A place to call home.

8 Jan

I talked a LONG time ago about being called to leave our church and not knowing where the Lord was going to take us, but having to really eat humble pie because I didn’t think people were suppose to leave their home church (unless they had to move across or out-of-state, or because they married and were joining their spouses church, etc.)  I’m thinking it was when I use to blog on blogspot and it was titled “Humble Pie.”

For those of you who missed it, fear not. You’ll still get the idea here.

Just a quick background. I started attending our church 2 months after dating my husband, and he’d already been there for three years.  I LOVED IT!  I attended my same church for 18 years, but if I was going to switch, I couldn’t have picked a better place!  We made a home there.  We were married there. We were baptized there.  All 4 of our kids were born and dedicated there.  We took numerous classes and taught numerous classes while attending there that helped us mature in our faith and knowledge of scripture.

I felt called out about 3 years before we left the church.  But I was pretty unsettled about if my reasons were personal reasons or God’s reasons. (As I said before, I had thought only selfish people who didn’t get their way or like what was happening stomped their feet and left their church.  Strong Christians knew how to not always get their way and how to stick it out through disappointments. – Oy!) And my husband wasn’t hearing from the Lord clear enough (which I’ve now learned was because my own voice was so loud and constant that the poor guy couldn’t hear anything else but ME!)

Then, an opportunity arose for my husband to serve as an “elder in training.”  And that was worth the wait.  He learned SO much and grew SO much during that time.  It was incredible to watch him blossom as he prayed for the church, visited those in the hospital and at hospice, made house calls to those who just lost loved ones, and even attended their funerals.  Sadly, the current leadership wasn’t receiving much respect from the church (part of the obvious reason that the church was in rebellion and it was time to go) and no one really even knew that my husband was serving and how much he thrived in that position and benefited the church. At any rate, the current elders up and decided very quickly that they wanted to vote my husband in as an actual elder after two years of serving with them.

I don’t know how else to tell you this but to say it flat-out.  We knew at the mere mention of the vote that Josh would not be voted in.  There are times when you question if you hear God and there are times when it cannot be mistaken.  Josh went to the elders and said something along the lines of “you can follow through with the vote, but I won’t be voted in.”  And the current elders dismissed his words as “worry or doubt” and put him up for vote.

He did not get voted in.  He had 78% and needed 85%.  We were not surprised.  We already knew it would happen.  And we knew God was allowing it for two reasons-

1.) Intense growth happens in your character in the midst of rejection or persecution.

2.) He wanted us to leave.  And serving as Elder would force us to take up permanent residence in a church He was calling us out of.

So, we stayed for 4 more months after the vote.  Partly because we had great fear about taking 4 kids and “church shopping.” And partly because we didn’t want anyone to think we were “pouting” because of the vote and leaving because of the “no.”

Four months didn’t change that.  People still thought what they wanted.  The last Sunday of February 2012, we literally looked at each other during the service and said “we can’t come back again.”  At that moment, we were in disobedience to continue attending.  We didn’t make a big uproar, we said good-bye through letters to those we deeply loved, and we never went back.

Then the church hunt began.  It was TORTURE!  I experienced my second serving of humble after a couple of months.  We stayed home one week and had church at home.  We just needed the break.  And right then, I felt so much condemnation for all the people who I judged that left their church, went church shopping, didn’t find what they were looking for, so just stopped going to church.   I still don’t think they should have stopped searching, but WOW did I GET IT!!!!  As always, God’s recurring theme in my life resounds, MERCY!!!!

To my surprise though, one my biggest fears with leaving was that the kids would struggle going to new churches, with new faces and new classes each week.  However, our kids were troopers!!  We had a few tears and questions some weeks, but for the most part, our kids were brave and very willing to go with the flow.

The season felt really long, and it was very trying on Josh and I.  But, I’d do it again because what we gained and learned from the experience was priceless.  It’s much too long and slightly off topic to delve into all of it, but I will say that it gave us wisdom that we’ll be able to use as we plant roots in our new church home.

In October we started attending a 4 week old church. It’s 40 minutes from our home (which is farther than we hoped when first searching), but it took us about 2 weeks to conclude it would be totally worth the drive and God would eliminate any financial concerns for us.

The messages are honest, real, applicable for EVERY spiritual maturity level, funny, and effective.

The worship is genuine, and REALLY GOOD!

The leadership is sincere and capable.  They are not interested in playing church or entertaining politics.

But the vision, that’s why were called to stay. “To connect the unconnected and together grow in full devotion to Christ.”  Everyone at Xperience Church is WELCOME (no matter what your story is), NEEDED (Everyone has talents and spiritual gifts that are ESSENTIAL to keeping the body healthy. No one person can run the church alone, and anyone on the sidelines slows us down by creating a non-moving part) And ultimately, everyone is CHANGED, because you can’t encounter Christ and His love through  His people and come out the same!

And the kid’s church – AMAZING!  They don’t babysit the kids and just try to pass the time. They teach the kids and challenge them.  They have them (even JD in second grade) on a daily prayer reading schedule AND a 21 day fast!  How awesome to learn these habits at such a young age instead of trying to force them into your life at age 40.

I know a majority of my readers are not from my area, but for those that are, if you’re searching for a church, or feeling called out of yours….I’d love for you to visit ours.

Practical Application-

– Recognize that sometimes God allows disappointments, rejection, sadness, and persecution because He’s molding your character and preparing you for something MORE than you were expecting.  God will often say no to a REALLY good thing, only to bless you with a GREAT thing that you weren’t expecting!

– Don’t give up meeting together because you haven’t found the right church yet.  Even if you have to make a 40 minute drive – it is WORTH it to be connected, challenged, and desired in a body to help serve and point others to Christ.

 

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8 Responses to “A place to call home.”

  1. Emily C January 9, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    I love this! What an awesome testimony if God working in your lives and leading you; builds great faith in His sovereignty! Thanks for sharing this story…where do you live by the way?

  2. Kayla Gulick January 9, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Thanks Emily! It was scary to trust with no where obvious to go, but so worth it!!!

    Our church is in Defiance, Ohio. I wish our church was 10 minutes from every one of my readers! Partly for the selfishness that I want to meet, hug and worship with all of them, BEFORE we all reach Heaven : )

  3. joyfullysubmitted January 10, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Hey Kayla! There are so many parts of your story that I have experienced myself…including the humble pie…Thanks for sharing this. VERY encouraging!

    • Kayla Gulick January 10, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      There is comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone : ) Although I’m glad we both grew from our situations!!
      Thanks for commenting and for loving me in prayer!
      Big Hugs,
      Kayla

  4. Jeannie Davis January 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    Kayla, I found your blog from Amy over at peaceful wife! I love reading it! I am a pastor’s wife of 9 years and am currently mentoring 5 women in our church who are wives of men who God has placed in leadership within the church that my husband and I serve. I have gleaned a lot of “material” from both your’s and Amy’s blogs that has helped me to figure out how to explain certain subjects of submission to them. It is certainly a learning process…to say the least.

    I wanted to ask your permission to “guest post” some of your blogs on my blog….Heavenly Ramblings. (htp://heavenlyramblings.wordpress.com ). I would of course link back to your blog and give you full credit for the post. I just think there are some great points that you make I would like to share with my readers.

    Thanks for all you do for the Lord!

    Jeannie

    • Kayla Gulick January 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Jeannie,

      Thanks for the comment! What a great way to live out Titus 2 to mentor these women. They are SO lucky to have you in their lives. If only all women were so lucky!

      You can absolutely use whatever posts you’d like to use. My whole purpose to writing about what God is teaching me is because I have learned that everything Satan has tried to convince me that “only I” struggle with is a total lie! Many others can learn from what I’m learning and together we can defeat Satan and grow in Christ.

      If I can be of any help to you, please let me know.
      Blessings,
      Kayla

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Is this really what you want? « Lessons Of Mercy - January 31, 2013

    […] talked about leaving our church of 11 + years, and finding a new church home that we love in detail a few different times on the blog, and yet I feel like if I didn’t go […]

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