My Dad's Last Day As A Pastor At The Church He Started

My Dad's Last Day As A Pastor At The Church He Started

Hats off to my dad, he created something this world desperately needed, he will be missed.

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I have always been religious in some way or another. From the age of 3 to now, I have always gone to church with my parents and attended a private Christian school from pre-k to 6th grade. Even though I grew up Christian and my family went to church, they weren't your standard hateful, judgmental, "crazy" Christians. My parents raised me in the best possible way, teaching me that everyone is always welcome at church and that Jesus loves everyone (yes, including gay people for the people out there who still don't understand this).

The private Christian school I attended was affiliated with a mega church that my family attended and worked at (so I got a good discount on tuition because they worked there). When I started 6th grade, my parents told me one day after school that I would have to go to a new school next year because they wouldn't be able to afford my tuition anymore, meaning that they wouldn't be working at that church anymore either. I was so shocked, I spent my whole childhood thinking that I would be going to that school until senior year and that when my parents both enjoyed their jobs.

That was when my dad told me that he really wanted to start his own church with a couple of his coworkers/friends. I remember being surprised but not afraid of what life would hold next. It made sense to me in some way seeing my dad as a pastor. So that turned into planning for a year of what his church, "Bloom" would look like. We wanted it to be a church that welcomed everyone and actually meant that; we wanted it to be a community. So they came up with the slogan "No judging, no politics, just Jesus" as well as "Embrace church, embrace people, embrace community.". He wanted Bloom to be everything that the standard American Christian church isn't, and I loved it.

When you are a kid, you don't really see the judgment and hate Christians can exude, but when you are an older teen or an adult, woah. We were creating something against the religious status quo, peoples opinions were always out there, and a lot of people didn't like how loving and accepting our church was (ironic since Jesus's message is to love everyone).

The biggest debate was that we allowed gay people to come and people who didn't believe in god or believed in something else. The church is supposed to be for everyone, regardless of who they are, what they do or don't believe in. If you want to be that person who thinks gay people belong in hell based off of one verse in the bible, that's your prerogative. But that's definitely not what I would want in a God.

Bloom has been around for almost 10 years, and it has had so many changes. We have been in a lot of different buildings, have had a lot of people come and stay, and had many people leave. My dad has done so much over the past 10 years, it blows my mind. No one can really understand the stress he was under unless you were living in my house. Along with my dad, my mom and I were always there to deal with Bloom stuff and it was not fun most of the time.

It's hard to deal with people who don't want to volunteer to help out with setting up, or if someone forgets something important, or if there's something difficult happening with one of the people who attend. Even though my dad was a pastor and would speak on Sunday's, he would spend the rest of his week meeting with people, writing, doing finances, accounting, everything that needed to be done to have Bloom run.

2018 was a difficult year for my family, and my dad had been thinking about not being a pastor anymore for a while. I could tell that he was burning out and that it was really affecting him in a negative way. When you have to give yourself to everyone for 10 years and rarely have anyone give back to you, it's exhausting. Two Sundays ago marked his last day as a pastor at Bloom and the church was signed off to two other people who attend that are taking over. It was one of the most beautiful, emotional Sundays I have ever seen in my life. So many people had many amazing things to say (I was way too teared up the whole time to say anything) and it was a good close to my dad's journey with Bloom.

I am excited to see what this next phase of my dad's life, as well as for my mom and me. It will be very different to no longer have certain responsibilities every week and to not have to deal with difficult situations. Even though my dad is no longer at Bloom, it will continue to be a place that teaches the love of Jesus and be a place where people can be inspired to be good people to everyone without judgment. Many family members don't understand why my dad has decided to step down and even go far enough as to question if God is "still leading him". All I have to say to that is that him leaving was not a spur of the moment decision and he has spent a lot of time talking to God about it and this is what he needs to do, and his happiness is all that matters.

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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I'm A Christian Girl And I AM a Feminist, Because Everyone Is Equal In The Eyes Of God

If you were waiting for me to post a picture of me in front of an Olive Garden you've come to the wrong place.

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Recently, I saw an article here on Odyssey that has been swirling around on twitter titled, "I'm a Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend for Women to Be Equals."

As a Christian Girl who IS a feminist, I have a critique for this article.

I'm all for freedom of speech and people having their own opinions, but the argument that this woman makes needs to be challenged. She asked for Feminists to back up their arguments and I have delivered.

Let me give you some background into my own religious story. I grew up in a very religious family, my dad is even a pastor of his own church, so you could say that I am relatively well versed when it comes to the Bible and Christian Beliefs. Not once was I told that I could never do anything a man couldn't. I had every capability of doing anything a man could, and I'm grateful that I was raised to have my own autonomy. That being said, I also grew up watching my Christian, feminist, single mother be the head of OUR household, and NOT submit to a husband. That did not make her evil, nor did it make her sinful in the eyes of God. She was my provider during this time and I wholeheartedly believe God intended me to grow up this way.

You can say I'm biased, but let's take a closer look into what arguments were made.

God Made Man First

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While this is true, God did make man before woman, God also recognizes that Adam needed a HELPER. Not a servant, not a sandwich maker, not a sex slave. A HELPER. "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." (Genesis 2.18 NKJV) Another key thing to note here is that comparable is written. Meaning that women are equal enough to be compared to men, they are parallel, different yes, but equal in importance just the same.

We Are to Submit to our Husbands

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I don't know how many of you know this, but not everybody has a husband. That's just a fact of life. However, something you might find interesting is that submit has two definitions. The first is the kind where we are under the authority of someone, and the other being subject to a particular process, treatment, or condition. Perhaps this is God telling us to let go of fears and EMOTIONALLY give yourself and your love to someone. As it is later stated in Ephesians 5 (NOT Proverbs BTW.) Husbands are meant to love their wives in return. (Also why aren't we calling out the men who left single mothers behind and not loving them?)

"Proverbs 31 Woman"

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What does this even mean, and why is it relevant? Proverbs 31 is about a prophecy the mother of King Lemuel, who we don't even know to be quite honest, had laid out for him. Not ONCE did Jesus utter these words, and why should it be up for interpretation as this book was not made by Jesus himself.

Women and Men are not equal in God's Eyes

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First of all, how do we know? Second of all, I could have 5lbs of apples and I could have 5lbs of pears, and I would still have an EQUAL amount of each. Different things with different features that appeal to different people, but I still have an equal amount of each. Equality does not mean that we don't acknowledge differences, but rather we allow each other the same opportunities because when it comes down to it, we are all human beings, and for me personally, we are all children of God.

I love my church, I love God, and I love others just as I was taught. That does not mean it's my job to judge people, nor does it mean I need to shove my beliefs in their face. I also do not have to accept what each church tells me, the Bible has many different translations and is up for interpretation, who are we to decide which is the correct one? My faith does not restrict me from being my own individual, and trivial interpretations do not stop me from standing with and caring for my fellow women who are raped, molested, slut-shamed, sold, murdered, harassed, oppressed, beaten, and married off as children every day. Being a feminist is recognizing that women have the same fundamental rights as men, and are equal in the eyes of the law. Being a feminist is looking out for my fellow women. It is me loving my neighbor as I would love myself, next to loving God with my whole self.

To non-feminists and those that are, you are loved despite your differences. You are loved equally. Just like men and women should be.

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