Hello, I don't really know what I'm looking for here, just posting an experience. I was recently turned down for a worship leader position because of my past prior to my christian conversion. The pastor wanted to move forward with me, but the elders of the church did not. The worship leader position in this church falls under the Elder qualifications according to their consititution....they focus on the "husband of one wife" as not polygamy, but not being divorced. I was married once before my christian conversion. She did divorce me and remarry. I am now a christian and married to a wonderful christian woman and God has called me into music ministry. I have been leading part time in my current church but was really excited about getting into it full time as I'm going back to school this fall for Worship Arts.
Do you think this is something I will run into quite often? Do most churches view "husband of one wife" as not being divorced vs polygamy? Shoot, the previous worship leader wasn't even married....that doesn't make him the husband of any wives.
Again, not sure why I posted, guess I thought it would be an interesting topic.
I think the "husband of one wife" requirement almost always is used to refer to divorce. (Although I suppose the polygamy point is valid)
However, most churches I know will not hold against one a marriage/divorce that took place before being born again. If we are, in fact, "new creations" then our past sins are all swept away under the Blood.
Was you current marriage conducted in the church? If so, I would say that your elders are in error.
I would not even worry about this. there are many people in the church that will divide based on an interpretation of or a particular scripture. we should all look at the whole of scriptures to establish a doctrine, not a single verse. that is a dangerous mentality and it can lead people way off of track... plus it normally causes lots of division and hurt becuase not many people fit a single verse of scripture perfectly...anyway, I ramble. My point is that if I were in your shoes, I would shake the dust from my sandles and move on with God. He has redemed you and called you His own... the approval or disapproval of members of the church should never shape you perspective of yourself or God. When you worship and enter His presence, you hopefully will see yourself and those members of the church as He sees them... we should all have His perspective verses our own or theirs. Make since? As a worship leader or any leader, you are likely to come up against all kinds of judgements, criticisms and even praises and adoration of people... Give it all to God (both good and bad)... continue to focus on Him and worship Him. He'll open doors for you sure enough... it seems we all go through a form of this from time to time.PS... ask em' about David...
Hi Chris. Yes, this is an interesting topic, and the quick answer is, yes, you'll probably run into this a lot, especially if you apply to the more conservative churches (think Southern Baptist here, etc...not judging, just giving a sense of what I've seen). The polygamy thing, in most evangelical churches, is a foregone conclusion to the point where it is a non-issue (meaning of course you'd only have one wife...). The scripture you refer to is mainly seen as talking about divorce and remarriage.
Should a divorce that happened prior to conversion matter? You'd think not, but it still is a big issue in most churches.
Can I ask how long you've been a believer? And how long ago was your divorce? If those two things are still fairly recent (i.e. within the last five years or so) then those church leaders might still be viewing you as a young believer and (in their view) not ready for a leadership position. The divorce thing sort of gave them an out. But I don't really know.
The fact is, you are who you are, and your past is your past. You'll just have to keep looking for a church that is not as strict on the divorce and remarriage issue. They are out there, and if this calling is truly from God, then be assured that He has the perfect place for you.
Don't get hung up on the ones who won't take you; it's not where you're supposed to be anyway!
Like you I have been the victim of a divorce from a husband who didn;t even have a reason and to whom I was kind, loving , faithful and patient....He just ran from God and all relationships. At my church , just because one is "going through a divorce" they have you step down from any leadership or shepherding positions for up to 3 years. I am not on staff but after the loss of my marriage , the last thing I needed was another loss...I just have re-directed my shepherding elsewhere but it made me so sad because I feel they applied the principle without consideration for the unique situation. It hurts a lot when you have been devoted to a ministry and then have to step down because of someone else's sin.( they said it was for a rest, but I am not overworked or burdened so it seems absurd to me, now that I am free of a husband who didn;t love me,I actually have more energy ) but perhaps its a small taste of what Jesus received when He took the consequences of all of our sins. Even in rejection experiences , and we all will have them in the church often worse than in the world, there is still a growth opportunity. I think about half of the churches are going to have a problem with you, the other half will welcome you with open arms. Its peculiar but if a person had a past of violence , drugs and thievery before their conversion, churches seem to practically think of them as heros or prodigal sons, but divorce, well the church often shoot their wounded..... but I will heal because the Lord has shown me that it is only to develop more patience in me. I hope that you find the place to serve where you can grow and be a message of God's glory !!
Hey Chris. I have led worship at many different church denominations over the past 30 years and I can tell you that you will run into the "past wife, divorced" thing in a lot of circumstances. Where those are really depends upon what part of the country you are in. The Northeast and southern US you will find is very conservative and holds to a lot of past "church history and tradition" The central US is almost 1/2 and 1/2 where as the west coast region, tends to be more liberal about this kind of past. As far as the polygamy thing goes the bible talks about the grounds of a divorce and talks about the fact that if the wife leaves and is with another, the man has a right to divorce her as she has committed adultery. In your case she divorced you first, then was with another but it still applies - you have a biblical right of divorce. (already done) Your being married to another at this point has no bearing on the multiple wife issue.
As far as being asked or expected to step down from any leadership position after a devastating event in ones life ? I think the intent was not to punish someone for being a poor example of some kind but to allow that person to regain a perspective and focus back on their lives before mentoring others - the "old hurting people hurt people" thing. Far too many church denominations have taken that out of context and use it to punish people for falling in some way or another. I had a temper tantrum in my past that put me in jail for 14 days. The church I was leading worship with at the time treated me like I was some kind of fallen demon after that point while the church that planted them had me travel along way and minister at one of their conferences, because the person in charge of the worship knew me and knew it was a mistake. He granted me the mercy and grace that the others could not.
The real question you need to ask yourself is " has God called me to lead worship or to be a worshiper?" Some of us are called to help support the main leader of a team or to help grow a fledgling team. I recently heard it similar to this: "We are either called to go down into the pit to minister or to hold the rope for those who go down. In either case their should be scars on your hands." I have led teams, helped establish teams and just played and supported other leaders. Pray about where you feel God wants you to be and then go for it. If God has truly called you to that then it doesn't matter what someones interpretation of scripture is. What matter is that you are obedient to the call of God. He wrote it ! so His interpretation is the only one that matters.
Lord I pray that you would help my brother to see the area in which you have called him to. To show him what it is you need him to learn from every situation he finds himself in as he pursues that calling and to apply what he learns to the abilities you have given him for your glory and for you alone. In Jesus name - Amen.
I understand your situation. It's alright you know, whenever we go forward in the Lord's service there are always obstacles. It's not easy to serve the Lord. I believe if He wants to use you for His glory, He will and no one will be able to say no then. Just stay determined and keep your heart close to the Lord. He doesn't care about your past, all that has been cleaned by the Holy blood man!
I'm not sure why I'm replying to this post, since I've never faced a problem (as I too am not a husband of any wives). But I can understand what you may be going through. Hope it helps.
The best thing you can do is to accept that God is telling you that this position isn't the one He has for you. If it is in God's will, there will be an opportunity for you down the road. It's easy to get focused on qualifications, impressions, interviews, and the like...and it's good to put forth your best effort...but the God who knows us and cares for us intimately will receive all the glory for whatever position you are called to fulfill, so take heart in that His perfect plan is in store.
The scripture has a good bit to say about divorce... check out the story where preists, levites, and many men of Israel had to "send their wives away and their children." Ezra 10. Also remember what Paul says regarding an unbelieving spouse leaving... "a man is not under condemnation is such cases, but God has called us to peace." You were not born again, but even if you were... this is not the one thing that will ruin you forever. I had a professor of Christian ethics say once that "if you're a preacher and you can't take your wife any more, kill her... that way you can go on the circuit after you get out of prison saying you were not saved and got saved in jail... but if you divorce her, you'll never preach again, no matter what you say or reasons you have." That is a sad, sad state of things in the church. I've know people who were divorced from abusive relationships that were shuned from ministry oportunities becuase the left the marriage. It is very hurtful to me that this is the way many in the church see it. I'm sorry to go on, but my heart goes out to you. Morningstar Ministries has been posting updates on Todd Bentley's divorce and restoration... it's very encouraging to finally see members of Christ's body restoring each other verses abandoning them. I think you'll be encouraged by it.
If God calls you to it, the right place, the doors will be open. Don't fret over this. Restored or Saved, God has a place for all of us to work in his kingdom. Keep your spirits up and know that its not a mistake he gave you the talent and drive to do this for him. God WILL make a way, trust me on this, I am living proof!