn’t leaving the true body of Christ who are serving the true God and NOT an image as protrayed in the church system … you wouldn’t worship at a pagan temple? why would you in a place of false images?

      Leaving what isn’t real allows you to embrace what is .. it is uniting to the true church in truth and spirit in true fellowship.

      In the end, God is setting up a new temple, Him in His people, He is doing a NEW thing.. He fills all and is in all .. those times of transition are upon us.

      I understand most are followers and are bound by that, its a blessing and weakness to the human nature .. but God is calling out people who will hear His voice to go before them to prepare the way for the true temple to be established. Voices crying out in the wilderness to repent from all the wickedness done in the temple.

      Those who are sealed are those who cry over what is done in the sanctuaries of God. Ezekiel 9:4

      You say you have to be there … but truth isn’t there. And judgment is fast approaching.

      It isn’t a pretty picture what has happened to the church system, and as the end approaches God is purging in His fire … if we follow His voice above all others He will protect us, for the truth is our shield.

    • Hi Rob,
      If you have not notice how far off the Institutional Church has strayed from what the Bible lays out for the Body of Christ maybe you should consider some of these facts:
      First of all in Corinthians Paul says, “when you are gathered together, has one a doctrine, one a teaching…..” In other words the members of the body are to edify one another not just the leadership.
      And what about fellowship? (which to me means getting know other Christians and to some degree share your life with ). In the I,C. the bigger the church the fewer people you really get to know.
      How about Christian Growth? If a believer has a good understanding of the Word and the ability to apply it, it’s unlikely they got it from the Church System. Most Christians after attending church meetings for years have very little knowledge of the word or how to use it.
      Yes old fashioned churches have been greatly used by God in the
      past but very few have come close to really maturing Christ’s
      followers. No matter how it starts out the Church system always stagnates and eventually opposes a lot of God’s purposes. Many people are being led out by of the church system by the Spirit and this is God’s doing. The old wine skin will only burst! It’s time to go on with God.and do things His way.
      I hope you’ll take this to heart.

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