Leaving the Church: Friends, Fun, Finances

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Leaving the Church: Friends, Fun, Finances

"Friends Fun Finances" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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FRIENDS, FUN, FINANCES Lisa and I call these the 3 F's. When Lisa and I left the ministry and, as it ends up, the church in 2010, we came to the conclusion that we had some work to do on our personal lives. The reason? We felt we’d been living under a heavy wet blanket for a long time, just being Christians who were a part of a fairly conservative strand of Christianity, the Vineyard Movement. But, we had also experienced the feeling of living in a fishbowl, which obviously goes with being in the ministry. When we left, we were free! But how were we going to live free practically? We call them the three Fs: friends, finances, and fun. 1. Friends: When we were in the church, it provided our friends. When we left, our friendships mostly ended. It’s been really hard and intentional work, but now after eight years we have friends we can call on to get together with or who call us to hang out. These friendships were earned, not awarded, and they feel a lot richer. 2. Finances: Most pastors struggle financially. We were among them. Many Christians struggle with money. In fact, when I quit, we had filed for personal bankruptcy. I knew when I left the ministry I had a huge learning curve ahead of me of overcoming my limiting beliefs about business and success, as well as my negative attitudes about money. I think I’ve officially graduated from that course now. It was a tough one. 3. Fun: The church used to be our center of activity. Every event had a purpose, an intention, a vision, a goal, a meaning. Now, we’re learning how to just enjoy ourselves just have fun without there needing to be a mission, without it needing to be a witness, or needing to be fruitful, or needing to be godly. We just have fun for fun’s sake. Completely selfish. Our goal is to be happy. And… is it ever fun! I must tell you though: this took me years to accomplish, and that's with continued therapy and coaching. How about you? Are you working on building healthy friendships, finances, and fun? If you would like to talk with me, check out my coaching. First call free!

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