Dear @BenIAm (Benjamin),
I am deeply saddened to hear of your experience in a place you called “home” and deeply loved. I do believe we can and should expect those who claim to be Christ followers to behave and live in ways that exemplify the Savior - at the very least this means acknowledging when we get it wrong, asking if we feel we may have offended another person, and working towards compromise and congruence for the sake of the church body and the kingdom. Sadly, we know it doesn’t look this way, and you know this from first-hand experience.
It sounds as if you are reconciled to the fact that your own actions were not the cause of the split, so that is not the issue. If I am hearing you correctly, your concern is one of fear of rejection and of experiencing the same dynamics over again. The truth is you won’t ever know unless you give it a try again, but you can go slowly. I recommend you work with a Christian counselor who can help you build skills which will equip you and help you to be stronger should the “worst” scenario occur again. You can also attend a church for a long time - really getting to know people and finding ways to serve that build towards leadership positions - you don’t have to be in a leadership position to be contributing to the body of Christ - you simply need to keep making yourself available to serve in whatever capacity the church needs and in alignment with your gifts.
Let me tell you a story from my own life that might be helpful to you. I have always been desperately afraid of getting lost - it is just one of my fears - and like you, at times it paralyzed me. Several years ago, I was in a situation in which I was going to have to ride the bus in a major metropolitan city in order to get to jury duty. Of course, I was terrified - what if I got lost? Got stuck on the bus and missed my stop? What if people on the bus were mean to me or wouldn’t help me find my way? All of those thoughts went through my mind, but I had no choice but to take the bus to jury duty. Getting on that bus, all of my fears were in full force - in other words, I didn’t feel confident first. But, you know what? After I rode the bus, I wasn’t scared anymore. I took a small step and then I became an avid bus rider!
Now my example is a simple one, and not at all on the same magnitude as your story, but I believe the principle for healing fears is the same in your situation. You will have all the feelings of fear you currently have when you first walk through that door. But, if you keep going, keep searching till you find the best fit for you, you’ll soon find your fears will dissipate. I know for sure they will not go away by avoiding them, even though you need time to heal after you’ve been really wounded. So, it is ok that you’ve taken a break, and now it sounds as if you ready to get started again. Take small steps, Benjamin, and I believe you’ll find a new church home in which you can grow and serve.
I hope this might be helpful to you and encouraging.
Margaret Manning Shull