18 Chapter Seventeen: SWITCHING CHURCHES

Moving From Your Father's Church

It is not unusual for a grown-up Preacher's Kid to begin to feel, for so many reasons best known to him, uncomfortable worshiping in his parents' home church. There is nothing wrong with you desiring to find your own church; a church where you feel at home and very relaxed to worship God in the best way you feel right. This desire may become very strong in your heart when your father's church no longer meets your present spiritual needs.

At this time, desiring a place of worship where you will have the full liberty to worship God the best way you wish is not asking for too much. This will give you the opportunity to feel spiritually secure in the midst of your friends, a place where you can be reached out to, and where you can be loved for who you are, and not for being a Preacher's Kid. However, you must first be aware that, as good as this decision may sound, and with all the benefits it has for you, you will need your father's endorsement before you can proceed with it, especially if you still live under the same roof with him.

Candidly, it does not speak well that you attend a separate church from that which your father pastors, as long as you still live together; you may be sending a wrong signal out. If everyone who does not like at least one thing about your father's church leaves the church, he will have no one to pastor again. Your best bet is to still find a way of making your father's ministry look like what you desire, as much as he allows you. Your presence during regular church programs may seem to you like enough encouragement to him, but you can go a step further, by getting seriously committed in the church activities.

During the period that you are still there, keep looking for other avenues to affect the church positively. Find something meaningful to do in the church that can be your own contribution to the success of the ministry. You will discover that if you get seriously involved, even if you have cause to leave his roof to start a family of your own, you may find it difficult to leave the church because you have a part of you in the ongoing work.

Whatever differences you have with the church your father pastors, you can sit down and talk about it. Rather than back out, you can introduce the changes you desire to see in the church to him and let him see the reason why you feel it has to be done at that same season, giving examples of places where it has been done and the results they have experienced.

The final decision still lies with him anyway. He may accept it and he may refuse it. Even if he accepts the first one, it does not mean he will always accept every innovation or renovation you want done in the church. If he accepts this, be appreciative and make all the necessary moves you need to put all the necessary things in place to ensure the idea succeeds. The success of this idea can be a great opportunity for you to introduce more of such great ideas.

If he does not accept your proposal the first time, he may accept it some other time. Before you begin to feel bitter because of this, ask for his reasons. Most times, what a child does not see standing up, an adult sees from where he sits. He must surely have good reasons for saying no to a brilliant idea.
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The fact that you have seen something work in another church and it has increased their attendance or their finances does not mean it will work in your church. Not all things work for all churches. Doing what everyone is doing most times is not always the answer. One needs to find what uniquely works for one and stick to it. You may not know how many things your father has tried his hands on in ministry before sticking to the operational methods he has adopted today.

If what you want is the growth of your father's church, and your father also desires that his church grows, then two rights do not make a wrong (that is the opposite of the popular cliché 'two wrongs do not make a right'). Since all of your ideas and all of your father's actions are in the best interest of the church, two of you can harmonize your plans for the church to make the best of what God has given to you.

One reason why your father would have rejected a great idea may be because of his level of exposure, although he may not admit it. It is not easy to teach an old dog a new trick. Some pastors are so inflexible that they find it difficult to change their methods or adapt to the changing culture around their community, even when their members begin to leave. You will not blame him much. This is because change is not always an easy thing. Resting in your comfort zone is much more comfortable than taking a blind leap into uncharted waterways.

One major cause of this lack of exposure may be because your father does not read any author that is not from his own theological flow. He is exposed but does not have a balanced exposure. The only people he reads or listens to are the ones who think like him, dress like him, write like him, reason like him, preach like him. So he becomes a theologically overfed personality, without desiring to examine others' perspectives on such theologies.

There is not much you can do about this. You can only help him become better by getting him books, tapes, Cds and messages that address such issues written by authors who are not from his theological flow. If he listens to what others are saying about the issues and reads what others have written, he may be moved by the Holy Spirit to change his stand. Even if he still does not change his stand, he will be much more exposed and will be grateful to you for that.

In getting him these materials, you will need to be selective in your choice. Since you know he naturally will not read or listen to some class of preachers, getting him materials from such class of ministers may really not motivate him to read the books or listen to the audios you have invested so much money on, and until the materials are digested, there may not be any physical change in his operations. A simple way out is to source for the teaching material on the same issues, of someone he readily will listen to, or someone he holds in high regard. He will readily listen to such than someone whom he has some level of reservations for already. Alternatively, get him a neutral author whom he has not heard before. This may also perform the needed miracle.

If you get busy with activities in your father's church, you may begin to notice that your services are actually more needed here than any other place you desire to move to.


But if you finally decide you want to leave by all means, before you make this move, first understand that there are no perfect churches anywhere. You may not see in another church whatever you see that discourages you from your father's church, but be assured that the new church you intend to join has her own weakness too. If you find it difficult to cope with your family church, you may find it more difficult to cope in an unfamiliar terrain. This may be the beginning of many years' journey of shopping for the right church!

Pray about it and be sure God is leading you to move. If indeed he is leading you, he will guide you to the right place of worship that will save you the stress of shopping for a good church.

After careful consideration and a candid assurance that you are prayerfully led to do this, let him know of your decision early enough. Do not expect that he will celebrate you when he hears; so be prepared for the worst. If your preacher-father is like every other, he will not take it lightly with you. Most fathers won't. Still, be sure he hears it from your mouth and not from an external source.

Before you can do this, be sure you are above the age of accountability. If you decide to do this before you are mature enough, you may be forced to suffer things you did not bargain for. This is because, for now, what your father understands by leaving his church is equal to leaving God. He may withdraw so many privileges from you in order to have you come back to his fold. So, wait until the time is ripe when you are old enough to stand on your own. Then, let your father know that although you are leaving his church, you are not leaving the Lord. Tell him that you love him and appreciate him as a father, but not as a church pastor.

One very easy way to do this is to wait until you are old enough to stay on your own and then get his consent to move out of the pastoral family house. This done, you can get accommodation in a place that is quite far from the family church, say two hours' drive away from home. This way, you will have a good excuse to change church, since he does not expect you to drive two hours every day to come worship in the family church.