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Trying To Discreetly Leave Church I Work For- Having Problems


Logan
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I'm brand-new to Ex-Christian so if I manage to fuck something up in this post- go easy on me.

 

I was Saved at the age of 16, going to a church that my parents disapproved of. Continued to struggle a lot with depression durring this time. Surprisingly, couldn't pray myself happy. I started volunteering, and now officially am employed at the church. When I got the job was when my faith completely fell apart. Before the job, I was still depressed and having major issues. I could no longer ignore the fact that I am Transgender, and I was born this way.

The same week I was hired was the same week that I finally considered myself to be an ex-christian.

I'm still working here, and I have many friends/mentors/and people who REALLY care about me at the church. Not just the fake care, but actually love me to death.

I mentioned to some of the people I was close to that when my internship here was done, I was going to start going to another church closer to my future apartment-which I'm moving into by spring of 2013. I told them I wanted to get a job and advance my career.

I don't have any plan on going to another church. I just don't want everyone at the church to declare a state-of-emergency intervention or something.

When I told them I was planning on getting a job, in a higher up position, at a church somewhere else, everyone started arguing with me.

 

I'm having dinner with some of them within a few weeks to discuss why I want to go to a different church. I really do NOT want to tell them anything about my lack of faith/gender identity. I also can't quit this job- I really need the money until I find another job somewhere else.

 

What would be some solid excuses to go find another church? I've told them 1)our church doesn't have many people in my generation and I have no plan on getting involved with the ministries that already exist 2) I want to advance my career 3)It'll be closer to my soon-to-be home 4)I've never been to another church before and really want to explore my options

 

They still won't accept this. They say you should go to one church, and work at another.

 

I really don't want to completely destroy any relationships by leaving abruptly. I'm not sure what else to tell them. I feel like they're just trying to hold on to me because I'm a good resource to have(I have a lot of responsibilities), and, not to sound like I've got an ego but I'm one of the few people who make this church move forward...but I can't do it anymore.

 

If worst comes to worst, I'll simply inform them that I've already made my desision, I've prayed on it alot, and feel this is the direction gods pointing me towards. I'm getting out no matter what. I just want to do it carefully.

 

So- Ex-C, Do you guys have any ideas of how to go about this?

 

 

-Logan

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I wish I could offer some good advice but it looks like you're between the proverbial rock and a hard place. You could keep sticking to the points you've already cited regarding people closer to your age at the other place, etc. Just keep sticking with those things and don't let them sway you. I know how adamant people like that can be. When I first became an xtian a person whose church I attended one time twisted my arm, trying to get me to commit to his 'holy' shrine but I kept saying no. He used every trick in the book especially guilt tripping to get me to join. I just kept saying no until he stopped. Later, we parted ways (thankfully).

 

So I guess what I'm saying is just stick to your guns and don't cave in to them. The worse thing that could happen, as far as I can tell, is that they fire you but I don't think it will come to that. It will just be kind of uncomfortable for you working there if you leave their church. But you were going to get another job anyway in the future, right? So if you're terminated it's a matter of your schedule being moved ahead but like I said, I don't think they would resort to that especially if your work performance is satisfactory.

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Welcome to ExC, Logan. You should do what is best for you and it sounds like leaving the church is what is best for you.

 

Your question has to do with how to go about leaving without stirring up too much trouble from them. It sounds like you do not want to discuss the real issues and I can understand that. If you do not want to tell them your true reasons for leaving, then try pulling the ultimate Christian ace in the hole. Simply tell them that you prayed about it and you feel sure that God is leading you to take up employment with another church. After all, who can argue with God? In all my years in various churches, whenever a pastor was going to leave the church to go to another one, that is always what he would say and it always seemed to work just fine for the departing pastor.

 

I hope it all works out well for you.

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Can you hang around long enough to find another job? The way you describe them, it doesn't seem like the hounding is going to go away. I could even foresee you talking them into finding it acceptable to "go to another church", only for one of your friends to want to join you. Then your lie is just going to get bigger and bigger.

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I think I would have waited until I found another job to give notice. I think you already have the right idea to just tell them that you prayed about and felt that God was leading you elsewhere. I've even seen ministers claim that God was leading them into the corporate world. :/

 

Welcome and good luck!

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Can you hang around long enough to find another job? The way you describe them, it doesn't seem like the hounding is going to go away. I could even foresee you talking them into finding it acceptable to "go to another church", only for one of your friends to want to join you. Then your lie is just going to get bigger and bigger.

yeah Id definitely make a safety net and get out while you can. The sooner the better. what we fail to realize (i think) when we get in situations like this is that the sooner we do something about it, the sooner we can heal and move foward with our lives. I was listening to a psychologist the other day that said when she asks patients of any regrets in life, overwhelmingly the most common response was they wish they would have been true to themselves and not done so many things against their own will to appease others all their lives.

 

its not an easy road but you have a cyber support group here that can help and give you a listening ear (or eye). with the transgender part, I wouldnt know much about it but it has come up before here and people have spoken on the topic with experience.

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Manipulation by loved ones/true friends is still manipulation. If these people won't stand behind your decisions and trust your judgment concerning your own life, how worthy are they of your consideration?

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Tell them you want to EAT the sausage, NOT SEE HOW ITS MADE...so "the separation of work and faith is a must". It helps you be CLOSER TO GOD if you don't see all the politics of the church....

 

THEN>>> fast forward.... you have another job at another church.....

 

Fast forward some more....and you just "can't keep driving back to this really awesome church"...as much as you hate it...you have to find a church closer to your NEW (other) Church job and apartment, etc..

 

AND THEN STOP GOING TO CHURCH ALTOGETHER.

 

It will take time, but YOU MUST CUT THE UMBILICUS or they will have you for life.

 

Be brave. You sound young, but don't be naive. YOU DON'T OWE ANYONE ANY EXPLANATION FOR ANYTHING YOU DO> EVER> And don't you forget it.

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Simply tell them that you prayed about it and you feel sure that God is leading you to take up employment with another church. After all, who can argue with God? In all my years in various churches, whenever a pastor was going to leave the church to go to another one, that is always what he would say and it always seemed to work just fine for the departing pastor.

 

I hope it all works out well for you.

 

Sounds like a solution to me. "God has impressed upon me the need to ..........". Argument free.

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I'm still working here, and I have many friends/mentors/and people who REALLY care about me at the church. Not just the fake care, but actually love me to death.

 

When I told them I was planning on getting a job, in a higher up position, at a church somewhere else, everyone started arguing with me.

 

I'm having dinner with some of them within a few weeks to discuss why I want to go to a different church.

 

What would be some solid excuses to go find another church?

 

They still won't accept this. They say you should go to one church, and work at another.

 

I really don't want to completely destroy any relationships by leaving abruptly. I'm not sure what else to tell them. I feel like they're just trying to hold on to me because I'm a good resource to have(I have a lot of responsibilities), and, not to sound like I've got an ego but I'm one of the few people who make this church move forward...but I can't do it anymore.

 

 

There are some things in your post that raised "red flags" for me. You say that these people "love you to death" and yet when you tell them of your new plans they don't accept them, argue with you, and are planning to sit you down and have a big discussion with you about it? My husband and I served in churches for nearly 20 years so I totally know what you are dealing with. I'm sure that these people are sincere and genuinely care about you. But relationships can be very complicated in these situations. When you begin pulling away, people start to question your judgment and your loyalty. Suddenly it isn't just about the relationships and the "love" anymore, it becomes political. People question your ability to manage your own life and make your own decisions, especially when those decisions lead you away from the group. I would be very watchful of this.

 

If you can, take a few steps back from this whole thing and look at it objectively. If these people really love you, they will want what is best for you and what makes YOU happy....they will not interject their selfish interests (not wanting to lose your contribution to the church). You are a free person, you have no contract with these people or this church. You are free to move on and do whatever you want. There should be no judgment being put on you, no sit-down dinners or big confrontations. You don't have to put up with any of that. I think you can be loving, but be FIRM. Make your decision, communicate it in a very kind way, and then stick to it. If you seem wishy-washy at all, they will see that as you doubting what you should or shouldn't do. If they think you're doubting it they will only try harder to "help" and to talk you into staying.

 

I feel for you, these situations can be really difficult. You may come to realize who your real friends are in a short amount of time. But I can't emphasize enough for you to stick to your guns, be true to yourself, and choose what's best for YOU. It is obvious that you are not someone who would intentionally cause a big scene in the church. You obviously care about these people and want to do right by them. But remember - you are not responsible for how people react. If they choose to get upset, or think you're "out of god's will", or harming them in some way, that is not on you...that is simply their own religious programming.

 

I really hope everything goes well for you. Many of us here can relate to what you're going through. Stick around and let us know how things are going and if we can help!

 

2H

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Can't you just tell them that God has told you he wants you to go this new direction and that you can't go against His will? Then, just repeat, repeat, repeat until they get tired of hearing you.

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There are lots of good suggestions here for sneaking away from the control of others. The "God told me" thing should work, at least somewhat.

 

Personally, I wouldn't be so gentle with them. I'm always a half step away from telling people to just bugger off. The result is that the friends I now have are real friends I would trust with my life, my finances, and even my dog. Church people, no matter how nice they seem, are just not up to the responsibilities of true friendship, at least in my experience. They won't respect anyone's opinion or decision if it runs counter to what they deem to be best for the congregation/preacher/god/etc.

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I hate to tell you this, but you are very likely to find in the end that these people are not your friends.

 

2Honest and I went to the "best" church we ever found with what we believed were really loving people. We were beloved leaders when we left the church. Fast forward almost a year later...the ones that "loved" us the most won't speak to us, and pretty much every other member there won't have anything to do with us. These are people we gave everything to.

 

For xians, faith and friendship are one in the same. When you leave the faith, you leave the friends and the family. I don't think that way, but most of them certainly do. I know it's a bummer, but prepare yourself for that. Do whatever you think is best to maintain relationships, but just know that in the end, it almost certainly will not work.

 

Sorry if that's a downer :(, but it's the truth. What I'm saying is don't hold on for their account, because in the end they will most likely not do the same.

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Wait to get another job then give notice, it gives you an excuse to leave if you simply tell them you think you have better opportunities else where.

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Logan, welcome to Ex-C! I'm a baby unbeliever as well! =)

 

As far as advice, there is already lots of good advice here and I don't feel I can contribute anything else except to say that Overcame Faith's suggestion of telling them God is telling you to go elsewhere sounds like an awesome tactic. I would definitely throw that out there... And don't be unsure when you say it. Just tell them God wants you to go elsewhere... Be sure about it.

 

Again, welcome aboard Ex-C! =)

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Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't updated on this- nothing much has happened. Still waiting to have dinner with some of the churchies to give them a chance to voice their concerns. Not that it matters. Other than that, I've just been keeping my head down. I had someone beg me not to leave the other day via text message. That sucked.

To clear things up- I'm not actually going to work for another church. I'm just using that as an excuse to get out.

 

Maybe I'm just paranoid- but I feel like everyone who works at the church can see right through me. Like they can sniff out closet-atheists. Maybe privacy controls on facebook don't work as well as I thought.

 

Thank you all for the wonderful encouragement. I'll post another update if anything interesting happens.

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Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't updated on this- nothing much has happened. Still waiting to have dinner with some of the churchies to give them a chance to voice their concerns. Not that it matters. Other than that, I've just been keeping my head down. I had someone beg me not to leave the other day via text message. That sucked.

To clear things up- I'm not actually going to work for another church. I'm just using that as an excuse to get out.

 

Maybe I'm just paranoid- but I feel like everyone who works at the church can see right through me. Like they can sniff out closet-atheists. Maybe privacy controls on facebook don't work as well as I thought.

 

Thank you all for the wonderful encouragement. I'll post another update if anything interesting happens.

Just don't fall for the guilt tripping they'll put on you okay? When this guy literally begged me to join his gold calf (church), one of the things he said was that he'd be heartbroken if I didn't reconsider my not joining. But then, just a few weeks later, this same ahole accused me of never being 'saved' in the first place because I gently disagreed with him about his views on Catholics whom he was convinced were the devil's disciples. Another thing - that feeling you have about them seeing through you - while it's good to have your guard up because perceptions can be useful, you have to put up a shield of some kind to just ignore the looks, the stares, and everything else. Those are nice tricks the churchies use on everyone.
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  • 5 weeks later...

Update!:

I don't think I mentioned above that I work in Tech. Specifically sound, but I've been forced to do a lot of video/graphics/slides for the church.

I'm still currently working here.

Today I found out my boss(The Tech Director) is moving in two and a half weeks. He had informed the senior pastor and the rest of his staff before the interns. They've known for awhile and still haven't made any effort to replace him.

The plan is that I(20 yr old), along with another sound engineer(19 yrs), will both take up his responsibilities. I'd be doing 20 hours a week, with a better pay rate. My colleague would be doing 10 hours because he's already got a different part time job.

List of responsibilities:

Mixing Saterday, and Sunday.

Programing slides.

Upkeep of all 4 stages and sound systems.

Organizing volunteers.

Video production(not much but some)

Recording sunday services, and uploading to web.

Website maintenance.

Creating Graphics as needed.

Mix weddings

Mix funerals

 

This is bat shit crazy. There are definitely MORE responsibilities my boss has that I'm missing. The thing is, even with my 20 hours,and my colleagues 10 hours there's no way we can keep up with all of this. I'm stressing out before he's even left because I think everythings just going to fall apart. We've got two competent people on tech- being me and my friend. The rest are all early high school/late middle school students volunteering who don't really know what they're doing.

 

I'm also rather angry at the church leadership for NOT looking for a replacement yet. They've basically forced this responsibility on us. What are they thinking? What if we were to decline? The whole church would implode!

 

At this point I'm just ranting. I've already made up my mind on what I'm going to do.

When they formally ask me to take the position, I'll tell them very clearly that I will continue to make sure this church doesn't fall apart, but to keep in mind you've got two fucking kids all of a sudden running everything so shits not going to go smoothly and don't even expect it to.

I also will make it clear that I will NOT be a full replacement, and they need to start searching for a full time staff member. Once they hire someone, I'll help them get acclimated and then take my leave.

I'll let them know that I'm leaving the church between late spring and mid summer of 2013 so they will need to find someone to take over before then.

 

The only reasons I'm agreeing to taking the interim position is for the money- which will be a rather generous amount considering funerals/weddings go for about 50/hour plus the 20 hours, plus overtime because how the fuck is 30 hours between two people going to get all this shit done. Also, I need a good job reference. I'm not throwing away the last four years over this. I've worked my ass off I better get a reference to show for it.

and lastly, I don't want to be an ass. I know if I left things would implode. I'm one of two people who can mix on saterdays/sundays/weddings/funnerals. No one else knows how to program the slides. It's ridiculous. But I think it would be completely shitty to leave them with no one.

 

So that's what's been going on with me... Got any input Ex-C?

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I wouldn't tell them about your plans to leave next summer unless you have solid plans and are able to share them. I hope that this gig works out for you. It pays the bills, right?

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It does pay the bills. But I don't really have any bills- so I'm gone no matter what. I'd rather spend my time focusing on getting a job, even if I haven't gotten one yet, than continue to work where I've got dark skeletons.

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I really don't want to completely destroy any relationships by leaving abruptly. I'm not sure what else to tell them.

 

If worst comes to worst, I'll simply inform them that I've already made my desision, I've prayed on it alot, and feel this is the direction gods pointing me towards. .

Hi Logan! Welcome to Ex-C. Good on ya for figuring things out and moving on.

 

I like your attitude/plan here. Ruining relationships is not something we need to do, I don't think. Sounds like you're going about things the right way. Keep us posted!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome to Ex-C! I've definitely been in your position. In my case, I was trying to leave a church I'd been a musician at for years. I didn't tell the pastor I was an atheist, but basically said I was having some spiritual issues/needed to figure out what I believed and didn't feel right playing for them anymore.

 

I think you should stick to your plan. It probably hurts right now, but in the long run you'll feel happier.

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