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Author Topic: Statement on Commitment to the Local Church  (Read 3226 times)
Lost Creature
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« on: November 09, 2018, 07:22:19 pm »

Recently, I was looking through GCX's seemingly (and) recently updated website and I found this article in regards to the movement's views on Commitment to the local Church:

http://gccweb.org/who-we-are/about-gcc/statement-on-commitment-to-the-local-church/

While reading, I found this quote stands out and I want to hear your thoughts on this:

Quote
At times pastors in our association have used the phrase “life-long commitment” when referring to local church involvement.
This phrase has been used in order to urge people to be involved in a local church the rest of their lives.  

For the record, it is not the position of GCC that it is God’s will that every person be in the same local church their whole lives or that it is God’s will that a person should never leave a GCC church.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we reaffirm that all Christians must follow Christ, not men, in all decisions regarding their local church involvement (Galatians 1:10).  

At the same time, we do affirm that there are some wonderful benefits for the individual and for the universal church of Jesus Christ when Christians avoid continual “church-hopping” and instead become committed to one local church in their community.

What are we to make of this?

Come to think of it...I do remember hearing other pastors both in my church and elsewhere at times (and in private) making sure we understood what they meant when they said this...

Does this statement confirm this or are there other issues with this statement that I may be missing?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 07:26:10 pm by Lost Creature » Logged
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 08:05:57 pm »

Lost Creature, the statement you found above represents the deception GCX practices regularly to control the publicity of damage they have done.  If this were truly the case then there would be no evidence of shunning.  If the freedom to leave that they are implying was part of their practice, there wouldn’t be lots of people on here testifying to the harassing and painful experience they suffered in making their exit.  There is an assembly of quotes on this site of at least forty members who were not only shunned, but their reputations were also tampered with.  They span the history of the “movement” into as recent as 2016.  They can be found here:

http://forum.gcmwarning.com/general-discussion/shunning-in-gcx-churches/






« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 08:21:14 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 08:15:24 pm »

If they are saying they have conveniently and recently changed their stance on this tragic isssue, then they have a LOT of reputations to restore and a LOT of letters of apology to send out.  The kind of damage they did to friendships, family, careers, finances, etc. and personal well-being in fearfully persuading and shaming members to have lifetime commitment; and deprecating those who left is irreparable in many cases.  But these dishonored people would still be due the dignity of individual acknowledgement of such cruel treatment.




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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 08:32:20 pm »

Could it be that as they stand before God to account for such spiritually abusive actions, his question might be, ”Why did you misrepresent me so?”,?

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Lost Creature
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 09:02:42 pm »

Lost Creature, the statement you found above represents the deception GCX practices regularly to control the publicity of damage they have done.  If this were truly the case then there would be no evidence of shunning.  If the freedom to leave that they are implying was part of their practice, there wouldn’t be lots of people on here testifying to the harassing and painful experience they suffered in making their exit.  There is an assembly of quotes on this site of at least forty members who were not only shunned, but their reputations were also tampered with.  They span the history of the “movement” into as recent as 2016.


This does bring about another question I have...If there was a total of 43,000 members of GCX (per the wiki page)...why do we only have a record of 40 people who are reporting these things?

I am not asking this to discredit this forum nor the concerns it raises...believe me...I have these same concerns, or I wouldn't be here...
But, I also want to be objective...being swayed by neither side...calling out possible errors on either side...

And maybe there are more who haven't spoken...more who felt something weird, but didn't think much of it due to cultural upbringing...

Could it be that as they stand before God to account for such spiritually abusive actions, his question might be ”Why did you misrepresent me so?”

I don't claim to speak for God...but I know when we try to (speak for God), it seems that we are often speaking for ourselves...No matter whether they are for or against GCX...

This statement of yours reveals a bias that is not helpful at all to myself and others who may be trying to remain objective in our research and in our findings...

What are the numbers and do they matter in all of this?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 09:08:28 pm by Lost Creature » Logged
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2018, 09:47:22 pm »

I do not pretend to know exactly what God will say to each person who gives account of their life to him. I do know what Paul has said in Galatians chapter one about those who misrepresent him, teaching a Jesus without love or grace.  It is more condemning than anything else I recall about those who claim to be believers.  It explains what has happened in GCx churches.  In fact, the whole book of Galatians describes very well what we were under in GCx.  I think it was Cult Proof’s husband who said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be in their (GCx leaders’) shoes.’  Mine was a question to consider, not a mandate from God’s mouth like GCx leaders so many times have said or implied.  All one would have to do is play back their teachings of which there is record.  

As far as numbers on here are concerned, I only highlighted (in the topic above) some of the many members who talked about their shunning experience on here.  I only sifted through about 250 of 19,000 posts.  This site contains only those who choose to take the time to write.  Most of us writing here know many people who have been hurt by this church organization who have not written here.  They may not even know about it’s existence. I didn’t for at least three years.  GCx churches tell their people it is SIN to read any negative things about them, especially on the Internet.  But, if I were to guestimate what the percentage is of those writing here to those who have been spiritually abused by GCx churches, it likely isn’t more than 5%.  It would probably not be too high to say a 1000 of the 1300 members of this site agree with it’s purpose to acknowledge and warn about the serious spiritual abuse of GCx.  Those 1000 members (perhaps 5%) multiplied by 20 would be 20,000 members. I don’t think too many would ignore that.  When government representatives receive one complaint in writing from a constituent they often regard it as at least 100 people having the same complaint (unless, of course, it is quite unique) because few people take the time to write.  In that case, it would only be 1% representation.



« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 10:20:16 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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PietWowo
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 10:36:58 pm »

Good question. In the years before the weakness paper, there was a big emphasis on reaching the entire world with the Gospel. There was also a big emphasis that they i.e. GCx were doing this. And because most churches outside of GCx didn't have that as their goal, it would seem that they were the only ones to do this. Now, this might have been a thing similar to Elijah saying that he was the only one, who didn't bow down to Baal and God reminded him that there were 7,000 others. So, because reaching the world was such an important goal, it was counseled to give one's whole life to this. So, people were encouraged to stay and continue working towards THAT goal.

Since the early nineties, i.e. over 25 years ago, that hasn't been emphasized or taught. As a matter of fact, I left a GCx church for a number of years and stayed friends there and would hang out with the pastor and never received any pressure whatsoever to return back.

So, that is why you see a difference now and back then. The statement on the website reflects the current situation.

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Rebel in a Good Way
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2018, 06:22:28 am »

It is interesting to see some of the changes they've made to their website.  I notice they took down their "God Honoring Authority" paper.  I liked to quote that one a lot in showing their authoritarian leadership--and, I won't stop just because they're hiding it  Wink

I'm curious how you get to that link?  I know I can click on it and get right there, but what tab is it under from the main page?

Regarding your question about the percentage of people involved to the people on this page--that seems pretty normal to me looking at other questionable movements.  Between 12-15 people have told me personally that they read the forum but they never register or post, and I believe that is true for other forum members.  In fact, you can read the usage stats on the bottom to see that many, many more people actually consult it. 

It takes courage, time, and motivation to participate on the forum. Some people are too afraid to participate after having been abused so badly (which is understandable!) and just want to protect themselves without accidentally revealing their identity.  Others might want to participate but don't have time or are just focused on life or their own healing.  And some just make their escape and don't look back.  These are all normal responses to leaving an unhealthy church.  That leaves a small handful of people to participate in the thing, and really they are all over the place as far as their current beliefs, what their experiences were, etc.  I guess I think the forum serves a purpose (for those who are questioning or have left and are trying to understand their experience) or I wouldn't be here.  Smiley

Recently, I was looking through GCX's seemingly (and) recently updated website and I found this article in regards to the movement's views on Commitment to the local Church:

http://gccweb.org/who-we-are/about-gcc/statement-on-commitment-to-the-local-church/

While reading, I found this quote stands out and I want to hear your thoughts on this:

Quote
At times pastors in our association have used the phrase “life-long commitment” when referring to local church involvement.
This phrase has been used in order to urge people to be involved in a local church the rest of their lives.  

For the record, it is not the position of GCC that it is God’s will that every person be in the same local church their whole lives or that it is God’s will that a person should never leave a GCC church.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we reaffirm that all Christians must follow Christ, not men, in all decisions regarding their local church involvement (Galatians 1:10).  

At the same time, we do affirm that there are some wonderful benefits for the individual and for the universal church of Jesus Christ when Christians avoid continual “church-hopping” and instead become committed to one local church in their community.

What are we to make of this?

Come to think of it...I do remember hearing other pastors both in my church and elsewhere at times (and in private) making sure we understood what they meant when they said this...

Does this statement confirm this or are there other issues with this statement that I may be missing?
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bourneforHim
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2018, 08:39:57 am »

When I attended the New Hope location, Doug Patterson made statements some 10 years or so ago about "planting your flag for life" at a local church.  He recommended members did as well, and stated that he was doing just that for life, at this particular church.  The implication was very strong that we do so at that specific church as well.
  After reading the statement on the link Lost Creature provided on this thread I can only surmise that GCM is now implying that members simply mis- understood the original intent.   There was no mis-understanding or lack of clarity.  Doug was very clear.  I can easily understand how Doug can  plant his own flag there.  He was raised up at Evergreen, ordained there by Mark Darling, and is still currently pastoring and employed there.  However, I fail to see how a lifelong commitment at one single church is God's plan for me, or for many to most people.   My circumstances are simply not the same as leaderships are.   God will certainly have many more things in my future that will take me in different directions.  There are many great churches out there and a great many people who need to be reached and/or ministered to.  The harvest is large!
   This is not to say don't dig in at the church you currently attend.  It's very important to serve.  Serving grows you and goes a long way to build relationships.  Serving is  how we are part of the vine that will serve God and reach the lost.  Serving does much to help you feel connected to your church family.
   Thru the 13 years I attended GCM, (1998-2011) the tone of being the one and only church did soften, but I do feel they would subtly brow beat and intimidate people into staying there.  What seems really odd to me, as a "seeker oriented church" that worries a lot about not offending or scaring off new seekers this attitude must  scare numbers of them away.  Not only is "planting your flag for life" at one single church an over commitment for a believer, it must be hair raising for many questioning seekers.

   
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2018, 07:53:19 pm »

I totally agree with your last paragraph above, Rebel.

I am amazed at how many “guests” there usually are reading here.  According to the stats on guests compared to registered members “currently on this forum” there often seem to be about fifteen times as many guests as members.  That and the number of pages read daily show quite a bit of traffic here.  

Also, a number of people have said how they read here for quite some time before posting, and how healing it has been.  

Most importantly, I really believe the Lord has brought so many people here to make sense of what they were involved in to bring to the surface the abuses which they suffered that were never part of Biblical Christianity.  To show them that what they too often saw in leadership is NOT what he is like.  That a different Jesus was portrayed.  I believe He has used this Forum as a sort of courtroom to finally hold a “Hearing” of what has been truly experienced, and what is being hidden and silenced.  Praise GOD for this site!







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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2018, 09:22:21 am »

This does bring about another question I have...If there was a total of 43,000 members of GCX (per the wiki page)...why do we only have a record of 40 people who are reporting these things?

I am not asking this to discredit this forum nor the concerns it raises...believe me...I have these same concerns, or I wouldn't be here...
But, I also want to be objective...being swayed by neither side...calling out possible errors on either side...

And maybe there are more who haven't spoken...more who felt something weird, but didn't think much of it due to cultural upbringing...

Lost Creature - I can think of at least 40 people I know personally who experienced the plant-your-flag-and-die culture and later left. This forum is a minority of a minority of GCX members and past members - just a thin slice of those who have participated.
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Lost Creature
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2018, 07:43:00 pm »

Most importantly, I really believe the Lord has brought so many people here to make sense of what they were involved in to bring to the surface the abuses which they suffered that were never part of Biblical Christianity.  To show them that what they too often saw in leadership is NOT what he is like.  That a different Jesus was portrayed.  I believe He has used this Forum as a sort of courtroom to finally hold a “Hearing” of what has been truly experienced, and what is being hidden and silenced.  Praise GOD for this site!

This is literally the second time you have made a statement like this on this very discussion, after denying it and then temporarily banning me (after I was on this forum for less then a week...with still so many questions).

Can you not see that you are doing the very thing that you are accusing GCX of doing?
Over-spiritualizing your judgement of them by saying God made this forum in the same way GCX leaders say that God started their movement.

I came here seeking objective truth and a way to save the people that I love from themselves...
And you come here saying this forum is a courtroom that the Lord has brought people to...
I thought things like that were not something for us to say?
I thought this was a place for the lost and questioning to come and find out the truth about this movement?

But now I understand why our leaders told us to stay away from this place.
Not because they wanted us to stay away from the truth....But because this is a place where the angry and confused are used by the same manipulations that were used before...just in a different way...
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2018, 02:57:26 pm »

Lost Creature,

I did try to be careful about my quoted statement above with “I really believe” and “I believe” rather than God says/is.  This is my personal perspective.

Thank you for your honesty.  I did reread my posts today, Replies #1,2 & 3 on this thread to you.  I can easily understand how they could have been taken as attacks toward yourself.  I’m very sorry.  I really should have posted them under a different topic rather than as a reply to someone simply asking questions.  I don’t believe you are out of line in asking your questions.  I should have answered them more directly (to you) than as a reply to GCx in general.  I confess I sometimes need to be more focused on the person I’m replying to rather than the spiritual abuse that has happened in general.

I notice people (myself included) do that sometimes- they get all worked up about the injustice while responding to the innocent party just listening or asking questions about the matter.  It seems like they are attacking their listeners.  So sorry. I’ll ask for God’s help in that.  

I’m sorry if I have come across like I am manipulating you or anyone to leave.  That will never be as powerful as someone doing that of their own volition.  Perhaps if some people could take a hiatus from both their GCx Church and this site, and just determine to listen to God’s voice alone (with answers from His Spirit and His Word) that might be what’s most helpful to them.  

Thank you for helping me to be more sensitive to who I am addressing when I post.

Much Prayers,

Janet
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 07:27:53 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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Linda
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2018, 08:12:36 pm »

Quote from: Lost Creature
I thought this was a place for the lost and questioning to come and find out the truth about this movement?

As stated, this is a forum for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, and the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.


Quote from: Lost Creature
But now I understand why our leaders told us to stay away from this place.

Leaders telling people to stay away from a forum where people across the nation/world gather to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practice and theology doesn't seem a tad fishy to you?
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Lost Creature
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2018, 05:29:12 am »

Quote from: Linda
Leaders telling people to stay away from a forum where people across the nation/world gather to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practice and theology doesn't seem a tad fishy to you?

More overbearing honestly than anything else...at least with my leaders.
In my case, I think they were right.

I take back what I said about this being a bad forum.
But I do feel like it's not a great place for someone who is in an emotionally vulnerable state.
Too much confirmation bias and such...but, I digress...

Thank you for your honesty.  I did reread my posts today, Replies #1,2 & 3 on this thread to you.  I can easily understand how they could have been taken as attacks toward yourself.  I’m very sorry.  I really should have posted them under a different topic rather than as a reply to someone simply asking questions.  I don’t believe you are out of line in asking your questions.  I should have answered them more directly (to you) than as a reply to GCx in general.  I confess I sometimes need to be more focused on the person I’m replying to rather than the spiritual abuse that has happened in general.

I notice people (myself included) do that sometimes- they get all worked up about the injustice while responding to the innocent party just listening or asking questions about the matter.  It seems like they are attacking their listeners.  So sorry. I’ll ask for God’s help in that.  

I’m sorry if I have come across like I am manipulating you or anyone to leave.  That will never be as powerful as someone doing that of their own volition.  Perhaps if some people could take a hiatus from both their GCx Church and this site, and just determine to listen to God’s voice alone (with answers from His Spirit and His Word) that might be what’s most helpful to them.  

Thank you for helping me to be more sensitive to who I am addressing when I post.

Much Prayers,

Janet

Thank you, Janet...I forgive you...

I do appreciate your desire to be as helpful as possible, even when I don't always agree with your perspective.
I apologize if I came across as too demanding. I get a bit intense if I feel like I am being played.
I will probably take a hiatus here, but I do appreciate the links you guys gave me.
Will continue to listen to God's voice above all else.

Godspeed to all of you.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 05:32:56 am by Lost Creature » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2018, 08:14:15 am »

Recently, I was looking through GCX's seemingly (and) recently updated website and I found this article in regards to the movement's views on Commitment to the local Church:

http://gccweb.org/who-we-are/about-gcc/statement-on-commitment-to-the-local-church/

While reading, I found this quote stands out and I want to hear your thoughts on this:

Quote
At times pastors in our association have used the phrase “life-long commitment” when referring to local church involvement.
This phrase has been used in order to urge people to be involved in a local church the rest of their lives.  

For the record, it is not the position of GCC that it is God’s will that every person be in the same local church their whole lives or that it is God’s will that a person should never leave a GCC church.



As believers in Jesus Christ, we reaffirm that all Christians must follow Christ, not men, in all decisions regarding their local church involvement (Galatians 1:10).  

At the same time, we do affirm that there are some wonderful benefits for the individual and for the universal church of Jesus Christ when Christians avoid continual “church-hopping” and instead become committed to one local church in their community.

What are we to make of this?

Come to think of it...I do remember hearing other pastors both in my church and elsewhere at times (and in private) making sure we understood what they meant when they said this...

Does this statement confirm this or are there other issues with this statement that I may be missing?


GCC taught commitment to GCC for life. Period. They have NEVER publicly acknowledged that they taught commitment for life to the group and corrected that false teaching. Instead they issued statements like this buried in their web page distancing themselves from that teaching while significant numbers of men on their board believe in commitment to the group for life.

There was a huge push in 2005 to get people to commit for life to Great Commission. Mark Darling (who was a BIG national deal at the time) told a group of several hundred Evergreeners gathered in MN at Hosanna Church that leaving our church was the equivalent to divorcing your spouse. He even said that we (the gathered Evergreeners) were Mark's bride and that we were borrowing the church of another man's (the pastor of Hosanna Church) bride. He then went on to speak in Colorado at an HSLT attended by our daughter and said this to a bunch of high schoolers:

Quote from: Mark Darling, HSLT, 2005
Commitment Number Nine. Make the commitment to devote yourself to your local church for the rest of your life. This is going to be controversial, I will explain it. Devote yourself to your local church for the rest of your life. You need other Christians, you need the body of Jesus Christ. There are a lot of Christians today that frankly are not committed, but they like to say they are. To the universal. I'm committed to the universal body of Christ, Mark. I visit this church over here for a while, and then I date this church over here for a while, and then I date this church over here for a while and then I show up at these 22 Christian concerts over here. And it's this wonderful life. Let me tell you something, that is not the kind of commitment I'm talking about, nor do I believe it is the kind of commitment the New Testament is talking about. But it's linking yourself arm in arm in the local church with men and women of like mind and doing something great together, together.
I made a determination as a young man to not leave my church in Ames until and only when I was sent. I was sent. Now, there is, of course, maybe a unique exception within "our movement" and it's a beautiful thing it's why some of us moved to different cities, big metropolitan areas. One, you may need a job and you can still stay linked with Great Commission Churches because you can find one in that city. Secondly, you may be leaving your local church to go to college to join another Great Commission Church that's like minded and I think that will equally accomplish the same thing. I'm here for life. You're not getting rid of me. I'm here.
[...]
I'm here. I'm with these Christians. I'm with Great Commission. That's where I'll stay. That's where they'll bury me and that's where I'm going to make my stand...because this is where God supernaturally led me.





« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 09:11:02 am by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2018, 08:34:36 am »

If truth is a good thing, I suppose error is a bad one; and if large numbers of nice people are held captive by error that is all the more reason for destroying the error and setting them free. —GK Chesterton, March 26, 1910, Daily News
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2018, 12:08:12 pm »

Quote from: Rick Whitney

"Joining the Ranks
   If someone is going to “Cross over” in their heart and join us, the steps are these.  In our local churches, in our regions, within our movement.  One must:
   1.  Show up!  And keep showing up.
   2.  Roll up your sleeves and start serving.
   3.  Begin to be faithful in sharing your time, money, home and resources.
   4.  Begin to process and understand what our Core Values are.
   5.  Hold to our values, and begin to speak up for them.  Own the vision.
   6.  And say, “This is my family and I will fight for it.”

   This is how someone joins our ranks in a local church.  This is how someone joins our regions.  This is how someone joins our GCC movement.  The steps are exactly the same.  This process is what we are looking for in our local church and it is what we are looking for across this movement of churches." 

FYI: It is not normal for pastors of churches who are members of the national board to suggest that people "cross over in their heart" and join a movement.

Also, for those who were raised in the movement, it is not theologically correct to suggest that our church "family" is a separate "family". All believers belong to the same "family".

The above statement taken from Rick Whitney's web page has never been corrected. He sits on the national board. They truly believe they are "special" Christians and they believe in commitment to the group (Great Commission) for life.
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2018, 08:10:25 pm »

Thank you, Janet...I forgive you...

I do appreciate your desire to be as helpful as possible, even when I don't always agree with your perspective.
I apologize if I came across as too demanding. I get a bit intense if I feel like I am being played.
I will probably take a hiatus here, but I do appreciate the links you guys gave me.
Will continue to listen to God's voice above all else.

Godspeed to all of you.


Thank you, Lost Creature.  God Bless You.

He is doing a work in all of us.  Can never go wrong listening to God’s voice above all else!

Godspeed to You,
Janet
« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 08:32:00 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
Wingless_Butterfly
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2018, 11:26:10 pm »

A few months ago, when I was still thinking about whether or not to leave my GCC church / though there were huge, glaring issues - my pastors decided to interrupt our Friday night groups for a series of special meetings. They were about God's vision for the local church. On one such Friday night, I fought tears throughout the entire meeting because my pastor described people who leave the church as follows;

"Some people will visit here the way they visit a restaurant. They'll come regularly, maybe even for years. but one day they'll think, 'Oh I don't like the lights in here, let's go somewhere else.' and then visit another restaurant. And another. It's always about them and what they want. A church is not a restaurant! It's a commitment! Leaving a church is like divorcing your spouse."

I was struggling so hard with the thought of leaving my congregation. I didn't want to leave because of personal preference, but because there were things in our church that simply did not coincide with God's word. Things like sound teaching, or true discipleship. Hearing my pastor talk this way about a struggle so deep and tangible in my own heart discouraged me so deeply that I went home and cried for like half an hour. It wasn't just that I felt attacked. He was making fun of me, though indirectly. He made it seem like there was no legitimate reason to leave. And to compare it to MARRIAGE?! Geeeezzzeee.

I bringing this up just to say that the thought behind this kind of statement of commitment prevails. It's 2018.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 04:36:34 am by Wingless_Butterfly » Logged
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