When Barry resigned and we finally left the church that caused us so much confusion…we were in a fog for quite a while afterwards. I’m not kidding. We were socially awkward and unsure of ourselves. Everything we were taught was called into question by us, by our family and by our true friends. We were in a process of undergoing a complete remake of our foundation. Because as much as we studied the bible and sought after God…we served a group of like-minded individuals who taught us to think, act and talk like them. And in the process of them making disciples out of us…our mindset got a little warped as well.
We were dependent on our leaders for so long…we had to learn to function without them.
In order to help you understand a bit about the history of our former church…I will name a few organizations on this post. I tried really hard to write it without names, but it got very confusing. I hope this timeline helps anyone who is still on the fence of trying to decide if these organizations and the people associated with them are harmful. Below is a very brief summary of how they have continued to re-organize the same leaders under different ministries:
1972 – Maranatha is formed
1980 – Maranatha comes under fire for cult-like practices
1989 – Maranatha disbands
1990 – News of this reaches the media
1990 – Champions for Christ International is Incorporated – board members are former Maranatha members
1993— Victory Leadership Institute (VLI) begins in Manila, Philippines.
1994 – Morning Star International is established, merging Champions for Christ, Victory Churches and associated former-Maranatha ministries in the Philippines, and Los Angeles-based Morning Star Christian Church, Inc. (which includes Victory Campus Ministries).
2004 — Morning Star International announces at its annual conference that it is changing its name to Every Nation.
2005—Every Nation openly acknowledges a “reorganization” movement
To understand a bit more about why they reorganized you can read my post Questions. Needless to say it was because the leadership was facing scandal and accusations of abusive behavior…yet again.
So, if you are tracking with me you have probably already figured out that the church we joined in 2003 was part of this organization of churches. In 2006 the church in Louisiana disassociated itself on paper with Every Nation, however the senior pastor has kept the main leaders as overseers of his church plants and their ministry school Master’s Commission. They are his “personal pastors.”
It can’t be denied that these leaders have a long history of abuse. They have changed their names and formed new groups, but it’s many of the same people who were accused of cult-like practices in the 1980’s. Many of the same people who were actively involved in the Shepherding movement. Many of the same people who live lavish lifestyles…because for them…church is Big-Buisness baby.
My title may be a little risky, but during our time under these leaders I began to respect them more than I respected God. I thought that serving them…was serving God. I thought that if I said no to cleaning their house, attending all of the services,watching their children, working without pay…then I was saying no to God.
and… I NEVER wanted to hurt God.
These type of leaders are taking people down a very dangerous path of confusing teachings and false doctrine. They make following Jesus and working in the ministry very hurtful and extremely confusing.
If you have been under their leadership or anything similar, please know that you are not crazy and you are not alone.