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Author Topic: ex-shep: Things I like about GC  (Read 3093 times)
exshep
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« on: March 16, 2007, 06:10:29 pm »

We all step forward to one degree or another to bash GC*. Here is a great opportunity to praise a group for their good work - Do you care to share their name or affiliation? It should be most welcome here to point out a good Church when one is found.

No bashing is allowed in the forum. I have seen the admins delete venomous threads. I have no axe to grind. The tone of the blog is here are the facts, these are our experiences. The reader has to decide for himself. If there were not an abundance of bad fruit, the blog would not be here. If there were not good in GC, I would not be there. I believe the Lord will bring the issues to light for his ultimate good. I have already seen good fruit and some little inklings of hope. There are some issues which creep up in the blog which are disturbing.

What specific things do I like about GC? Not in any particular order.

1. The love the churches have for the Lord.

2. The enthusiasm and dedication, sometimes a little overstated for my taste, but I love them anyway

3. John Hopler’s messages are inspiring and thought provoking. For one who has over 20 years of 12 step recovery, the series from the fall of 2005 is a great source of hope. His series at New Song Columbus on Celebrate Recovery was outstanding. I was also impressed with God the Deliverer Faithwalkers 2006. I just listened to it a second time yesterday in the car.

4. Tom Short’s mission to the college campuses. He has mellowed out of the years. In early years I found him to be quite intimidating. I have to give him credit. He has been upfront that he is with Linworth Road Church, Columbus, member of GCAC. No hidden agenda. He is more interested in a student cultivating a walk with the Lord than it being in a GC fellowship. He is not as “in your face” compared too many campus preachers. I rather like his style. If he is in reasonable driving distance, I will take a day off from work to hear on the campus he is scheduled. If I were working I would be more consistent in my support for him.

5. The meals and worship times in the now defunct Ohio Christian Fellowship, Ohio University, Athens, OH (1982-1984). The leaders, without a doubt, were caught up in the shepherding milieu at the time. Those revelations were to come later. The canned spiels were a bit cloying; but their hearts were in the right place. They meant well. There was genuine warmth in the group. Some the programs they put on were serious and some were quite entertaining. I would not be as naive to give the former church carte blanche endorsement. There were some serious issues of contention which drove me into the anti-cult movement— but that is another blog.

6. David Bovenmyer genuine understands the abuses of the past. His counseling expertise is admirable. His presentation, “Dealing with the Hurts of the Past”, was the best presentation at Faithwalkers so far. It is going to take me a bit to sift through the feeds.

7. The diversity of church structure and worship styles. I am not able to visit every GC website, but it is hard to stereotype the churches. Hope Fellowship, UNT, Denton, TX and Grace Community Church, Plano, TX are two completely different breeds of cat. I have borrowed the AA slogan “Take what you like and leave the rest”. On line, and it a subjective impression at best, Salt Lake Rock and New Song Columbus seem to be my perennial favorites.

8. Hope Fellowship, University of North Texas. I will be sad the day they move out of their Sunday worship site. They meet in an Art Gallery. It is a warm intimate setting conducive to worship. If I long for the 80s era choruses, this is as close as I going to get. The worship team is a curious upbeat syncopated eclectic mix of folk and contemporary Christian. Hold on to your hats, it is going to be fun morning of worship and praise. I have been known to sneak in early to hear them warm up. Brother Patel, the pastor, strikes me more as detached Eastern master than a preacher. The sermons are quiet and well thought out. I know and respect the student leaders. I took a day off from work to volunteer my time when Tom Short was at UNT last fall. The only complaint I have had is when the UP comes rumbling past the worship center with Fort Worth bound freight. It does dampen the spirit of the worship a touch, but this rail fan cannot resist the distraction either.

9. Grace Community Church, Plano, TX. I joined in the winter of 2005. It was not until the fall that I was serious about my commitments. How I ended up there? It was not my idea. The most thoroughly honest response I can offer is the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and told me it was time to makes amends with a, now apparently, former GC member. I was looking at what GC was like today. I felt like Noah in the Bill Cosby rendition of the flood. “Lord, you want me in Great Commission? Right!! Lord, am I on Candid Camera?” The church has gone to great lengths to detach themselves from the Shepherding milieu of what the senior pastor and I refer to as “the McCotter years”. I picked up on the non threatening atmosphere right away. Today I serve because it is a nice place to worship. I do not mind the thirty mile drive, although I will gladly covet prayers that my wife and I can find work and a place closer to church. It is an example on how one can get it right.

My creative juices are starting to run low. I have come to the conclusion the Lord has me in GC for a reason. There are enough supporting experiences where I can continue on reasonable faith. What I have experienced since December 2004 has paid off priceless dividends.
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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.
exshep
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2007, 08:17:07 pm »

Since the post, I have left GC and moved back to Ohio. I am mostly GCd out and have moved on to another church.
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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.
exshep
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 11:12:54 am »

Quote
Since the post, I have left GC and moved back to Ohio. I am mostly GCd out and have moved on to another church.


I have been busy trying to set up shop in Ohio.  GC has been really low on the priorities list.  I am sure when the dust settles and the finances improve, I will have time to take stock of the two years in GC.  It was  a good experience.  I learned a lot. I did not regret it.  I did see the good, the bad,  and the you got to be kidding.  

Any feedback pro or con is welcomed.
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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.
lone gone
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 04:38:36 am »

Ex-shep
 SOunds like you were cycling.

Human behavior often exhibits "cycling" .... we cycle to and from things, like an excentric orbit. Sometimes the gravitational attraction is broken and we move on.

It's like eating dinner. first a fork of potatoes, then some peas, then some chicken. around and around the plate until it's all gone or until we are full and dont need to cycle around the plate anymore.

Over time, God allows us to expereince many things. One human trait that He has given us is the ability to learn from our mistakes. Some experts state that it is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to learn.

Not that re-associating with GC was a mistake, but I feel you learned something.  

My prayer for myself, learned while I was involved with the Ames Iowa GC church is this:

Lord, keep me for yourself, no matter what the cost.

Over the years, I have been amazed at the personal cost to me. It have lost many things, things that I had chosen for myself that I thought were right for me, , but apparently were not.

Through it all I have been kept by God for Himself.
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exshep
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 06:12:52 pm »

Not that re-associating with GC was a mistake, but I feel you learned something.  



I love the analogy of cycling.  

I think the advantage that I had was able to get an closer look at the inner works without the emotional investment that many former members suffer.  I had already been out of  shepherding for 20  years, so I had some maturity and detatchment.  I am delighted to have the time.  It would not trade it for anything.  It also feels good that chapter is over.  Cleveland to Pittsburgh is not that long a drive.  Will have to find a Starbucks to play catch up when I am fully on my feet.  Thanks for the insight.
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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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