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Greetings to all of you! Sorry if my english is not very good, it's not my native language. So I want to ask you guys to give some advices about my situation. I'm a musician, worship minister in a small pentecostal church (about 20-30 members). The other members of the group never considered themselves as a musicians and was doing their ministry only because there was no one else who was ready to do it. So when I became a minister, all technical stuff about how to make music not to sound like shit was layed on my shoulders because I was 
the only one in the whole church who knows how to do it right. 
 Not so long ago I was came out to my pastor and to other ministers about my non beliefs. After some discussions when they realized that I'm serious about my decision to leave the church they're have nothing left to say but to ask me not to leave my ministry until a replacement was found for me as a musician. Actually I can understand them, because the rest of the worship team still can't do good sounding music on their own without me as a director who can tell them about what they're doing wrong and how to do it right. Of course I was giving them some private lessons about music and stuff, but almost no one of them were actually practicing on their own without me so as a result there was almost no progress. 
So In the end, ministers told me that despite the fact that they understand my discomfort with being in the church, they believe that I will act immorally, leaving the group on it's own without musical leadership. And because we are actually a good friends I couldn't say no to them. 
So here I am on stage for 2 months after that conversation, singing songs about stuff that I'm absolutely in conflict with, playing music that I don't like, wasting my time on repetitions etc. And there's no reason to think that someone could take my place any time soon, because as I sad earlier there's almost no one in group who do care about a real progress of their musical skills. And for those few who care, in any case, it will take a lot of time that I will have to spend in the ministry before the moment they will be ready to replace me. It's kind of trap and it's hard for me to just stop giving a f*** and leave... 
Soon I'm going to talk about it with ministers again because I can't let it last longer anymore. So I'm asking you guys to give me some advice about what actually should I tell them, how to react if they again claim that I am immoral for leaving the team on it's own etc. I understand that they're just manipulating 
me, even if they think that they doing it for good. But I'm just so exhausted that I literally can't think clearly about that. Everytime when I think I'm ready to tell them that I am going to quit I feel this guilt and shame (even if I actually understand that it's irrational) for what would it be if I leave my worship team on their own. Maybe some of you already been in my situation, maybe you could share links to some videos or text testimonies of those who been. I would appreciate any help.. 

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Welcome, and there is no need to apologize for your English; it's quite good.   You said, "I understand that they're just manipulating " so that should be the end of it. You have already gon

You have received a lot of very good advice here and I agree with it.  I would add one thought that might help you finally cut your ties with that church.  Think of what you are doing for that church

Art: Read Myrkoos and Nontheistpilgrim's posts above again. And when you are done, read them again.   Here's your script: "Friends, I thank you all for the opportunity to serve as

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Welcome, and there is no need to apologize for your English; it's quite good.

 

You said, "I understand that they're just manipulating " so that should be the end of it. You have already gone beyond any obligation you may have had and their selfish manipulation just needs to be ignored. Not argued with, not explained, just ignored. Leave them. Go now. Don't look back at the leeches who would continue to drain you as long as you let them.

 

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Welcome

 

I'm not sure I can add anything more useful than what Florduh has said. You already recognise they are being emotionally manipulative. It's your life, you do what's best for you in this case.

 

As far as the immorality thing fuck them! You don't need to justify leaving the group because you no longer believe the bullshit they do. If one leaves a tennis club they don't start heaping emotive shit on the exiting player. What they are doing to you is immoral. Their bible is immoral, many of their teachings is immoral.

 

And if they start whining about not having music etc if you leave - ask why they don't believe that God will provide for their needs :D 

 

Good luck. Get out of there ASAP!

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I'm actually unsure why you have the question "I don't know what to do" when you clearly define both the problem, the guilt trip and your wish to leave.  You can see the problem and can see the solution, all that is left is to take the step you already know you want to take.

 

The only other way this could work is to look at it from a capitalist view.  You have marketable skills and they want those skills.  You could figure out an hourly rate and charge them for your time on a contract basis.  Probably a church that small wouldn't have the funding to afford your time, but if they could then you could turn it into a paying hobby.  You would of course have to put up with the material and people, which may be a big enough problem that its not worth the money.

$30 per hour times 10 hours a week would be ~$15k per year.

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Hi Art,

 

You've already been patient and generous in staying around as long as you have.  Time to be firm, and polite if possible.  You need to "cut them loose"  as we say in English.  And your English is just fine!

 

I hope you'll tell us more about yourself when you get a chance.

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Sounds like a lot of treble.  But, not to worry; after all, Every Good Boy Does Fine.

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I second all the responses so far. There is only one thing I can think of to add. You could point out that they're being hypocritical in asking a nonbeliever to serve in a ministry capacity. 

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Agree with all of the above. Art, you know what's required - now you just need to do it. And as you say, not give a fuck for their manipulation and what they might say about you after you leave. Believers will always say that - that non believers are immoral - it serves as a way to easily write non believers off and dismiss their criticisms of the church, and somehow "justify" their manipulative treatment/hypocrisy. 

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Thank all of you for your replies! I think my problem is in my self esteem and other psychological stuff. In my life before christianity I've always been unconfident guy who is often difficult to make a decision, who avoids conflicts because he is afraid that he does not have the courage to defend his opinion, in which he is often not completely sure because he often thinks that he is not so good as anybody else. It all got worse when I was diagnosed encephalopathy in my late teens and after that I was just started screwing myself even more and thought that I wouldn't be able to effectively study and learn anything and accordingly wouldn't be able to make a reliable opinion on anything. Well, fortunately I realized that it is just me screwing myself up and things are not that bad) 

Though I'm not so hesitant person today, it's still hard for me to not give a shit on the opinions of people (talking about ministers, not a worship team) whom I have long considered authority and who relied heavily on, literally. These people has done so many good things to me during last 5 years, always were there for me whatever happens and of course I'm considered them my good friends. Maybe this is why I still can't just stop giving a shit and leave the ministry already, deep inside I feel that I owe them for all good things they were doing for me. However, yes, it breaks my heart so much that they are so brainwashed by their religion that manipulation is good for them to keep things as they think is right and better for everyone. Just like these prayers when they ask their god to send misfortunes and illnesses in lifes of unbelievers so that those have a reason to turn to this god, "end justifies the means"... Anyway, just want to stay in a good relationship with all of them. Hope they would want it too. 

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Perhaps my position had some similarities to yours? I was the main keyboard player at a 'middle-of-the-road' church. I believe in 'community', people doing things together and having fun. I felt that I was enabling that for 50 odd people by providing decent music for them to sing. All the time I was a non-believer and I played for them with that being known and agreed upon. But increasingly I could not cope with the theology / christian teaching / words of the hymns. The day came when I could no longer play without physical pain and I had to give up. With great relief.

Trying to put myself in your shoes I would suggest you walk away. The idea that god will provide a replacement - I like that a lot!🤣

When all is said and done, the congregation could sing without live musicians, surely? We call it canned music. It's not ideal but it supplies the need. But it's not your concern, it's up to them to work out their own difficulties.

Leave them, take control of your own life, and do it without any sense of guilt.

I wish you the very best.

By the way, I was a fully committed Christian minister for many years up to the time I retired when I saw the light.

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1 hour ago, Art said:

These people has done so many good things to me during last 5 years, always were there for me whatever happens and of course I'm considered them my good friends. Maybe this is why I still can't just stop giving a shit and leave the ministry already, deep inside I feel that I owe them for all good things they were doing for me.

 

It's good that they helped you out. You could still be ready and willing to help them if they ever need anything on a personal level, without being involved with the church. I helped someone from my old church move last year even though I haven't been to a church service in quite a few years.

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2 hours ago, Art said:

Anyway, just want to stay in a good relationship with all of them. Hope they would want it too. 

I think most of us who left the church would have liked to remain friends, but sadly that usually does not happen. Certainly, don't make that your goal; your goal is to get away from the situation first and foremost. Possibly one or two of those former "brothers in Christ" will not abandon you now that you no longer share their delusion.

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Thanks again to all of you! So nice to finally find community where I can share all that stuff and not be afraid of some biased attitude or at least afraid of it less than anywhere else.. I'm in the beginning of this journey, it's something like existential crisis right now, when it's hard to realize that I actually don't have a good reason to think that there's some all mighty person always by my side, not a good reason to think that objective morality exists and all this kind of questions that ruined templates of your worldview. Sometimes it is even hard to think that there can be any more or less objective truth at all and everybody just see what they are want to see, like religious people do and no one is right more than anybody. Of course I'm trying as hard as I can to rely on my mind and not to emotions but.. Well, I guess it's just needs more time. I'm happy that I can write anything about my struggles here and get a reply from those who already more or less was in my shoes.

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And one more question: where's that damn "like" button for me to click under your replies? I see only the "quote", "share" but that's all :D

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9 minutes ago, Art said:

And one more question: where's that damn "like" button for me to click under your replies? I see only the "quote", "share" but that's all :D

You have to post a few times before the option unlocks

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3 minutes ago, Wertbag said:

You have to post a few times before the option unlocks

Got it. Thanks! 

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13 hours ago, Art said:

Greetings to all of you! Sorry if my english is not very good, it's not my native language. So I want to ask you guys to give some advices about my situation. I'm a musician, worship minister in a small pentecostal church (about 20-30 members). The other members of the group never considered themselves as a musicians and was doing their ministry only because there was no one else who was ready to do it. So when I became a minister, all technical stuff about how to make music not to sound like shit was layed on my shoulders because I was 
the only one in the whole church who knows how to do it right. 
 Not so long ago I was came out to my pastor and to other ministers about my non beliefs. After some discussions when they realized that I'm serious about my decision to leave the church they're have nothing left to say but to ask me not to leave my ministry until a replacement was found for me as a musician. Actually I can understand them, because the rest of the worship team still can't do good sounding music on their own without me as a director who can tell them about what they're doing wrong and how to do it right. Of course I was giving them some private lessons about music and stuff, but almost no one of them were actually practicing on their own without me so as a result there was almost no progress. 
So In the end, ministers told me that despite the fact that they understand my discomfort with being in the church, they believe that I will act immorally, leaving the group on it's own without musical leadership. And because we are actually a good friends I couldn't say no to them. 
So here I am on stage for 2 months after that conversation, singing songs about stuff that I'm absolutely in conflict with, playing music that I don't like, wasting my time on repetitions etc. And there's no reason to think that someone could take my place any time soon, because as I sad earlier there's almost no one in group who do care about a real progress of their musical skills. And for those few who care, in any case, it will take a lot of time that I will have to spend in the ministry before the moment they will be ready to replace me. It's kind of trap and it's hard for me to just stop giving a f*** and leave... 
Soon I'm going to talk about it with ministers again because I can't let it last longer anymore. So I'm asking you guys to give me some advice about what actually should I tell them, how to react if they again claim that I am immoral for leaving the team on it's own etc. I understand that they're just manipulating 
me, even if they think that they doing it for good. But I'm just so exhausted that I literally can't think clearly about that. Everytime when I think I'm ready to tell them that I am going to quit I feel this guilt and shame (even if I actually understand that it's irrational) for what would it be if I leave my worship team on their own. Maybe some of you already been in my situation, maybe you could share links to some videos or text testimonies of those who been. I would appreciate any help.. 

 

Obviously you shouldn’t stay if you feel you’re wasting your time. My old church had paid musicians. Maybe you could offer your skills for hire and that would encourage them to hire a replacement soon while making it worth your time financially. Personally, I couldn’t stand being in church after my deconversion. It’s hard to hear all the BS without getting upset, so if it was me I’d just leave and wish them the best. You don’t owe them anything at this point. 

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Ok, you are being asked to help sustain and propagate what you think is a lie. 

 

Let me put the situation in a different perspective. Al qaeda, the terrorist organisation,  needs a musician to play their "bomb america" songs and because you had a very good friend who is now their captain they ask you to play. Would you do it? Probably not.

 

Another question. Would any of your church community accept to hindu chants praising krishna just because some friendly neighbours asked them to for a birthday party ? Probably not.

 

So the answer is clear. They are asking you to betray your conscience. THAT is immoral. And they are asking you to do things that they would not do so there is no reciprocation. They should feel guilt and shame not you. Plus they did not care enough about their God to learn music for him so consider your leaving as just punishment for their lack of devotion. :)

 

The problem of morality could be put if, for example, you left religion and then decided to abandon your little children who still believe it and who are dependent on your for food and shelter. But your community is not any danger of basic survival needs being unkept if you leave.

 

And by the way, pentecostalism seems to me of the more manipulative / emotionally draining of all christian branches. Even mainstream christians think they are out there. ;)

 

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Hey, Art...you need to do what's best for YOU, my friend...don't keep trying to please the people in the church. Constantly doing stuff for other people (especially if they're unappreciative) at the expense of your own happiness isn't worth the aggravation. I suggest that you get out now. Good luck. :)

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It could be that when you leave the congregation you discover something that many ex-christians in the western world have discovered....you never hear another word from your christian friends; no enquiries about your welfare, no moves to get you back, just silence. It's sad, but it happens frequently and more so, I suspect, amongst fundamentalist christians. It may even help you to confirm to yourself that you did the right thing.

All the best on your journey.

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Art:

Read Myrkoos and Nontheistpilgrim's posts above again. And when you are done, read them again.

 

Here's your script:

"Friends, I thank you all for the opportunity to serve as a worship minister here. I've enjoyed making music with you during the last five years, and I want to thank you for all the love and help you have given me during that time. It is time for me now to move on to another phase of life, so Sunday the 26th will be the last Sunday I'll be able to worship with you. So I thank you again and I wish you all the best in the future."

 

If they badger you, just repeat the above. You do NOT owe them an explanation. "Thanks for your concern, but I have decided to move on to another phase of life." Period. And don't show up after the 26th. As Nontheist writes, after you have left, you'll never hear from them again.

 

(My wife, although not in a leadership position, recently left her church (yay!). She had many "friends" there. Guess how many called to see what happened to her? Zero.)

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Off-topic: I feel so sad and still do not understand how Christians, who put so much store on relationships, do not practice what they preach. I just don't get it. But it's true. Sadly.

Perhaps I will come back on my own experience which is a bit different. But I am in my eighties and with a fairly tolerant personality.

Back to you all.

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I think these people are demonstrating how little faith they actually have.  They are coercing you to stay on, while also exploiting your talents, when they really should be trusting that god will provide, with or without you.  In the end, it's god who wants to be worshipped; isn't it his responsibility, not yours, to provide the means and wherewithal for that worship?  And, if your ministers really believed that god is all he's cracked up to be, they'd have graciously let you go a long time ago in order to give god the space to work mightily in their presence.  The fact that they have to manipulate you into staying demonstrates that, deep down inside, even they suspect that god is bullshit.  They ain't never going to admit it, though; so you'd best just go on about your business.

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7 hours ago, older said:

Here's your script:

"Friends, I thank you all for the opportunity to serve as a worship minister here. I've enjoyed making music with you during the last five years, and I want to thank you for all the love and help you have given me during that time. It is time for me now to move on to another phase of life, so Sunday the 26th will be the last Sunday I'll be able to worship with you. So I thank you again and I wish you all the best in the future."

 

If they badger you, just repeat the above. You do NOT owe them an explanation. "Thanks for your concern, but I have decided to move on to another phase of life." Period. And don't show up after the 26th. As Nontheist writes, after you have left, you'll never hear from them again.

Thanks for so detailed example! I also forgot to mention that I'm living in a small town where it's hard to find a good job. Now I have been working in the construction team for two years, where these same ministers invited me when I had problems finding a job. So I will see them anyway at work :D

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1 hour ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I think these people are demonstrating how little faith they actually have.  They are coercing you to stay on, while also exploiting your talents, when they really should be trusting that god will provide, with or without you.  In the end, it's god who wants to be worshipped; isn't it his responsibility, not yours, to provide the means and wherewithal for that worship?  And, if your ministers really believed that god is all he's cracked up to be, they'd have graciously let you go a long time ago in order to give god the space to work mightily in their presence.  The fact that they have to manipulate you into staying demonstrates that, deep down inside, even they suspect that god is bullshit.  They ain't never going to admit it, though; so you'd best just go on about your business.

Thanks for your opinion! Though I actually don't think that they are that bad. Last time I was talking with one of the ministers that I always were closer to, he told me that they just care about me, about what my life will be without Christ and how far would I go without guidance of a christian god, and they know about my existential crisis what I mentioned few posts above and it's making them care even more. I'm not trying to make excuses for them, but I think that they really cares about me, but their religious views just giving them worst possible pictures of what will happen to my life without their god. And it's just sad.. About them, not me. I don't really actually care about god's guidance thing. Though I really am in a unstable position right now and don't know how to live my life best outside of my old religious worldview. 

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