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Author Topic: H2O Church at Bowling Green State University  (Read 59554 times)
jer9vs2324
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« on: September 15, 2008, 09:45:18 am »

My son has been attending this church (a GCC church) and the leadership has been encouraging him to get some "pastor training" through them.  Can anybody give info on this church and should I be concerned?  My son is a believer and brought up in a consevative evangelical household. :?:
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lone gone
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2008, 11:58:00 am »

I believe you should be concerned. If you found this site, you have access to ample testimony as to the dubious track record of GCC as a whole.

I would counsel you to get more information. Ask your son who is recommending this. If you post that name here, perhaps some balanced feedback can come from someone who personally knows this person.

I would also counsel to speak calmly and reasonably with your son. My parents expressed a deep concern over my involvement in the GC church I was attending and it only made me defensive and cling tighter. Your son could easily do the same.

If he is that interested in "pastoral training", then encourage him to look into any seminary program associated with your chosen church body.

Lastly, anything you say now will be heard by your son but not understood.   Sow the seed and let God cause the growth. Cajoling him won't work.
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jer9vs2324
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 01:58:56 pm »

I have not been able to get the names of the folks who are encouraging him in this direction, but there are three campus directors:

Matt Pardi
Brian Wiles
Matt Olszewski

My understanding is that the leadership is pushing him that way.
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Linda
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2008, 03:52:29 pm »

If your son wants to be a pastor, he should be aware that training taken through his local church (I'm assuming the GCLI program) would not qualify him to be a pastor at other churches, only GCx churches. It is limiting, incomplete, and sometimes faulty. (The GCLI teaching we were shown by our pastors was inaccurate.)

The GCLI program is two years of "secret" teaching "under" a "pastor" who has handpicked his "student' and himself been trained in the GCLI program. GCLI teachings are unavailable to be seen by the "regular attender". You need to be asked to be part of the program. In my book, secret teachings are a BIG RED FLAG.

I would encourage him to do some research and find a seminary that he feels confident in attending and go for it.
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2008, 04:06:52 pm »

Your son is considering leadership in a movement that has had a sorted and extremely controversial past, including being classified a cult at one point by at least 3 watchdog organizations. Although the movement issued an apology in 1991, it is the testimony of many ex-members that the same types of abuses that landed it in hot water in the past still occur to this day.

Unfortunately, if your son is being considered for leadership he is probably already in too deep for your concerns to have much of an impact on his decision.

Information on the movement can be found at the following sites:

http://gcxweb.org/
http://gcmwarning.com/History.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Commission_church_movement
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2008, 08:12:11 am »

Please be very aware that in your son's mind this is a large vote of approval from GCC.  GCC leadership attempts to portray itself as having a direct pipeline to the will of God, so he will think this is also a vote of approval from God.

GC leadership attempted to recruit me into pastoral leadership as well, along with a large number of others as it turned out.  In truth, they are fairly undiscerning in who they put through into leadership.  They are dependent on numbers and seem not to consider quality or the biblical criteria in Timothy or Titus (though they give plenty of lip service to those passages).  

Your son may well have the gift of pastoring.  Please encourage him strongly to pursue it at a recognized seminary.  If he is still interested in GCC, he can always go back.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the GCC leadership may have told your son to ignore your advice if it contradicts theirs.  They will tell him that it is the principle of "obedience to God and not to man."  You may remind him that God directs children most frequently through their parents.  Further remind him that it would be tragic to begin a career of pastoring through an act of rebellion to parental authority.

One additional step you should strongly consider is bringing him to this web site.  Yes, this runs the risk of causing him to turn against you as "the enemy," though the testimonies are very likely to ring true to his ear.  

If your son genuinely has the gift of pastoring, he will be a discerning individual.  He will also be unafraid to confront the truth straight on.  If those qualities are lacking, then he probably should not be considering the pastorate anyway.  

Appeal to him, exhort him, order him, reason with him, but in any manner you can, keep him from dedicating his life to GCC.  You will spare him and his congregation from much sin, sorrow, and error if you do.
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jer9vs2324
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2008, 10:30:55 am »

Thank you all for the very helpful posts.  I appeciate your concern.  Please pray for me and my son as I need wisdom to give him information without causing him to "react".
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DesiringTruth
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2008, 03:11:22 pm »

As a former GC pastor, I would say that you should be aware that the skills of being a full-time GC pastor are largely nontransferrable.  Meaning that if your son cuts off other sources of income and work and remains in GC for years, in the event that he leaves GC, he will most likely find that his skills and experience will not transfer to another church outside of GC (or for that matter, most any other career).  In other words, his career path deadends in GC.  For me, I was fully employed outside of the church while a pastor, so I was only able to fulfill my pastoral duties outside of working hours.  When I left GC, I still had my career, so I was OK.  Not so for a co-pastor of mine.  He was a full-time pastor for many years.  When he left GC, he was unable to find work anywhere for many, many months because he had, in the eyes of employers, no transferrable skills.  Finally he was able to find work, but with inadequate pay, resulting in him having to work two other part time jobs on top of his full time work.  He tried over the course of years to find pastor-like ministry jobs (or for that matter, any type of ministry or "social work" job), but found that his pastor skills did not transfer to any other church.  For years he has tried to "catch up" financially and jobwise.  And with a heavy price on his family.  So beware.
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maranatha
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2008, 05:46:20 pm »

Good point, Desiring Truth.

At the same time, I want to encourage any GC pastors/full-time staffers who think that it's not feasible to do anything else besides pastoring with something I've read recently by a (non-gcm) pastor who switched from being a full-time church planter to being a 'tentmaker'(full-time job) this year.

Ben Arment encourages other pastors/church planters who are thinking of doing the same, saying, "there's no better executive training program than church planting."..."My church planting friend Paul Gilmore got a high-level sales job at a tech company in Centreville, Va by claiming in a interview that if he could get people in church on Sunday mornings, he could sell server space. Paul could've bought a Porsche and a mansion on his salary, but instead, he funded his church plant. Even my own father - who was a pastor for years - has become one of the top training executives for the Association of Builders and Contractors."


 To read more, check out http://www.benarment.com/history_in_the_making/2008/09/the-fear-of-bivocationalism.html
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lone gone
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2008, 03:03:41 am »

Matt Pardi
Brian Wiles
Matt Olszewski

Does anyone know these men? Are they typical GC leaders? ( raised from within, self taught, without formal training)
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Sweetchariot
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2008, 01:17:45 pm »

Hello concerned mom,

Have you tried contacting these men directly and get more specifics? Maybe even attend some of their services to get a better feel of the church, its leaders and the congregation?
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theresearchpersona
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2008, 03:12:22 am »

I don't know that that would help her: services are "designed" for people, so there's the external front, and then the underlying stuff in the background: you can't get admitted without being determined to be a "core" person, either: you can get a sense for it if you read "The Purpose Driven Church" (which seems friendly, but incorporates a lot that is abusive: read the statements just before the "Saddleback Membership Covenant" about how to determine what kind of Christian to keep at "YOUR" Church) you'll get a small bit or gist of what's going on, but GC*'s is not in the same form. Scripturally anyone that teaches that one group of Christians is more blessed than one or the other is to be outright rejected--even according to the Pastor's resignation letter of the man that left Summitview (he brought it up to illustrate that they'd overextended the definition of divisiveness beyond the Bible...interestingly missing the actual application of the verse!); GC* already teaches, and increasingly with more and more subtlety and implications since they get nailed by observors when they're explicit, that those who stay will see "great things" vs. those that don't: "I've experienced it," so say the "pastors", "trust me".

Furthermore those there already have answers and explanations ready...but hold them to it for being inconsistent and they fall flat.

Regards, best wishes, and prayers.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2008, 07:10:15 am »

Yep.  Attending a GCx church will not let you in on the undertones, the core DNA... the matrix of the group.  The DNA is flawed from the first generation of the church.  That mutation has replicated itself again and again.  It's possible to see intimations of the dangerous thinking and practices, but it's easy to write those off as simply personal differences or aberrations.  However, with GCx, the surface oddities are merely the tip of the iceberg.  Not only that, but certain things (the history, the beliefs on dating, the lack of community with other believers, the group think, the heavy handed life involvement, the work so hard to "burn out for God," etc etc) are all hidden deliberately.  They are not revealed until you have demonstrated that basically you're not leaving ever and they know that you can be "trusted."

This is why you'll see 19-25 year old sons of pastors quickly moving up the ranks to pastor while serious minded, studious, well-tested men of faith will take MUCH longer to become pastor.  The younger ones are brainwashed and aren't leaving.  They know nothing else.  They're wired to the matrix and their DNA is effectively replicated.  The "newbies" go through a proving period where in numerous ways (all under a different guise) they must prove their loyalty.  And yes, as cultic as it is... they do call it loyalty.  Loyalty to the band of brothers.  Loyalty in GCx is where they overlook any wounds caused by excess zeal, misplaced idealism, and just plain immaturity and write it off because "we know your heart brother."
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2008, 07:52:53 am »

Agatha, I was sitting here reading your commentary and nodding my head in vigorous agreement.  When I read your last line about the leadership using the expression, "we know your heart brother," I shuddered.  

There is no way for me to count the number of times that phrase was uttered by the leadership.  They genuinely believed that they could read a person's mind, heart, and motives, as if God had made them prophets and revealed this to them.  Times too numerous, what they "knew" about a man's heart proved to be false knowledge, erroneous intuition, and a wrong gut feeling.  

The fact that they assumed it was proper to "know a man's heart," motives, or secret thoughts at all is a giant warning sign.  That they would take action based on believing they "knew a man's heart" is cause enough to find spiritual fellowship elsewhere.
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Concerned
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2008, 05:45:55 am »

Quote
Yep. Attending a GCx church will not let you in on the undertones, the core DNA... the matrix of the group. The DNA is flawed from the first generation of the church. That mutation has replicated itself again and again. It's possible to see intimations of the dangerous thinking and practices, but it's easy to write those off as simply personal differences or aberrations. However, with GCx, the surfaces oddities are merely the tip of the iceberg. Not only that, but certain things (the history, the beliefs on dating, the lack of community with other believers, the group think, the heavy handed life involvement, the work so hard to "burn out for God," etc etc) are all hidden deliberately. They are not revealed until you have demonstrated that basically you're not leaving ever and they know that you can be "trusted."


OMG!! You described our GC experience to a 'T!' Especially where you say 'the oddities at the surface.' There were so many times where we felt that something wasn't right, but could not put our finger on it. We have never experienced as much guilt in our lives as when we were attending a GC church, as if we could never measure up. We also felt that basic things about how the church was run were secret or not talked about until you were 'in.'
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damaged_goods
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2008, 09:53:27 am »

Quote from: "AgathaL'Orange"
Yep.  Attending a GCx church will not let you in on the undertones, the core DNA... the matrix of the group.  The DNA is flawed from the first generation of the church.  That mutation has replicated itself again and again.  It's possible to see intimations of the dangerous thinking and practices, but it's easy to write those off as simply personal differences or aberrations.  However, with GCx, the surfaces oddities are merely the tip of the iceberg.  Not only that, but certain things (the history, the beliefs on dating, the lack of community with other believers, the group think, the heavy handed life involvement, the work so hard to "burn out for God," etc etc) are all hidden deliberately.  They are not revealed until you have demonstrated that basically you're not leaving ever and they know that you can be "trusted."

This is why you'll see 19-25 year old sons of pastors quickly moving up the ranks to pastor while serious minded, studious, well-tested men of faith will take MUCH longer to become pastor.  The younger ones are brainwashed and aren't leaving.  They know nothing else.  They're wired to the matrix and their DNA is effectively replicated.  The "newbies" go through a proving period where in numerous ways (all under a different guise) they must prove their loyalty.  And yes, as cultic as it is... they do call it loyalty.  Loyalty to the band of brothers.  Loyalty in GCx is where they overlook any wounds caused by excess zeal, misplaced idealism, and just plain immaturity and write it off because "we know your heart brother."


I do not think that the disposition of GCx leadership and their manner has been more articulately and more accurately depicted. Thank you.
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ustawannabee
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2009, 02:30:23 pm »

jer9 it has been a while, what has been the outcome with your son?
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jer9vs2324
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2009, 02:18:22 am »

After my original post - I haven't talked to my son much about H2O.  I just spoke to him recently and discovered he is involved in a biweekly group called P.I.T.  (Pastors In Training).  Does anybody know anything about this type of thing?  My son says its basically a Bible study for those who think they may be called into the ministry and not necessarily a pipeline into GCM.

FYI - I decided to attend a service on campus with my son last week and the folks seem friendly enough.   I have attended a lot of different types of churches.  This didn't seem much different from most except it had the typical college/youth emphasis with the rock music and light message with repetitive, doctrinally light, praise choruses.

I plan on staying connected with my son and have been thinking about talking to one of the pastors about what I've read on this forum.  Does anyone have any specific information about this particular college church?

BTW if you attend H2O or are on staff there and you are reading this post feel free to weigh in.  My son mentioned that someone at the church recognized my user name and asked if I was his Dad. But if anyone has information about P.I.T., I would appreciate it.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 02:31:09 am by jer9vs2324 » Logged
john
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2010, 03:51:09 pm »

After my original post - I haven't talked to my son much about H2O.  I just spoke to him recently and discovered he is involved in a biweekly group called P.I.T.  (Pastors In Training).  Does anybody know anything about this type of thing?  My son says its basically a Bible study for those who think they may be called into the ministry and not necessarily a pipeline into GCM.

FYI - I decided to attend a service on campus with my son last week and the folks seem friendly enough.   I have attended a lot of different types of churches.  This didn't seem much different from most except it had the typical college/youth emphasis with the rock music and light message with repetitive, doctrinally light, praise choruses.

I plan on staying connected with my son and have been thinking about talking to one of the pastors about what I've read on this forum.  Does anyone have any specific information about this particular college church?

BTW if you attend H2O or are on staff there and you are reading this post feel free to weigh in.  My son mentioned that someone at the church recognized my user name and asked if I was his Dad. But if anyone has information about P.I.T., I would appreciate it.

Sorry I don't currently attend a GCM church and I don't have bitter memories as some of the people on this site obviously have but I don't have the same concerns as these people.  And I am surprised that someone would tell you to not talk to the leaders or attend a meeting.  I think it is always best to take on these things head on and not believe someone who post on the net who may have some things from their past that affects  their opinions.  I did attend a church in college and was involved in many leadership meetings with some of the people mentioned on this site.  My faith grew an incredible amount during this time in college and although I am attending and in leadership of another church currently my GCM days were some of the most influential of my life.  Unfortanately you can probably find someone talking poorly about every Christian organization or church out there.  Check it out personally don't trust someone elses opinions.
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anonymoustoday
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2010, 06:36:58 am »

Quote from: john
Sorry I don't currently attend a GCM church and I don't have bitter memories as some of the people on this site...I was involved in many leadership meetings with some of the people mentioned on this site...and in leadership of another church currently...Unfortanately you can probably find someone talking poorly about every Christian organization or church out there.  Check it out personally don't trust someone elses opinions.

Though john's post was entirely one-sided, actually defaming everyone who posts on the very forum "john" is using to broadcast the defmation (is that not ironic?), the post is instructive. 

First, as almost every person on this forum has said repeatedly, GC is divided between the oppressed and the oppressors.  The oppressors just cannot for the life of their own souls see that there is any legitimate error or problem with GC behavior.  Could this be true of john?  The oppressed certainly see the problems.

Second, how many churches have had entire forums started to discuss the 40 years of abuses at the hands of the leadership?  GC, SGM, Mormons, JWs, ...?  This forum is hardly equivalent to "finding someone talking poorly" as it is very many someones discussing their abuses over the past 4 decades, not random, not isolated, but a pattern.

Third, would GC ever set up a forum like this to allow its critics to interact with them in public?  Or to allow others to criticize them?

Yes, john's post was very instructive.


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