Yesterday was a big day. We got in touch with some of the people from our church and told them we were saying goodbye.
We're not moving to another state or even another city... just another church. The reasons are varied, and honestly there is no one single reason that would be enough to make such a drastic decision. I've been attending this church since October of 1996 (I had moved back to Tulsa the summer before) with a one-year stint at another church when we were having some "people" difficulties at our church home. So it's not a decision you make lightly, ending a 12-year relationship with a church body, and it's really hard. If I wrote each of our reasons for making this decision on a card and handed you the cards, one at a time, as you read each one you would say, "Well, that's not so bad. You can deal with that," and I would agree with you. But when we were done, you'd be holding a pretty sizable stack of cards. It's definitely a camel-with-many-straws-on-his-back situation. We love the people at our now-former church, and we have great respect for the pastor and staff, but taking all factors into account, it's just time.
I'm not naming here the church we're leaving, although if you really wanted to know and didn't know already, you could easily enough find it in the archives. Like any other church, there are some things our old church is good at and other things that it's not good at, and a big part of the reason for moving on is that our priorities as a family have shifted and we need to find somewhere that better fits what we feel God is calling us to do. And that's the last thing I'm going to say about why we're leaving the old church, because it's a great place and many good things (including a HUGE amount of Bible knowledge for me and my wife!) have come out of there, and I have no reason to or intention to say anything at all bad about it. It's an excellent place to go and learn God's Word. I would HIGHLY recommend it for someone who needs a really solid Bible foundation; it's just short of going to a Bible school where you pay tuition! I won't talk that church down, but I will be giving my impressions of some of the places we visit over the next couple of months. We have a short list of churches we're curious about, and I'll share what we think about those churches as we visit. And by about Christmas time, I hope we've found someplace to spend the next twelve, twenty-four, or fifty years!