Via Rhoda Fertich
Leaving your place of worship isn’t an easy decision, especially if it’s the place that made you love church again.
While growing up, my dad never advocated for us to go to church since he wasn’t a religious guy. My mother did try her best and she managed to take us to local Catholic Church.
But as I grew older, I stopped going to church and became just like my dad. I rarely prayed and we would just sit around and watch the baseball or basketball games during the weekends.
Since my parents weren’t strict about church attendance, I spent over a decade outside the church.
But while studying in Montclair State University, I met a beautiful young lady who introduced me to Liquid Church.
At first, it seemed like a great and welcoming church that accepted a new Christian. The pastor, Tim Lucas, prayed for me and I got saved within the first month of visiting the church.
My Initial Experiences
When I arrived at the church, I loved the atmosphere and being a hippie at heart, I enjoyed the concert-style worship music. Their casual program worked perfectly for me, since I was still young and trying to find my way.
There modern spin of the traditional religion I learned as a Catholic made life at Liquid Church fun.
Finally, I couldn’t feel sleepy in church and could even dance to their unique worship song. The fact that we donated to the homeless, hungry, and the poor made me even love the church even more. In fact, I volunteered over 20 hours per week and managed to change a few lives.
But after a while I realized that I needed more to grow as a Christian. I disagreed with some of their doctrines and the church’s structure. Therefore, I decided to leave the church and went to the Harvest Church.
Isaiah 43:18 says forget the past; don’t dwell on the past. Which I do agree, but personally, the guilt helps me grow and even ask for forgiveness from the ones I have wronged. Therefore, I need the guilt to soften my heart.
Why I Left
As I matured as a Christian, I realized that I needed more than the positivity and prosperity preaching. After all, there is another side to the gospel, and the Bible has shown us some of the struggles we have to go through to survive.
At times, it takes more than just the Sunday preaching for me to grow. So I felt like their weekday fellowship and teachings weren’t enough. There were times when I needed to talk directly to the preacher and even made prayer requests but I got no response.
This happened to most of my friends who I introduced to the church. Most of them never felt at home at the Liquid Church and maybe it was the welcoming ushers, but it felt different.
After 5 years in the church, I felt like a young Christian with no depth. The church advocates for building everyone up with the love and hope of God. Sure, 1 John 1:0 says “when we confess our sins, the Lord forgives and purifies us.
Plus, religion should never be about shaming the sinners with their guilt, but it’s not always about happiness. Growth means learning the other side of religion, because when struggling, you need someone to lift you up.
And when you sell positivity, it can get monotonous with time. This forced me to reconsider their doctrine and finally decide it was time to look for another place of worship. After all, prosperity preaching is not always God-centered and with time it can get old.
The Church’s Stance on the LBGTQ Community Is Unclear
Personally, I’m a traditional Christian who supports traditional marriage. So when I joined Liquid Church, I was sure they didn’t support the LBGTQ community. But with time, I realized their stance was unclear, which made it hard for me to support the church.
The church has over 8 branches in the U.S., but they don’t have female leaders. Sure, there are female pastors, but none at the top. The fact that they didn’t support 50%/50% (male/female) leadership made me even doubt their leadership when it came to racial discrimination.
Leadership is all about equality and we need women pastors at the help of the church to help push the religion.
Last, but not the least, getting a one-on-one talk with the pastors is almost impossible. This is common among mega churches, but most of them try and make it easier for new members to help with integration.