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Author Topic: I LOVE YOU. All of you.  (Read 8411 times)
Matt
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« on: March 16, 2007, 09:15:03 am »

I discovered this place much by accident and was admittedly frustrated.



I grew up in a very solid Evangelical Free church and when I came to college I got involved in a GC on-campus ministry. It has been the most rewarding and wonderful decision that I made during my time at college and has helped me grow much closer in my walk with God. I myself have had the opportunity to lead 3 young men to Christ this year and now meet with them weekly. All three grew up in a church. None of them knew the Lord. This just doesnít seem right! 2 of the 3 had never cracked open a bible. For the first time in their lives they are reading Godís word and applying it to their lives. Do I make them do things against their will? Of course not. Did I force them to go to Faithwalkers? No. (In fact, none of them went.) So if I am the culprit here, what am I doing wrong that every other church in America does right? I told them about Jesus and pointed them towards the Bible. I didnít woo them with my knowledge, tell them how great our church is, or ask for their money.



Did someone jam their cultish beliefs on me? No. In fact, what attracted me to GC was the incredible love in action that I saw displayed. Every day I see young men and women stepping out in faith and obedience by serving and encouraging people around them. Do I think GC is the Ďonly wayí? Obviously not. Is Godís Kingdom being proclaimed in GC? Sure.



So I guess my point is that some of what I read on this site makes me feel like you all think that Iím some mindless zombie who has been tricked into doing something against my own will. I guess I just want to do whatever I can to put your minds at ease by assuring you that despite bad experiences that you may have had at some point, God is using GC in amazing ways. Iíve read systematic theology books, the Koran, the Bible, CS Lewis, whateverÖ I understand what I believe and why. By nature I am very analytical. Iím not just a helpless lamb being led off to slaughter. :-)



I have never met a more loving group of individuals who are more zealous to reach the world with the gospel than the GC folks that Iíve met. I love that the people Iím surrounded by arenít basing their Christianity on an emotional worship high or intellectualism, but rather prayer, reading Godís word, obedience, fellowship, sharing, serving, loving, encouraging, enjoying each other, and living out the great commission. Again, I am NOT saying that GC is the only place that this happens, but I have found these things in GC.



Really the one thing that I most want to communicate to you is that I LOVE YOU. All of you. I donít know all of your situations, or what you went through but I just want you to know that you are loved and after I finish this little note I will pray that God uses you all wherever you are at. I donít so much care where you go to church or what denomination you are, I just want to serve the same God of mercy and grace alongside you. As John the Baptist said: ďHe must increase, but I must decrease.Ē Letís all agree on that! God bless you brothers and sisters!



Your brother in Christ,

Matt



P.S. Sometimes I think that receiving love can be harder than giving it. So please accept my message of love. Thank you.
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Adam Hirschhorn
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 09:15:48 am »

Matt,



Reality check. I seriously doubt you love me. In case you really do love me, I definitely am warning you: Iíll be seeing other people. If the kind of love youíre about to show me is the kind of love that would hold on to our connection while my mother was dying in order to offer me comfort and support through our most difficult times, then it is unlike any love I experienced within Great Commission for the three years since I first met those folks.



One of the subjects that comes up here is ďlove bombingĒ, coordinated efforts to make individuals feel loved, which results in a terrible let-down when one discovers that this love is conditional or illusory. If you think normal people find receiving love is difficult, wait until you get to know us. We take the cake.



Iíd give you a verse about love and living it out, but Iím afraid that I might be using the Bible to fight you rather than edify you. Not only that, but I have this habit of correcting folks like I am beating the skeleton of a long-dead horse. Wonder where I learned that.



I donít want to slam you or fix you or convince you of some sort of brainwashing. Iíve felt slammed; Iíve felt like someoneís project; and Iíve felt brainwashed and worse. Itís no way to live. Itís definitely not a gift of the Holy Spirit. I would like to say that most of us who have taken it far enough to speak out either anonymously or in our own real names against our former church is that rather than receive verbal professions of love, weíd like to be understood. I hope that makes sense. I donít always make sense.



AH
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puff of purple smoke
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 09:21:40 am »

Matt,

I believe your post could be summarized as such: you see a group of people saying certain things about GC that you yourself have not experienced, and this makes you ďadmittedly frustrated,Ē and so you have written about how you have not experienced anything like the people on decommissioned have described.

I am curious, though, as to how you feel about those of us with stories and feelings about the movement of the opposite nature? Do you feel we are wrong to feel like we do, that we have misinterpreted our experiences? I hope I am reading you wrong, but I have a hard time interpreting your letter as something other than: ďGC is full of loving, zealous, Christ-centered Christians, why donít you guys stop complaining?Ē Perhaps I am just getting touchy when it comes to current GCers trying to minimize my concerns. If I am reading you wrong I apologize.

I want you to consider something before you dismiss the idea that something might be off in GC as a whole. The first, is that by GCís own admission in 1991, there had been some serious problems in the movement, and many of those problems ring true to this day to many of us here. There was a severe organization problem at one point, and so how far fetched is it to believe that some of these problem still linger on in some areas of GC? Especially when many of us have experienced them first-hand? The same national leaders who worked alongside Jim McCotter are still in power, and have never publicly renounced any of the specific teachings of the past that led to the church error statement. The statement was also widely unknown to most modern day GCers prior to websites like this, even to small group leaders. That the movement might be retaining old ďapologized forĒ beliefs doesnít seem like too much of a stretch to me. Given the number of people who have shared their stories, I am inclined to believe there still remains organization problems that need to be addressed.

As many have pointed out, not every GC church seems to have the same level of problems. I am glad your experience with GC was exemplary, not all of us have been so lucky. I am glad you love us. I feel like many in leadership, at least in my area of the GC woods, seemed to lack love in their decisions. The way people were treated, and discarded, still bothers me. The way leaders were taught to usurp the Holy Spirit also bothers me, and I believe it bothers God. These specific leaders are now spread out over several GC churches, and so their style of leadership continues to be taught. Much in the same way you extend love to those of us outside of GC, I too love those who might be considering joining GC, or who are already inside of it: with a hearty ďgood luckĒ and a cautious ďknow what youíre getting into, keep your eyes open, and be careful.Ē
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Dipping my toes in....
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2007, 09:22:00 am »

Matt,



Thanks for caring and taking the time to say so. Thatís kind of you.



So I guess my point is that some of what I read on this site makes me feel like you all think that Iím some mindless zombie who has been tricked into doing something against my own will.



I hope this doesnít come across wrong, but try not to feel that way? I suspect most of us have never met you and know nothing about you personally, so little to none of our comments are about you personally. I certainly donít think that every person in a GCM church is a mindless zombie. Thereís a good number of regular posters here that are current GCM attenders, and I enjoy their contributions to this site.
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2007, 09:23:22 am »

Matt,

I can empathise with your frustration and the sense you do not see what the problem with GC is. If I had only the knowledge of the church I attend and no other points of reference, I would feel the same. The church is exemplary example of a healthy loving caring church in action. The church is aware of my history of being on the bad side of GC and is supportive.

Why there are some great Great Commission churches and some not so great ones is a mystery. It is a real mixed bag sometimes. I have been listening to the internet feeds from Faithwalkers. Because of my cult experiences, I tend to listen closely, check for the scripture references for context, and the flow and purpose of the message. Some of the messages left me cold. Others have been quite inspiring.

The best way I can summarize if I walked into an AA meeting, had no problems with drinking, could either control it or never had any encounter or interest with alcohol, then sitting around in an AA meeting would be a waste of time. If I see and admit I have a problem with alcohol, then I could not have a better group of friends. I hope the analogy helps.
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Had friend in Columbus church 80's and 90s. Member left in 1993  Involved GC in Texas  2005-2007.  Empathy to both  with  positive and negative aspects.
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 09:24:47 am »

Dear Matt,

Thanks for the insight and the love! I can understand how this blog could be overly negative since we discuss mostly ďproblemsĒ and ďissues.Ē Iím glad that there are so many people in GCM like you who are honestly seeking God and loving each other.

I guess here is my take on your comments. You are the GCM poster child. You sound like you are naturally in tune with the basic GC credo of evangelism and discipleship. I told them about Jesus and pointed them towards the Bible. Since this is what GC is all about, you feel perfectly at home in your church and canít understand why anyone else would not.

All of us just like you where first attracted to GC by, as you put it, the incredible love in action that I saw displayed. Yet after attending for a period of time we realized that we didnít fit in as you do.

GC is focused primarily on one thing, making new Christians as quickly as possible. I myself have had the opportunity to lead 3 young men to Christ this year and now meet with them weekly. Matt this is really great! But is our sole life purpose to reach the world?

The greatest commandment says to love God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love others as yourself. Evangelism is a part (an important part) of loving your neighbor but it is not the focus of our Christian lives. In GC, however, it is the main focus. Think about all the meetings you go to and the outreach events you help coordinate, think about how your church is geared to be ďseeker sensitiveĒ and not designed primarily to edify the current body. To GC evangelism is the greatest commandment.

Iím glad that GC is concerned about evangelism but their presentation of it as the purpose for you life is way off base. That form of Christianity is not well rounded and harmful for people who are not as zealous as you. When GC says that God wants your life to be based around their (GCís) ideal lifestyle they confuse and damage people who arenít naturally built that way (like me). You can see how this is harmful right?
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Here's an easy way to find out if you're in a cult. If you find yourself asking the question, "am I in a cult?" the answer is yes. -Stephen Colbert
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2007, 09:25:33 am »

I can empathize with the love aspect entirely when I first went to a GC church it was the one thing that immeadiatly stuck out to me and reeled me in. I was caught and I know many others were caught in the same way. I chose to keep my salvation secret for a time when i first started going since I had come froma background were true christanity was looked down on. Later on as some of the peopel around me realized I was already a Christian that loving environment started to slip away, now I am not saying that it did completly, there are still inviduals from GC churches that I care about very deeply some of whom i have not seen in some while.

What concerns me is the use of this false love I have seen over the years as a weapon used against peopel to not only hold them hostage spiritually but in an effort to force a conversion based on the threat of the withdrawel of this love shown.

I agree with you gus on the issue of great GC churches and abusive GC churches and woudl add that this occurs even within the small groups of some of the larger churches one can see the lines of abuse or godliness extend down through the small groups that are multiplied off and from what I have seen of that it has at times nearly split my old church, 2 different subsets with very differnt standards both under the same roof donít tend to get together well long at all. In this case one of the groups happened to be much more lenient on relationships adn as a result got married much sooner and in larger numbers and effectivly left the college ministry and joined the main church body as a whole ending this conflict of interest to a great extent thogh at least in my case i was left on the side I disagreed with and cut off froma great deal of the friendships I once had.
Ok ramble off most of that probably doesnít make much sense but hey I have been up a long time now and I am getting tired.
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jehu
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2007, 09:32:52 pm »

No, I really love lamp.

 :lol:
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