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Author Topic: LOVEBOMBING and Other Strange Relationships in GCx Churches  (Read 13014 times)
Janet Easson Martin
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« on: April 28, 2019, 01:15:31 pm »

LOVEBOMBING and Other Strange Relationships
in GCx Churches



“These people [who distort the Good News] are devoted to you, but not in a good way. They don't want you to associate with me so that you will be devoted only to them.”
Galatians 4:17   GNT


As mentioned in the post, “Alienation in GCx Churches”, the word devoted (or zealous) here is used to mean “eager to possess”.  It is one thing to be genuinely interested in someone to learn about them and their actual interests, and come to care about them.  It is something else to pay much attention to a person with the motive of using the friendship to gain the approval of others, and ultimately to win possession of them to your group. This second type of interest was sadly often modus operandi in GCx Churches.  However, I believe where the Holy Spirit was able to work, he did give us love for one another.  So, when a lot of us were new and not yet fully submitted to the oppressive pressure to please and impress GCx men, just God; we practiced the first type of healthy interest toward others which slowly grows.  Then, as false teaching and indoctrination took over our lives we succumbed to quick “fake” friendships just to get any warm body in the church because that is what gave us value and importance in that greedy church.  

Here are some of the people who have spoken out about the spectacle of “lovebombing” in GCx Churches:



I was a part of the church as they decided to make the transition from Mosaic to H2O [GCx Church group at Ohio State University]... Friendships are formed STRONGLY and QUICKLY, and it can feel like "home." This is called "love bombing”.
-XianJaneway


The key is getting to the basis for most of the relationships in the (authoritarian) GCx franchises. Speaking from experience, these relationships are contingent on how well you support the franchise and really, nothing else. As many of us can attest to, you will likely lose a number of relationships if you decide to leave as these relationships had no foundation built on Christ to begin with.
-boboso


Things went really well for a while. I made lots of friends and started reading and learning about God for the first time in my life. But over the past couple of years there has been a disturbing trend. There were certain times over the years that I would get the feeling from a few members that I was nothing but a project whose value and worth was measured by how many activities I attended.
-GB


More of the strangeness.... The pastor who's inner circle we made it into (you were considered very special) told a "sister" and I that we were to be best friends.  It was stated just like that.  Of course, I was drinking the Kool-Aid and spent years trying to make that happen, as did she.  We had no natural connection and not a lot in common.  But we told people we were best friends.
-Scout


...realizing that the outward appearance of the seeming harmony, unity, friendliness and caring is how they are supposed to act, not truly a manifestation of inner peace and joy that comes from following Jesus.
-wisemind


Once a man has chosen you, you are expected to like him and have a quick courtship and a quick engagement. Once you have your wedding, it would be a noble gesture if you invited people you hardly know who are younger so they can hear the example of how God has blessed you in the system. ... That is why the church I was part of used so many events where testimonials were shared so as to advance the culture.  ...people can be subtly influenced in a group setting to adopt a group think that may or may not relate to God's call on their life. ...determining valuable friendships is truly indicative of the problem within GCx. At the initial level, you matter to the extent that you follow the plan and respond to the invitation to events and church (where you are initially showered with so much love).
-MarthaH



« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 07:55:28 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2019, 03:53:46 pm »

This one was a mainstay.  This “frantic” practice was ridiculous, and recalling the reality of it’s irritation here makes one laugh.  Members didn’t want any potential “disciples” (who might give value to their existence in the group) to get away.  Your worth was in how many new people (believers or not) you could hold captive.


I blended my thinking into theirs until I couldn’t tell the difference. I forgot what was me and what was them. And I never questioned. And I tried to get more people to join. ...I was putting on the Sunday Morning Act which was to ACT really nice and friendly and welcoming so new people would want to come back. I began to notice how if I talked to people on Sunday morning who were CORE members, their eyes would be scanning over my head to look for a new person.
-Agatha L’Orange
« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 08:34:41 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 10:17:20 am »

All is not as it seems AT FIRST -


At first, the church seemed wonderful -- the people were so loving and it seemed unconditional. Over time, I noticed that I was blamed if anything went wrong in my life. ... Reproof was a normal almost weekly event if you didn't do everything leadership wanted you to do.  I was reproved if I didn't get counsel to go visit my family or heavens— [if] I wanted to have a Bible Study in my home and did not get the Elders approval.
-wastedyearsthere

« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 10:19:05 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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Huldah
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2019, 12:40:20 pm »

At first, the church seemed wonderful -- the people were so loving and it seemed unconditional. Over time, I noticed that I was blamed if anything went wrong in my life. ... Reproof was a normal almost weekly event if you didn't do everything leadership wanted you to do.
-wastedyearsthere

Whoah! At first when I started reading that, I wondered, "Did I write that?" Because I could have written it! Then I saw it was from wastedyearsthere. Initial lovebombing, followed eventually by constant reproof and disapproval. That was definitely the pattern.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2022, 08:34:42 pm »



Did anyone else have a sensation of "waking up" after they left? I had a very specific moment when it was as though I woke from a long sleep and I remembered what I had said the first time I attended the church 8 years earlier (no joke, I really said this the first Sunday), "Either it's the friendliest church in the world, or it's a cult." I then proceeded to attend it wholeheartedly for 8 years. 

My husband says when we left is when he finally grew up into being a man who was responsible for himself and could think for himself.  Shame on us for confusing dependency and permission with following God and doing God's work.

-Agatha L’Orange


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PietWowo
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2022, 11:41:02 pm »

The idea of lovebombing is almost funny to me... Many businesses and many groups do this. Huge businesses like Walmart won't do that.... But go and buy a car and some cardealership... Buy a house from a realtor... They all will lovebomb you.... That's how they get members or clients... Every politician, except some communists ones that I know, do this... Even guys that want to marry a girl will court them... (In the sense of be very nice to them, at least at first)...

What is so different about GCx (which really now doesn't exist anymore) churches?

It's a sincere question...
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margaret
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2022, 10:51:49 am »

Good question, PW. As I think about it, 'hidden agenda' is what's wrong with it.
One phrase that helped me tremendously shortly after leaving Great Commission was "I am now free to love without an agenda."
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2022, 08:09:16 pm »


... 'hidden agenda' is what's wrong with it.

One phrase that helped me tremendously shortly after leaving Great Commission was "I am now free to love without an agenda."



Scripture agrees with you, Margaret.

Love must be free of hypocrisy.
Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:9


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For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
pvitartas
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2022, 02:03:35 pm »

The guy "assigned to me" had nothing to do with me after I left.  I sent a few emails - no reply - no apology. 
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PietWowo
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2022, 03:43:54 pm »

Good question, PW. As I think about it, 'hidden agenda' is what's wrong with it.
One phrase that helped me tremendously shortly after leaving Great Commission was "I am now free to love without an agenda."

Sorry Margaret, I never saw your reply. Yes, motives are very important, though I have to say again that pretty much the vast majority of people in many countries will try to win you over to their goals by what they say. They'll tell you whatever they think you want to hear. In some countries, it's so baked in that even little kids will do this. Actually I think the USA is far more direct than about 85% of the other countries...

If you really want people that are very direct and tell you exactly what they think, go to Western Europe. And I found the folks in Israel to be very direct.

But I do agree that being sincere is the best way to do the work of God...  I Thess 2 probably has the best example in the Scriptures on that.
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araignee19
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2022, 12:00:36 pm »

The idea of lovebombing is almost funny to me... Many businesses and many groups do this. Huge businesses like Walmart won't do that.... But go and buy a car and some cardealership... Buy a house from a realtor... They all will lovebomb you.... That's how they get members or clients... Every politician, except some communists ones that I know, do this... Even guys that want to marry a girl will court them... (In the sense of be very nice to them, at least at first)...

What is so different about GCx (which really now doesn't exist anymore) churches?

It's a sincere question...

Doesn’t seem like there is much of a difference. But therein lies the problem. I do NOT want my church acting the same as my car dealership or politicians.
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PietWowo
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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2022, 01:09:48 am »

The idea of lovebombing is almost funny to me... Many businesses and many groups do this. Huge businesses like Walmart won't do that.... But go and buy a car and some cardealership... Buy a house from a realtor... They all will lovebomb you.... That's how they get members or clients... Every politician, except some communists ones that I know, do this... Even guys that want to marry a girl will court them... (In the sense of be very nice to them, at least at first)...

What is so different about GCx (which really now doesn't exist anymore) churches?

It's a sincere question...

Yes, I can see that. Though I will say that I think a lot of that has changed... I do remember visiting another church, that has nothing to do with GCx one time. I was standing there. No one came up to me. Even when it was the time to greet one another. Everyone was just talking with their friends... Finally, I left... A few weeks later, I heard the church do a commercial on the Christian radio, how they were so friendly. I thought, since I drove by the church building that I should tell the pastor of my experience. He appreciated hearing about it. I guess that's the opposite of love bombing. But we are to be hospitable... But no matter, who it is, generally people are different, when you first meet them, than when you know them well. BTW, I've been to many countries, and that's not just in the USA, but all over the world. But the point is taken. You don't want your church to be like a car dealership. Not that there is anything wrong with cardealerships.

Doesn’t seem like there is much of a difference. But therein lies the problem. I do NOT want my church acting the same as my car dealership or politicians.
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araignee19
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2022, 11:51:37 am »

Car dealerships are fine. They have good purpose, which is to help people purchase cars. However, all too often, they use deception, pressure, a false sense of urgency, and sneaky sales tactics to accomplish that purpose without regard for how it affects the customer. All they care about is getting the sale. No one likes being treated this way by car dealerships. Car dealerships at their worst are very analogous to “love bombing” churches.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2023, 08:42:12 pm »



The church I thought I joined had a deep committed love to each other and out of that grew a love for the lost because they had the potential to become one of us! The church I know I left was only interested in numbers and performance, evangelists only, no other spiritual gifts need apply!

... I never totally subscribed to the "we are the only ones doing it right since the first century" attitude, that really irked me and got me more that one reproof... I left [GCx] more than 10 years ago and am now in a good church...

-ustawannabee,   2009




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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2023, 10:35:35 pm »



i joined one of the Colorado [GCx] churches… happy faces, cheerie conversations and an unheard-of interest in my life were what seemed to have bought me. …the point is that the movement has learned how to feign the signs of a utopic community. …

for about a year i was happy. … but then the dust started to settle down. … i just remember how i started feeling alienated. the fancy words like "leadership", "discipleship", "commitment" and "humility" didn't have the former appeal - but, on the contrary, turned sour. i felt like a grown man who was being fed on baby food. i wanted meat, but was being given the previously digested leftovers by my "leaders".  their sincere interest for my life turned out to be a robotic compliance to god's command to love the neighbor.

i started voicing some of the thoughts i had during our bible study get-togethers. … if you express a doubt and criticism toward the movement - there would certainly be a change of colors. you would, all of a sudden, have these seemingly-not-connected conversations with different people about some of the things you brought up earlier during the bible study...all of them would reinforce the goodness and usefulness of the methods used in the church. if that wasn't enough, somehow the pastor would want to meet with you and talk about the same exact thing. the topic would, no wonder, be brought up very nonchalantly, as if there was no agenda behind the meeting. …

i didn't seem to show any spiritual growth, which they equated to absolute submission to the principles of the church. … i honestly started feeling "not good enough". i wasn't definitely a leader in the sense they were training us to be. and i wasn't heart and soul sold to the movement to where i was committed to build my life (school, work, family, and etc.) around the local church. …

-skewed_grace   [Left ~ 2007]


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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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