SHAKE THE DUST AND DON’T LOOK BACK
By Pam Sheppard
Leaving any social group is not an easy task. All humans are social beings. When we hurt and we are forced outside of a group’s circle, we either desire to vindicate ourselves in one way or another, or we passively stew in a simmering pot of self recriminations, depression and regrets. When people reject us because of WHO we are and NOT what we have actually done, then the pattern of our private times of reflexion will cause us to consider that since we couldn’t fit in, perhaps the majority is right and the fault lies in
our own camp.
Let us also not forget that peer pressure from those we have left behind can certainly be a stumbling-block to those who for one reason or the other, found themselves “outside the sheepfold.” Preachers probably denounced you openly from the pulpit in the hearing of your peers. What follows is that your peers will take it upon themselves to believe that “you are in sin and going to hell because you left them,” and so they will valiantly try to win you back. When you run into them in your community, some will sadly look at you and piously repeat the platitude of “I’m praying for you,” while others may even scold you with “a piece of their mind” about “you disrespected my pastor!.”
- My church horror story is only the tip of the iceberg. You need this book to know why YOU must shake the dust to
- be safe in this hour.
My case was different because as a former pastor and an evangelist for 25 years, I was never really welcomed or accepted in the Denomination in the first place. Even though I expected that the people would be delirious with glee if I left them , coming out of the church was not a “walk in the park” for me by any stretch of the imagination. Commonsense should have told me, ”since these people cannot stand you and only tolerate you being among them, why not just shake their dust from your feet? It is clear that they will not accept you or the word that you preach, Pam!”
Believe me, after what I endured among them, some might think that I was either a glutton for punishment or something “else” was going on with me. The truth is that I believed that I was God’s prophet, sent to a dying, sinning traditional church, to cause the people to turn from their wicked ways and repent. Therefore, the spiritual abuse that I endured in that place was my way of “suffering for Christ.” I strongly believed that God needed me to stay among the enemy in order to convert them.
So as a root in dry ground, my feet were firmly planted on hostile territory. So when I came out, it was because “God spoke.” He warned very clearly in a dream, “if you stay in that church, I will not be able to use you, and you shall remain a candle or a light, hidden under a bed. However, don’t leave on your own. Let them put you out.”
At the time, my prophetic way of thinking caused me to believe that God wanted the Denomination to put me out because He wanted to judge them for not receiving the prophet that He had sent them. However, today, I am a lot less self consumed. You see, the Lord eventually revealed that “He never sent me there in the first place, nor did He or would He call a babe in Christ like I was in ’81, into ministry in such a sinful place for the sheep in wolves clothing to overtake me!.” When I tried the spirits and looked back at the time I believed that I was called, I could see how the devil’s hand was in ALL of it. I had heard from God! Wow!
So I understand today, that the Lord desired the church to put me out in 2004 in order to save me from the pervasive mental anguish of constantly wondering if I had done the right thing by walking out on my own. As a result, I could not blame myself in any way for coming out since they put ME out. It was a rather simple process. Since I did not attend the annual meeting, the Bishop used a technicality to remove my names from the rolls. Since I did not send in my annual dues of $660, the Bishop convinced the delegate voters that removing me was possible and acceptable within the laws of the Church.
Did I expect such a thing to happen? No, I did not. I had no idea how they could even put me out because I was in excellent ministerial standing. This was a technicality never before used, for there were people in nursing homes who had not sent in the annual dues for 10 years or more, yet their names were never removed. Also, I was aware of other active ministers who never paid the dues at any time. Therefore, I could have fought this arbitrary decision and remained a minister in good standing. However, since God had already revealed to me that I MUST come out 9 months before they actually put me out, I did not protest. I left quietly. I received only one call from a minister who enquired of my well-being. No one else in hundreds of people tried to convince me to come back so leaving was made easy for me.
So that no one comes away from this thinking, “Oh, since she was so spiritually abused, she is against the church entirely,” you need to know this. When I was removed in 2004, I completely expected that God would lead me to another church organization. I waited patiently for 2 years until I heard from the Lord “the next time”. To my surprise, the Lord revealed that He had no intention of sending me to any church. A year or so later, the Lord explained why He desired that I remain “church free.” It has been a progressive revelation.
As for the Denomination, the new Bishop invited me back in 2008. He said “Pam, I’ll support you in EVERYTHING that you do. I want you to re-affiliate your ministry with us. We need ministers like you. I am so sorry that the Denomination did not act like the Church. I want you back.”
When a Bishop says words like that to any minister, he has the power to back it up. For example, a bishop has the power and influence to simply ”request” that each and every church under his authority buy ALL of my books, in bulk. We are talking about several thousands of here and loads of dollars here. I could have become a best-selling author overnight by the request of ONE bishop. A bishop can also “suggest” to every pastor under his authority to invite me to preach or conduct seminars in their respective churches. This means even more dollars in my pocket. The Bishop also has the power to appoint me to any church that I desire to pastor. This means a church salary. One bishop also has influence with 11 others, who can do the exact same thing for me in their respective regions, “at my Bishop’s request.” Now you are talking about millions. A worldwide denomination, more than 200 years old, the bishops are in complete control over every pastor, minister and church under their charge.
Two days after speaking with the new Bishop, “I heard from God.” He impressed upon me, “Pam, the 3 dreams that you had in 1979 that caused you to join the Denomination, were not sent to you by Me. I never sent you to that church, nor did I desire for you to become a minister therein. The words that the Bishop spoke to you two days ago were not inspired by Me either!”
The Lord did not mention the devil ONE time. However, since I knew that I did not create those dreams and that I did not call myself into ministry, the only other choice was “obvious!”
Leaving the organized church, and not looking back, is going to be extremely difficult for some of you, particularly for those that have been favored or at least well received, and for those who have had satisfying ministries or may even have earned some income. Don’t be surprised, if it may be somewhat challenging to break those ties. When your children have bonded with other children and have participated in daycare, afterschool programs, summer camp and the like, cutting ties is even more complicated. Music ministries are particularly challenging. So are friendships that provided you with opportunities for companionship and Christian fellowship.
To ALL of you, I say these brief words, a few from the Lord, a few from me:
If your righthand offend you, cut it off.
If you need to be social, join the Y! You will be much safer. Much better off.
However, to help you make up your mind, consider this. There are 3 main reasons that you should leave your church, without looking back.
1. Fallen angels have been feverishly and skillfully working for about a century to infiltrate the entire organized church system with false doctrines, in order to be able to gain access to all pulpits. Demons and devils have brought plagues into the churches. People are being tormented.
2. Since ALL but a few churches are caught up in the decisional salvation message, namely, that man chooses Christ by repeating a sinner’s prayer or responding to an altar call, Are there saved people in church? Certainly! However, ask them how they got saved. I am willing to bet that the day they got saved, “they were not in church.”
3. There is coming a movement called “Joel’s Army.” In fact, it is already here. Once this movement really takes hold, Joel’s Army leaders teach that there will be a civil war among the churches. Those who are in disagreement with their doctrines and practices will be removed or “wiped out.” Since this war is not only spiritual but “natural,” you may have to take a pistol into church with you one day coming too soon for comfort.
Once you come out, Beloved, then I warn you. Don’t look back.
What do you do in the meantime?
Well, you can form a home church. If you are interested in knowing how, call 518-477=5759.