Friday, October 10, 2008

Church Woes

I'll try to keep this brief so everyone doesn't die of boredom and go to another blog.

We started attending our church when we moved to the panhandle in 2004. It has three services/SS hours. We went to service the first hour, SS the second hour and three of us volunteered the 3rd hour. So we'd leave home at 7:30 a.m. and get back about 1:00 p.m. I worked with babies, Ty with 3-year-olds and Jessica in a children's worship service and then promoted to security.

Ty's baptism at our church.

Everthing was fine until last fall. Every one would tell me what a joy the kids were, how responsible Jessica was and how Ty would get right down and play with the kids on the floor.

Last fall, since I was actually in nursery Sun a.m., p.m. and Wed p.m. by now as a volunteer, I hired on as paid staff for about 10 hours a week. G. was in charge of my floor. She is a wonderful person and she and Jasmine have a close bond. She even created a talent show so Jasmine could sing for others.

Then G. moved up to older children and C. took over preschool, which includes babies. N. became G's assistant and J. became C's assistant. Sounds like an algebra problem, huh? It began to feel that way too!

Shortly after I started as paid employee, C. comes to me and says that Ty is getting the boys too wound up, someone is going to get hurt and he cant' work there. I guess N. is the one who complained. I make several suggestions of other things he can do which she responds to with no.

I say, "So you are saying there is nowhere in our church for my son to minister?"

She says, "Don't take it like that."

I ask her to restate it then so that I can understand what she is say, which is "There is no place for him to minister in our church."

And I get to tell him. Remember that he has aspergers and also that working with the 3's is really what gets him up and going Sunday mornings.

She tells me, of course, to pray about things. What's to pray about? He thought he was doing a great job and unlike most of the older workers, he actually gets on the floor and plays. Some of the older women said they loved having him in there because of his energy. So I guess it's how you look at it--energy or hyper and going to hurt someone.

Our church directory picture.

I decide it's time for all of us to step down from volunteer work for now. G. & her aren't happy to lose Jessica and I but she's the one that told me to pray about it.
We now get home at 11 instead of 1. (I get home earlier because I dropped out of SS last month). But I still do my paid job Sun p.m., MOPs, MMO and Wed p.m.

I keep the paid position only because I just started working there and it was still fun. But as C. implemented more and more policies, some -- well, most-- of the joy was sucked out of the job.

So, a little more than a year passes. Ty is 18 now which means he can be in the younger nurseries. One night I"m short a person and the teen Bible study had been canceled so I ask if he can work in my room with me.

She says "What if he is dangerous and badly injures someone." Oh give me a break. We've gone from him being hyper to being dangerous and capable of badly injuring someone. Honestly. How many of you with special needs kids (who may lack a little judgement) think your child is dangerous? I said I needed to run him home then and she agreed he could stay, but right with me and only this once.

Well, he did great. And I think she knows it because she was down there every minute peeking around the corner. He sat on the floor and rolled a ball with my 1's/2's. And he feed them cheerios one at a time.

Last Sunday I had three kids crying and a child who was taking advantage of it by hitting others. Ty came to tell me that his Bible study was canceled again. I told him to come in and distract the mean child. So he tossed a ball with the kid.

Another lady went and told C. that he was in there and C. came marching down and told him to get out. So I was back to three crying children and a meanie--which meant more crying children because they were being hit.

I knew that G. really loves Jasmine and I thought she could help. I sent her this e-mail.

Since Tyler was relieved of his children's church ministry, he has felt very unconnected with church. He says he has no feelings for our church and would prefer not to go. I still require him to go Sun a.m. and p.m. After he graduates in May I told him he stil has to attend at least the a.m. service. He says he'd rather find another church. We had talked about that when the incident first happened but Jasmine and Jessica were upset at the thought.

Last night Ty came up to tell me that there was no teen group. I asked him to come in for a minute to help with Rb. because I was holding a crying child and so was R.

Ty helped A. and I one night in our classroom and he was totally appropriate and also working side by side with me.

C. came by and told him to leave. He says he does not want to attend our church any longer.

So I am left in a tough spot. We can:
1. Look for a church where Ty's help is wanted and upset Jessica and Jasmine.
2. Force Ty to come to a church were he feels no connection anymore and has been hurt.
3. Allow Ty to attend a different church from the rest of us.
4. Allow Jessica and Jasmine to attend there while the rest of us attend elsewhere.
5. Force Ty to come and when he goes to college he will probably drop out totally.

I am uncertain of what to do. Rick and I wonder if it would be best if I step down from my job for a while until we can sort through feelings or if we should all step a way from the church for a while and then see how the kids feel about going back.

I got a message back that she is praying for us but can't help. I finally decide to step down from my job. No one even cared. Sad.

So, Ty and I are going to start visiting other churches starting Sun a.m. Rick is indifferent on staying or leaving, the girls don't want to leave. We probably will though just because of the feelings Rick, Ty and I have about the situation with Tyler.

And also, the church is a bit rich for us and is now building a new $24 million sanctuary. Any idea how many homes you could build in Haiti for that? The funny thing is, we are near the homeless shelter and about twelve people from there come each Sunday. But they always sit up in the balcony. So do we. Must be the poverty section : ) No one really acts snooty but you can tell everyone has money. One day in SS they were giving announcements and it was like, "We need $20 from each person here for the M. school project to get each child a headset, we $12 a person for the pizza party and goody bags for them. Oh, and our Christmas party is the 20th and it's $30 a couple and let's not forget to give generously for a present for our SS teacher." Really, it was almost $100 dollars by time the announcements were done.

On the plus side, our church has mission trips for the teens and Jessica got a full scholarship to World Changers two summers ago and Adam got a scholarship to music camp. They have a lot of stuff for the teens and kids.

We have been used to changing churches every 3-4 years because Rick was military but I really thought my kids would grow up in this church and that the twins would be dediated in this church.

Hard choices ahead. Anyone else been through this?


nichole said...

Oh Kathy, I feel your pain, yes I have been through it and it aint pretty! I will be praying for you and your family!

kayder1996 said...

That sounds like not very much fun. And we wonder why people choose to avoid church? Hmmmm.... I have a hard time watching people get worked up enough about things that are not live or die issues. A teenage boy working in the nursery is not a live or die issue. I find it hard to imagine Jesus telling him not to serve. Maybe mentoring him if there were concerns but not giving him the boot. In some ways, it sounds like the person who was most upset found out he has Aspergers and doesn't really understand what that means. (Like his disorder is going to cause him to be unpredictable to the point of danger or violence, which is not Aspergers at all.) It also sounds like this is a pretty big church which makes a difference in how you can handle it. Our church runs 200 members + so if something like that happened most people would know or would want to know why so and so wasn't in the nursery anymore. Would talking to the teen/youth director help?

A Momma in Waiting... said...

Kathy, Have you talked to these people directly about how you feel? And to your Pastor? You and your Pastor should take this whole situation to the A B C D club (the other people). That's how Matthew 18 tells us to solve conflict...if the Pastor doesn't help, or refuses to help, and this situation just can't be resolved, shake the dust from your feet and move on. I wouldn't want my family to be part of a "ministry" where the Pastor is unapproachable.

Once you've done all you can to resolve the issue there really isn't anything else to do but forgive them...and move on.

God set your Pastor in this body of Christ. He is responsible to God for all involved. Don't walk away from this church until you have at least tried. Then if you feel God moving you it.


PreSchoolMama said...

I have been through this once and starting to face it again. My dad was the Pastor and I didn't agree with some of the leadership at our church so we left it was very hard to leave our family but it was what was best for our kids. Now we have been at our church for five years and it too is very large and rich. We are in the process of building campaigns and I sometimes feel like we are losing focus. I am so sorry to hear about your son people can be so cruel sometimes, they should be glad that he was willing to help, my nephew has aspergers and dose great with younger children he struggles with children his own age but is always loving and caring towards the little ones. Have you talked to the Pastor? I can't tell you what to do but you're in my prayers.

Salzwedel Family said...

I'm so sorry you are going through this. The pain of our church changing situation is still very fresh for us.

I do believe you need to talk to the pastor, however. It's tough...God will give you the right answer.