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How To Get My Old Church To Stop Contacting Me

Discussion in 'Looking for a Church' started by R. Genevieve, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. R. Genevieve

    R. Genevieve Member

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    I apologize if this is in the wrong forum, but I have nowhere else to put this.

    The Baptist church I more or less grew up in got a new pastor and within a matter of weeks went the way of the prosperity gospel megachurch. My family left last summer. My parents and sister started attending a different Baptist church, and I started attending a nearby Methodist church. The Methodist congregation has been like another family to me, and I've felt truly at home in church since the first time since high school. I have since been confirmed as a Methodist and am very happy.

    But I keep being contacted by my old congregation--letters, emails, texts, everything--asking me to come back, preferably bearing cash.

    I've repeatedly unsubscribed from email lists, but somehow they keep sending me emails. I've emailed in response that I am attending church elsewhere, and that I would like to be taken off of the Sunday School roll, etc., but I just get more emails begging me to come back. My family has gotten letters from the pastor asking for our tithe, followed by letters asking for our attendance. I'm not sure what else to do other than write an actual letter to the staff explaining that I've left the denomination.

    I'm also worried about how to do this politely rather than pettily. I'm not sure how to go about this in a Christlike manner.

    It's a minor annoyance, but I'm a little tired of all the junk mail. How do I get my old church to stop contacting my family and I? Is there even a way to do this?
     
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  2. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    Can you add their email addresses to your spam filter so that you never see it?
     
  3. Of the Kingdom

    Of the Kingdom Active Member Supporter

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    I would suggest escalating a bit, while being careful to be polite at all times. Feel free to call, email, or write a letter to the pastor or any of the staff or leadership. I would suggest that whenever you contact one of them, you be prepared to share your full laundry list of issues.

    Of first importance are the reasons you left. State clearly your concerns with examples and perhaps a little preaching. Offer to sit down and discuss the matter. State that you hope they've changed since you left and are now more scriptural; offer to help them with identify any areas where they are still appealing more to the flesh than to the spirit.
    n
    Point out that they are spamming people and hurting their reputation. Have examples ready of emails they've sent, and lists you've unsubscribed to and been added to again.

    Share the benefits you enjoy with your present congregation. Finally, you might ask them to officially remove your name from the membership, and delete all records. There is a legal right not to be harassed, which means they risk lawsuits if they keep address lists forever.

    You may need to do this a little bit or a lot, but contacting leaders through letters and phone calls will definitely get their attention. Their web site will help you identify them, and may give ammunition for the issues.

    Quite honestly, this could be more work than just ignoring messages. But you may in fact help the church return to their first love. Just be sure you always have a new message from them for each new contact.
     
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  4. DebbieJ

    DebbieJ Member

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    For emails, mark it as junk. For letters, write them a formal letter and also a copy to the pastor himself. Call the staff or the pastor. Be firm.

    My goodness, they've become so thick skinned.
     
  5. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    I think you might need to go visit them, in person. Make sure they know that you are now a member of the Methodist church, not just that you are attending a Methodist church. Wish them well but let them know you won't be back. I would not tell them why unless they ask, in that case a little preaching may be in order.
     
  6. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    That is tough. I like Colors' idea of just adding them to your "spam" list.

    When trying to ask to be taken off the list for a certain newsletter, I wrote them an e-mail explaining why. It was a pretty cheesed-off e-mail. But then, the issues at stake were child abuse, anti-Catholicism, and possible fraud.

    It might not hurt to write an e-mail.
     
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  7. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    On a sort of related note, I have a question. Totally optional if you don't want to answer.

    But did you ever place formal membership in that Baptist community? And did you ever cancel it?

    The reason I ask is because a LOT of evangelical communities will artificially inflate their membership rolls so that they look bigger to outsiders than they actually are. And one way they do this is by refusing to cancel a membership.

    My stint in the Southern Baptist world ended badly. About two or three years later, I was firmly settled into the Catholic world when I remembered that my old Baptist community's membership roster still included my name. So I called their administrative office to get my name removed.

    Long story short, the secretary gave me the absolute runaround, refusing to cancel my membership outright. She said only that she would transfer my membership to wherever I ended up. Well, I don't want them to have that information. I mean, let's face it, I don't believe in their authority and I don't think they have the right to demand anything of me.

    So I was met with failure. I outright told the woman that I would never darken their door again so it didn't make sense to keep my name on their rolls but she refused to budge. Later, I reasoned that with the drastic decline that the evangelical world has been experiencing in recent years, they probably refuse to cancel any membership unless it's to transfer it someplace else.

    So I decided to check it out. And sure enough, I heard similar stories from other people. They all gave me variations on the same story. They tried cancelling their memberships (for whatever reason) and the secretaries at various different evangelical communities refused to cooperate without ever actually saying that they refused to cooperate.

    Anyway. That may not be what's happening with you.

    But it might also be time to fight fire with fire. You could create a throwaway gmail address and request that your contact info be updated to remove the old address and replace it with the throwaway address. No guarantees that will work either but at least you're changing the odds.

    PS- Never bother checking the throwaway gmail address.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  8. DavidPT

    DavidPT Well-Known Member

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    If you're getting texts on your phone, there should be ways to block those numbers, unless they are sending them from unspecified numbers, which then may be harder to block.

    As to getting Emails, that should be easy to resolve. Simply setup another Email account and quit using that one altogether, and only forward your new Email address to those you don't mind having it. They can't send emails to your new Email address if they don't know what it is, right?

    As to letters being sent, and that you see they are from them, well you're not obligated to read any of them. Simply toss them in the trash without even bothering to open any of them up first, and just hope none of them sent you any cash or anything. Like that could actually happen anyway, since they apparently are trying to scam you out of money, and not that they are trying to share their wealth with you instead. The reason I think that might be the case is based on what you said here----"got a new pastor and within a matter of weeks went the way of the prosperity gospel megachurch"---and what you said here---"asking me to come back, preferably bearing cash".
     
  9. R. Genevieve

    R. Genevieve Member

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    I've tried blocking their email. For reasons unknown, that didn't work (it may have been a glitch of some sort), but I'll try it again.

    I think I might go ahead and write a formal letter.

    I was baptized in the Baptist church at age seven. Even without that, Baptist church membership rolls are notoriously hard to get removed from.

    Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if something similar was happening with my old church, given some of what I've heard from people who've left more recently than I, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who's ever dealt with this.


    Thanks for the advice, everyone!
     
  10. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    Engaging them tends to result in them praying for you for a while which is the opposite of them leaving you alone. And if they're trying to change your mind to agree with their theology through prayer, then that usually doesn't rate much different than being attacked by witchcraft.

    It's quite the pickle, but if all you are getting is junk mail, it may be best to just toss it with the flyers and move on.

    In terms of cell phone texts, get a new phone number and email and move on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  11. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Actually join that Methodist church and then inform the previous church that you did. That should seem final to them.
     
  12. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    I thought they had?
     
  13. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hi. I don't know all the details about your situation, but it sounds as though the former church thinks of you as a member or regular of theirs who has simply drifted off, become inactive, etc.

    If a former member actually changes churches, that sort of thing doesn't normally happen, so if you inform them that this is the case--or if the new church requests your records--it would be strange if the old one kept up with this routine.
     
  14. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    In her original post, she said "I have since been confirmed as a Methodist and am very happy." I thought this meant she was now a member at a methodist church.
     
  15. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hmm. I see now that she did, and I think that for some reason or other I took that wording to mean that her leanings in that direction had been borne out over time, not that she was telling us that she was received into membership by Confirmation.

    Still, the issue seems to me to be that the old church hasn't gotten the word that she is indeed a member of a different congregation now, not just a wayward member of the former one who might be lured back.

    Of course, that could be a mistake also, but it was meant only as a possible explanation for her problem with her old church home.
     
  16. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Write the letter. Send it certified US mail so they know that you know that they have received it. They will also get the idea from that form of delivery that you are serious. Be firm in stating that you have moved on and will not be having anything to do with them in the future. Be brief. Don't threaten at all. Be brief. I said that already. Don't allow for any options. Just the facts.

    Then train your email client to treat everything they send you to be spam. That will take a while but will eventually work.
     
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