1. I think it’s a tricky thing – the balance of allowing everyone to serve but not letting an person who walks in one week to do anything in the church. For things like children’s ministry, I’m all for getting to know a person better before allowing them to help (purely for the safety of children, because sadly there is too much abuse around). I think there needs to be a time of getting to know someone before allowing them to preach (I think pastors have a big responsibilty about who they let teach their congregation, since the Bible traces that those who teach will be subjected to a higher level of responsibility). But all that being said, I’m not a fan of the term “entry level positions”… I don’t know what the correct balance is, but it’s somewhere between “entry level positions” and “all positions available straight away”..

    • Very well said – there definitely is a balance. This is why I think church membership is a good thing. I don’t mind having to be an official member of the congregation to serve in areas like music or nursery, because that way at least the church knows that my faith aligns with what the church teaches enough to attach myself to the congregation. But having to go through an even longer waiting period after I’m already a member to do certain things? I don’t see basis for that in the Bible.

      Nursery and children’s ministries are a little bit different in my opinion because of the prevalence of sexual abuse. I don’t mind at all having to fill out a background check for that because it helps to keep our children (and mine) safer. I think that’s smart – sad that it has to be this way – but, it is what it is. That’s not a matter of being “good enough” to serve God, that’s a matter of making sure you that we don’t have sexual predators posing as good Christians in order to get their hands on our kids, and I think that’s different than what I’m addressing in this post.

      Thanks for bringing that up though – I’m glad to have that disclaimer even in the comments. 🙂

      • Good point about church membership. I’ve never attended a church that had an official membership “status” (for lack of a better word). You’re right, if you’ve proved your beliefs through membership, asking for more doesn’t seem right at all.

        And I didn’t think you were addressing the child safety issue, it was just one example that popped into my head 🙂

  2. […] Introduction: some self-observations about legalism Part 1: what is “legalism”? Part 2: standing under the broken heart Part 3: hiding in shame, packing up my dreams Part 4: when you “trust and obey” but your heart still gets broken Part 5: when you’ve been hurt by legalism, hold onto faith Part 6: What do Brad Pitt, Josh Groban, and Sleepless in Seattle have in common? Part 7: perfection is not possible Part 8: finding healing and freedom in secular music Part 9: “I will keep believing that God still has a plan” Part 10: Plan A, 2.0 Part 11: Modesty: a picture of grace Part 12: Disconnect: when God just doesn’t seem relevant Part 13: Roses in the dumpster: seeing God in everyday life Part 14: Cheating on my church Part 15: Can you hear Jesus calling? Part 16: Checklists, control, and motherhood Part 17: forget where you “should be” and “give God your ugly” Part 18: When your church isn’t meeting your needs Part 19: on being “in your place” in church Part 20: when your spiritual journey doesn’t look like his Part 21: “Well…it feels comfortable…” Part 22: There are no “entry level positions” with God […]

  3. Ehhh… I bet you thought like ‘here we go again’ and had to prove once more who you were before being allowed to use your God given ministry. I’m in a similar position right now and it’s really disconcerting, isn’t it?

  4. Sarah

    I have always had to pray for our Music Minister because it is a hard balance that is judged one-sided here. You mentioned in contrast to the offending pastor that your other church invited you right in to participate… but they invited you right in to a GROUP and not a solo. Once you participated for a few months, they knew they could trust you with it.
    Be careful, sister. If I had to view what this Pastor said as “entry-level,” I know exactly what he means. Participating in a group is one thing, but turning the pulpit or the preaching or the message in song over to one person just can’t be wisely done without some vetting. My sister attended a church that had someone get up and ramble about politics for 10 minutes, destroying the worship time. She wasn’t vetted – just “let me have my way” and they did and the church suffered for it.
    And I have a friend who demands that “I MUST BE ALLOWED TO DO WHAT I WANT OR YOU’RE A BAD CHURCH” in the service but has a reputation for sin. We are helping her through things, but sometimes a church needs to get to know you before handing you the main microphone to have you exaust your thoughts for all to see.
    Your attitude reflects a demanding “I need my way or the church isn’t loving me” idea and I just know that’s now how God wants you participating in His church.
    Pray for our pastors! They are judged. They are monitored. Their every word is graded and rehashed and blogged about and condemned. And they are not perfect. Give them a break and participate graciously, not with a chip on your shoulder.
    God bless – I’m sure you can grow through this.

  5. Misa

    It is interesting how, for you, church = God.

    It is interesting that you are still in that church.

    It is interesting how the question that you didn’t ask (yourself, in the first place) is:
    – Should I stay in this church ?
    – Should I be a part of this religion ?
    – Should I be a part of any religion ?
    – Does this church really have some (secret) (invisible) connection with God ?
    – …
    – …
    – lol

    • No. Church does not equal God. Church is one way that I facilitate connection with God and edification through interaction with other believers and corporate worship.

  6. Rachel Kitelinger

    Yes. In my old IFB Church, I can remember the choir director’s wife letting me know that I had risen to the level of “Sunday Morning Special music” as opposed to those who could only sing in groups or on Sunday evening. I remember being flattered, but also feeling something in my spirit that said this wasn’t right. My husband and I also left the IFB after 40 plus years and much struggle with man-made guilt. That yoke of legalistic bondage is tough to leave behind.

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