First off, I'm thankful for this website and all its many different benefits... thank you Lord for prospering this vision!
Ok, right to it... I'm in a bit of a quandary right now. It's been a rather long complicated road to bring me to this point so I'll do my best to stick to the highlights and get to the point of what I'm seeking.
This all started with a decision from my 16 year old daughter asking her mom and me if she could start attending the adult bible classes with us. That occurred in January of this year and we talked about it, asked her of her reasoning and decided it best to make her wait until she was 17. She turned 17 in September. Upon turning 17, we had her do this:
1. Consult with her regular school teacher. The school is an extension of our church. Her school teacher told her she felt she was mature enough, both emotionally, spiritually and scripturally for the adult class.
2. Consult with the pastor and his wife. We met with the pastor and he agreed that she was mature enough to go ahead and be a part of the adult class. We agreed upon a date for her to do this (a couple of weeks later) and thought... that was easy... :).
In the event the question in your mind pops in, what about talking to her youth leader in transferring to the adult class? Well, he was the reason we decided it was okay for her to leave at 17 instead of waiting until 18… long story… too much drama… won’t go there. (Side note: her decision to leave the class would mean she would have to leave the youth group all together, which she was willing to do.)
Here's where my information gets shady as I wasn't privy to any direct conversations, so I won't even attempt to decipher the unknowns. The known is this, the day before the agreed upon date I was called to meet the pastor, who told me we couldn’t go through with the decision as it may cause a church split. Unfortunately, I still don’t understand just how that could happen, but believe you me, I certainly don’t want to be involved in such a thing.
So, we agreed to allow her to attend a “Transition Class”, lead by the pastor’s wife until a solution could be reached. The transition class lasted for five weeks. This past Saturday, I was asked to meet with the pastor and the solution was basically that they didn’t know how to resolve this and asked that we not attend the Sunday classes for the remainder of the year.
Side note: I don’t question my pastor’s heart towards me and my family. I believe he, himself, is truly torn apart over this, but simply doesn’t know what to do. Our family did stay home this Sunday from the classes and showed up to service as asked. (I’m over the media ministry and both my daughter and I are on the worship team). We do feel the Lord has called us to this particular body, but we just feel so wronged in this situation and are having a hard time finding peace in it.
I have sought some outside council from a couple of seasoned pastors who have both encouraged me to keep talking with my pastor and seek out another solution.
I guess what I’m looking for here is:
1.Your prayers – I need wisdom in how to handle this and control over my tongue and mind. This involves my daughter and now my entire family and I tend to to get protective of them, sometimes losing my sense of reasoning.
2.Any suggestions for creative solutions that I can give back to my pastor for consideration.
If you’re still reading… :)… I thank you and God bless you.

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Jim, after reading your post I'm afraid it leaves me baffled and confused too! I hate that your daughter
is caught in the middle of it, but my impression is that if this has potential to cause a church split,
there is more to it than meets the eye.
Yes, obviously there is more to this then meets the eye, but at this point I’d be assuming what that is. My wife and I have already come up with several “possibilities”, but it’s difficult when you don’t know the whole truth. We feel like we went through all the right steps and the pastor has assured me that we’ve done nothing wrong, yet here we are….grrrr… very frustrating. Lord, give us strength. Thank you for your reply and your prayers.
Am I missing something here? If there's something you can't tell us, that's fine, but there has to be more to this. Can you share anything else?
Stevo... that's the frustration... there is something missing, but we don't know EXACTLY what it is. My wife and I are both involved in leadership roles within the church and we've not been asked to relinquish those at all, nor been given any direction to change those. It is a smaller church with lots of family members, so we're suspecting there may be some issues coming from that, but again... at this point it's just speculation.
There is one point I can shine some light on without breaking any confidence. The pastor has openly admitted that he placed the youth leader in his position prematurely and that he's had a lot of complaints, but we're the first one's who've actually acted. The youth leader was hand selected from the assistant pastor, who is the pastor's son... so maybe we caused some offence there... who knows. I'd like to know, so I can rectify it - I truly have no issues with apologizing for hurting someone's feelings or offending them. So far, amazingly enough, this has not trickled into the congregation and we intend to keep it that way. With us only missing one Sunday morning... no questions thus far... although I'm not sure that'll be the case if we continue to miss. It would certainly be easier to explain we simply want our daughter in the adult classes with us then to explain that we were asked not to show up to Sunday school...:).
I'm struggling to find a handle! But I don't think you resolve things like this by avoiding the issue and asking someone NOT to attend a vital ministry like Sunday School. That solution alone makes me really really suspicious.

Wayne's advice might work, but I'm wondering if the offence is over the lack of her attendance such that an alternative wouldn't help. Jesus did give a pattern for us to resolve stuff - you know, go in private first, then to the elders, etc.

I also wonder if you're closer to a split than you think (and you are NOT the reason for it). If the issue is merely over your daughter leaving the class, then things are strangely fragile. Good thing you're keeping a good attitude.
Not sure if this is helpful, but often "necessity is the motion of invention". It seems that you are a worship leader and your daughter is involved as well. Something we've always wanted to do at our church is possibly start a Worship Ministry focused Sunday School, which could deal with issues that aren't always easily addressed at practices. Would you consider starting up or leading a Sunday School class like this? It could involve a book study on worship, discussions about theology of worship and other issues.

It's just a thought. It seems like there could be a split at your church over your daughter going to the adult or the youth Sunday School. The class could be open to both youths and adults involved or thinking about being involved with the worship ministry. The idea here is that if you create a totally different 3rd option, it may resolve some of the conflicts. Somebody doesn't have to be 'right' and somebody doesn't have to be 'wrong'. Maybe it turns out to be a win-win, your daughter doesn't have to go to youth Sunday School, and she gets something that more to her liking (assuming she has a heart for the worship ministry and learning about worship). Either way, it's a great training ground or incubator for raising up future worship leaders.

It's probably going to take a lot of work, but I have some materials and books that I've thought about using. If you're interested, ping me and I can send you a list of books. I'm sure others in this forum have their ideas as well.

I think Dave Hartwell used an appropriate quote of Paul in another thread:

18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18 NIV)

Sometimes it takes some creativity to keep the peace.
Thank you Paul. That's what I'm looking for. I'd prefer come up with a creative solution then point fingers. Even if the solution turns out that we have to stay at home for sunday school through January, what better way to spend it then teaching my daughter about worship? And yes... she definately has a heart for it. She's not only on the Praise and Worship team, she's also in the movement ministry (dance) and she teaches the 7-12 year olds how to use sign language to music. Can my chest get any bigger??? lol... Anything you can forward on,I'd certainly appreciate!

Blessings!
Hey Jim, this is a tough situation to be in, and I don't want to make it tougher. But, yes, you're being wronged. To be asked to stay away from Sunday school classes over something you didn't do? Being told you might cause a church split, but not told why? Pretty weird stuff...and it happens more than we like.

One thing I've learned over the years is that avoiding issues is not good for people and it's deadly for a church. When strange things like this begin to happen, somebody has got to step up to the plate and say, "Hold it, now; what's really the issue here? Shouldn't we be dealing with this?"

Some red flags that I see from what you've shared:
1) The associate pastor is the lead pastor's son. Sorry, but that's rarely a good thing in the long run.
2) The lead pastor knows there's a problem with the youth pastor, but he's not doing anything about it. Instead, he's punishing your daughter for his poor decision-making.
3) You're not being told the whole story. Very wrong. If it concerns you (and in fact seems to be centered around you) then you have a right to know - everything.

Stevo is right; you have a very good attitude about this, but don't let it go so far that it harms your daughter. There was a time when our 12-year-old son wanted to stay in the service instead of going down to youth class, because (in his words) "At least with the pastor's sermon, I'll learn something." We let him stay with us, and when the youth workers asked about it a few weeks later, we gentley related to them what he said. The result was amazing; they ramped up their program and won him back.

The others may be right; the church split may be closer than you think.
Hey Rick -
Thank you for your input and feedback... and you're right - avoiding issues is never any good on people. (I'm 41 and have been married for 20 years with the same woman... we know about issues... :).)

I've never been one to run away from a good fight, but I certainly want to make sure I stay in a right attitude while doing so. If a split is inevitable, the church is going to need so much prayer and my heart can't even bare the thought as I now type to you. Please pray for our family and our church as we seek the truth, no matter how ugly or hurtful it may be.
If the church is having issues with the youth program and youth pastor your daughter could be triggering a collapse of that ministry. We had that in our church. Once one left the youth program in favor of the adult program prior to the age guidelines, they set a precedent that all the other youth used to also leave the youth program. The result was the collapse of the youth program, the youth pastor leaving, and a new youth pastor being hired. The new youth leader was much better and the youth program is growing rapidly again. So for us it needed to happen, but maybe it could have been handled in a better way.
Thanks Pete. The pastor did reveal that come January, collapsing the youth program may be the solution.... therefore us leaving Sunday school till January.... I think... I know I have no control over the other ministers, their hearts or even at this point - their decisions. I do believe when mistakes are made, there needs to be a period of correction, but I also believe there's an end to correction and restoration should take place.
I know reality tells me that we're probably going to lose someone through this, but my prayers are that the Lord intervenes and shows a better way, so that we lose none.
I agree with Pete about this. I think your pastor is concerned about your daughter setting the precedent.

Life in the youth ministry isn't as simple as I used to think it was. I realized that only when I started really paying attention to youth and really listening to what they have to say...

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