Rock Bottom?

I’m at a really low spot, and, to be completely honest, I can’t tell if it’s an attack from the devil or just me…or both.

I started this church with some friends about 3.5 years ago. I still call it church, although it’s almost only completely my family. Does it count as church growth if I just keep having kids?

I look for platitudes to excuse all my people leaving like “God just worked it down to the core members” or “Now that the bad folks are gone we can really build something”.

This current church is actually my fourth attempt. Three failures and now this.

I never see my best friend. He lives in Chicago.

In a big church when people lay out, you don’t notice as much. In a small church when it happens, you’re alone.

Most of the pastors I consulted before I started this church said, “Don’t do it.” One of them even said, “That’s not a church.”

I had one person leave because she said I didn’t use enough Bible in the messages.

I had another person tell me I’m not fit to be a Pastor. Even if they’re wrong, that one hurts.

One of my most active members is ministering to a prison…as an inmate.

One of my members doesn’t come because they need their quiet time on Sundays. Another one works most Sundays.

I may lose a couple of my members soon because they’re in relationships where their significant others may take them away to other churches.

99% of the church giving is my tithe. I guess that makes my church self-funded, huh?

I cancelled our midweek services because no one was coming.

I’m trying to do something new, something where people that don’t go to church, have been hurt by church, or even hate church can feel welcome. I’m trying to create a place where nerds, geeks, tattooed people, and pierced people are welcome. I’m trying to create a place where people who don’t know what immutability and sanctification mean can come and learn.

But, I’ll be honest, right now all I want to do is quit.

If I close the doors this Sunday, I wonder if anyone would even know.


5 thoughts on “Rock Bottom?

  1. Don’t give in to the temptation to quit. That’s too easy. Prayerfully and mindfully think about what God is calling you to do. Since you are a “life coach” and “business coach,” what would you in the role of the “coach” tell yourself to do? Do you need to re-evaluate the priorities of your church? Do you need to change the mission of the church and the style of the service to meet the needs of more of the community as opposed to those that are “different” than the community? Do you need to set new goals and refresh the message? What other ways can you reach your target audience while adding to your audience?

    Preaching the Gospel is fluid and ever-changing. As our society has changed so has the needs of the believers and non-believers alike. I have followed your church through social media and your blog for the past 3.5 years and hoped and prayed it would be successful. After 3.5 years, it might be time to shake-up your thinking around how you want the Pilgramage Church to serve the Surfside Beach community and the surrounding area. It is an aging community – we both have parents that still live there so I think you see it too. Older folks like traditional elements of church and are open to more contemporary elements as well. Older folks also like to help others – whether it’s collecting books for underprivileged children or canned goods or sending packages to the military or donating to worldwide challenges like providing clean water to those living in Africa. You have to find what gets them excited. Start small again and work your way up.

    Jesus associated with those that did not necessarily fit the mold of what would be considered a good Christian today, and that is who you probably hoped to bring to your church in the beginning. But He also had good, normal people that followed Him as well and believed in His message, and all of these people helped lay the groundwork for many generations of Christians.

    Although it has been years since we attended school together and played ball together, I still remember the David Powers, who despite not having an overpowering fastball, got people to swing and miss and believed he was a winner. You have to have that same level of belief with what you are doing today. You also have to know that people are pulling for you – like I have from the great city of Spartanburg. Do you need to spend 40 days in the desert to find your true path? Probably not. Would a couple of days in the mountains help you re-focus? Probably so.

    Life is about adjustments. My Methodist Church is going through a planning effort due to many of the same issues you discuss in your post and many more. We are in the process of trying to determine how we reach a community that has changed over the last 10-15 years. We know what gets us excited to come to church every Sunday, but we are trying to figure out how to reach the others around us. My church has lost touch with those that live around it to a certain extent. I call it a re-branding effort. After 3.5 years, it might be time for you to do the same. Through a lot of discussion (some of it heated), we have discovered that our church is very insular in nature. It is only there to serve the present membership. We have to reach those outside our four walls, and it is going to take time and prayer and patience and a willingness by our congregation to change how they view “change” in the church.

    Don’t give up. You have a God-size dream. But I think you need to ask yourself a few questions. Some may take you some time to reflect upon, but I think it ultimately boils down to what you feel you are called to do with the Pilgrimage and how you can tie your mission with the surrounding community.

    It’s time for you to coach and advise yourself.


  2. I’m sorry that you feel this way. Even Jesus was not accepted in his hometown. Take things in stride and know that if u are doing what God is telling you to do then it will work for His glory.

  3. I think the devil is working overtime. Just hang in there. We are all praying.

    In His Name, Teresa Powers

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