Hello Mrs. Manning,
I have a question about dealing with wounds from the past. About 9 years ago, The Lord very specifically and deliberately lead me back to my very small, ingrown home church where I grew up. He opened doors for me to immediately become involved in leadership there. I began assisting with worship service, resumed Sunday evening services, implemented a Friday night prayer and fast meeting followed by a fellowship and fast breaking meal on Saturday. For a time things seemed to begin to improve and a hope for the future of that small dying church began to emerge. However, the assistant pastor decided to attempt to remove me from involvement there over what amounted to nonsense accusations. When the senior pastor declined to acquiesce to his demands he resigned his position, withdrew his family from the church and swayed all the remaining church attendees to stop going to church there. To make matters worse, the assistant pastor is a family member of mine. I felt responsible in some way, that I had said or done something to cause this kind of a reaction from him. Not only that, but I felt I had broken the church that I was trying to help. I lost all confidence in myself an my efforts as a leader there. Eventually I stopped attending, completely dejected. I have since come to realize that the vast majority of what happened wasn’t my fault. There were dynamics going on that had been in play since before I had returned, and I was more or less an unwitting player in a conflict that had nothing to do with me personally. I was just an excuse for parties to take action. However, that church now exists only as an empty unused building with the “pastor” holding services in his living room for one old woman who drops by from time to time. I haven’t had a church home since then and I desperately miss having one. However, every time I think about trying to integrate into a new body, I am paralyzed by the memories of how bad things went at my old church. I have seen how horribly malicious church attendees can be, and am legitimately afraid of being that exposed to people who could turn on me without warning for reasons I can’t fathom. How do I get past this and move forward with my fellowship with other believers?