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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2009, 11:11:19 am »

Like JAT-- I too was happy with GCC for the first few years.  I put up with alot of things I knew weren't right because of the misperception that I wouldn't find a "perfect" church.  The problems and abuse  became very apparent when I started having more problems in my life.  Blame the victim was their game.  I think many people have problems with the church but stay because of the "friendships" there or else are stuck.

I stayed about 5 years longer than I should have because I enjoyoed some of my friendships there.  All these friends dumped me once I left the church.

GCC members BEWARE -- these friendships are conditional and are based on your continued involvement with this ministry.  As most of us have reported here -- if you leave you are either shunned, dumped or told to have limited involvement with you.

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jat5453
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2009, 07:55:38 pm »


  To answer angry's question i did not mean that a movement was wrong by not continuing in sin. That is not what i meant at all and i'm sorry that i gave you that impression!!!!!!!! What i meant was that if a church apologizes for sin and does not continue in it, then they should be forgiven. Just because there was sin does not mean the whole movement should be condemned.
  To answer someone else, i do not believe that my GC church is abnormal bc/it is a good church. I actually believe the spiritually abusive churches are those that are abnormal. As I said, I know a lot of amazing leaders in GCM. John Hopler, Mark Groff, Timmy Powers, and Ken Young to name just a few. I think that the root of the problem is not the churches but sin is.
   I am so deeply sorry you all were hurt through GCM. It breaks my heart to know that there is evil even amoung such a wonderful thing as GCM. Please, am asking you not to blame GCM and GCC. GCM is full of beg hearted Christians on fire for the Lord. They are a group of people dedicated to reaching to world in this generation. Christ has used them to lead thousands to the Lord. Please, blame the sin not the chruch. As Christians, we are all part of the same church, Christ's body.
  Also, Please don't take what i'm saying as judgmental. That is not my intention at all.

P.S. I apologize for any type-Os you may find. 
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Huldah
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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2009, 08:19:01 pm »

JAT, you bring up an interesting topic: apologies from the church. I've read the Weaknesses Paper. I assume there have been other generalized apologies. In some ways, an apology to everybody is really an apology to nobody.

I once pointed out some Scripture to John Hopler that contradicted his assertion that women shouldn't exercise spiritual authority. (It was the story of Huldah, in 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chron. 34). John had never seen those passages and had never even heard of Huldah! This upset me for two reasons. The first was that he & the other leaders apparently didn't care enough to take that passage into consideration once it was pointed out; they didn't even care enough to try to "explain it away." It made me feel like my concerns didn't matter to them because all they wanted from me was conformity. Second, why had he presumed to speak as an authority on the topic, if he'd failed to do the basic research, anyway? Even a casual read-through of the Bible would have caused him to discover those passages. Didn't he know how many people took his words to heart? Wasn't he obligated to have a solid knowledge of Scripture before he started exercising such authority over the lives of others?

Maybe, as you're reading this, you're telling yourself, "That can't be true. There must be some misunderstanding." No. I was there, and this is what happened. You can ask him about it if you want. I don't know if he even remembers the incident. For me, it set the pattern and tenor of my subsequent struggles at GC, and thus I have never forgotten it.

Therefore, my question is: can you recall any incident where a member or former member justly rebuked a GC leader for abuse or corrected a false teaching, and that leader apologized and then changed specific behaviors or teachings based on the correction?

(Edited slightly for the sake of precision.)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 12:50:46 pm by Huldah » Logged
jat5453
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2009, 08:20:32 pm »

Someone said GCM friends would leave if your left the church. I stand to testify i have never seen that happen. There have been a lot of good people leave our church(bc/they moved or got married ect.) on good terms. We still keep in touch with them and so do most of the memebers of my church. One of our pastors said that one thing that he cherishes about our church is that after people leave we are still a body of believers, we still stay in fellowship. I have seen that this is true time and time again. Please, do not blame GCM. I is the individual members of the individual churches who cause most of the problems.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2009, 08:58:58 pm »

Now that was interesting.  I have not been to an official GC site in quite some time.  But noted this comment on their advertisement for GCLI (Great Commission Leadership Institute) training: 
Quote
GCLI Program  Since 1970, Great Commission churches have pioneered church-based leadership development in the local church. The GCLI program helps aspiring church leaders combine pastoral mentoring with core values and doctrinal training to equip the next generation of leaders in Great Commission churches.

So much for the theory that GC leadership has broken from their past and become something new and better.  It is not possible to disown the errors of the past while also enshrining them, codifying them, and teaching them to new generations.



 
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puff of purple smoke
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« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2009, 09:43:53 pm »

Someone said GCM friends would leave if your left the church. I stand to testify i have never seen that happen. There have been a lot of good people leave our church(bc/they moved or got married ect.) on good terms. We still keep in touch with them and so do most of the memebers of my church. One of our pastors said that one thing that he cherishes about our church is that after people leave we are still a body of believers, we still stay in fellowship. I have seen that this is true time and time again. Please, do not blame GCM. I is the individual members of the individual churches who cause most of the problems.

You mentioned that some people left because they moved or got married - did these people go to non-GC churches or move to another GC church somewhere? How many people that left because of doctrinal disagreements do you and your church keep in contact with? Are you aware that in GCLI training documents it says that if someone was to leave their GC church they should have the counsel and blessing of their pastor, and that GC churches "demonstrate, teach, and practice a much higher standard of commitment and loyalty than we might see in other spheres"? Mark Darling and Rick Whitney have taught to someone should commit to the movement for the rest of their life - what are your thoughts on this?

Sorry to throw so many questions at you, but I and many others here experienced our entire friend groups cast us aside us the moment we left our GC church, so I am curious to hear more from someone who claims to have observed the opposite.
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boboso
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2009, 01:38:06 pm »

jat,

Thanks for coming back and continuing the correspondence.

We've all been severely hurt by a GCx franchise church and most of our testimonies are here. To be fair, not all GCx franchises have the same level of abuse or continue the heavy handed authoritarianism.

I personally know some of the people who you spoke of also and one in particular I know in that list doesn't practice any of the general GCx "leadership" practices we see here. Praise God!

Bottom line is though, saying that no church is perfect and that GCx has apologized "enough" doesn't change any of the facts that these abuses continue in GCx franchises nor does it absolve anyone who buys into the authoritarian model. None of us have any other motive here on this website other than to share our common experiences and to warn others of GCx's abusive structures. I personally do not harbor any hatred for anyone still in GCx and I would actually love to re-establish some of the relationships. However, the same people (who "led" me in "love") I refer to specifically rejected me once I left the franchise. To me, this means our "relationship" was never built on the love of Christ, but on the devotion to a man-made movement. Truly sad.

Jat, please be objective. I'm hoping you are in one of the healthier churches (maybe you are overseas?) and that you are able to love God and your neighbors freely with all of your heart. Did you ask the questions I threw out there before? Please don't be afraid -- if they give you ambiguous answers, ask why. This is not a means to cause division, all you are doing is asking for the truth.
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jat5453
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2009, 03:44:36 pm »

 I would like to answer the question about people leaving. Yes, some people have left because of doctrinal disagreements, and ,yes, some others have left to non-GCM churches. My familiy and many others from our church still keep in touch w/all of these people. We know that even though because we are seperated by "pety divisions" we are still brothers and sisters in Christ, and therefore, part of his body. Infact, some of my best friends have left the church. Anyway, there is the answer. Also,I may be mistaken, but i think a lot of you had problems in the early days of GCM. As you have noted, they have grown and changed greatly since them. I do not think that their apologies were "generic" in any way. I know that they were sincere and pentive. However, the church was not nearly all bad in the "old days." How could they be? Thousands of people were led to the Lord.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2009, 04:34:43 pm »

Quote
As you have noted, they have grown and changed greatly since them.

Well, I don't know.  Have we noted this?  We've tried to note this... but GCx isn't cooperating!  They just want to call us "online detractors" instead of taking this seriously.  I think we're trying very hard to be open minded... but the evidence continues to mount against change rather than for it.
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Glad to be free.
puff of purple smoke
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2009, 04:54:03 pm »

I would like to answer the question about people leaving. Yes, some people have left because of doctrinal disagreements, and ,yes, some others have left to non-GCM churches. My familiy and many others from our church still keep in touch w/all of these people. We know that even though because we are seperated by "pety divisions" we are still brothers and sisters in Christ, and therefore, part of his body. Infact, some of my best friends have left the church. Anyway, there is the answer.

Thank you for the response. The reasoning above is how I argued it should be when I was deeply involved in a GC church and witnessed many situations I felt were unfair and unloving, but the "ignore people when they leave" behavior was explained away and/or denied even though it was clear to all what would happen if you ever left. A good friend of mine stayed with GC for much longer than she wanted to simply because she knew what would happen if she left, even on good terms, and when she did finally leave exactly that happened - her friends stopped talking to her. In the end I myself found a GC leader trying to use my friend group against me as sort of collateral, which was an eye-opener to me because I realized the people I thought of as friends were not actually because they were willing to go along with it.

Quote
Also,I may be mistaken, but i think a lot of you had problems in the early days of GCM. As you have noted, they have grown and changed greatly since them. I do not think that their apologies were "generic" in any way. I know that they were sincere and pentive. However, the church was not nearly all bad in the "old days." How could they be? Thousands of people were led to the Lord.

I was a member until only a couple of years ago, so what I witnessed was not old news. Originally the entire GCMWarning & DeComm sites were filled with recent members, although over time many older GCI members have joined as well. There is a steady flow of current members who have experienced problems, however.

When I left GC I managed to get hold of the error statement, which at that time was not easy to come by because even small group leaders didn't seem to know what it was, and I was shocked at the similarities between the abusive behaviors apologized for and the behaviors of my GC church, which led to a greater interest in GC history in general. But, it sounds like the GC church you are in, or at least the particular small group you are involved with, is working out well for you so that's good. I guess just keep your eyes open because many of the issues GC has weren't obvious to me right away.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 04:55:47 pm by puff of purple smoke » Logged
exshep
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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2009, 12:40:56 pm »

Jat5453 -

Thank you for sharing.

It has been determined here that there are healthy churches as well as unhealthy churches within the gc* framework.

Sounds like you found a basically healthy one - good for you.  Many of us have been burned by "unhealthy" ones and react accordingly.

I am hoping beyond hope that your statement below was a typo -

"... I do believe ,though, that a whole movement is wrong bc/they have made mistakes in the past as long as they adknowlege them and do not continue in sin."

Please calm my fears that a gc* member doesn't believe a movement is wrong by not continuing in sin.

Angry



I can believe it.  I am a relative bystander compared to the rest of the posters.  It seems as if the abuse hop scotches   to one church or campus group and skips another.  If just stayed at Grace in Plano, TX or Hope Fellowship in Denton, TX,  I would have missed it completely.  I was completely clueless until I stumbled on the site.   I have listened sermons from GC churches online. My reactions have ranged from admiration to gloomy cold sweat dread.  When things mess up, there are causalities,  some of which end up on the forum.   
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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.
boboso
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« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2009, 07:37:40 am »

Just a small observation, but it seems that the southeastern coast GC franchises are not as heavy handed or authoritarian. I personally know some of the leaders out on the east coast and they've never exhibited the same garbage I saw first-hand in the west. Actually some of the leaders (note: no quotes) that I met from the east coast seem to be great people.

Also, I've visited a few foreign GC franchises and have not seen this type of misguided "leadership" either.

It seems that the continuation of these things are concentrated where the old guard are still around: Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, etc.

<extreme sarcasm>
Can't let go of power you know, Jesus can't run His church that He sacrificed His life for. We need additional mediators between God and man as Christ can't handle this Himself being God-incarnate and all.
</extreme sarcasm>

Anyone else see this too? Just curious ---
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saved
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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2009, 11:49:44 am »

Anyone else see this too? Just curious ---

Well, the fabulous one I was priveleged to be a part of was east coast and non-seeker oriented.  But I know of at least one oversees one where at least a little baloney was happening...

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EverAStudent
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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2009, 02:18:43 pm »

I suspect you will find that the "mid-west" GC churches are/were the worst in handing out abuses.  For some reason the old guard hung out in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, ...
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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2009, 02:50:19 pm »

not to mention Colorado........  (especially Fort Collins)

of course the leadership from Ames went to Colorado.
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GuardedHeart
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« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2009, 10:36:42 am »

How long have you been involved with GCM? How did you get involved? I am not a member of this site but I am a former GCM member. I was a part of this movement for 15 years. I got involved at the ripe old age of 18. It all started out great but over time their desire to "make Christ more attractive to the world" took it's toll on leadership and the members. I left for many reasons.  The icing on the cake was the "peace sign"  plastered on the overhead at church, John Lennon (an agnostic) music used during a church service, and the pastor using the word "orgasim" in a sermon. Yes, a Sunday morning sermon was about sexual relations in a marriage. Do you really think that was appropriate or God honoring? Not to mention that fact that it was sinful of me to want to be married or the fact that I supposed to substitute this church for my own family...the list goes on.

So, be careful in saying that you will clear up any misunderstandings. You can not know each of us personally or how we have been hurt. In my opinion, you are playing with fire in saying that you have the ability to clear up misunderstandings.  Only the Lord can do that. Are you trying to help or are you trying to defend a movement? If I had to guess I would guess the latter simply because I was taught to defend "the movement" myself.

Please ask the Lord to give you the correct understanding of God's will for your life.  Use your own mind with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and do not rely the "counsel" of the elders to be the word of God. They not equal to God or the apostles even though they brag about being "ordinary, unschooled men" just like the apostles. The apostles were "unschooled" (no seminary) only because they lived, ate, traveled,and had direct communication with Jesus in the flesh. The Lord is so much greater than any movement, man, or doctrine.  His honor and glory are what you should defend.

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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2009, 10:54:12 am »

I remember being reproved for wanting to get married as well.  They told me that I had an idol in my life and I was carnal for having the strong desire to get married.

Yes, I was told to accept the leadership over the counsel and advice of my family as well.  I had to seek counsel before even going to visit my family out of town!!  That was just plain nuts!
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GuardedHeart
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« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2009, 11:17:21 am »

I can totally relate.  I moved far away from my family to be a part of GCM.  When I finally came to my senses, I moved back home and have since tried to re-establish a relationship with my family. It has been difficult at best.  I have also had a phobia of churches. It 7 years for me to join a new church. Overcoming everything has been more difficult than I imagined.   The only saving grace is that the Lord hasn't let go of me even though I have struggled for so long.  I am glad that I found this site.  It helps to read other stories. Now, I know that I am not alone.

 
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damaged_goods
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« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2009, 05:37:20 am »

I am now over 50 years of age and I can tell you unequivocably that my stay at the church in East Lansing during the late 70s and early 80s was the worst time of my life. And I do not attribute this to theological issues nor to even practical matters. The reason it was so bad was that I was prey among predators.

As I look back, the leadership (formal and informal) in the church did a fairly good job of sizing me up - broken home, abusive childhood, self-doubt - and they used my frailties to manipulate and control me. And not just me but others who these predators came to view as prey. They were experts in victimizing the vulnerable. And no one was better at this than McCotter.

There was a philosophy among the leaders that the ends justified the means. And because of this, they felt comfortable lying or deceiving in order to achieve their goals. As I have followed McCotters business exploits, I see that he has carried this way of thinking into his businesses. And he has failed miserably.

I don't know who this Jat is and I don't think anyone else here does either. I know who he says he is, but that means nothing to me. I read his words. These smell of more justifications and more denials. He's seeking to neutralize the revelations expressed here about this movement and to pre-empt us from having a clarifying effect on those who are beginning to doubt the veracity of these people. I would go further and propose that there are probably many GCM members on this board who masquerade as something other than who they really are.

Not sure there's anything that can be done about it, except to be aware and on guard.
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everythingchrist
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« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2009, 04:59:19 pm »

well, it seems some of the promoters and defenders of GCC are pastors' wives!  I recognize the lingo and that is definitely GCC.  I've been a member of another church out of this state for many years and I've never heard lingo like I hear at GCC!  It's like stepford church wives club.
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