The Agony & the Ecstasy: 7 Years as Pastor of Community Church of the Hills

Sunday, August 30, marked the official 7-year anniversary of my being the pastor at Community Church of the Hills. When I first started, we had 81 people. Out of that original congregation, 12 still attend.

The first year was my honeymoon. It seemed everyone loved me. The second and third year, not so much. I learned that in a small church, in a small town, if you offend one person, the whole family and all their friends leave.I offended many during my first years’ learning curve.

Coming directly from a 1,500-member church in the beach cities of L.A. to a small country church in the middle of rural Texas didn’t translate well. I was not very gracious and was way too demanding. I over-emphasized evangelism and talked about Hell ad nauseum.

The first person to leave said it was because I didn’t teach out of the King James Bible. She had gone there 17 years. In that entire time, no one ever taught out of the King James Bible.

Another said that he wasn’t being fed. (Pastors, ever hear that one before?)

Still another complained that she “just wasn’t feeling it.”

Yet another left because someone put a hat on his wife’s chair.

One guy split because he didn’t like being told what to do and another bailed because I shook his hand the wrong way.

Oh! Did I mention that God prevented a church split in 2018? Or that a guy wrote a 4 page letter to the Elders trying to get me fired?

The bottom line? They didn’t love me as much as I thought.

How to Leave Your Church

A BELOVED FAMILY LEFT OUR FELLOWSHIP…and did it the right way: by actually telling the pastor!

AJ and Angela De LaCruz bought a new home over an hour away from Community Church of the Hills. Instead of fading away and never returning again, with members left to wondering what happened to them, they did the right and proper thing, something that the vast majority of church-goers do not do: They allowed the pastor to send them off with a blessing, even standing in front of the congregation to be prayed over before beginning their new venture.

Yes, it was a miracle.

The sad reality is, most people just leave. They may have good reasons or bad, but pastors do want to know when you go away, and would like to know why as well, even if it’s something we’ve done wrong…especially if it’s something we’ve done wrong!

Back Issues of the Weekly Community Church of the Hills’ Newsletter!

Click each date for newsletter.

January 27, 2021: Our Newest Elder; “The Elder-Led Church” sermon; Bernie Sanders’ Memes you didn’t see

January 20, 2021: “How to Handle President Biden”; Praying for Biden; “What is an Abortion Aboitionist?” Sermon; Still more memes for 2021

January 13, 2021: “The Best Year Ever?”; “Just 4 Claps Away” Sermon (A message on death, Heaven and Hell); A beautiful rendition of “Hallellujah”; More memes for 2021

January 4, 2021: “Make This One Resolution”; “2020 State of the Bible Report”; “I Will Not Neglect Your Word” sermon; The $1,100.00 Bible Reading Offer; Free Bibles, 2021 Memes

December 25, 2020: “Merry Christmas from Pastor Steve, DD and Laurel” This is our personal Christmas greeting card.

December 22, 2020: “Merry Christmas From Community Church of the Hills”; “The Manger & the Cross” painting; “Canceling the Creche: “The True Story of the Nativity” sermon; The Last Memes of the Year; 10 Christmastime Prayers

December 16, 2020: “IS CHRISTMAS A PAGAN HOLIDAY?”; D. L. Moody bio; “The Last Conversion” sermon; More memes of the season

December 9, 2020: IT’S OKAY TO SAY “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”; Advent; “Heart Attack” sermon; Memes for the season.

December 2, 2020: Steve Died on This Day; A Blanket for a Parolee; Xmas Photo Booth; “Thank God” sermon; A Puritan Prayer; Memes

November 24, 2020: Are You Thankful for How God Made You?: Permission granted to enjoy Thanksgiving; Matthew Henry’s Thankfulness; The worst worship song ever played; 25 things to be thankful for; Memes

November 18, 2020: Prayers Are the Problem: DD’s beau; Pray the Jesus Way; Spurgeon on the praying church; Memes

November 10, 2020: The Morning After the Election; The Political Divide of 1800; How Not to Be a Hypocrite: The Disciples’ Prayer, Memes

November 3, 2020: Post-Election Christianity; 10 Commandments of Civility for a Politically-Charged Age; Our Church’s Gospel-Themed Trunk or Treat; Memes

October 27, 2020: Election Home Stretch; Pray for America #2; How Not to Be a Hypocrite: When Praying; International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church; Memes

October 14, 2020: Abolish Abortion Conference; New Women’s Study; Pray for America; Memes

October 7, 2020: How to Leave Your Church; Is Eddie Van Halen in Heaven or Hell?; “The Church is Full of Hypocrites!”; More random memes

September 29, 2020: I’ve Been in Texas 7 Years!; Our New Women’s Pastor; Love Your Enemies, Pt. 1; Random Memes

September 22, 2020: A Prayer for America’s Repentance; The Return

September 16. 2020: Are You a God Grouch?; Love Your Enemies; Still More Covid Memes

September 10, 2020: When I Attempted Suicide; “An Eye for an Eye” Hilarious Covid Memes

September 3, 2020: “Agony & Ecstasy: My First 5 Years @ Community Church of the Hills”; BLM Analysed by Two Black Theologians; My Eldest Daughter’s Boyfriend; Biblical Cursing & Swearing; Current Event Memes

August 26, 2020: Rehearsing Marriage Vows; Who Influenced My Preaching; Revenge of the Statues.