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is Walnut Creek Community Church cultish?  (Voting closed: December 11, 2009, 12:30:26 pm)
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Author Topic: walnut creek community church - DesMoines  (Read 9354 times)
sarah
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« on: December 04, 2009, 12:30:26 pm »

 I am very concerned about what my freshman daughter is getting herself into with this church and being pushed to attend the Faithwalkers convention in December in Nebraska. (I said NO).  Any information would be greatly appreciated about Walnut Creek Community Church in DesMoines...good and/or bad.  I just want to be informed!
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TerryD
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 04:22:21 pm »

You are wise to be cautious about your college student and Great Commission. To better understand the issues in GC's history, teaching and practice, read the material on the main portion of the gcmwarning.com site. There is a pattern of high-control, "shepherding," and imbalance in the organization, and others on this forum who have direct experience with the Walnut Creek church may be able to cite specifics.

If your daughter's friends have pointed her to Christ, that's a good thing. It would be safer for her to pursue her faith and develop Christian friendships within an established campus organization; Campus Crusade, Intervarsity, Navigators, or other denominational groups. GC is highly sectarian, vesting far too much authority over individual lives in pastors and leaders.

Blessings!
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G_Prince
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2009, 11:28:46 pm »

Yes, you're right to be concerned about your daughter's involvement. Walnut Creek is crazy-town.

I'm glad you told her no about going to faithwalkers over the holidays. Be warned that they'll want her to do whatever the church is doing over the summer (either staying with a group in Des Moines or going to leadership training) instead of getting a regular job. Discourage this as well.

Especially since she's a woman, they won't take her education very seriously. Watch out for a sudden change in major. They'll also encourage her to live with other girls from the church next year or as soon as possible.

Even though you're right to warn her and to be concerned, they may try to use that to their advantage and get between the two of you. They might tell her that she has to choose between her relationship with her family and "God's plan for her life," as in "whoever does not hate his mother or father is not worthy of me" type stuff. So, even though it's hard to do, tread lightly.

Pray for her. Try to help her keep in touch with old friends. Encourage her interests, and remind her of the person she's always been and always wanted to be.

Best of luck,
Gene
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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
kellie taylor
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2009, 03:47:22 pm »

Hi Sarah-

I too, became involved with a GCM church when I was a freshman in college. Something didn't feel quite right to me after a few months, but I could never put my finger on it. My parent were concerned because I wasn't myself when I came home for Christmas. They asked me for doctrinal statements from the church and wanted to see what I was being taught. Everything I brought home seemed in line with scripture and they were frustrated because they could see me changing, but couldn't figure out what was wrong.

By spring term, I was a mess. I would get headaches when I tried to study, I was highly anxious, and where previously I loved God, I was now scared of Him and of doing anything "outside of His will."

When I came home that summer of my freshman year (I lived in another state), I was distraught, depressed, and didn't know which end was up. Like your daughter I was strongly encouraged to go to the summer training program. If I had gone, there is no way my parents would have been able to help me leave the group. Because they had me home for a few months that summer, I was able to figure out something was seriously wrong and I decided not to go back to college in that state.

I cannot emphasize how different my life would have been had I been able to leave earlier. My parents were able to get me into counseling that summer, but it has taken me many years to process my experience and it has been a long, painful road.

You are doing the right thing by asking questions and having concern for your daughter. I know each person has different experiences with this group. Some people don't seem to have much difficulty, and it really affects others.

Like others have said, the church may try to encourage your daughter not to listen to you, and that she needs to make a choice between church and family. That happened to me. At one point, I told my parents they weren't saved. That didn't go over well. :-) If you know of anyone who has been involved with this church before and had a bad experience, I would ask them to talk to your daughter. Also, Wellspring retreat center could be a valuable resource. You can google it, or find a link on this website. It is sad, but when I was involved in the church, I wouldn't listen to anything my parents tried to tell me. Sometimes it takes someone else to bring truth to the situation. You will be in my prayers.

Kellie
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sarah
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2009, 12:19:23 pm »

I want to thank each person who replied to my "call for help".  Such great advice and it feels good to know there are people out there who care enough to comment and assist others.  The timing is good, as we will have 4 weeks over Christmas break to talk with our daughter, allow her to read what others have to say.  I also contacted the university and the person I spoke with there was aware of this group, the church, etc.  She was happy to know we had picked up it early and encouraged me to try to steer our daughter clear.  We will move forward.  Any other comments are always appreciated!
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LucyB
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2009, 05:15:27 pm »

I hesitate to answer, because others (especially G. Prince) did such a great job, already. Encourage your daughter to maintain all other relationships. Work with her strengths and values. Is she a feminist? Do they encourage her to be the best that she can be for God? Do they focus on how good God is, or do they focus on trying to please God? Do they respect her choice of careers? Do they encourage young people to make wise financial choices, and to work hard in school and be devoted to their jobs and families? Walnut Creek makes a big pretense of being pro-family, but they are only pro their narrow definition of family. Do they support single-parent families? Do they honor women? Do they believe God works with people who are weak and imperfect to accomplish his purpose, or do they strive to create a utopia of perfect families?
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BTDT
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2009, 07:28:18 pm »

Hi, Sarah -- a lot of great advice here, and I'm glad you seem to be taking it.  Although I don't know anything specific about Walnut Creek, I'd like to add another thought or two that might help.

As you read around this site, you'll see a reference to the "apology letter" or "weakness letter".  I was in a GC church when it was distributed, and got to hear its authors talk about it with us.  Some GC churches took it to heart and tried to make things better, others didn't.  That's why it's so very important to look closely and deeply at any GC church or ministry today.

Share that letter with your daughter, and have her measure Walnut Creek with it.  Based on what some others here have shared, my guess is they did not learn from their mistakes, and perhaps even embrace them as virtues rather than the errors they are.

I will say that, in my experience, there are some good, "reformed" Great Commission churches.  I live in a college town, and attended the GC church here for a few years recently.  They still had some remnants of the "lingo", but as far as I can tell, they don't have the hurtful practices of the "old GC".  I've talked openly and honestly with a few of the leaders there, and they're committed to not making the mistakes the early GC did.

I sincerely hope you can work with your daughter to help her make the right decision.  She's an adult, so it's her decision, but my prayer is that she'll see things as they really are, and make a decision that will truly bring her closer to God.

B
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bothered
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 10:17:36 pm »

Sarah -

Also, I have found this website helpful too:

www.gcxweb.org

Be cautious with your daughter's involvement in GCM!

God Bless!

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nelliepooh
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 09:52:13 pm »

Sarah,
 I am very familiar with Walnut Creek church and I would like to say that it would be best for your daughter to stay out.  All the things the other person said about living together, not valuing education and the weaknesses of GCM are blatantly present in this church.
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Godalone
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2010, 01:21:41 pm »

One I will say is that WCCC does support single mothers and such. I can only say this from experience of attending church there for many years. 

I will also say that you need to be very careful not to get sucked in there. I would go as far to call it an occult, but you won't see it right away. Its latent. So be warned after doing much reading I would stay away from GCM churches and find a healthy one.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2010, 01:58:31 pm »

Moreover, we often make our own bad luck. God calls on us to be studied and skillful in all that we do, including such things as music and worship (Exodus 26:1, 28:3, 31:6, 36:1, 1 Samuel 16:16-18, 1 Chronicles 5:18, 15:22, 2 Chronicles 26:15, Psalm 33:3, 47:7, 78:72). We are also to be diligently skillful in our study of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15) so that we become mature and can resist unsound doctrine (Ephesians 4:12-16).

In other words, some of our "bad luck" is not providentially ordained so much as it is a direct result of our laziness, lack of hard work, and unwillingness to become highly skilled. "Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks." (Ecclesiastes 10:18) Even the clergy are expected by God to become highly skilled, "The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching" (1 Timothy 5:17). Sometimes bad luck is not bad luck but the natural result of our lack of study and lack of skill in whatever we are doing.

Though there is insufficient time here to fully explore the relationship, 1 Timothy 4 exposes the correlation between demonic influences, the infiltration of unsound doctrine into the church, and the need for disciplined Bible study and teaching. Paul here warns that doctrines introduced by Satanic scheming are successful because the teachers have not strived, labored, and disciplined themselves appropriately in the Word, ultimately resulting in immature behavior becoming evident in the local church.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

It greatly concerns me that ex-GC people report that the leadership are unsupportive of educational and intellectual study and acheiving sholastic excellence.  Any church leader that endorses the idea of mediocrity in any pursuit of life is unfamiliar with God's standards of conduct in all endeavors.  Such men who embrace mediocrity should not be teachers and church leaders.
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MidnightRider
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2010, 02:23:54 pm »

It greatly concerns me that ex-GC people report that the leadership are unsupportive of educational and intellectual study and acheiving sholastic excellence.  Any church leader that endorses the idea of mediocrity in any pursuit of life is unfamiliar with God's standards of conduct in all endeavors.  Such men who embrace mediocrity should not be teachers and church leaders.

Back in the early 1980s, my GCx pastor mentioned this. He said that in the early days, they would tell guys to drop out of school and spend all their time sharing the gospel. Then later, when the guy got married and had a couple of kids, he would have to work 12 hour days at a minimum wage job just to feed his family. Then where was all that time he was supposed to spend sharing the gospel? So they began to see that education had some value.

I wish they would have been willing to see the issue more in terms of what is best for their members, rather than just a calculation about how many dorm doors you could knock on. But I guess we can be thankful for a little progress.

This is one of those issues that was supposed to have been cleared up by the Apology Statement.

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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2010, 06:17:01 pm »

I'm sad to report that I have recently been told of several more kids from the Des Moines group who have either dropped out of college or who have changed career paths to make themselves more easily "movable" for church plants and available for church work.  I have no way of know if this is true without pinning down people that I don't know and asking, but the person who told me is reliable and I trust her.  If this is the case, this is very sad.

Young adults need to be investing in the gifts God gave them, achieving their potential, and using their whole selves in life.  I'm crushed to think of the talented young people who have quit developing their God-given gifts and interests and who have channeled them in to GC pursuits. Some of these kids are changing after 6 months at school because of the heavy focus on the freshman class.  When compared with partying, GC can seem like a refreshing alternative, but it's refreshment ends once you realize that you traded away something far more valuable than freshman foolishness.  Once committed to GC, the trade is the rest of your life (your full decision on who you marry, how you parent, where you live, your time, your resources).  GC is a jealous lover that takes and doesn't give a whole lot in return.

I find this terribly sad.
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nelliepooh
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2010, 07:44:45 pm »

Very sad. Is there any way to get it to change?  I've brought things to my family member about it and it strains our relationship and I only hear gc lingo about why I shouldn't be concerned. 
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Cossette729
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2010, 08:50:15 pm »

One I will say is that WCCC does support single mothers and such. I can only say this from experience of attending church there for many years.

Not to go off-topic, but I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one, Godalone.  Tolerating single mothers and allowing them to do the hard work that makes the church run is not the same as supporting them.  I attended WCCC for several years along with my single mother.  The disparaging attitudes towards single-parent families in that church may be subtle, but they are pervasive.  No one in that church ever once showed my mother the respect and admiration she deserved.  In fact, when I identified myself as someone who grew up in a "Christian family," I was told that I didn't "really" grow up in a Christian family because my parents were divorced.  I know for a fact that our experience was not unique.  WCCC is a toxic environment for single-parent families.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2010, 06:33:12 am »

I would love to hear from Sarah again!  Nelliepooh, I would say just be there for your family member.  I've found in our situation just being there, living a Christian life outside of GC, being happy with my family, and free has been the best testimony of all.  You see, some people can't even comprehend that there are healthy Christians outside of GC.  To them that is impossible!  But thank goodness that there are!  Just be yourself.  I'm not perfect.  Gosh, I'm in counseling where I'm pinpointing what went wrong!  But even in the middle of all of that and stressful situations with the health of my children, I still am truly happier and free than I ever was in GC.  A lot of that happiness and freedom comes from being able to look squarely at the trauma, sadness, and pain and to call it what it is.  It's turned my life upside down but in a deliciously good way even through the tears!  I'm getting there.  I "gave over the controls" a bit to GC, gosh and to some extreme groups before that, and to my parents before that.  I'm pinpointing what went wrong, making sense of it all, and coming out a lot less sure of things and a whole lot more healthy in the long run.

Healthy disagreement is good.  Questioning is good.  Research is good.  Healthy communication is good.  Thinking for yourself is good.  All of these things were completely forbidden in GC.  Can you believe that?  Look at that list again.  ALL of those things were forbidden in GC!  WOW!

In my local church these were not allowed without disapproval.  In our national movement they were not allowed.  This is so obvious to me now that this was unhealthy.  But at the time, it sounded like the sacrifice we were supposed to be willing to make as Christians. 

My advice:  Just live a life outside of GC that allows for free thought.  It will look like a picnic to some and to others a land of horrors.

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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2010, 07:13:06 pm »

Oh my goodness, hello, Godalone!  I just noticed that you are new here.  Welcome!  I'd love to hear more of your story. Smiley
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Godalone
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2010, 08:24:13 pm »

Cossette729 I'm sorry to hear that you were mistreated that way. I myself am not a single mother, but from being involved with one of the ministries for mom's it "appeared" that they were loved and excepted.

Everything that I have read on here and on gcm warning list really seems to fit Walnut Creek. My family left more over doctrinal reasons and lack of preaching. You hear the same messages over and over. You are not encouraged to ask questions to the leadership and when you do they shoot you down. I would say that most of the things I have read about dating and such really applies to there DTC campus in downtown Des Moines. Walnut Creek has 4 campus' now. I'm not quite comfortable giving to much info about my situation. We have visited a few churches in the Des Moines area and for me I have trust issues (especially with woman). My family and I do feel like we have found a healthy church and feel like we could get the help we need to start fresh. Also WCCC never contacted us when we left and we never told any pastors. We were there seven years. So be patient with as I might share more. I'm not a strong writer and need a lot of prayer. I know of others in that church that are struggling and need prayer also.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2010, 09:25:02 pm »

Wow, Godalone.  I will pray for you.  In fact, I'm wondering about opening up a prayer thread.  That might help keep things straight.  I'd like to be more of a support for people. 

And Cossette, I'm sorry for you too!  That's really, really rough.   Sad
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upthecreek
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« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2010, 07:47:44 am »

I don't know if it is too late to speak to this. I found this website not too long ago. It made me sick to my stomach to read what people are relating. I went to Walnut Creek and left. It was hard. I came in as a young person and people treated me so well and loved me. Later I felt that the only way I could get that love was to serve or evangelize. That is what they said mattered. I mentioned helping serve in other ministries around town, but they only wanted me to serve there. It was so much like a club. They would say they were private citizens and then tell you who they would vote for from the pulpit. That's fine, but I felt like I had to go and vote for their candidate. There was nepotism there and favoritism. The pastor put a picture of his family on the screen and pointed to everyone and said "he's a pastor, he's a decon, hes on staff". Then he told us to have at least 5 kids becaus thats how many are in a quiver. I left and once I did it was hard. I love people there but when they see me they seem uncomfortable. I think its because they don't know how to react.
I spoke with a friend and there are lots of people leaving. They aren't being told the truth why people left. I think people in there should talk to people who left and see if they get a different story. Before I left, I talked with my friend who left before and asked why she left. She told me of how she was controled and gave exampled. She was confronted by a leader and asked to commit to the church for life. When I told my bible study leader about this, I was told to talk to the pastor. He put a spin on it and made it sound like my friend was the one with the problem.
I'm glad to be gone. It is so hard to leave. I'm not a loyal person if some peoples eyes and not on the wall with them. That hurts. They don't see it that way, but I see it in their eyes. There are some nice people there and I think they think they are loving. Leadership isn't balanced. I used to tell staff what the problems were. Some saw it and said it would change. Then after a while I was told I needed to change. All they want us to do is work and evangelise.
The pastor used to talk on stage about how he led this guy to Christ and how he used to smell and now he is this great laborer, but now he is gone because he was manipulated by him! They don't listen! Leaders have left too. I asked a friend about it and she said nobody knows why. It is all hush-hush.
I hope your daughter is in a healthy fellowship. My parents spoke with the pastors and were told there was nothing to worry about. It is wolf in sheeps clothes.
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