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Author Topic: McCotter Poison  (Read 56993 times)
Genevieve
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« on: March 16, 2007, 07:41:37 pm »

We’ve seen some contrasting opinions about what GCM churches are like. We’ve shared some of our stories, but others have said they haven’t experienced the same thing. So, what makes the churches different?

O wise readers, what do you think? Are the churches that were planted by pastors who had a lot of discipling from Jim McCotter (particularly in Ames?) more unhealthy than others? Is Jim McCotter’s influence the X factor?

Who were the original leaders, and what churches did they start?

If you’ve left GCM because of any of the reasons we’ve talked about on this blog, were you in a church started by one of the originals? For the current attenders, are you in one of the original churches, or was it started more recently?

And the $100 question: Was Jim McCotter pushed out, or did he actually leave on his own? His up and leaving simply to be more involved in media companies doesn’t really make sense. Why wouldn’t he take the movement with him (like when they started the church in Maryland to be more political) or do it while still leading the movement? But I can’t see the pastors pushing him out after all the excommunication controversy either.

Does anyone know?
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2007, 07:41:50 pm »

I have wondered about him too. I mean he was the most influential member of GCM. You can’t get through a month at my old church without hearing his name come up in one way or another.

At the same time he has been vilified by some cult watch groups… what is the truth?

There is a facebook group called “Jim McCotter is Cool.” It only has four members, but obviously there are those that still love him and respect him… so he must not be all bad??

But some of the examples of things he said and did were really, really bad (if they are true).

Either way, I sort of feel sorry for the guy. I mean, he’s not been vilified like someone like Jim Jones, but he hasn’t been exactly exalted like Chuck Swindoll either.

Outside of GCM people say, Jim Who?
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Samuel Lopez De Victoria
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2007, 07:42:12 pm »

I can assure you that Jim left of his own accord. I was there when we talked with Jim and he communicated to a group of us that he was leaving with Rogers Kirven to be involved more in media acquisition. In retrospect, understanding the type of personality he is and his giftedness, he was just bored (”Been there, done that!”. In my opinion, he needed a newer and bigger challenge after starting a movement. There was no cloud of sin and he was not pushed out. That’s a fact. If anyone wants to reach him he can be found. I would recommend that versus speculating about the man and concocting all kinds of weird and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.



As for churches started by those trained by Jim and those by Dennis Clark, there was a difference. Both were good sets of gifts and types of emphasis. These days, things are pretty much leveled off with no particular personality trait dominant.



Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
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Genevieve
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2007, 07:42:24 pm »

He just got bored? That’s really interesting and seems to undermine the GCM message that you’ll never be bored if you’re living for God (in GCM). One pastor actually said this a lot.

There must be differences between the churches, especially if your Miami church didn’t have some of the bad stuff we experienced.

Also, the four of us went to two different churches, which really were different in intensity and craziness.
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Samuel Lopez De Victoria
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2007, 07:42:39 pm »

Genevieve Jones said…



He just got bored? That’s really interesting and seems to undermine the GCM message that you’ll never be bored if you’re living for God (in GCM). One pastor actually said this a lot.



There must be differences between the churches, especially if your Miami church didn’t have some of the bad stuff we experienced.



Also, the four of us went to two different churches, which really were different in intensity and craziness.

_____________________________



Yup… that’s my spin but I don’t think it contradicts the “Great Commission” if you understood the importance media played in the early days with newspapers started, infiltrating publication boards of campuses with Christians, and dreaming of getting National media, more than what we already got then. That emphasis is no longer there since there is no longer an evangelist at the helm.



Yup, there are differences in the churches. I taught “Boundaries” and “Safe People” by Townsend and Cloud as pastor. I began to change the co-dependent paradigm in discipleship. I got a lot of flack from some “saints.” But we had one of the healthier churches, in my opinion… until Satan figured a way to turn it around.



Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 07:42:52 pm »

How many of you have read Marching To Zion? It gives a pretty detailed account of McCotter abuses in the early GCM movement.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2007, 07:43:04 pm »

Is Marching to Zion basically the same thing as the Blitz Papers? I have an old copy of the Blitz Papers. This basically is a copy of letters of excommunication and a few personal accounts?

Do you get M to Z from Larry Pile at Wellspring or do I basically have this in an older form?
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Anonymous
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2007, 07:43:23 pm »

I can believe the bored factor. Having closely known some of the McCotter family, they cannot sit still, stay with a major, or job for any length of time. In having a meal with Jim McCotter at one point while I was still in GCM, even mentioning that I went to a GCM church did not get a comment from him. It was like he just dropped off of GCM intrests completly, the rest of his family is still heavily involved.
He and his son are both very charasimatic personalities using their charisma towards evangelism. From my interactions with both of them, in any conversation with a total stranger the gospel will be shared, and they will come to know everyone in their enviroment quickly. It would be safe to say that much of the radical to extreme zeal for outreach that is found in GCM was orginated from Jim McCotter
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Anonymous
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2007, 07:45:11 pm »

I realized that I did not answer one of the questions posed in the original post, I attended one of the churches that formed from the legendary bus trip that many of the Iowa crew went out on to plant churches during the summer blitz. This church has many if not all of the same problems that have been highlighted in this blog. Guy/girl relationships, over zealous in outreach, do and do mentality, assigning of disciplers instead of who naturally disciples you, if there is any involvement with believers outside of your GCM church there is going to be trouble and rebukes, sending a pastor to Amsterdam who should never have been recognized as a pastor due to areas of sin in his life(not made known to the congregation until after he fell hard into sin and out of leadership, but he had been recognized as a pastor because he was brought through the ranks and as of my current knowledge was the only pastor with any form of Bible College training in GCM), etc.
This is out of a church that from my knowledge of the history and the “multiplication” charts was founded by some of the originals who were heavily influenced by Jim McCotter if he wasn’t out on the first summer church planting trip.
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bertrandbaggersly
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2007, 07:45:22 pm »

Unity, unity, unity… loyalty, loyalty, loyalty… authority, authority, authority — who in GC hasn’t heard those messages?

And now we learn Jim McCotter himself left simply because he was bored. Oh, the irony! Did the other GC leaders accept that as a valid reason for leaving? If so, I’m flabbergasted.

It sounds like Jim made a good choice to be honest. I respect the guts it takes to make such a major decision, basically starting over in midstream. He’s doing something he’s great at, and I wish him all the best.

Still, it’s pretty ironic all the same.
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Genevieve
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2007, 07:45:55 pm »

I know! The irony!

It also brings me back to the good ‘ol boys club we’ve talked about before where leadership is protected. Not that leaving is bad (obviously), but I can’t help feeling like they were keeping this a secret–for whatever reason.
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Samuel Lopez De Victoria
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2007, 07:46:08 pm »

Genevieve,



I can assure you that Jim’s departure was not done in secret. Word got out and announced. No one could hide it anyways. It was obvious Jim was gone.



Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.
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anonymous #275
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2007, 07:46:35 pm »

McCotter leaving GCM was quite a public event, no conspiracy theory there. In my eyes, though, Jim leaving on his own accord is not a credit to the organization. None of Jim’s past abuses have ever been publically apologized for (he is never named in the error statement), he has not been publically rebuked, and GCM elders still refer to him in a positive manner such as during Faithwalkers a few years ago and other more recent sermons I have listened to.



Many of the unbiblical ideas of the early movement originated with McCotter, and while most of these ideas were technically apologized for in 1991, most of us are here because they continue to persist to this day. The fact that McCotter is still so highly praised casts serious doubt on the sincerity of that error statement. They apologize for excommunicating people for unbiblical reasons and being overly directive in people’s lives and so forth, yet national elders quite frequently praise the man who was responsible for many of those very types of abuses. He also taught these behaviors to others, and given the discipling methods the movement uses, it’s no wonder the ideas linger on. For a good example of what I would call ‘McCotter Poison’, Jim’s favorite method of excommuncating people was to call them “divisive,” sometimes for something as minor as simply calling someone who left the church and asking them why they left. Sound familiar?



Is Marching to Zion basically the same thing as the Blitz Papers? I have an old copy of the Blitz Papers. This basically is a copy of letters of excommunication and a few personal accounts?



Do you get M to Z from Larry Pile at Wellspring or do I basically have this in an older form?




Marching To Zion is a book detailing the early years of the movement, and to a smaller extent the post-McCotter years, with excerpts from The Blitz Papers. The Blitz Papers are an extensive collection of letters sent at the time to and from leaders, etc. More of an archive of letters, from what I gather from the description. I would recommend getting MtZ if you don’t have it, though ask Larry to make sure the info in it isn’t already in what you have.
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melinda
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2007, 07:50:49 pm »

in answer to the questions originally posed by the article above:



i have been an attender (i say attender because i was never interested in taking the membership class…) of Stonebrook Community Church in Ames from when i started college there in ‘97 until my husband and i moved to Scotland recently in 2005.

I was involved in Sunday morning worship (singing) and also helped out with the children’s ministry (VBS and Christmas productions ect). I went to women’s retreats, marriage retreats, and leadership stuff with my hubby. Of that last year spent with Stonebrook my husband and I led a small group biblestudy.



While in Europe i have had the opportunity to meet Daniel Goering pastor of one of the GCM churches in Germany. And I have also met Fred and Penny Douglas of a GCM church in Indiana. (they came over as part of a mission trip to Scotland that i helped organise through my new church here)



Despite moving to Scotland i still consider myself part of the GCM family and i would go back to Stonebrook in a heart beat if we ever move back to Ames.



I never ONCE experienced any of the abusive discipleship that Larry Pile writes about in his article, “The Other Side of Discipleship” (and i speak for my husband on that point as well). I’m not saying that any of this abusive stuff never happened to anyone- it’s obvious from the posters on this website, gcmwarning.com and the church’s own 1991 apology that these things did happen. But I was never aware of them happening until i came across this website.



I guess most of all I just want to say that i think Stonebrook is an awesome church and y’all should just move to Ames!! Smiley



In my involvement with Stonebrook, its leaders and its members, i never ONCE heard mention of Jim McCotter. Again, I only learned about him recently through lurking on this website.



Of all the posts above, so far, the only author credible enough to speak about Jim McCotter, (his character and his involvment with GCM,) appears to be Sam.



In post #2 Sam writes:

“If anyone wants to reach him he can be found. I would recommend that versus speculating about the man and concocting all kinds of weird and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.”



I totally agree with this sentiment. If you want to know the truth about someone- then go right to the source! But, if instead all you want to know is the the juicy dirt and gossip about someone- then by all means go ask someone else.



Melinda



p.s. Sam- i really appreciate the insights you give on this blog. You seem to have a really healthy and well-balanced perspective on things.
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Genevieve
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2007, 07:51:21 pm »

Melinda,
Thanks for your comments. I think the fact that you weren’t aware of McCotter is another symptom of the problem. The history of the movement is not communicated. It really changes your view of the group when you know what happened in the 70’s and 80’s. For me, it was confirmation that there really was something “off” about it.

Even if most pastors don’t say his name specifically, many who are currently pastors were trained by him and so can’t help but continue his teachings.

Trying to find out why he left isn’t digging up juicy gossip. It’s something that, at least at the church I was at, was never clear. In the history sermons, he was there at the beginning but then disappeared. No one said why he left or even that he left. He was just gone.

I don’t think millionnaire McCotter would speak to little ‘ol me, so I posted it here hoping that someone like Sam or other posters who were around during that time could answer it for me. Also, I don’t think he’s very trustworthy.

Finally, I held out hope that the other leaders had actually asked him to leave.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2007, 07:51:34 pm »

No one said why he left or even that he left. He was just gone.

Well, the story has always been that he left to pursue media ventures. People definitely knew he was leaving at the time, and today they aren’t afraid to mention this in sermons (though not often.) What they won’t mention is the error statement, rampant excommunications, unbiblical teachings, authoritarian practices of the early movement, etc. You know, the stuff people actually might be concerned about. The past is painted over as some sort of golden age.

Also, I’m sure many of us would happily speak to McCotter about these incidents. I myself have tried to email him before and got no response. Fortunately people like Larry Pile have compiled letters and other documents from that time written by McCotter.
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melinda
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2007, 07:52:18 pm »

“I think the fact that you weren’t aware of McCotter is another symptom of the problem. The history of the movement is not communicated. It really changes your view of the group when you know what happened in the 70’s and 80’s.”



it doesn’t really change my view of the PRESENT group- maybe my eyes have been opened about the group of the past- but presently (from my own personal experience strictly speaking) i think the GCM church in Ames doesn’t have any more problems than any other church denomination in America.



sure they all have their problems!

perhaps a person’s evaluation of a church has to do with the good aspects versus the bad and how the scale tips depends on whether you stay with a church or not? (jut a random passing thought…)



the church i attend now has SERIOUS problems. (its a presbyterian church of Scotland) but God is definitely working there and i know He has called me to be apart of that work. and i am in no position to change their problems (God hasn’t called me to that work- and i’m really glad because that would be a lot of work!)



i guess the bottom line for me is: it just really makes me sad to see so many people bash GCM when my experience was so different. I love Stonebrook. I think it is a great church. I wish everybody went there. The fact that it has a past means nothing to me. The good of the present FAR outweighs the bad of the past. And besides that- every church has a past. So if I left Stonebrook on the grounds that it has a past- then by that same reasoning I would never be happy in any church!



and the truthfully speaking- i feel like i have WAY more influence in changing things at Stonebrook than I do at this Church of Scotland. just by being me and living by example…. voicing my opinion here and there.



melinda
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melinda
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2007, 07:52:38 pm »

“We’ve seen some contrasting opinions about what GCM churches are like. We’ve shared some of our stories, but others have said they haven’t experienced the same thing. So, what makes the churches different?



O wise readers, what do you think? Are the churches that were planted by pastors who had a lot of discipling from Jim McCotter (particularly in Ames?) more unhealthy than others? Is Jim McCotter’s influence the X factor?



Who were the original leaders, and what churches did they start?”



Well i’m from Stonebrook in Ames and I think that church is awesome. Not sure whether McCotter’s influence runs rampant or not (what would so-called McCotter influence look like anyways?) so take that information as you will!!
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Dipping my toes in....
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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2007, 07:52:55 pm »

i’m not concerned about GCM’s past any more than i am concerned about the crusades or the reformation ect.



I think this is comparing apples and oranges. Open any church history book and you’ll find mention of the crusades. It’s not hidden. But GCM (as far as I know) does not have a history book and does their best to gloss over their past. So I don’t think this is a good comparison. Maybe in a few decades that comparison will fly. But not right now.



Welcome to the blog. I’ve never been anywhere close to Ames, so consider my comments to have nothing to do with Stonebrook.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2007, 07:53:17 pm »

i guess the bottom line for me is: it just really makes me sad to see so many people bash GCM when my experience was so different. I love Stonebrook. I think it is a great church. I wish everybody went there. The fact that it has a past means nothing to me. The good of the present FAR outweighs the bad of the past. And besides that- every church has a past. So if I left Stonebrook on the grounds that it has a past- then by that same reasoning I would never be happy in any church!

The primary emphasis of this blog is the problems of the present. The past problems are just a good reference point, but if that’s all there was to it most of us wouldn’t be here. I’m glad you had such a good experience with GC, but many of us have not, and find the problems of the past to be a reality presently. Problems which far surpass the kinds of problems a “healthy” church should have (see the rest of this blog and gcmwarning.com for more information.) It is not hard to find a national leader encouraging these unhealthy beliefs in sermons, and many examples have been brought up recently. If you are happy with your GC church then I encourage you to stay, but in the eyes of many people here, the present organization is unhealthy and needs serious reformation. Many have tried to do this as well and have been unable to, finding a leadership hierarchy that is unable to listen to criticism. This isn’t about the past, it’s about the present.
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