walkaway

The Day I Walked Away From My Church

Brad Rhine tells a sad tale of a megachurch takeover:

Our small church in a Pennsylvania river town had been losing people steadily for months, people who included our senior pastor and our associate pastor, not to mention dozens of others. Why that happened is a long story — too long for this space. But those that remained gathered on a chilly December morning to worship together one last time before our church was dissolved and all our assets were turned over to a megachurch from out of town, who planned to turn our building into a satellite campus.

I stood on the platform, as I had done hundreds of times over the past decade, singing songs to lead God’s people in worship. Despite repeated questions, I had no idea at this point if the incoming church had any interest in using me in worship ministry. The church had advertised for a campus pastor, a campus tech director, and a campus children’s ministry director, but information surrounding the position of worship leader remained strangely silent.

By this time, our churches had been in talks for the better part of a year, so I held out little hope that they planned to use me. Still, nothing had been set in stone, and even before the service that morning, people were asking me if I would be leading worship after the transition. No one on my team knew if they’d be involved, either.

After a few songs, we took a break from the music and did announcements, as we usually did. I didn’t have many announcements that morning, seeing as it was our last service. When I finished, one of the pastors from the incoming church came up to fill us in on the final details of the coming transition.

You can imagine my surprise when he announced, quite casually, that they had a “great worship team” lined up, complete with a new worship leader.

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