Hello there everyone! I am a new convert and I came into the Church after leaving an INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST CHURCH. I was a part of that church for many years and developed some friendships there that I would like to maintain. I have found this to be very difficult. I tried to attend a Bible study there and even attended a few services, but after becoming Catholic and seeing the beauty of the Mass, I NOW see the many flaws in the teachings and beliefs AND “worship” in my former church. However, I still want to maintain my relationships with some of my friends from the baptist church…I just don’t know how. Attending services and Bible studies there only made me feel uncomfortable. How can I maintain relationships with non- catholic friends outside of the church building? Thanks in advance for your help and GOD bless!
It can be as simple as just loving them. It will take a while for them to adjust to the fact that you are a Catholic. Some of them will feel rejected. You must expect that. Be kind and patient.
I wouldn’t go to their Bible Classes… By doing that you are sending them a mixed message and are opening yourself up to hurt feelings both on your part and theirs.
Remember the teaching of Jesus. When you put your hand to the plow you must go forward. You can love your friends but you have a new life as well.
Focus on what Christians have in common, trinity, Deity of Christ, resurrection.
Attend Baptist spaghetti dinners, fund raisers , etc but when it comes to mass stay Catholic.
Tell them you’ll say a novena for them, or buy some indulgences for their eternal souls… and after the stunned silence :eek:
tell them you would like to remain friends, but they have to respect your choice of worship community.
That’s hardly ecumenical! :D:p
Well I was kinda joking, but… as Catholics we have to put up with all kinds of ignorant comments from other “Christian” believers as well as non believers, so I think a bit of humour and/or shock therapy is quite healthy :D.
What an excellent question! Thank you for posting. I think this thread will be helpful for others.
My husband and I are converts from evangelical Protestantism. We attended Conference Baptist, Assemblies of God, Southern Baptist, Christian and MIssionary Alliance, and Evangelical Free Church in America.
I’m sure you understand when I say that our entire life was our church–all our social activities were done with people in our church, and most of those activities were in the church, or had something to do with church (e.g., Bible study, cottage prayer meetings, church potlucks, meetings for various committees, choir practices, etc.) We didn’t really have friends outside of our church, and we didn’t do many “secular” activities like sports, theater, etc.
Things changed a little after our children started figure skating at ages 3 and 5 because we had “skating friends” and we did “skating things” (competitions, ice shows, workshops, lessons, etc.).
But for the most part, we still spent most of our “leisure” time with friends from our church.
Then we were kicked out of our Evangelical Free Church-a woman pastor (children’s pastor) brought up false charges against us, and a tribunal was called, and we were asked to leave. (A year after this, the woman pastor was caught in a lie and fired.)
Our lives literally ground to a halt. We suddenly had nothing to do and no one to do it with. We had been used to spending 5-6 days/evenings a week in church or involved in church activities, and suddenly, we had NOTHING (except skating–thank God! We are still very involved with this sport, BTW.)
So I understand where you are coming from. Here are my suggestions for you.
I agree with all those who say to stop attending worship services and Bible studies in your old church. There is no reason to do this, because now you have Mass and Catholic Bible studies. Attend weddings and funerals, and if there is an annual “Founders’ Day” service at your old church, go for the sake of those who have passed on, and remember them in your prayers. But for the most part, stop attending Protestant “learning” opportunities.
I recommend attending Mass as often as you can. If you can go to daily Mass, do so. You will enjoy this, and enjoy meeting others. If you can’t attend daily Mass due to work or other schedule situations, that’s OK–just make sure to attend Mass on the weekends.
Chat with people you see at Mass who look like they are your age and in your situation (married, single, older, younger, whatever). Make sure to chat OUTSIDE of the church (Catholics call it the “nave” and Protestants call it the “sanctuary.” I’m referring to the big space where Mas is done–don’t chat in there. Chat out in the lobby or the narthex or down in the Fellowship Hall or if it’s warm enough, in the parking lot.)
Get your parish bulletin after Sunday Mass, and/or check out the parish website. There are probably some activities outside of Mass (sadly, you will find that many Catholic Churches have very little to offer compared to what Protestant churches offer in the way of social opportunities outside of Mass). Our parish has tons of activities, including a Dinner Club (eating out), a Garden Club, several Bible studies for various ages and interests, a Book Club (reading a book a month and discussing it), several “traditional” Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Legion of Mary, etc. There are lots of volunteer opportunities, too.
Remember that if your parish doesn’t have much to offer outside of Mass, you are free to attend these activities in other Catholic parishes in your town/city. Perhaps another parish has a club or activity or Bible study that you would enjoy–it’s OK to get involved! When you are are Catholic, you are a member of the Catholic Church all around the world, not just your parish. Isn’t that cool?
I would highly recommend that you get involved in a Catholic Bible study somewhere in your city. If your parish doesn’t have one, look for one in another parish. This will really help you to find some new friends and do something that you feel comfortable with–studying the Bible.
Finally, when it comes to your old friends in the Protestant world, stay in touch, but do “secular” activities, not “church” activities. Do dinners together, with board games. Invite them to attend a local hockey game with you, or some other sporting event that you all would enjoy. Meet at a museum in your town/city. Attned any local events, like Christmas tree lightings, community festivals, county fairs, etc.
Or go to a concert, whatever your personal taste in music is. If the only kind of music you like is Contemporary or Traditional “Christian” music, I’m sorry to say that there don’t seem to be many “Catholic” musicians out there who are touring, so you will probably have to attend “Protestant” Christian concerts featuring Protestant musicians. Just be careful not to get swept up in the emotion and confused over your new Catholic faith.
And there are SOME Catholic musicians–be on the lookout, and then invite your Protestant friends to their concerts.
As for inviting your friends to Mass–I say go for it. Make sure they understand that they are NOT to receive the Eucharist because they don’t believe that this is Jesus, Truly Present. I happen to believe that many Protestants are terribly curious about the Mass–so invite them. Let Jesus Himself, Truly Present, “woo” them to Himself–remember John 12:32!
And of course, if your Catholic Bible study turns out to be a good one, with a good teacher, invite your Protestant friends!
Godspeed to you.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! I can’t tell you how happy I was to find all these comments this morning! It’s so nice to hear from other Catholics. I tried talking to my Sponsor about this, she is very sweet and kind to me but sometimes I feel like my questions might be bothersome. ALL of your responses were great! TRIUMPHGUY… believe it or not, one of my friends from the baptist church made the comment “well don’t they all pray to Mary?” That was her first response upon learning that I had joined the Church. I immediately recited a HAIL MARY to her. She looked stunned! I then said to her, “does that sound familiar to you?” She said it did. I then told her to look up the Christmas story in LUKE! I even reminded her that she would find it almost word for word in her KJV Bible. Fundamentalists ONLY recognize the KJV Bible (all other translations are banned). She didn’t know what to say. I tried to explain to her why we feel how we feel about the Blessed Mother and that we in NO WAY worship her, but her mind was closed of course. CAT, you really understand what I’m feeling!! When I was in the Baptist church my ENTIRE world revolved around church and church activities. I have to admit that I didn’t realize that I could join activities in other Catholic churches around town, (I still have a LOT to learn). I will check it out. Thank you all for the comments! I plan on picking your wonderful CATHOLIC MINDS for a loooooooooong time! God bless.
I am not trying to be a pessimist. But they will not remain your friends.
I am also a former IFB and none, NONE of the people I was in contact with in the years I was an IFB have shown the slightest interest in me or in my family.
I am not saying it cannot happen, there might be one or two exceptions, but for the most part, they will abandon you. Other Protestant denominations don’;t exibit the same behavior.
Grieve over them, pray for them, and make new friends,
I must admit that I have already feared this! I feel a tension at times that wasn’t there when they thought I was coming back into the fold! When I made it clear to them that I had joined the Catholic Church and was only visiting, the mood changed. /sad isn’t it?!
Guarenteed your name comes up often in the “prayer meetings.”
I came into the Church after only 4 months of RCIA classes! I REALLY do have a lot to learn!! When I left the baptist church I felt lost. It’s just like you said, my entire life revolved around them. I was raised somewhat anti-catholic. Imagine my surprise when I found myself being drawn to a Catholic Church. I sat outside 2 nights afraid to go in. The 3rd night, I went in, sat in the back and experienced my first Mass!!! When it ended and they started to turn the lights out, I found myself wanting to scream at them “WAIT! I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE YET!” I didn’t know why, I had no idea that the the Body of our Lord was there. I cried all the way home. I didn’t know why I felt such peace while I was there, but I did know that I didn’t want that peace to end! I went back again, and this time I introduced myself to Monsignor. He invited me to RCIA class and I started that week. I joined the class in January and came into the Church at Easter Vigil. I went to Monsignor about 2 weeks prior to Easter and asked him if I could please come into full communion with the Church. I told him that if I had to wait an entire year to receive the Blessed Sacrament that I thought I’d die! I am sorry for what you went through in your protestant church, I know how that feels. I had a similar experience with someone in the protestant church as well. Thank you for all the good advice! God bless.
These are KJV-only IFBs?
You are sooooooooooooooooooooo right!!! The last “Bible study” that I attended there, the “teacher” taught on the “errors” of thinking that you need a Pope to guide you in the church. She explained that the Pope is NOT holy and that he is just a man and no different than anyone else. All the while, she is casting little glances in my direction. Fundamentalists don’t believe that Catholics are Christians. It didn’t take very long for me to realize that attending Bible studies and “services” was NOT the way to try to maintain friendships with these people. It was so obvious that they were trying to make me see the error of my ways!!
YES!!! INDEPENDENT FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST/KJV BIBLE ONLY…I’ve come a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way huh?!! And yes, I realize that they think I’ve gone to the devil!! One fly in the ointment though…IFB’s believe in ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED! I was baptized in the baptist church and they had no problem accepting my salvation when I belonged to their church. But when I left and became Catholic, suddenly my soul is in jeopardy!! I asked my friend, “how does that work?” How can I be “once saved always saved” as long as I’m baptist, but now that I’m Catholic, suddenly my soul is at risk!! She had no answer.
This will happen through out life any way. I think that the word abandon is a little strong. Friends drift from each other for many reasons.
I am a convert as well and have maintained close friends with those who loved me. They did not understand, but that is to be expected. I also work closely with the wife of a Southern Baptist Minister. I am well aware that she prays for me as I do her. We are very good friends. There are many many things that we agree on. For instance, we are both strongly opposed to abortion. We both love Christ and we both love the Bible.
We do not engage is debating. We focus on what we do agree on.
I think it’s still a little early in my story to determine who’s going to stick it out with me and who’s not. I realize that if they truly care about me, my faith should not be such an issue. I love a lot of the people there and leaving was hard for me, but I decided that I wanted to follow Jesus wherever He chose to lead me and I truly believe that I was lead very gently into the Church! What a WONDERFUL journey this has been!
I’m glad I read this as I was considering going to my old Methodist women’s Bible study which is startng up tomorrow but as I am still in RCIA wasn’t sure I should go back to something so soon at the old church. My Methodist friends know and accept it- more curious than anything about it and I am sure they chalk it up to the fact that I am married to a Catholic man and maybe it is his turn to pick the church-LOL! (not what the story really is- getting my husband to revert when I decided to convert was hard work!). Anyway, I think I will just keep with RCIA and then pick the activities I want do so after Easter vigil in the parish and great point about also checking out other parishes. I was uber committed in my old church and my husband made me promise not to get so involved until I was through RCIA and had time to settle in as he worries about me burning out again on volunteer work.
EWTN’s The Journey Home is a wonderful resource but so is Marcus Grodi’s
The Coming Home Network. chnetwork.org/
Invite them to your house for supper, or take them out for coffee.
I wouldn’t go back to their church for any reason; it could potentially be misinterpreted that either you aren’t fully convinced of your Catholic faith, or that you don’t understand the difference.