Being from a small, country town, I was raised with the belief that church membership was like marriage...."only death can do us part." Especially when your grandaddy built the church with his own hands and your grandaddy in-love was the pastor for over 30 years. There's essentially no way out!
Many years ago, my husband was a young 'maverick' youth pastor at an old school baptist church. He didn't know any better, so he studied the scriptures, prayed, fasted, and believed God for everything. He even wore trench coats, Kangols, and tried to 'hoop' when he preached. I wore suits to church, had the children in their JC Penney outfits and sat in the front with the 'mother board.' And everything was fine. Until....
My eager beaver husband decided to take the kids to camp! Now this wasn't your average weekend youth camp where you sit and hold hands with your girlfriend most of the day, play guitar on the steps between sessions, cry on demand in the last meeting, then go home with goosebumps. This was a Christian urban sports camp! A camp designed to physically, emotionally, and spiritually challenge the most rebellious of kids and nonchalant of leaders. An 8 hour bus ride, 7 days of physical activity, intense bible study, and team building challenges was enough to change even the hardest of hearts.
That trip, my friends, became (as Rod Parsley would say) a pivotal inflection point in our ministry. Our youth group was so fired up about that trip that 20 years later, they still talk about it!! When we returned home, my dear sweet husband got the lesson of a lifetime...church politics. At that point we walked a fine line between the pristine, wrapped with a bow church ministry, and the grimy, in your face now deal with it, outreach ministry. We would soon have to choose.