My name is Kim Wenzel and I have been in pastoral ministry for 39 years. Although I am still currently pastoring a small church I am definately NOT an institutional church guy anymore. I stepped away completely for about ten years and ran a retreat ranch for burned out pastors. Enjoyed that very much, but it also added to my disillusionment with the modern free western church. The church I currently pastor is only 30 people with the average age of 80. The congregation will disappear within a decade. My four daughters are grown and all involved with the institutional church as teachers or worship leaders. I am also very involved with the global persecuted church through Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs. I personally think one of the best things that could happen to the fat lazy American church would be persecution on the serious level. I have a weekly radio program and a weekly newspaper column about the persecuted church. Look forward to this discussion group.
My name is Jacob Stevens. I live in Des Moines, Iowa. I am married with three school age kids. I was raised Catholic but early on I couldn’t mesh what I read in the Bible with my Catholic upbringing. I was in the army right out of highschool, spent time in Germany “living it up”. I had family in an house church setting praying for me and looking back see instances where He was reaching out to me while I was getting to the end of my rope.
After the army I was saved, joined the house church, but that ended after a few years and I just kinda lived unto myself for a while. After getting married and having kids started thinking more about God, church, and my role. I was very anti institution, but through a friend and my wife wanting to go somewhere we attended a local covenant " church". The pastor and I got along great, and had some good caring relationships, but the best we tried to reform it was only superficial. The pastor left and we did. We did some classes and kids activities at another congregation for a while. I read the shack early in its day, read other books by Wayne and articles on lifestream.
We started attending that congregation regularly, but it very cliquey, obligation driven. I felt God wanted me there, but wasn’t sure why, maybe just to support my wife. A couple years later, and WOW, what a working of the Spirit in some of the people and “pastors”. I finally knew what I was there to do, use my influence and reform the system! Lol, " Finding Church" and the Spirit quickly dispelled me of that arrogant notion. I go and just live out the best I can what He has for me daily. Still not very good at it, but the conversations have been very exciting. I am slowly moving away from being anti-institutions to pro-church.
Jacob in Des Moines, IA
Faye, from South Africa. I have been reading and listening to Wayne’s books, blogs, podcasts on and off for years, thoroughly enjoying his ability to communicate issues with clarity.
Finding Church is so different to the other books and podcasts that still seem all about figuring out the formula for “church”.
I am really looking forward to getting more out of the book through these discussions.
My name is Sharron and I am married (25 years) with 4 homeschooled children ages 8-18 (one graduating this month).
I stumbled across the GodJourney one day when I, in frustration, was trying to see if there was anyone else out in the world who felt like I felt - disillusioned with church. I was still in the IC at that time when I stumbled across the GodJourney. I was like “whoa, these guys are crazy”" (it was right before Brad left), “I don’t think I like these guys, they’re taking the Body too lightly; people at church would think what they are saying is crazy!”
But I kept listening! The things that were being said, all levity aside, was what I was feeling! WOW, other people DO feel this way - and they just weren’t ‘regular people’, they were Big Boys in ministry, lol.
Anyway, it was about 3 years after that that I got to my ropes end with the IC… I had forgotten about the
GodJourney in the continual rush of church involvement and family responsibilities. I had, once again,
gone online to see if anyone, anywhere, just didn’t want to go to church anymore. So in frustration, I typed into Google, “I don’t want to go to church anymore!” not expecting to find anything, just typing in what I was feeling. And can you believe what came up? An actual BOOK entitled So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore! I was flabbergasted! It was online so after my shock I immediately started reading it – and found my story within its pages.
“Who was the author who understood me like this?” I thought. When I saw the name, I did a search on him and found out HE WAS THE GUY WHO WAS HOSTING THE GODJOURNEY! I couldn’t believe it! After listening to a few of his podcasts a few years previously, I hadn’t gone back to the website and I didn’t know Wayne from Adam. After reading the book, I knew I needed to listen to more podcasts (which I have done and am doing) and Wayne (Brad when he is there) along with some others (Frank VIola,
Joseph Herrin, Ken Brown, Art Nelson and John Fenn) have helped me come into a greater reality of what the Body of Christ can look like outside of religion.
My husband still attends and I assume my name is still on the role but it’s been about 3 years since I’ve been to the building.
Thanks for reading.
Loved reading you intro Sharron. Your google seach made me smile with my thoughts going, " now there’s a cool way to bring someone out from the IC"…
Testimony for today. Just got us as usual with nothing definite or urgent in terms of plans Always a challenge to trust the Lord that He has something planned for the day. I am not retired but on work disability and have been for the last 8 yrs.
I rec’d an invite from my neighbour a few doors down approx. 1:30 PM to go for coffee. I accepted and off we went on 4 wheels but sharing equally between us.
At the coffee shop another gentleman whom I’m met before was waiting for us.
We ordered coffee and while waiting just chit chatted. Howie was a former deacon, elder, on the board, etc,. of his church. Things got serious when he got to sharing that with the pastor moving on there had been a “major shake-up”.
Long story short, he emoted for some time and then really opened his heart, sharing his negative feelings, depression. My friend Richard and I just mostly listened and as time wound down he decided it was time to go.
I asked if we could pray for him, to which he agreed. He also mentioned that he felt “much better”. As we left there were the good byes and "let’s do this again"
commentary. End of Part 1
Stopped at one of the large local hospitals to see Marvin, in A ward with serious psych issues. His family also happened to be there and another coincidence unfolded. The teaching couple were of roughly my age and as we dialogued more connections were made through mutual acquaintances, etc. Much laughter and comparison as to our careers and how we see ourselves in retrospect. Another room mate kicked in with his perspective on some of our dialogue and all in all it turned out to by an amusing and blessed time.
In the end Richard and I, the original 2, defragged for some time by phone pondering how the Lord had set that all up and used us simply because we were willing and available. We know this is just another step in the direction that he wants to lead us. So we will be praying for Howard and Marvin. Final note, it was mentioned that my wife and I are desirous to establish an “alternative form of faith community in our home”. We were all blessed.
Yep! God is awesome!
I’m in NC too! Looking forward to being a part of the forum. I’ve never done one before.
Something similar happened with us too Sharron. The title, “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore” so resonated with us. And after reading it we felt like, “Finally…we are not alone…”
I homeschool too. Just wondering if you feel like the homeschool community is also toxic at times?..very proud of their ‘works?’ Sometimes I feel like homeschool moms are trying so desperately to get their value by achieving their ideal of what a mother ‘should’ be. And the pride in their works trickles down to children who think they are above everyone else simply because they were homeschooled. The result seems to be a bunch of fake people. I find myself very burdened for them to know freedom in Christ’s all sufficiency. Thoughts?
Yes, the Lord really had Wayne title that book well. It’s almost heretical isn’t it? “How dare any CHRISTIAN ever say they don’'t want to go to church!” Hee, hee! Just the kind of title that would tick off the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.
Oh Joan, I have thought about that so much! Unfortunately it seems to be true for a lot of homeschoolers. My kids don’t speak 3 languages, aren’t Suzuki taught musicians or mathimaticians or evenr schooled in the ‘classical’ education or Thomas Jefferson education. Not putting any of that down, but I have
seen in the homeschool community how highly these things can be valued. As I tell my kids often,
I want them to discover::
Who the Father is
What this life is about and
Who they are in this life
I tell them the systems of this world have been setup by a humanity that is is trying to cope outside of the Garden and without trusting in God , and that just having ‘an education’, no matter HOW good, whether public school, private school or homeschool is all a vanity if we don’t learn of the Lord and allow Him to conform us to His image.
Hi Everyone. My name is Windy. My husband of 17 years, Matt, and I live near Branson, Mo. Together we have six children. Matt’s three oldest sons all pushing 30 and away on their own, our daughter (21) who is four days into basic training for the Air Force, a fifteen year-old son who eats like there is no tomorrow, and a six year old daughter who wants to be an “acrobat and person who digs dinosaurs bones”.
Honestly, I wasn’t planning on participating. I am raw, especially in all things concerning the “church”, but there are so many people here with so many experiences I identify with that I haven’t been able to walk away. Many of the IC experiences, homeschoolers (Hi Sharron and Joan, loved your posts and for the record…I am NOT a “good homeschool” Mom!), the very gradual healing process of depression; these grabbed me (kinda like opening up an infection, hurts in a good way?.. I think I need therapy ;-)) and I found myself clicking the sign up button. With everything in me screaming “you are setting yourself up again!”.
I read Finding Church last year (I think, the last few years kinda blur together ) Both Matt and I were relieved that we weren’t the only ones seeing and feeling these things. We have been officially out of IC for about a year. A “you reap what you sow” sermon was the final straw. I picked up my purse and Bible, walked out, and didn’t look back (after going to the bathroom and throwing a screaming fit, fortunately it was empty at the time). When we are in the mood for “church” we visit the Wilderness Church at Silver Dollar City theme park. It’s non-denominational, no commitment pressures, no money collecting! and it’s short. Just people from all over the place who want to take a few minutes to worship God together.
It seems like God wants me here. I will try to keep up with the reading and discussions, (perfectionist self says "do or do not, there is no try! sigh…)
Windy in Reeds Spring, MO
Thanks Sharron. I am learning to relax more and more in our schooling and in the knowledge that God loves my girls even more than I do; that He can reveal things to them and open their eyes to the Truth. That is my prayer…
Mike Boyink here - together with my wife Crissa and 17 year old daughter Miranda we are fulltime RVers. We’ve been on the road for 5+ years and launched our oldest off last September.
Hitting the road fulltime was what triggered our search for something outside the normal church experience. I’ve written about our faith journey on our blog (you can also listen to it via the podcast):
We meet a lot of other fulltime RVing families and many share the same frustrations with trying to live a life of faith while not being tied to a specific geographical location.
I’ve read Finding Church at least 3x and am ready to read it again…
My name is Bob and I live with my wife in King of Prussia, PA. We also have 2 adult sons and are grandparents as well. I came into a personal relationship with Jesus from a very nominal Catholic background in the early 70’s and have had quite a journey that has brought me into contact with many different kinds of Christians that have included Catholic charismatic, fundamentalist baptist, evangelical, reformed, and pentecostal. I have also been to 2 seminaries, graduated from one, have been in a college ministry, full time pastor for a couple years, and men’s bible study leader for a number of years. When I look back one of the striking things about my journey is the contrast in my first year as a believer. I came to know Jesus reading a book of Billy Graham sermons and a book about the Jesus movement. Having no Christian friends, Christian family, or youth pastor, I secretly bought a bible, locked the door to my room at college, and started reading. My life changed a lot during those early months, just as a natural result of getting to know Jesus a little bit. Then I joined a fundamentalist baptist church and my life continued to change, but in a different way, to conform to the teachings of my new church. What a contrast when I look back. At present I have been out of institutional church for a few years and I see my Christian life as kind of rebooting as my focus has been reading the gospels over and over, looking to the Holy Spirit to show me Jesus more clearly. These have been the best years of my journey with Jesus. I have found some of Wayne’s teaching to be very helpful during this time of transition and am very appreciative of what he is doing on this site. I look forward to learning from you my brothers and sisters and hope that I might in some way be an encouragement to some of you.
Sharron, Joan, and the other homeschooling families who have posted so far. As I have been reading through the introductions I have been smiling at seeing the number of people sharing that they homeschool.
My son and daughter were homeschoolers as well. When they began, my ex / their father was still living with us. Unfortunately, and a whole other situation in our lives, my children and I found ourselves having to leave the marriage for our safety. It is kind of weird that once I was a single mom, I sensed I was perceived in a whole different light by the ‘faith based’ homeschooling community. Finding myself stretched between the need to work and my children’s desire to continue with homeschooling, the ‘support’ group fell by the wayside. Concurrently I was realizing the extreme distaste and discomfort of organized Sunday groups. Wanting my son and daughter to be educated, and not inculcated, the ‘religious’ side of some of the homeschool philosophies that were being preached had me torn inside. It is only by the grace of the Father that my children and I met with any success, but thankfully my ‘deliverance’ from IC life in their presence has panned out to the better as they both have faith and belief without feeling compelled to be IC members. They also have found life work they both thrive and excel at, all thanks to Grace. One thing I find kind of tragic, is having witnessed some of the children of members of the faith based homeschoolers meeting some crisis in figuring out life believing in Father, Son, and Spirit as adults. Oddly enough, I ended up working with a few of them, and they shared how they and others were also struggling or had dismissed faith in Father all together. Children of those who were not so bound to supporting the IC system, or regimenting their offspring to religious indoctrination, are faring much better and demonstrate more solid belief in Father, Son, and Spirit.
Windy, I’'m glad you took the chance and signed up. I’m in a life situation now as well that prevents me from doing all I would like to do homeschool-wise for my children but I try not to fret (which can be hard) and I like what Joan said:[quote=“Joan, post:74, topic:18”]
God loves my girls even more than I do; that He can reveal things to them and open their eyes to the Truth. That is my prayer…
I hope I can keep up with the reading also (fellow perfectionist here!) cause what I’ve read so far is encouraging me (and I want to encourage others) and I want to see where the Lord will take my journey through interacting here. (I corrected your name Windy - my apologies)
Sharron in Kansas City, IKS (I keep forgetting to add this!)
My children, at least the two older ones, have seen my struggle of coming to grips with what it means to
be a part of the Body. I am glad to hear your testimony of how the children can grow up to have a vital, life giving relationship with the Lord even without Sunday School and bible youth groups.
Hi! I am Margaret Ward-Wilson. I live in Long Beach, Mississippi, with my two fur babies a cat named Miss Kitty and a toy poodle Paris. I read The Shack years ago and loved it even though it blew my religious mindset completely. I found The God Journey podcast not quite a year ago after reading “So you don’t want to go to church anymore.” I did not connect Wayne with “The Shack” until then. I do so want to take my place in the church Jesus is building in the earth. Right now, I have no desire to be a part of anything man is building. Looking forward to connecting with some of you as we discuss “Finding Church.”
I am a retired mother of three adult children and five grandchildren.