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Old 03-05-2013, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Warren, OH
2,747 posts, read 3,442,469 times
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Someone close to me is church weary. She put three long years into her church and it seemed what she did was never enough. She made things, volunteered, cooked, brought food to the sick, taught and cared for kids, and responded to almost every single request that they made.

Then last summer a lot was going on in her life and she was asked to paint the back drop for vacation bible school. She has fibromyalgia and it was flaring. Other things were going on in the family.

She thought that a simple no would be enough but she was barraged by calls. Finally she gave in.

It's like these people never stop to worship or recuperate spiritually. They give so much to others and so little to each other.

Now she is moving. She is open to almost any kind of church. How can she find one that will just let her enjoy God's love, the company of other Christians and perhaps minister to her for a change?

The people at the church have not been at all interested in her move. Knowing that she is moving, they just continued to ASK her to do things - volunteer, cook, bake.

It would have been nice if someone helped her to pack. Something.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
59,661 posts, read 57,151,184 times
Reputation: 71089
Quote:
Originally Posted by warren zee View Post
Someone close to me is church weary. She put three long years into her church and it seemed what she did was never enough. She made things, volunteered, cooked, brought food to the sick, taught and cared for kids, and responded to almost every single request that they made.

Then last summer a lot was going on in her life and she was asked to paint the back drop for vacation bible school. She has fibromyalgia and it was flaring. Other things were going on in the family.

She thought that a simple no would be enough but she was barraged by calls. Finally she gave in.

It's like these people never stop to worship or recuperate spiritually. They give so much to others and so little to each other.

Now she is moving. She is open to almost any kind of church. How can she find one that will just let her enjoy God's love, the company of other Christians and perhaps minister to her for a change?

The people at the church have not been at all interested in her move. Knowing that she is moving, they just continued to ASK her to do things - volunteer, cook, bake.

It would have been nice if someone helped her to pack. Something.
She will have to set boundaries so as to not allow the same thing to happen at another church. I agree with her looking elsewhere. It sounds as if these people at her current church are just not getting that.

It may be the culture of the church as you describe it above. They aren't taking care of their own spiritually.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:11 AM
Status: "I Have A New Attitude Going Into 2020." (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Spurs country. "Go, Spurs, Go!"
3,604 posts, read 4,185,149 times
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Churches are comprised of individual people. Just like one has to "shop" for a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist, etc, one needs to "shop" for a church. AND, go where the Lord takes you. I attended several churches when I moved to Texas, all were what I was used to and liked, but one had a congregation that was comprised of people much older than myself, another was more modern, but had more music than sermon, still another was too "little house on the prarie" for me. A terrible tribulation happened to me in 2011, I was in a "fog" watching the parking lot fill up with parishoners next to my house, when the thought entered my mind (courtesy of God) "I'm gonna go to church". The denomination wasn't one I had attended in the past, but was similiar to one I was baptized in. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted by a woman who made me feel at home. Others welcomed me, I "took to" the priest, and the sermon that Sunday had a verse included that I had just taped to the front of my Bible! What a God sign! I felt part of the church family whenever I attended. The woman who first greeted me orchestrated my move to Michigan, I could not have done it without her and the others who packed my house and POD up.

A year later, I moved back to Michigan. I church shopped there as well, and never did find a church I wanted to attend exclusively. After 4 months, I moved back to Texas. I have returned to attending the church I was attending before my move, and I am mentally healed enough from my tribulation that I want to become active in my church.

So, my advice to her is to go "shopping", there are plenty of churches to attend in your area, I'm sure, and go with your feelings, ie God's speaking to you. Join a Bible study to meet some members and get a feel for the congregation and the activities they participate in. Know your "Boundries" (a Bible Study I am completing tonight at a different denomination church), and say "No" when you cannot, and "yes" when you are able and WILLING to be involved.

God Bless You both.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:18 AM
 
28,905 posts, read 47,568,349 times
Reputation: 46157
Quote:
Originally Posted by warren zee View Post
Someone close to me is church weary. She put three long years into her church and it seemed what she did was never enough. She made things, volunteered, cooked, brought food to the sick, taught and cared for kids, and responded to almost every single request that they made.

Then last summer a lot was going on in her life and she was asked to paint the back drop for vacation bible school. She has fibromyalgia and it was flaring. Other things were going on in the family.

She thought that a simple no would be enough but she was barraged by calls. Finally she gave in.

It's like these people never stop to worship or recuperate spiritually. They give so much to others and so little to each other.

Now she is moving. She is open to almost any kind of church. How can she find one that will just let her enjoy God's love, the company of other Christians and perhaps minister to her for a change?

The people at the church have not been at all interested in her move. Knowing that she is moving, they just continued to ASK her to do things - volunteer, cook, bake.

It would have been nice if someone helped her to pack. Something.
Okay. I am involved a good bit in my church. But even my rector makes a point of telling volunteers to not allow their service to the church to overwhelm the other things in their lives. Yes, it's important to volunteer. But it's wrong to volunteer to the detriment of your family, career, health, and state of mind. Part of your friend's problem is that of belonging to a church that evidently takes and takes.

But I know people like your friend, and a larger part of her problem is not being able to say "No" to anyone. Her behavior reminds me of a t-shirt I once saw in a gift shop that read, "Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again." It's a weird mix of humility and conceit on the part of these people, namely the belief that they are so indispensable that the roof of the place would fall in if they weren't there to keep things moving. The truth is it's more important to volunteer for one or two things and do them well rather than volunteer for a dozen things and do them poorly.

I mean, I sat on my church's vestry. Volunteered for our homeless ministry. Served as an usher. Helped promote some church events. Wrote the website. But I knew when I was doing too much. So the next time someone called asking for my help, I turned them down politely. Guess what? They did a fine, fine job without me.

To me, your friend needs to understand her compulsion to volunteer for everything, for that's not the church's fault. In a typical church, the people who run the different ministries don't compare notes on which members are doing what. They just put out the call for help. And if they keep calling, she needs to keep saying no. It's really pretty simple.

As far as a church is concerned, she needs to choose one where she feels most comfortable, one where she can take part in worship and take part in the community without feeling like just another drone.

Last edited by cpg35223; 03-05-2013 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Warren, OH
2,747 posts, read 3,442,469 times
Reputation: 6481
Thanks for all of your thoughtful responses.

First I just want to let you know that she has no compulsion to volunteer and in her regular life dealing with other people, her family and people she works with she has no trouble saying "no" and setting boundaries. She's been involved in churches all of her life. This was a first.

To add insult to injury, they seem to have completely forgotten about her in her last weeks here. The female pastor, who she felt close to knows that she is moving and used to talk to this pastor monthly. It was like as soon as they knew she was moving she was of no more use to them.

When she said "no" about the vacation bible school she actually did not mind painting the back drop but told them from the out set that this year she was not going to be teaching or leading arts and crafts.

Still, the first day of the bible school, three people including the Pastor called her to hound her into doing a couple of days. She said yes to two days. And stuck to that.

Each year after the vacation bible school a few of the people who have gone their for three years have a Luau pool party. It is not a church function and it's decidedly secular. It is not connected with the Bible school but the director of the bible school and her best friend have it.

This year she was not invited. Same for the Halloween party and October Fest.
She is very hurt by all of this but thinks that if she said anything to anyone it would sound wrong.

I am not this woman. It could well be the culture of the church. Or of the region which is a little insular and provincial.

The woman has attended this Protestant church for most of her life, but now she has said that she might want to attend a non denominational church.
She was also an elected member of the church council. Other than Episcopal and maybe Methodist, she has never gone to another brand of church.

Honestly, I don't know about church or how churches operate.
I am Jewish and I don't want to be converted. There is drama and politics in Temples too and I remember my mom having issues with women in the woman's group The Sisterhood.

This is why I only go on High Holy Days.

I think she should shop outside of her church and maybe write them a letter. Another women broke down crying at a council meeting one night because of the stress.

Do you think that she is expecting too much out of a church? Are there places that match people to churches?
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:01 PM
 
Location: NY
9,105 posts, read 15,482,303 times
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Was she at a small church with a small number of core members? It sounds like they were heavily leaning on her due to their need for help, and a small pool from which help was coming.

I have seen this problem at churches. A small core congregation wishes to do as much for God's kingdom as they can. So they attempt to offer every ministry, service, and assistance that they possibly can as a larger church would. However, with a smaller congregation, it means people have to be involved in multiple/all projects and ministries. It takes over to the point where they are unable to worship and receive spiritual help themselves, because they have been run ragged.

I would suggest finding a somewhat larger congregation with either a bigger core of members, or more leaders to help run and organize the various ministries. It is a blessing to receive someone's time towards a ministry, but there has to be some level of scheduling and organization to keep everyone's giving of time, and ability to give elsewhere (to their jobs, family, worship, etc) balance.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Warren, OH
2,747 posts, read 3,442,469 times
Reputation: 6481
Quote:
Originally Posted by Checkered24 View Post
Was she at a small church with a small number of core members? It sounds like they were heavily leaning on her due to their need for help, and a small pool from which help was coming.

I have seen this problem at churches. A small core congregation wishes to do as much for God's kingdom as they can. So they attempt to offer every ministry, service, and assistance that they possibly can as a larger church would. However, with a smaller congregation, it means people have to be involved in multiple/all projects and ministries. It takes over to the point where they are unable to worship and receive spiritual help themselves, because they have been run ragged.

I would suggest finding a somewhat larger congregation with either a bigger core of members, or more leaders to help run and organize the various ministries. It is a blessing to receive someone's time towards a ministry, but there has to be some level of scheduling and organization to keep everyone's giving of time, and ability to give elsewhere (to their jobs, family, worship, etc) balance.
I'd say small. Maybe 300 people. I don't know if it's normal for a church just to ignore a member when they are moving or to act as though they are being betrayed because there is one thing that they did not feel up to doing.

It's almost as though they are shunning her.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:14 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 47,568,349 times
Reputation: 46157
Quote:
Originally Posted by warren zee View Post
Thanks for all of your thoughtful responses.

First I just want to let you know that she has no compulsion to volunteer and in her regular life dealing with other people, her family and people she works with she has no trouble saying "no" and setting boundaries. She's been involved in churches all of her life. This was a first.

To add insult to injury, they seem to have completely forgotten about her in her last weeks here. The female pastor, who she felt close to knows that she is moving and used to talk to this pastor monthly. It was like as soon as they knew she was moving she was of no more use to them.

When she said "no" about the vacation bible school she actually did not mind painting the back drop but told them from the out set that this year she was not going to be teaching or leading arts and crafts.

Still, the first day of the bible school, three people including the Pastor called her to hound her into doing a couple of days. She said yes to two days. And stuck to that.

Each year after the vacation bible school a few of the people who have gone their for three years have a Luau pool party. It is not a church function and it's decidedly secular. It is not connected with the Bible school but the director of the bible school and her best friend have it.

This year she was not invited. Same for the Halloween party and October Fest.
She is very hurt by all of this but thinks that if she said anything to anyone it would sound wrong.

I am not this woman. It could well be the culture of the church. Or of the region which is a little insular and provincial.

The woman has attended this Protestant church for most of her life, but now she has said that she might want to attend a non denominational church.
She was also an elected member of the church council. Other than Episcopal and maybe Methodist, she has never gone to another brand of church.

Honestly, I don't know about church or how churches operate.
I am Jewish and I don't want to be converted. There is drama and politics in Temples too and I remember my mom having issues with women in the woman's group The Sisterhood.

This is why I only go on High Holy Days.

I think she should shop outside of her church and maybe write them a letter. Another women broke down crying at a council meeting one night because of the stress.

Do you think that she is expecting too much out of a church? Are there places that match people to churches?
Well, I think it's more the way that particular church is run than the denomination. The Methodists and Episcopalians are typically pretty low key. Going to a non-denominational church would be like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I mean the big NDC churches in my town require their members provide tax returns so they'll know how much the tithe is going to be. If that's not pushy, I don't know what is.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
59,661 posts, read 57,151,184 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Well, I think it's more the way that particular church is run than the denomination. The Methodists and Episcopalians are typically pretty low key. Going to a non-denominational church would be like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I mean the big NDC churches in my town require their members provide tax returns so they'll know how much the tithe is going to be. If that's not pushy, I don't know what is.
Holy budget planning--I would walk right out of there. We operate at a deficit budget, and somehow each year we work it out.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
9,403 posts, read 8,163,693 times
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I would recommend a church where the teaching of the scriptures is a very high priority, and where the authority of the Bible is of first importance. I would also recommend that their church correctly teach that the Gospel of Christ is a free gift to all who believe that Jesus is God Almighty and the one and only savior of the world.. Lastly, that works do not earn salvation but are the fruit of faith, the result of faith, but do not earn salvation.
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