Brian, JC and Nathan,
I have been listening to the podcast since around the time of the interview with Phil Kidd. I think I discovered it through a post from him on social media. After listening to that interview I listened to the previous episodes and every episode since. They have been encouraging and greatly helped me.
I am still in an IFB church. It is a good church I believe, even though we still hold to some of the traditions of the IFB. I would say we are very much inline with guys like Dave Young but have some who lean very, for lack of a better term, “old pathsy”. Nevertheless the majority of our folks are good people who love God and want to live for him.
You guys have been a great encouragement and help for me.
I was saved when I was 18 in march 1996. That same year God called me to preach however, different circumstances caused me to leave church for a short time after but eventually I came back within the following year
I ended up getting married to the girl who got me going to church and we experienced problems early on and ended up going from the church we were in to the church her parents were at. Our marriage repaired and we began to grow some and began serving in the church and I was put in place over the teens. The church experienced growth and we moved to a new location around early 2000. During this period we became a melting pot of the different circles in the IFB. We had some men who were big Hyles Anderson guys. We had an evangelist we became close to who was from the camp meeting crowd (the Old Kentucky Camp Meeting in Shepardsville, KY) and then had an evangelist who was from Fairhaven join the church. This guy was uber legalist. We even had Greg Locke preach a meeting and also Ted Alexander. We were very much performance based. Preached God’s grace will save anyone but then you had to perform once they were saved.
When I think back on it we were like the IFB of all IFB churches. LOL. And you can probably see where this is going and why I was so messed up. Lol.
Anyway I became this mess of being very legalistic but conflicted because in my heart I knew it was wrong. My standards and convictions changed weekly it seemed, but, growing up basically without a dad I also had a need for the fatherly figures I had gained. I needed the friendship and belonging. Also at this time I believed that pastoring was the path God had for me. A friend who was a pastor wanted me to be his assistant with the intention of me taking over for him but I turned that down because of legalistic loyalty and what not.
In 2002-2003, at the height of our church’s growth (we were running about 200 to 250 in the middle of nowhere and had a bus program where we were picking up about 50-60 on Sunday and Wednesday) I ended up getting divorced because my wife just one day decided she didn’t love me, messed around with another man and left. Looking back I think it was easier to do that for her than continue on in the back and forth. During the divorce I dropped out because I believed I was now useless to God. This was for a period of about 2 to years. During this time I was completely away from God and living for self more than I ever had, because why not? God no longer loved me as much and I was useless.
Then in 2005 I met the lady that I am now married to. Sparing the details we end up getting married in 2006 and started to attend church some. We finally started getting faithful again around 2009 and have been in our current church since that time. The only downside is that all I have really known is IFB.
I believed in my heart of hearts that much of the IFB traditions were and are wrong and have really again began to question and search again. There has still been fear and you guys know how all that works.
I am little by little gaining courage to speak up and challenge these things. Also I believe that God still wants to use me to lead a church somewhere someday and I think that one day that my family and I may end up leaving the IFB to do so.
God has used you guys and the podcast to encourage, strengthen and embolden me to be who God has called me to be and do what he wants me to be.
I appreciate you guys and even though we don’t really know each other I consider you friends. Please pray for me and my family and i will be praying for you all as well.
Excited and looking forward to what God has in store for this MINISTRY!