When to leave a church ?

This is something I have been pondering for a very long time, a few years at least, if you have been following this  blog and I found this video from youtube really helpful. It also talks about how you should leave a church. I find it to be very sound advice.

And there were a few reasons for me to leave my old church NOW. I need to.

  1. You outgrown the church.
  2. Lack of vision or No opportunity to develop
  3. Bad doctrine
  4. Controlling leadership
  5. It’s a dead church

My old church actually hit all of the points mentioned in the video. Oh my gosh.

AGM

Yesterday was AGM at my old church which I attended. It was the worst AGM ever.

We didn’t have enough people and waited for about 25 minutes before we could started. The chairman suggested to first go to the reports first because it doesn’t require votes or approval for members but Chrs said that he never seen a meeting that would rearrange the order of the agenda like that.

I found it a bit ridiculous but the chairman said he wouldn’t do that if anybody is against it, so we waited. My father mentioned that if all the reports are already written in the year book, people who are absent now can read the year book and we can go ahead. But the chairman didn’t budge.

I didn’t think of it then but I think it was a stalling tactic.

When we finally had enough people, Shir started from from last year’s meeting with correcting the wording of what she said as recorded in the year book.

I actually noticed there were many things people said that are missing from the year book. My dad mentioned that what last year’s chairman, Pan, said about the headquarter founding about MS was also missing. I didn’t notice it at all but yes, it was totally missing.

My father requested to have that put back into the year book but the chairman said only the person who said those things has the power to make the change. My father asked last year’s chairman, Pan, if he said those things, Pan said he can’t remember.

I was like, seriously? I had earlier asked if there was a recording and they said yes. So my father said they could put it back in with the recording.

The chairman replied that it is up to the person who said those things. My father was outraged and find that to be an abuse of power because it was a public meeting and they should write it down so people know.

Before that I mentioned how the style and format of how the discussion was recorded on paper is very different from the years before.

I expressed that we are a church under a denomination that is under a member system. Members have the right to know what happened truthfully. Things shouldn’t be hidden and that I think that if the format didn’t change and the wordings were recorded accurately, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

I don’t know why but the chairman kept on telling my dad to stop talking and that it was the end of discussion. But the discussion wasn’t even finished and the request was not inappropriate.

There were four points that the HQ confirmed and Pan said it in front of everybody yet it was not recorded and my dad had been asking me what those were for like two years. The deacon board never replied to my father for two years.

I didn’t think of it then but in hindsight I realized that the deacon board was attempting to just put the whole issue under the rug. It didn’t want to offend MS and his supporter. It doesn’t help when two of the deacons are great supporters of MS, as well as one of the pastors.

Afterwards it was the financial report and renovation reports. Both were very boring. The financial report was about how there is a slight drop in church attendance yet offering increased, yet did not increase as much as last year. It was like a stock owner meeting. It was boring and basically we have like over $7 million cash. The deacon in charge of finance said although there’s 7 million dollars, it is worth less than the 5 million dollars we had like 4 years ago.

I was thinking, we should’ve spent that wisely like 5 years back when we could’ve bought a new place and much bigger place for cheap 2009 during the Financial Tsunami except the deacons never had a meeting on it or even told the congregation about that great opportunities which several leaders were very excited as well as my dad. The same place was bought by another church.

Then it was renovation report which was like 20 minutes and with a 7 minutes sharing by the newest member which was unheard of before. She is my friend and she was honored and excited plus nervous to share in front of so many people. Joe was trying to stall. There was never an individual sharing during AGM, especially when you already were delayed for 30 minutes. And then it was Pan who reported on the “revival” which was basically showing slides on the activities we did and introduce how other churches are doing…

Good question by Hong who asked afterwards, “After showing all the slides, are there any practical plans we will be doing?”

Chairman answered this question,”Revival, … It will be good if we could just agree on who to do renovation.” Meaning, no there isn’t. Agreeing on anything is already a hard task even for renovation.

At the question time at the end, nobody was asking anything so I asked what’s the resolution for the whole MS ordeal. It was resolved. I was a big shocked because just at the beginning of the AGM, his wife stated that MS that he denies everything and report of the HQ committee that investigated the matter.

The pro MS pastor said we had a sharing meeting and I told him the whole meeting was bias. They arranged pro MS people to chair the meeting and the “older members” all said good things about MS.

I shared my experience and observation but I was stopped by the chairman who was making faces and rolling his eyes as I talked which he also did when my father talked. It was very disrespectful.

After the AGM a few people came up to me to talk to me, they felt sorry for me. It was a very empty AGM with nothing much of substance.

It is really time to go. But it’s so petty. It is such a petty. I got some messages with people asking how my father and I are feeling.

I was quite upset at the chairman’s attitude.

I think the worst thing about being the PK is that nobody really understand you and it is very lonely. I know so much, so much bad stuff in the church that it’s hell to live. I have to put those thoughts behind every time going to church and do good work and be nice to everybody despite of all the knowledge and information of what’s actually going on. You can read people’s motives that others can’t. You are a insider and an outsider.

You are not going to be on the same page with others, your peers, unless you have incredible friends, don’t understand you. Evildoers or people with agendas come attack you knowing that you might spill their beans. But we are always reactive. I never imagined that it would be like this yet I could foresee unpresentness.

At night, being quite depressed and down, the disappointment and hopelessness for this church was sinking in. I wrote to the chairman about how I felt and how that he was being disrespectful to us. He told me let’s wait a few days and God will talk to His people himself.

I looked at a video of my small group at the new church I was going and I was smiling.

I know, I know, it’s overdue. I should be out of here. I have been here too long. I am wasting time and energy and all the good God gave me. People don’t appreciate it.

Meeting with deacon and pastor

I met up with a deacon and the newest pastor yesterday concerning my letters to the deacon board about the leadership at fellowship.

It was a good chat. They created a more friendly mood and they told me the deacon board’s difficulties. It was effective in making me sympathise them and I realised that at the same time there are people also writing letters for MS.

It’s an ongoing battle.

The deacon told me he understands and experienced the same things. I wasn’t the only person who got yelled at and was surprised at what they say.

The deacon board seems to try to keep people from leaving which the MS followers are threatening.

I really don’t see the negative in that. I think those people will continue to go to church, just different church and it might be good for them to go to another church and see how MS’ teaching is off. MS and followers are able to create a mini-kingdom at this church because of its weakness but I heard that they have been going to big well-established church so that is not a problem.

I reminded them to follow Paul’s teaching.

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Matthew 5:30

The wicked

I realized at my old church fellowship there are MS plus wife Shir, Heman and his wife SiuKan, and Joe plus his relatives. MS was former deacon and both him and his wife were/are mentors, Heman is de-facto fellowship leader and wife SiuKan is deacon, Joe is deacon and fellowship founding father and has some kind of mentor role with half of the fellowship because of his seniority. Joe also has his wife working in the church office and relatives as deacon and now bringing up his wife’s brother, Ji, to be new fellowship leader.

They are like the trinity of fellowship.

It’s people like them who mess everyone up.

Originally, it was only MS and probably Joe. And then it spread like a virus. I just don’t see much hope in it. The worst is that they know what they are doing is wrong, they try really hard to hide it but they still do it.

They are committed in this sinful way of doing things in order to get their objective.

The fellowship has a plan to control the church. The mastermind is Joe. MS and Shir want the same but they can’t do it. Joe has the smart to do it with help from like Heman and SiuKan.

The worst thing is that they use the younger people to do their dirty work and to achieve their objective, to take over.

They are all in very powerful and well-respected positions. Joe, SiuKan and several other senior members of the fellowship were all primary, secondary and university schoolmates. So even if a few of these people don’t agree with what’s going on, they won’t speak out against their childhood friends. The best they can do is to stay out from what’s going on.

The worst thing is that there is nobody who is speaking against what is happening.

Tricky.

We would talk and they, the deacon board would stall and would be silence about the matter.

I have a deacon, on his first term, asking me if I would have time to talk about a letter I sent them and he also said they want to understand my situation.

I had talk with deacons before but I find them kind of meaningless because there were never any follow-up or result. What was promised was twisted. The head deacon then promised us that he would personally see to that the advising pastor would tell the outgoing Pastor F on why her contract will not be renewed. It never happened.

Pastor F had to go to the AGM to demand for a explanation and she had to go to a lot of work to get the deacon board to put back in what was said in the House Meeting into the archive so others can read.

So I am thinking that the deacon board just want to hear what I would say and see if they could put a handle on the situation right now so it wouldn’t blow over the AGM in late April. And that would give them some times to handle the AGM.

Comma

Last night, a brother in my old church small group went to the hospital and is unconscious as of late.

Today after noon service we had an emergency prayer meeting for him.

We were broke into groups to pray. We were told to pray in 3 or 4 but I ended up with just HP, the two of us.

Afterwards praying in separate groups, we prayed together and whoever wanted to could pray out loud. As Ji was praying, his voice was crying. A lot of people started crying. It was really unreal. I felt sad and sorry for YY, the wife of the brother who haven’t been coming for over a year now, and his family and I was holding off the tears because I was getting affected by some of the people who were crying.

I later told him that his mucus and was 5 inches long dripping from his nose. I quickly went out to find some tissue for him. When I commented on it, he told me I wasn’t concentrating on praying, I told him we finished praying already, there were only two people in our group and asked him why he was thinking something bad when he should be thinking good. I was a bit shocked at his reaction. I gave him a tissue to wipe his nose. Afterwards he said he should thank me instead.

Ji, the brother in law of Joe was being put on the pedestal, and basically so are all of Joe’s nemesis. They used to be my friends but I think some time 2 years ago it all changed. I think something happened that broke us up. And it happened quite suddenly.

It is so weird going to the old church again and again. It’s bad for me but it is, at the same time, so pathetic. They don’t let me serve. They kind of view me as the enemy and one time HP told me that as well. People know, they know it’s wrong but nobody is speaking up.

I get pretty sad over it. I put a brave face up and still act all upbeat and stuff at my old church but inside I am dying. I feel like crying really.

I guess it is a bad idea to go back. It doesn’t feel good and I need to move on. It’s not my fault, it’s just that some people are playing god and doing evil.

Almost there again.

I almost went back to my old fellowship the past Saturday.

Didn’t go to my old church’s fellowship the past three weeks or so and I had two sisters, both friends, asking me what’s going on.

One of them used to be really good friend and we used to hangout quite a lot but for the past 2 years or so, we both know problems in the fellowship and we just haven’t hung out much. It actually hurt me quite badly that all of a sudden it seemed like she was trying to avoid me. We used to have tea and late dinner before and after fellowship respectively.

We hardly do that anymore. She also said some nasty things about me, called me some names. I don’t blame her because there are people who say things behind my back and try to smear my reputation.

Another sister is from my small group and for the past few years we tried really hard to make the small group better with no results. We were just snubbed again and again. She is a simple kind of girl.

I was audio duty and I stayed for Saturday service and I lingered a bit for worship for fellowship but it was the same pro MS person leading and while singing the hymns I just found it really phony. It was depressing as well, hardly anybody was there. Even my few guy buddies left already.

And in the past week, three people in my small group told us that they are going to different churches and leaving the small group. They haven’t showed up for ages and they were just making it official. I am happy for them but it was sad and depressing because I was close with the one brother who left and we had a really good time for a while before everything went downhill.

We still keep in touch every once in a while, but as I was just looking at the amount of people at the fellowship, how empty it was, I was just upset and angry at the people who did this. The fellowship is now an empty shell and on life support.

They bullied me, tried to single me out and they were quiet effective and people saw this and left. The fellowship was divided.

It was depressing and I just didn’t feel well. They were reading a book and I didn’t read it so I was like, why bother. And I left.

I had a sister whatsapping me in the group, “I thought you would come.” (so many sisters, yes, I am the only guy in my small group).

And I just blurted it out why in the whatsap group.

The sister later messaged me privately which she should’ve had done earlier.

I feel that going back is really bad for me, and it is really easier to lie to just tell them you were sick (which I was, emotionally) or busy or have an appointment or something than to tell them what you feel really. And most people take this route, just tell people these things, they were busy and etc. But I felt I wouldn’t be helping if I do that. I should express the matters, the problems.

I also don’t think the sister was being sincere. She could’ve messaged me privately instead of making a scene. I don’t know why but one time we were in small group and she was making faces at me like a teenage girl when the pastor was explaining something. I asked her what that was about but she never explained.

Another time she said softly in my ear,”Let it go.”

I understood why though, J probably told her like he did with many people that I was against him because he was involved with forcing my father out of church. Actually, more accurately, he was the mastermind behind it and he was really mean, and even then he didn’t stop there, he said these kind of things to people to protect himself and to isolate me from others and he uses his “senior member” status to influence others.

I don’t blame her totally for behaving like that but it became clear that whoever make a clean line away from me get to serve and she was. After getting baptised she was in charge for the roster for who leading worship, she led worship and was put into several committees. J put her in babysitting and she obediently obey.

She’s smart with people and she knows how to manoeuvre for herself. I saw her changed a lot. I thought she was a friend but then she changed when people started talking to her.

And worst ins that she is now my friend’s wife.

I