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Author Topic: Could use some prayer or insight.  (Read 870 times)
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« on: October 18, 2018, 09:09:59 am »

Some more background. I’m 26 and was going to a small GCC church here in Columbus, OH. It’s a young church - it’s around 7 years old. It mainly consists of college students, as I guess that’s the target audience of this church. I was going for 2 years and some of my family went too, and still goes.

I got very connected there; I was always in a homegroup and had a lot of friends. I was even being mentored by someone there for about a year.

I left the church over a month ago and not one person has reached out to me to see how I’m doing. I left because my brother (who also goes there) has a mental illness and his life is in shambles. He can’t ever keep a job, he’s been homeless multiple times, been in and out of the hospital. I asked them for help and nobody responded to me. So I left. So they must understand why I left... but yet, of all the people there... these people that felt like my family for 2 years... nobody has reached out to me, including the pastors.

It’s really heartbreaking. I feel so replaceable and forgettable.

I went from having a huge community to having nothing at all.

I’ve been battling depression. I’ve lost so much trust. I feel like I will never find a true church that really cares.
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2018, 02:03:02 pm »

It’s normal and common to feel lonely after being unanchored from a church community. And going back to people who don’t see or hear you isn’t the answer to the loneliness. Maybe google churches in the area and check them out. You don’t have to commit to any. You can attend a few for a while to help you sort out where and who feels safe. Remy Diederich has a book called Broken Trust, you might find it to be a comforting resource to hang onto while you walk through this lonely season. I don’t live near OH but I am here you in prayer.
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2018, 02:50:37 pm »

Hi JustGiveMeJesus!

I remember being your age and feeling a little lost.  Unfortunately, I had been in a GCx church for five years then and was getting very bored, a little lonely, and didn’t know where to turn because GCx had taught me if I left them, I would be cutting myself off from God (in so many words).  That was scary, so I stayed...another five years. You are actually BLESSED to have gotten out so young, though you may not realize yet how much.  Not having an immediate group of friends to hang out with is hard.  But, they WILL come.  It will take time, but if you initiate in visiting other groups that include some Christians you will eventually make some connections.

About 6 months after I left was one of the darkest times of my life because I felt alone, confused about REAL Christianity, and fearing I might be straying from God (though I was not) with no immediate solutions insight. However, little did I know that God had some sweet believers for me to gel with through group counseling I attended in my distress.  I highly recommend a good Christian counselor at this time.  I was also starting to attend a new church where, much to my surprise, God was going to bring a very kind man into my life.  But, at the time, I could not see any of these good futures, so the devil had a hay day with me.

I, personally, feel much of what I experienced in the way of friendships at GCx we’re actually conditional because that is how people were taught to value their relationships.  The amount someone was committed to GCx, not Jesus, determined the value of the relationship.  We were actually told in tri-weekly teachings to put our family aside, assigning them a low priority because they didn’t attend the church or weren’t “gung ho” about it.  Oh how I WISH I had never done that.  But, I had a wise and very caring mother.  She would show up every so often at church, and even attend a conference or two so she could keep in touch with what was happening with us and our “church” (though she did not agree with what was being taught).  I know she and the rest of our family prayed us out of there.

So, even though someone loves Jesus, they likely will be distanced as they do less activity with the group; and, most of time, dropped as a “friend” when they leave.  Some GCx churches actually teach you are “divorcing” them by leaving.  The people want the acceptance of their GCx group, so they join in the ignoring, avoiding, and rejecting of those who go.  The basis for those friendships is obviously not Jesus, but an idol.  

Most friendships made in GCx, from my first hand observation and from listening to testimony on this site, are created with an agenda to primarily serve GCx, not Jesus!  That is the problem.  People there don’t tend to listen to the Holy Spirit to make bonds, but to men - mentors and leaders, with the goal of growing the number of their “disciples”.  As has been well said on here, GCx followers usually move on to the most “profitable” relationship that will move their status up in the group.  Often, this is a result of meetings they have to discuss their followers.  Whoever is bringing in the numbers is to be held in high esteem, no matter how they get them to stay.  Below is a quote from someone on this forum (who left in 2005) describing this disingenuous “friendship” system:

Another troubling aspect of the group that I began to notice was how new members were treated. It seemed like our group went through the same cycle over and over again. New Person would join, and suddenly the leaders would be obsessed with that person and want to hang out with them many times a week. In some cases that New Person would decide to stick around and join the group. As time went on, I saw how the excitement over new people diminished after another New Person arrived, or upon the discovery that the New Person wasn't "leadership material." That is, wasn't changing their life and becoming a "core" GC'er fast enough. If the previous New Person would one day stop coming to events, often nobody on the group ever seemed to attempt to find out why! I would ask around the group, "Hey, whatever happened to (Person)?" and the response was pretty much "beats me." It seemed like a person was only valued as long as they were active in the group. In so many cases I was the only person who even tried to contact someone after they left (and it wasn't hard, we had their phone number on the small group contact list). This happened many times, and each time it boggled my mind.”
-puff of purple smoke

Also Praying for You,


« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 08:38:01 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2018, 01:31:54 pm »

Janet, This is gold!  Thank you so much for taking the time to write it out. It’s affirming to my experience and comforting as I am only two years out after 18 years in. Making new friends is a lengthy process because I am making quality, authentic friends; not being love bombed. It also takes time because these people respect the idea that they will earn my trust over time, they don’t just demand it. We were told year two is often the hardest and that was true for us. Year one was consumed with learning about cults and understanding what we had been through. Year two was lonely and hard because I was making friends but didn’t have history with friends. The beginning of year three is starting to feel more stable and established. I am really blessed by the people God has given me to be loved and cared for. These relationships are like none that I knew in gcc. I agree too that counseling at this time is a great idea. Counseling can help bring stability and help you learn how to make healthy friendships.
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