I am leaving the IC.
I need to say it, put it out there, confirm it. It's what God is doing in my heart, what He wants of me, not what I wanted in many ways. We had other plans but ultimately even these can't be fulfilled through the institutional church. Am I pursuing my own way? No. I'm walking out into the wilderness, sort of uncertain because I know a lot of misunderstanding will follow, maybe judgement... only God knows.
I need to count the cost and trust God will carry me if I need to walk alone (though I'm not really all alone) My husband is on the same page. He was never too excited about going back to the IC, but he supported me and the ways that I "served" in children's ministry and worship team. I stepped down from both of these, as much as I love music and kids, I needed a break anyway....
I think I get readers of all different walks so I think I need to define what I mean by the IC-- institutional church, just in case:
I define the IC as the system in which we do church that is not based on the heart of God in the scriptures. I don't mean the people, nor the body of Christ nor each individual member. I just think the way we "do" church gets in the way of "being" the church. There are just too many agendas and expected ways of doing things that prevent people from really experiencing fellowship and community, and using their gifts. It seems all too often only a designated few get to really share their gifts mostly because they are being paid to do so (especially in the context of the Sunday worship service which everything seems to revolve around). It's pretty backwards if you think about it. I know many people mean well and want to serve others and do. I know God can and does work through the system, but in my opinion, he works in spite of it (the IC system). Relationships can still be formed and people can maintain those and reach others if they chose. But all too often, people will only support each other if the other is also supporting the big "church" in some way-- supporting the big Sunday service, paying the tithe, or attending something whether or not you really need to be. It just runs too much like a business. God can still work through a business, but is that the way to do church? I really don't think so.
I realize parts of this may sounds blasphemous to some, because it's all they've ever known and haven't dared to question it.
I really believe it is not a sin to question the way we do things in light of the scriptures. I think we are called to do so. There comes a point when we have to be free to think for ourselves and do what the Holy Spirit is telling us whether or not a pastor, parent or leader agrees. Getting counsel is good, but we are only called to follow if it's what the Spirit is telling our own heart. No one else can replace the voice of the Spirit in our lives. I am thankful God showed me this earlier on as a new believer. This verse got imprinted it in my heart:
1 John 2:27
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
(it has helped in delivering me from a very cult-like congregation many years back, and all kinds of stuff). I just like how it says that His anointing teaches us about all things and that this anointing is real...it's just pretty cool. (I'm aware this verse can also be twisted for evil purposes, as can any verse, unfortunately)
So there you have it. I'm leaving the IC and I I'm at peace with it. This is a decision I have made on my own with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I haven't been "badly" influenced by anybody. I have found some great like-minded people along the way who can probably explain things much better than I regarding all this and expound on it a lot more. I will include some of them on my sidebar. I'm not saying I agree 100% with anyone in particular, but I've found them very encouraging and walking much closer to what I believe is the heart of the gospel. And I also have some great blogger friends who are on this same path of wanting to live out their faith with no restraints, friends who are loving without restraints... and this is evidence that we are on the right path (whether attending an IC or not)
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.- Galatians 5