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Told My Pastor I'm Quitting Today


kclark
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A few weeks ago I posted a topic called "What Should I Do?" about my dilemma of trying to leave a church I've been playing at for eight years. Here's part of the post:

 

I'm torn about how to leave the church I play music for. In my head I've come up with two choices:

 

1) I have a part-time job that I work at every Sunday morning except the Sunday that I play for the church. I've thought about telling them that the job is requiring me to work every Sunday starting in December or January, so I won't be able to play for them anymore. I figure this would give them a little time to find a replacement.

 

2) I could ask the pastor if I could talk to him in private after a Sunday service and explain that I no longer believe, and so I don't feel that I should play for their church anymore.

 

Today I finally mustered up the courage to tell him after service. So in a way I chose option #2. I say in a way because I didn't bust out and tell him "I'm atheist now and I'm quitting." I said I'd been doing lots of studying/reading for the last seven or eight months (which is true) and was not sure about what I believed right now. I said it was a spiritual and that I didn't feel right continuing to play for the youth choir and accepting the raise he was planning to give me with all the questions I had right now. He repeatedly asked if he or his wife had done anything to offend me, and I assured him that wasn't the case (which is true--aside from a comment about gay marriage he made that didn't sit well with me, I've never had a problem with them). We exchanged a few words, said goodbye and I left without look back.

 

I thought I would feel elated after I told him. And in a way I do, or at the very least relieved. But mostly I feel just out of whack Part of me feels like "You idiot! Why the fuck would you turn down a raise and quit when the choir is finally starting to take off!" Despite acknowledging my disbelief a few months ago, I got completely sucked back in everytime I went there for service and rehearsal. I hate to admit it, but I thought 'God' was giving me hints that I needed to recommit myself to the fold. But yesterday it dawned on me that it was really just my ego and love of music that kept me coming back. I still didn't (and don't) believe, I just loved playing and like the fact the choir finally had enough kids to do the vocal/musical things that we'd gone without for years. Another part of me feels so horrible. I could tell he look so blind sided/confused while I was trying to explain it to him. At times he looked so vulnerable, like "What do we do now?" I had to fight the urge to call him and back and tell him to forget everything I just said. I know this is due in large part to my people pleasing nature, but it still fucking sucks! :(

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Been there, done that. It's hard. It gets better.

 

Go play your instrument somewhere where you don't have to play shitty christian music. Trust me, you think its alright now, its a lot better when you're not in church.

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Changes are often difficult, but still the right thing to do.

 

But yesterday it dawned on me that it was really just my ego and love of music that kept me coming back.

Don't forget that.

 

Congratulations on taking a big, honest step forward.

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Thanks Florduh and Noggy for the encouraging words. But I do happen to like some of that 'shitty christian music' lol. Some gospel is crap, but some of is not only very catchy but musically complex. But thanks again:).

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I loved gospel music before, during and after my Christian bondage. The music has always eclipsed any emotional message or smarmy lyrics.

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Thanks Florduh and Noggy for the encouraging words. But I do happen to like some of that 'shitty christian music' lol. Some gospel is crap, but some of is not only very catchy but musically complex. But thanks again:).

 

I played bass for my church for years. Playing Christian music is fun, but playing real music is better. You'll see. Don't give up your instrument just because you don't go to church anymore. When I was at the end of my rope I realized that it was the only thing about church I liked. You don't need church.

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I played bass for my church for years. Playing Christian music is fun, but playing real music is better. You'll see. Don't give up your instrument just because you don't go to church anymore. When I was at the end of my rope I realized that it was the only thing about church I liked. You don't need church.

Playing music is so much fun, I can see why someone would stay in a bad situation just so they can keep playing.

 

I totally agree, you don't need church to play music. A whole new world awaits. You can expand and grow way beyond your former gig.

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Been there, done that. It's hard. It gets better. - Noggy

 

Changes are often difficult, but still the right thing to do. Congratulations on taking a big, honest step forward. - Florduh

 

 

I used to work in the sound booth at church. A person is dealing with a lot of things all at once: your religion fell apart, your honesty compels you not to be a hypocrite about it, you're losing friends - in a nutshell, everything is changing. It's rough. Be kind to yourself, don't give up on your game plan (it will work), and in a few short months, you'd be totally put out if you had to go back to church.

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Been there, done that. It's hard. It gets better. - Noggy

 

Changes are often difficult, but still the right thing to do. Congratulations on taking a big, honest step forward. - Florduh

 

 

I used to work in the sound booth at church. A person is dealing with a lot of things all at once: your religion fell apart, your honesty compels you not to be a hypocrite about it, you're losing friends - in a nutshell, everything is changing. It's rough. Be kind to yourself, don't give up on your game plan (it will work), and in a few short months, you'd be totally put out if you had to go back to church.

 

You're right about everything changing. I was just so caught off guard with how the actual act of telling him left me feeling. Maybe if he'd been more of a jerk, I'd feel differently. My family (at least my immediate family) will probably find out I've left soon, since they always ask how things are going. Fortunately I agreed to play for them until December, so that buys me almost two more months of calm before the storm. I can get in some more reading/studying so I can be prepared.

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Congratulations kclark for the step you made to be true to yourself! That was 'big' for you because I remember you being very distraught.

 

I was in the music ministry for a long, long, time. At the very end - I just had a hard time singing some of the words of the songs. The 'blues band' I sang with were a blast - that's why I had such a hard time leaving - cause i was singing the blues (what I always wanted to do) but never got recognized by the world!:shrug: Oh well - I've had my glory days....... you'll have then too in a different way......you sound very talented to me.

 

Best wished for you tonight!

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Congratulations kclark for the step you made to be true to yourself! That was 'big' for you because I remember you being very distraught.

 

I was in the music ministry for a long, long, time. At the very end - I just had a hard time singing some of the words of the songs. The 'blues band' I sang with were a blast - that's why I had such a hard time leaving - cause i was singing the blues (what I always wanted to do) but never got recognized by the world!:shrug: Oh well - I've had my glory days....... you'll have then too in a different way......you sound very talented to me.

 

Best wished for you tonight!

 

Thanks Margee! I'm with you on the lyrics--today we sung a song about how god is wonderful, and it felt so weird singing the words being that I don't believe that anymore (reading the Old Testament has shown me a WHOLE other side to bible god). I still feel bad for leaving, but I know it's the right decision.

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I feel you. Everything is changing and you have all these difficult decisions and conversations. And then people surprise you in good and bad ways either by being nice or being rude. You pastor sounds like a good guy. It's tough to say "no" to nice people. You handled this situation the very best you could. You sound very thoughtful and considerate. I think you'll be able to handle the difficult decisions ahead. (and it's not difficult forever!)

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  • 3 weeks later...

A little late to the conversation, I suppose. I had the same experience. I deconverted at the beginning of August. In our small town, I had been the worship leader at a little evangelical church (attendance about 50-60 every week) for about 7 years. I had pretty much been the voice and the face of the music there that whole time. We had another guy (my best friend here in town, whose daughter played drums for us too) who would lead from time to time, but it was almost all me.

 

When I realized I didn't believe anymore, it really tore me up, not so much for not believing, but in worrying about how it would affect people who had both depended on me and encouraged me for years. I called my pastor to get together with him and break the news (I didn't let on over the phone, just told him I had some things I needed to discuss with him.) He had his grandkids in town and they were going to be driving them back home (and wouldn't be at church Sunday) so he asked if we could get together when he got back. So we set a time for the following Tuesday morning.

 

So I just had to get through Sunday. I knew the music would be a problem, but I didn't want to drop a bomb by mysteriously disappearing from church before having said discussion. So I called my friend and asked if he could lead worship and I'd just play my bass - I didn't feel up to leading. He said it would be no problem and left it at that.

 

Now my friend has some serious health challenges that can come and go pretty randomly, so it wasn't unusual to get a call from his daughter on Sunday AM asking to be picked up because my friend had a rough night dealing with his conditions.

 

Guess you can see what's coming. There I was all relaxed, figuring I wouldn't have to deal with the awkwardness of it, just play and get through the day, then meet with the pastor and have done. Just as I'm about to head out the door, my phone rings. It's her, and her dad's sick.

 

Now there is nobody else at our little church who can really do this thing we do. And of course they're not concerned because they had no idea at that time what I was going through. So I decided I'd just go through the motions, do a nice service for my friends, and realize since God isn't there anyway, there's no real risk of being struck by lightning, etc. I did skip communion, however.

 

Anyhow, that worship service was quite surreal. First I'm praying to someone I know isn't there, at least not in the way he's portrayed in the Christian bible. I'm singing songs like "In the Garden,"

 

And He walks with me

And He talks with me

And He tells me I am his own

And the joy we share

As we tarry there

None other has ever known.

 

I realize I'll probably never sing those words again. Same with the other songs. That made me sad as well. In the end I got through it.

 

When I dropped my friend's daughter off, I sat down with him and spilled the beans. He's still my friend (he and his wife tend to live out the ideas of loving acceptance more than a lot of Christians I know) and he was very understanding and the like.

 

Tuesday morning I told my pastor what was up. We discussed it, and again he was very supportive and loving. We sparred a little bit. Our most in depth discussion was on the problem of evil. After we went round and round a bit, he admitted he didn't have a substantive answer for my issues, and that at some point in the past he had decided he would take some things on faith. I said I couldn't do that, and here we are.

 

I think by just saying so rather than obfuscating, you actually accelerated the healing you need to do. No beating around the bush, no wondering where you stand. You just said it, and everyone can just decide what to do about what you said rather than trying to figure out where you're coming from.

 

Best of luck to you.

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A little late to the conversation, I suppose. I had the same experience. I deconverted at the beginning of August. In our small town, I had been the worship leader at a little evangelical church (attendance about 50-60 every week) for about 7 years. I had pretty much been the voice and the face of the music there that whole time. We had another guy (my best friend here in town, whose daughter played drums for us too) who would lead from time to time, but it was almost all me.

 

When I realized I didn't believe anymore, it really tore me up, not so much for not believing, but in worrying about how it would affect people who had both depended on me and encouraged me for years. I called my pastor to get together with him and break the news (I didn't let on over the phone, just told him I had some things I needed to discuss with him.) He had his grandkids in town and they were going to be driving them back home (and wouldn't be at church Sunday) so he asked if we could get together when he got back. So we set a time for the following Tuesday morning.

 

So I just had to get through Sunday. I knew the music would be a problem, but I didn't want to drop a bomb by mysteriously disappearing from church before having said discussion. So I called my friend and asked if he could lead worship and I'd just play my bass - I didn't feel up to leading. He said it would be no problem and left it at that.

 

Now my friend has some serious health challenges that can come and go pretty randomly, so it wasn't unusual to get a call from his daughter on Sunday AM asking to be picked up because my friend had a rough night dealing with his conditions.

 

Guess you can see what's coming. There I was all relaxed, figuring I wouldn't have to deal with the awkwardness of it, just play and get through the day, then meet with the pastor and have done. Just as I'm about to head out the door, my phone rings. It's her, and her dad's sick.

 

Now there is nobody else at our little church who can really do this thing we do. And of course they're not concerned because they had no idea at that time what I was going through. So I decided I'd just go through the motions, do a nice service for my friends, and realize since God isn't there anyway, there's no real risk of being struck by lightning, etc. I did skip communion, however.

 

Anyhow, that worship service was quite surreal. First I'm praying to someone I know isn't there, at least not in the way he's portrayed in the Christian bible. I'm singing songs like "In the Garden,"

 

And He walks with me

And He talks with me

And He tells me I am his own

And the joy we share

As we tarry there

None other has ever known.

 

I realize I'll probably never sing those words again. Same with the other songs. That made me sad as well. In the end I got through it.

 

When I dropped my friend's daughter off, I sat down with him and spilled the beans. He's still my friend (he and his wife tend to live out the ideas of loving acceptance more than a lot of Christians I know) and he was very understanding and the like.

 

Tuesday morning I told my pastor what was up. We discussed it, and again he was very supportive and loving. We sparred a little bit. Our most in depth discussion was on the problem of evil. After we went round and round a bit, he admitted he didn't have a substantive answer for my issues, and that at some point in the past he had decided he would take some things on faith. I said I couldn't do that, and here we are.

 

I think by just saying so rather than obfuscating, you actually accelerated the healing you need to do. No beating around the bush, no wondering where you stand. You just said it, and everyone can just decide what to do about what you said rather than trying to figure out where you're coming from.

 

Best of luck to you.

 

Thanks for sharing that ToonForever. Obviously I can totally relate to everything you said, especially the part about singing the lyrics. The Sunday I told him we sung a song talking about how wonderful God was, and knowing I didn't believe any of it anymore made it so surreal. What made telling him even harder was the fact that it was pretty much the youth choir's best performance ever. On top of that three kids got baptized and some people joined church (yeah it was one of those Sundays lol:). I almost felt like I would pass out when it was time to tell him. But I'm glad I got through it. Now all I have this month and December and I'm out of there.

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