Our Unbelievable Story
My wife and I met in the church that we would ultimately leave. Neither of us grew up in the church but moved there the same year while we were both adults. She was led to the church from mutual friends who provided her a place to live after she escaped an abusive family. The abuse was physical, emotional, verbal, and spiritual. I moved to the church from another part of the country. I was a Bible college graduate. The Vice President of the college I attended was called as Senior Pastor at another church and I followed him to the new church to serve.
I became the music and choir director, Sunday School teacher, lead soul-winning programs, lawn crew, provided rides for church, and anything the Pastor needed. I worked a full time job and was never paid by the church. My wife served as a Sunday school teacher, bus worker, pianist, choir member, and assisted me with multiple other things at the church. This was BEFORE marriage. After engagement and marriage we worked in the nursing home and ran a group home for those with special needs in addition to the above listed items. Needless to say we were heavily involved in our church. We gave of our life and credit to this church.
There was a lot of joy but there were also issues. One issue that I think factored into the future problems we experienced is that the pastor’s wife wanted my wife to marry one of her boys instead of me. She told me this multiple times, including the week we got married. She also wanted my wife, before we got married to move into her house and take care of her kids, who had special needs. My wife refused both and I believe this factored into what we experienced in the future. Many people would warn you in telling the Pastor’s wife no and that she would make your life a living hell. This wasn’t bitter people either, but deacons, deacon’s wives and her own children. I saw this personally. Needless to say that she had a horrible testimony in our church and other churches in the area.
Many times I would have to defend my wife against baseless accusations. My wife would be yelled at and sent nasty texts multiple times a month, only to be retracted when someone stood up and said something or declared truth.
Things really went downhill the year before we left. We struggled to conceive our first child and when we got pregnant my wife posted her journey online. We were brought in the pastor’s office and told it was weird and that ladies in the church were offended. The pastor would not tell us who was offended but that we needed to remove it. It was a massive form of contention but we decided to block the ladies in the church from the post out of respect for their supposed offense. My wife wasn’t going to stop being a light, because “someone” was offended when we didn’t know who. Most likely it was just the Pastors family. I was very close to him and his family and multiple people in his family had told me they didn’t like my girlfriend and then wife and over time I separated from them.
More problems started to develop as my wife was slowly being removed from ministry. She was removed from being a Sunday school teacher. When I asked the Pastor, he said that several teachers lost their classes as they combined classes. Which was true, but this time both teachers who had their classes combined lost their position. This happened to no other combination. I could have believed this was not on purpose but I found out that the new teacher was told by the pastor’s wife, “I’m so glad you’re teaching and these girls now have a GOOD teacher.” Stressing the GOOD. This was her MO as well. She would act innocent while trying to knock someone else.
A month after this, my wife was pulled from watching and serving in the infant nursery. We were given no reasoning behind this. Later multiple sources, including members of the Pastor’s family and deacons, told us that this happened because the pastor’s wife didn’t want my wife holding her grandchild, who was just born. They denied this multiple times, but reliable members who were very loyal to the pastor, confirmed this.
Over the past several months multiple small issues happened, but everything came to a boil after my first child was born. He suffered from bad reflux and stopped breathing often. Because of this my wife kept him out of the nursery and with us in class and in the auditorium for the first couple weeks. After a few weeks my pastor told me my son had to go to the nursery. It wasn’t a coincidence that this happened the same day his wife started getting mad at my wife for bringing my 4 week old son into her class. He caused no issues, but it didn’t matter.
It was at that point we started considering leaving that church. I met with my pastor and it was immediately told that we don’t want to follow the rules. What happened after that was even crazier.
I received texts from the pastors family calling us out. More specifically calling me out for no longer being faithful or following. I was told it was because I got married. Even though, I actually took on more ministries after marriage, but they “forgot” that. They also said that they loved me but didn’t love my wife. “My heart hurts for you, not your wife”. Also at this point, my wife had been called a whore, slut, and other derogatory names over these couple years, all while she sacrificed so many things for this ministry to “prove” her devotion to God, to them, even her health was sacrificed.
My pastor and I went back and forth concerning us leaving for several days. I was told many things about me not being faithful. That I changed. That I need to just follow without question. I asked for meetings to allow for us to work through these “misunderstandings” and be on the same page, but I was told I needed to be on his page. It ultimately accumulated into me stating that we will stay but my wife needs to be allowed to serve. Additionally, we would also put our son in the nursery, but my wife would need to be able to leave to nurse him.
Even then the pastor denied those requests. My wife MUST remain in the auditorium and classes at all times. If my son had issues then hire someone to watch him at home. If he needs to eat then bottle feed him. I asked for grace and he said no. He even went as far to say that no mother had ever had a single problem with these requests in “all his years of ministry”. “NOT A SINGLE ONE”. No one missed a ministry to nurse their kid. When they were told to bottle feed they did it. This was my breaking point. I knew these statements were NOT true. I was a ministry leader. I specifically had a mother who was the church secretary and whose husband was head deacon, miss choir and choir practices while I was the director. I also knew she wasn’t teaching her Sunday school class to nurse her child. Her and her husband worked with the teens so he taught all the teens. I knew she missed Sunday school because she used my office to nurse her child. The pastor knew this, because I told him after he questioned me if I knew where she was and why she was missing. These conversations with my pastor about her specifically missing Sunday School, choir, and the reasons why happened several times. Finally, he told me he was “working” with the family on this. This went on for several months before she started back on her ministries. This was two years prior to us having our child. Yet, he lied and said that “NOT A SINGLE” lady refused to do what he asked them and what he was asking us. I brought this family up to him and their past and he said he didn’t know this. He lied to me. He lied to my family and we left that week.
I also want to mention that the pastor called me out during our texts telling me that I changed and he hadn’t changed, and I was in the one in the wrong for not obeying. Later, we found out that during this same week while he was accusing us of various “sins”, he was closing on a house in a different city preparing to resign and move away. Even we didn’t know this for a few months, but again affirmed my decision that he lied and was manipulating me.
After we left, we lost most of our friends. Our names were dragged though the mud. Random lies were thrown out to members so as to cover up the truth of what the pastor had asked from us. I could have brought the pastor before the congregation and would have had support from deacons, but we knew it probably would not go anywhere and would cause more harm. We left quietly to cause no harm.
While it was hard, God worked through it all and gave us a great church. He’s restoring our passion for Him! He is blessing us in indescribable ways. Me and my wife have grown in leaps and bounds.
We still have hurt from our past, but God is faithful, and given us new hope!
We were faithful loyal servants and we were kicked out of the church for breastfeeding our son. Sent on a path of deliverance, in the most bizarre circumstances.