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I hear you, Tara and have similar feelings. I just keep leaning into his love trusting that my relationship with him is deepening and that he is showing me the way. I have conversations with him sharing what is in my heart. Healing seems very slow, but we are healing.
I find myself more observant to the people he puts on my path, grocery store, walking, neighborhood, sometimes sharing a smile, a hello, a short conversation.
We will land in his arms. I enjoyed your introduction and am happy to meet you! :smile:


Hello, my name is Candace. My husband Mark and I are both pastors’ kids and have been married for 28 years. We have four children ages 17-25. We have been officially outside the institutional church for almost a year now. We were highly involved volunteers for many many years. We left what we would consider our home church five years ago. The children’s pastor was caught in prescription drug abuse (for the second time) and for 7 months I took on all his responsibilities (many 40 hour weeks) on a volunteer basis. When he was reinstated as if nothing had ever happened my husband and I were too exhausted to fight. At first we just recovered from over involvement, then we began to look for a church where we could once again use our talents and abilities . Church after church turned us down. No one wanted experienced teachers. No one wanted a puppet team or any kind of creative ministry in their church. And above all no one wanted my African friends messing up their pristine white American church. It sounds bad, but it was very good because the farther we were pushed out of the institutional church, the more we were drawn into a community of international believers. They are my brothers and sisters, our family.


Hi! I’m Pamela, my husband is Bob. We live out in the sticks in SW Missouri. We’ve been out of the institutional church for about 5 years now, still on our journey, learning to live in Father’s affection and to love those He puts in our paths. I’m so excited to be a part of this discussion! Looking forward to learning more about each of you and your walk with our LORD.


The transition can be brutal, Tara (@hikergirl). Especially when combined with a move and feeling alone. I can promise you it will get better. You’re sliding out of a way of thinking that was doing harm to you. You are finding your way into a way of thinking that will make you an amazing friend to people around you and that will give you friendships as well. Just look for someone to love each day, even if it’s an exchange on the internet with an old friend, or dinging someone at work or in your neighborhood that you can begin to talk to. It’s amazing how much human contact, even if they don’t believe the same things you do, helps clarify your vision. I’m glad some of my things have helped. I’ll be praying for you to find some rest in this season and not think too far ahead. He is with you and he will open the door that fulfills the hungers he’s put in your heart.

Wayne in Thousand Oaks, CA


Hello from Germany,
we are Klaus & Gudrun from Germany, near by Cologne. We’ve got four children from 14 to 21 years. We found „The God Journey“ and „Lifestream“ through the books „So you don’t want to go to church anymore“ and „He loves me“. We are very thankful for a weekend with Wayne in Hannover many years ago; at this time we went through a serious crises in our life and God has ordered many things new.
We are out of and tired of institutional organization and we are seeking for a full living with the church … and still learning to live deeper in the fathers affection.
We are excited to find some answers from God and meet with others, hungry for a life with Him.


Hi there Tara,

I remember when we first left it was terribly difficult emotionally. For me the first year and half was so hard. We lost all the relationships we had at the congregation we attended. I had to walk through a ton of fear and just sit in it and I had to learn to stop fighting it or trying to make it go away or stuff it down. It was toxic junk in my soul that had to rise to the surface and Jesus was the only one who could deal with it. I was so unsettled in my soul that being by myself allowed a lot of things to come to the surface. The Lord has you and he knows exactly what it is that he wants to accomplish and He does beautiful work, always! You are loved, Blessings to you Tara!


I’m Anne, I live in Surrey UK, I have 1 son, a nearly-daughter-in-law and 3 awesome grandchildren.
I work for a large corporate in an IT Manager capacity, I only mention it because it is right now my training ground for holding things lightly and walking out the serenity prayer!!.
To aid me in chilling out, I have a little Etsy shop selling my pottery dabbling’s, I write a little, and spend as much time as possible with my amazing family.
I have been outside of “the institutional church” for 28 years (Although I would never had stated it that way until recently), a “Christian” since I was 14 in a beautiful town in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia as it was then).
My heart cries out for the bride to be revealed in the earth. For her to be all she can be, all she is called to be among those who yet don’t know there is a God who loves them and calls them beloved. That she would truly represent the prayer of the first well beloved son, being one with each other all wrapped up in oneness with Him.
I so look forward too sharing that becoming as we journey for the next while together.


Yes! Thank you for putting this into words. It would come over me like a wave. I learned to sit in it. Great way of putting it.
Dawna in Sacramento, CA


Hi, I’m Murray and I live in Newcastle Australia.
I was brought up in the Institutional Church as a ‘pastors kid’ in an amazingly loving and supportive family. There were plenty of great times but also times of struggle and hurt that is just part of life in a broken world.
Over 10 years ago some key people in my life challenged my neat little religious mindset. Whilst I did my best to justify what I did and said, there came a growing sense that most of my Christian walk was motivated by wanting to be good enough. Good enough for God and good enough for those around me.
I’m now enjoying and continually learning about the freedom that comes from knowing that I’m loved unconditionally by an amazing God who isn’t really interested in what I can do for Him, but crazy interested in walking alongside me, hanging out and building relationship.
I have the amazing privilege to meet with an couple of great friends who are on a similar journey, discovering what it means to pursue Him without obligation.
I’ve read the book once and am looking forward to the second time round.


Dear Tara, I just wanted to express that I understand that unsteady and lonely feeling that comes with stepping out of the institutional setting in faith. I have come to think it is a normal part of our process with “going all the way” with the Lord. I remember feeling lonely within the institution as well… but as I left and struggled, the Lord helped me to go deeper with Him and to trust Him for real “church” relationships… it is a process and a journey for sure. Something that helped me was a book written my Marilyn Howshall called “Season of Solitude,” as it helped me to recognize that the Lord wanted me for Himself first, He wanted to be the one to teach me and guide me, He wanted to be the one who makes me feel whole. I have come to see that the season of solitude has been a great preparation for the season He has me in now, exploring what it means to be in “fellowship” with other believers who are learning to be whole and real in our relationship with God, our families and others God brings into our lives too. My nature is to want to control it and go ahead of God and find those relationships all on my own, but the Lord has been good in reminding me over and over that His way of healing me and bringing me into “church” (real relationships with other believers) isn’t my way and that He is trustworthy… I can trust Him… so can you! He loves you SO MUCH! Blessings!

Nancy in Everett, WA


Mark, where about in NY? I’m originally from Poughkeepsie. +1 for Dallas Willard.


I lived in Poughkeepsie for about 10 years and attended a Baptist church there. The Christian school, a ministry of that church, is where I taught and where my wife is currently the office administrator. Two of my sons attend the school and my oldest is a graduate. We live in Pawling, about 35 minutes south east, but we are in Poughkeepsie all the time. My wife grew up there. What’s your history? Do you ever get back? So far no one I’ve met from Poughkeepsie has ever heard of Willard, but I’ve passed out a few copies of Divine Conspiracy!


Small world! I grew up in Pougkeepsie and went to college there too. I attended Arlington High School and Vassar College, where I met my wife. We moved down to Virginia shortly after that in 1987.

My Mom still lives in the area (Marlboro, NY.) We get up there a couple of times a year and always try and get back to Poughkeepsie at least to walk around Vassar for a day. We’ll be up there in June for a few days to visit. Maybe we could meet for coffee or lunch one day. Let’s connect offline. Send me an email


Hi everyone - My name is Elizabeth and I live in Albany, New York with my husband Larry. Together we have 8 children and 9 grandchildren. I enjoy writing, especially poetry and music. reading, outdoors and spending time with friends and family. I grew up in the Catholic church and school system. God was the fierce guy with the white robes and flowing white hair, the mighty smiter. Religion at its’ finest! Through the years I battled addiction and very low self-esteem. Through a series of events I met a woman who listened to one of my songs and declared “That is God talking to YOU”… she scared me… lol. and although I wanted to get away from her there was something inside that drew me to pray with her and the pilgrimage began. It’s a long story and a true miracle but too much to share here. I went on to look for a church and found one and knew I was supposed to be there. I stayed for 8 years and knew I was supposed to leave. I have spent the last 6 years outside of the building relying on Father. He has connected me with those he has connected me to, and I am truly grateful for each of them, he has healed my low self-esteem, shown me I am loved and has straightened out a lot of crooked thinking. I occasionally visit the building I used to go to for every single event they offered, but now I go confident of the Father’s love and knowing that I am part of the body, even if they don’t. I found the God Journey and LifeStream years ago, don’t exactly remember how, and have been blessed by it ALL. I am looking forward to being part of the group, having some great discussion and making friends.


Hi my name is Elisa. My husband and I were going to an institution in our small town that was going through some issues. We loved the people on both sides and decided to take a step back and see what happened. I think that was in 2009. I found Life Stream through reading The Shack and seeing So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore in the back… I’m one of those people that read cover to cover…recovering legalist, follower of rules, etc…listened to podcasts for a few years, then stopped. Just picked it back up wondering why I hadn’t found any “church community” about the time Finding Church came out. I guess I’m realizing it’s taken a lot of years for me to be safe to be around, recovering perfectionist, also. Anyhow, looking forward to rereading the book.

Elisa, Hillsborough NC


My name is Ron Snodgrass. I live in Winchester, VA with my wife Sandra. We have three daughters, one at home now and two are in college. Our oldest Daughter was married last summer. We have home schooled all of our children and my wife and I also take care of clients with disabilities in our home. We have taken care of the same young gentlemen for the past 10 years and we all enjoy serving in this way.
I grew up in an adoptive family from the age of 6. I had three other brothers but they were adopted into other families and when adopted, I joined a family with four sisters, two older and two younger. I experienced some abuse early on in life by biological, foster, and adoptive family members and parents.
I grew up Mennonite and ended up attending Eastern Mennonite High School my senior year and then attended Eastern Mennonite University for five years earning a BS in Biology.
I got married during senior year and it was within the next couple of years that I came across the book “Passion for God’s Presence”. This book changed my life and this is where I began to hunger for more and began to ask a lot of questions and began to hunger for God and His Word. Another book that really helped me and transformed me was the book “The Shack”. This book helped me to find forgiveness for people who had abused or abandoned me in my earlier life and helped me not to judge them but to pray and forgive. This really set me free to seek God and to seek true intimacy with God, my wife, my children, and to desire that with others in His Church. Just recently, my wife gave me the book “Finding Church” as a gift and I devoured it and am now rereading it for a second time and look forward to discussion in this group and learning to know Christ more and His Church that he is building and shaping around me.


I can’t figure out how or where I write my intro?


I had the same problem at first. Just click on dark blue reply button, type your introduction and then click dark blue reply button again and you will be added.


Exactly where and how you wrote this question. If you want, you can click on the little dots to the left the reply on your post. That will give you some more options. Click on the “pencil” for edit and you can edit the message and use that for your introduction as well.


My name is Rocky, and my wife and I have read “Finding Church” and found out why we were feeling that something is missing in the 2 congregations we had attended during the last 15 years. I was a Baptist pastor, and had been on staff for a dozen years, going merrily along, enjoying the fruits of ministry. I had earned a degree at a Southern Baptist seminary in 1990. My, how things have changed!

My wife found a group of women over three years ago, the nucleus having read “Finding Church” before she arrived on the scene. This intimate group of women, named Sacred Companions, is indeed a group the would be described in this book. The women go on retreats together, meet for various purposes, eat out together, and do ministry together.

I, on the other hand, have not found this kind of group yet. One couple from this group met my wife and I for supper at a local restaurant recently. It was one of those dinners filled with talking, laughing, sharing about life, etc. We finally left after the restaurant closed. My, how time flew! That was the kind of time that I am searching for in this journey.

I though after a few months that we would be connecting with more and more people, and be able to meet corporately on a Friday night for a couple of hours, with music, ministry, worship, and that fullness that comes from that to take place. But I have only managed to meet for coffee with a dear friend each week. That is good for me. And it is better than nothing.

I am looking forward on this journey.