Missionaries Must Nurture Relationships, Part 2

1Co12.21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (1 Cor 12:21, NIV)

The Christian Church is the body of Christ. All those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, by faith, are parts of the body of Christ. The body has many parts. Hands and feet work together. A nose and an eye are both essential. Each part compliments each other and steps in the gap when another part is weak. We like to think of each part of the body as individual Christians, but also, on the macro level, each ministry and missional entity, has essential functions within the body to bring glory to Jesus.  We must respect each part, and even nurture relationships with them, for they are part of the body of Christ utilizing their various gifts to build up the church.

In the development of a mission, there are not just missionaries. There are other missional entities, which work together in unison, to allow the body of Christ to thrive. God desires for all of them to work together. The important thing is to recognize these parts of the body and nurture working relationship with them as we live as servants of Christ. Anything less is neglecting part of the body of Christ and hindering the work of the missionary.

Part 1: Introduction

I propose that the most fruitful path to embark on, as missionaries, is nurturing solid relationships with six missional entities, all of which are part of the body of Christ.

1. Relationships with… a sending church
2. Relationships with… a mission agency
3. Relationships with… a receiving church
4. Relationships with… a missionary team
5. Relationships with… a “person of peace”
6. Relationships with… the family

This paper will define the six areas of relationship building. Our own family experience as a house church will be reflected upon.  The things learned from the current mission to the Canada will added. There will also be some advice on how to nurture the relationships in the six areas.

The first part dealt with the necessity of nurturing relationships with a sending church and a mission agency. This second part will deal with relationship with a receiving church and a missionary team. The third part will expound on the relationships with a person of peace and the family. The point of all this is to share about some ways that missionaries can be strengthened as they follow Jesus. Let’s see.

Part 2: Nurturing Relationships With A Receiving Church.

Missionaries need to nurture relationships with a receiving church. A receiving church is a church that partners in ministry. If you consider the invisible divide that separates the missionaries, from the culture it seeks to serve, then the receiving church is on the other side of that divide, dwelling in the region the missionary is praying to minister. They are poised to receive the missionaries as they land in the field. That is why I call them, the “receiving church”.

I would include spiritual mentors and advisors as part of the receiving church. They are like-minded with similar vision for mission. They may not even be the same denomination as the sending church. They may not even have a relationship with the mission agency. The prime quality is that they are established within the foreign culture, or subculture, and can lend a helping hand to the missionary.

A receiving church is a separate missional entity that God has brought into the lives of the missionaries. They provide local resources. They provided easily accessible counseling, mentoring, logistic expertise, practical and material support, housing, transportation, friendship, timely feedback, and advice, to name a few. They become the new home church for the missionaries. They are the not the final landing place, but a launching pad to more remote locales. The missionaries become members and serve in the church, but set their eyes on other more “remote” regions.

A receiving church provides a source of support for the family. Let’s face it… we are human. There will be family strife. How hard it is to deal with that all alone! How wonderful it is to have the wisdom and support of a local receiving church! There can be marriage counseling and parenting counseling. The kids can find support in the youth group and youth counselors. There are families who have gone on before. These are only things that a receiving church could provide. We sure would have benefited from the support of receiving church rather than just silently bearing the relational struggles by ourselves as we carried on with our mission. A lot of issues could have been solved if I had nurtured a relationship with a receiving church within the community I lived in, right from the beginning.  (More on family in part 3.)

Sometimes a sending church tries to act like a receiving church. I would not advise this. There is no way that they can fulfill the functions of the receiving church, for the receiving church must be local, easily accessible and nestled in the culture.

In order to respect the work of the receiving church, the sending church must relinquish some control of the “their” missionaries and allow them to participate in the life of the receiving church. This requires faith and trust in God.

I feel that our sending church was trying to fulfill the functions of both a sending church and a receiving church at the same time, ignoring the need for a local receiving church. There are draw backs to this. Our sending church was one hour drive away.  In order for us to go for a simple visit, required 2 1/2 hours of driving and 2 or 3 hours of visiting time.  This meant a simple visit required five hours and $30 in gas and tolls. Visits were infrequent. It was not easy with a family where both parents worked and five young kids needed our attention. There was also, almost “no feed back” in our attempts at ministry.  Maybe I wasn’t ready to accept feedback. Maybe they did this out of respect for me and my choices, but having no feedback made me feel like I was operating in a vacuum. I would have liked more “real time” feed back, more availability for quick visits with other Christians and more advice on fruitful alternatives to mission, born out of casual conversation with members of a local receiving church.

Entering into a relationship with a receiving church is an act of God. Three years ago, while trying to embrace the mission to Canada, we were led to a receiving church after making many “cold calls” and interviewing people over the phone. One person directed me to another. God worked through this and by his sovereignty, led us to a particular congregation. Several visits were made and it became clear that our churches needed to enter into partnership so as to unleash the missionaries.

I completely ignored a relationship with a receiving church. In starting a campus house church (in1998), we lacked any type of relationship with a receiving church. We never thought we needed one. In our pride we launched into this campus mission, ignoring Christians around us. Our town is full of sincere Christians and churches that might have partnered with us. Our campus even had fourteen Christian groups that we might have formed friendships with if we thought it a priority. After moving to our small town, the intensity of our lives kept us from forming meaningful relationships in mission, with other Christians for fourteen years. We made excuses for not building relationships with other churches, because we were too busy serving our own mission according to our “special” calling.  This paradigm of mission kept us isolated from the rest of Christendom and operating without local mentors, supporters and guides.

Without a receiving church I lacked having Christians my own age to hang out with as friends. I was always surrounded by people who were my Bible students. There was always a mission related agenda defining my relationships. I was always evaluating people. Did they have a potential to grow as a disciple or was serving them a waste of my time? I did not have a local spiritual mentor in the same community to “bounce things off of”. I lacked a sense of community with other Christians near me.

With no receiving church, I made unreal demands on my own family members in order to keep the basics of church. We needed singers, prayer representatives, speakers and me, the messenger. There was no one else to do it and so my family needed to. The kids were forced into ministry, even when they did not believe in Jesus and even when they had no personal calling. The mission had to go on. With no receiving church, there was no outlet.

With no receiving church there was no source of “insider wisdom.” Each community is a unique culture. There are things to learn. There is wisdom to help a missionary to navigate the community. Why was I so proud to think that I could function in campus ministry without the wisdom of a receiving church near the campus and without local mentors to help show the way?

Without the receiving church there is no accountability.  If a person does not have a relationship with someone, on a day-to-day basis, it is hard to know and understand what a person is going through. I had slight accountability with my sending church 60 miles away, but as long as I produced positive reports about the mission and was keeping the Sunday worship service, all seemed well.  Nobody knew my need for spiritual mentors. I didn’t even know my need. Nobody knew the extent of my inner struggles.

At the end of my fourteen year stint as a single family house church, I reached out to a local pastor. I attended some his services by myself. I received his counsel. It was actually quite relieving. Healing was on the horizon. I would have avoided a whole lot of heartache if I had nurtured a relationship with a receiving church, right from the beginning of our mission.

Now that I am a member of a local community church (since 2012), how nice it is to stop by Starbucks and see one or two people whom I go to church with. How great it is to attend a home group meeting, where you are not forcing our immediate family members to make things happen. How refreshing it is to just enjoy sweet fellowship with a body of believers with no mission agenda. How nice it is to have some solid marriage and family support in a church that emphasizes family over mission. How good it is to have Christian peers and mentors nearby and not just Bible students.

Any missionary who tries to engage in cross cultural ministry without nurturing a strong relationship with a receiving church will suffer. Having no receiving church does not lend itself to a joyful life of faith, integration into the culture, nor longevity on the mission field. It will be a friendless, lonely mission. It will benefit a missionary greatly to come alongside a receiving church and nurture that relationship. All we have to do is open our eyes to see the receiving church God has prepared right before our eyes.  You might be surprised on who it is. Be ready to come alongside, even they are not like yourself.

Part 3:  Nurturing Relationships With A Missionary Team.

Missionaries, in a cross cultural setting, must have a close relationship with the missionary team. The mission agency, for the Canada mission, really emphasizes the importance of teamwork. They will not encourage missionaries to go out without forming a close team.

Without a team, what is left is a single family serving as missionaries. As I have mentioned before, in such a case, the family members become the pillar leaders of anything that goes on.

There is unrelenting pressure for the husband to always have the Sunday message prepared.

There is pressure for the kids to always have praise and worship music prepared (even when they do not believe in Jesus).

There is pressure for the wife to do everything else.

It may take years, if ever, to have a non-family member take ownership of the ministry. The family must always uphold ministry activities, without fail. Some parts of ministry should not have been formed in the first place because of the lack of team members. Without team members there are no one to share the load.

But with a team there is support. There is feedback. There is sharing of the load. Other team members can stand in the gap. They can encourage one another in times of weakness. There can be elders, differing approaches, checks and balances. What about being able to go on furlough? Who will take over when you are gone? It must be the other members of the team that you have nurtured relationships with. It is a great relief to be part of a missionary team.

In a missionary team there is oneness and respect. Some churches may be tempted to embed a senior missionary in with other junior missionaries. They may have a godly motive to infuse some spiritual maturity in the team.  But they may also have an impure motive to make sure the church’s agenda is fulfilled. This is paternalistic. It does not trust the leading of the Holy Spirit. It does not respect the team members. In the team there is respect and shared authority, admiration and opportunities for all members to contribute. There is trust in God. With a missionary team there could be consensus building and unity.

We suffered greatly because we took hold of our mission without being part of a team. Our family members were the team. There was no one to pinch hit for me in leading group Bible study and delivering the Sunday message. It was always me and it was stressful. The kids were under pressure to always contribute with a smile on their face. Sunday became a chore instead a time of joyful worship before the Lord. Things would be very different with a team.

Without a team, the nature of the ministry was authoritarian. I was the head of the household. I was the one making sure that our “well oiled” machine kept running every week. I was authoritarian. I was the enforcer, and I did it for over 14 years. There were no checks and balances to see if I was straying as a leader. My wife was forced to play that role. A missionary who does not have a strong relationship with a missionary team will end up making unreal demands on each member of their family to keep their mission alive.

A missionary can nurture a relationship with the missionary team, by keeping in communication. They do not operate on their own. They work in conjunction with the team. They submit to God’s leading as revealed through the team. There is oneness. There is openness and honesty and commitment. There is communista (bonding from shared experiences).

Longevity, joy, fruitfulness on the mission field can be achieved by nurturing a strong relationship with a missionary team.

Part 4: Conclusion.

God never meant for us to function with no other relationships with the local body of believers around us. Elijah felt all alone. He was so distressed that he was hoping to die. But God told him, in the depth of his despair, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Ki 19:18; NIV). Elijah was not alone. There were others in the spiritual battle. God wants us to partner with others. In Phil 1:5-8 Paul writes, “I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” He considered others as partnering with him for the sake of the Gospel. This partnering involves individuals but Christians in other missional entities, like a receiving church and a missionary team.

We may be tempted to ignore relationships with other parts of the body of Christ as we barrel forward with our mission. It seems easier, at first to ignore a need for a receiving church or other team members. But, by failing to nurture these relationships, missionaries suffer. Their mission can only go so far. When I tried to do it, for fourteen years, I was left severely depressed and despaired. I was lonely and without local peers, local Christian friends and local mentors. I forced my family to serve the functions that a receiving church and a team was meant to fulfill.

Some may have thought I should have suffered for several years longer, keeping business as usual, and thinking blessing was just over the next mountain. But I don’t think so. Never again will I ignore these important relationships in mission, rather I will promote their need and seek to nurture them.

Part three of this three part series will discuss nurturing relationships with a “person of peace’” and the family.

19 comments

  1. Since about half of the UBF chapters throughout the world are one single family house churches/UBF chapters just like yours, I hope that UBF will consider your real life experiences, account and outcome after 14 years as a fully dedicated, fully committed and whole-hearted single family UBF house church.

  2. Charles Wilson
    Charles Wilson

    “Nobody knew my need for spiritual mentors. I didn’t even know my need. Nobody knew the extent of my inner struggles.”

    ??? But many, in fact, did know, especially among the senior staff. Your needs and struggles, in many ways, were similar to other single family house churches. The same needs were expressed to and heard by senior staff and other “senders” many times, for years. In pride, they ignored it and demanded that the house churches repent and push ahead. 

    This is why every report praising “Dr. John Jun’s CME in ____” is asinine and ought to be a slap in the face for many. If leadership claim to be unaware of the needs you expressed here, then shame on them. But if they do know and yet don’t address yet, they need to be called out for it and called to accountability for the many families “sent out” without help. By the way, how often is CME even given to non-Korean led chapters. Oh wait, how many non-Korean chapters are there? 

  3. Charles Wilson
    Charles Wilson

    “I completely ignored a relationship with a receiving church.” 

    Kevin, you wrote with a similar sentiment in the first part of this series. In effect, you did ignore a relationship with a receiving church, but that is what you were taught and instructed to do, explicity and by example. I often heard house churches and missionaries sharing their difficulties and hardships from a similar perspective. The resulting effect is that there is an appearance of personal failings in ministry. However, and you do touch on this in the article, UBF needs to be called out directly specifically by people like you and Julie, who labored for years under such proud and neglectful teachings and directions on missionary work and churches. I think that the roadblocks and difficulties your family suffered are shared by many in UBF, but it is not due to your own personal failings. 

    I’m reminded of those cases, such as in Pittsburg, where the single house church did reach out and have contact with a local church, only to be branded as abandoning UBF mission and not being UBF anymore. 

    In this way national staff conferences failed big time! The stage was mostly filled with a few hot shots who produced good numbers and the same old senior staff with the same old messages that were so vague and general. Much stage time was also given to reports by committees that had nothing to do with the work at the local level, introductions of guests from other countries attending the conferences but were not contributing to them besides their physical presence, and advertising more UBF conferences for you to attend at the regional, national, and international levels. Outside guest speakers and book reports were used at the convenience of the senior staff to affirm UBF principles and teachings. Those who were praised seemed to rise up out of the difficulties of lonely house church UBF-land. The rest of the time was “Bible study and testimony writing” which was basically a “figure it out yourselves” approach. However, the questionaires were so simple, unchallenging, and leading that it was already figured out for you in advance without any benefit to you. Testimonies were often filled with the same personal guilt and shame. “I didn’t fish more.” “I neglected my kids.” “I spent too much with my kids.” “My sheep read something on the internet and ran away.” “The devil got my children.” “My sheep ran away and I’m sad.” “I have no members.” “I’m doing something wrong.” “I don’t know how to write or preach a sermon–I repent.” “I don’t read the Bible everyday.” “I didn’t do daily bread.” “I didn’t repent enough.” It’s all about “I” doing something wrong. This wasn’t just at the staff conferences. It was the same in visiting chapters and house churches. For the most part, people don’t know what they’re doing and yet feel guilty for “failing” in ministry and not raising 120 disciples of Jesus at the camps, and an Abraham and Sarah of faith. 

    It’s time UBF took responsibility for how they have sent missionaries. Instead we just see UBF leaders continuing to praise themselves for missionary sending at any opportunity (see, KIMNET reports and all of UBF.org). 

  4. If you consider the invisible divide that separates the missionaries, from the culture it seeks to serve, then the receiving church is on the other side of that divide, dwelling in the region the missionary is praying to minister. They are poised to receive the missionaries as they land in the field. That is why I call them, the “receiving church”. I would include spiritual mentors and advisors as part of the receiving church. They are like-minded with similar vision for mission. They may not even be the same denomination as the sending church. They may not even have a relationship with the mission agency. The prime quality is that they are established within the foreign culture, or subculture, and can lend a helping hand to the missionary. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#sthash.gDGYYnbR.dpuf

    After reading this I had to stop and tell you – Thank you, Kevin! THIS is what I was aching for throughout my time in UBF. The isolation I experienced in the mission field was crushing. Completely crushing.

  5. Again, thank you. Word for word this is exactly what we experienced at Penn State. There are so many following this flawed paradigm and reaping negative consequences. I hope they are listening.

  6. Kevin, let me echo words that I (surprisingly) mean with all my whole heart!

    “Thank and praise God who has given you wisdom and insight to stand before God and preach the gospel in spite of all difficulties!”

    Really. Actually.

    Your words are full of the gospel and the truth. You are very gentle and affirming in your words, and I applaud you in that, as well as your courage to be frank and open.

    For my two bits in response,

    None of this is new. The sending church has had so many similar experiences that they are carelessly negligent in following up to prepare missionaries/shepherds/house churches.

    It was not taught to you or to many others because the organization has pridefully blinded itself to the positives of other ministries. You were not prepared for working with the church in your community because those who sent you are not prepared to understand or teach it.

    There are a great many in the organization around the world who are advocating for these kinds of issues to be addressed (from within the church, I mean) but at best, I can see no possibility of a turn-around for at least 10 years.

    Until we see something better, I can’t help but warn anyone in UBF that this cycle is 90% likely to happen to anyone sent out. And I do thank God for those who are wise enough to see this reality and buck the status quo.

    Last may I came to a point of decision about how to address these problems, and my own decision was to leave, because as much as I like bucking the status quo, I did not want my family to have to endure the pain, attacks and misunderstandings we would have to go through.

    My wife still attends and serves in the ministry, so I doubly appreciate this article, and am thinking of sharing it with her and others in the ministry I love.

  7. Hi Matt,

    I think this is the first time I heard of your “decision to leave.” If you don’t mind me asking, when did you leave? How long were you in UBF? What has been your experience with your departure from the ministry?

    • Hi, Ben. I’ve been somewhat quiet about it for a number of personal reasons, one of which being a couple of my friends in sensitive situations in the ministry, and not wanting any kind of retaliation on them until they are a bit safer.

      I left last May after having some very serious conversations with ministry leaders in KC. I felt that if I continued to attend and serve (for me they were one and the same) I could not but advocate for serious changes in the UBF structure, and I could not do that without causing division among people I love. There are a number of specific things I may try to post on UBFriends at a time that seems more suitable.

      I was in UBF from August 2001 through May 2015. I served a message at my first conference and served in some way at every conference I ever attended, and had been sharing in the message serving, eating fellowships and campus activities since 2005.

      My departure has been difficult, as I was not able to see “eye to eye” with really anyone in our ministry. Most have accepted my decision as it stands, and it’s difficult that the few who really understand are here at this website, aside from a few exceptions. Things have been sad and happy. A family who left our ministry in the past invited me to their home bible study in the summer. I have been attending a wonderful church in Kansas City and healing a lot, learning the truth about the church. My children are happy to attend with us together, and they have made amazing accomodations for my son who has autism, and have made amazing ways to help him get some of the bible teaching and experiences other children are getting. Overall, I feel that maybe I’m learning the joy of Mary, who got to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen and learn and be filled. My wife continues to serve and we do our best to support one another as much as we can. We also got to a point where we needed to move, and now there is a little distance between us and the local chapter, which has relieved some of the pressure.

      In time I’ll write up some important details about my departure, perhaps something like Joe and Kevin have shared here. For now however, as I mentioned above, I am a little concerned that my comments could be taken wrong and certain individuals close to me might get punished or abused, so I’m waiting for an opportune time.

      Overall, I don’t tell anyone not to go to UBF, but there are many cautions people need to be aware of. There are so many good people who make the ministry (really any ministry) usable by God, but as Kevin has been mentioning in these posts, there needs to be a serious paradigm shift. Everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it.

    • Excuse me, I said “they are happy to attend with us together” but that should have been “they are happy to attend together with me”.

    • “Overall, I don’t tell anyone not to go to UBF, but there are many cautions people need to be aware of. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#comment-19504

      Very good point.

      “Surely there have been good things done by the group. I do not deny the genuine spiritual awakening that took place while at the group. I do not deny the stories of the individuals at the group who are indeed working to change the ministry for the better. But that is not the focus of this book. Any good that can come out of UBF, for many of us former members, is tainted with the cultic control of our identities. Anything good we experience is poisoned with fear. Our genuine spiritual growth is stained with pain. And our adult formative years are stunted with the bastardization of our cultural and generational identity.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Bible Cult, pg 28

  8. Thanks for sharing, Matt. I understand why you might need to wait before sharing publicly what happened for the sake of some who have remained.

    You wrote, “…there needs to be a serious paradigm shift. Everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#comment-19496

    I agree that there absolutely needs to be a major “serious paradigm shift.” I also more or less agree that “no one wants to talk about it.” Though some do, yet never in any public discourse but in some “inner circles” where mere mortals are not privy to.

    But I do wonder if “everyone knows it,” because it seems that some among the old guard are determined to keep the UBF legacies, traditions, methodologies and so-called core values as non-negotiables, even at the cost of the vast majority of people–such as yourself and countless others–leaving.

    I’ve even heard some murmurings to the effect of “let all those who do not like UBF leave. Then we can start over with the most pure-hearted among us who want to keep UBF the way God originally intended.”

    • ““let all those who do not like UBF leave. Then we can start over – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#comment-19502

      Yes of course. That is at the heart of what makes UBFism work. You have to find new students who don’t know the dark side of UBFism, so you can deceive and indoctrinate them. It is a classic cultic control mechanism:

      “In the future, this personal shepherd will work with the chapter director to arrange the student’s marriage. Above all, the shepherd’s job is to keep the student (called a sheep) in the hierarchal system of shepherds. This hierarchy and control mechanism is called spiritual order by the group. This idea of spiritual order is similar to the classic multi-level marketing strategy of recruiting. UBF might be called a spiritual Ponzi scheme. As such, the structure of the UBF organization is constantly falling apart. Every 10 years or so, the system faces a crisis situation during which time many members leave. Every few years, the shepherds have to start all over with finding a new student as the scheme repeatedly falls apart.”

      Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Bible Cult, pg 23

  9. I think the identity snatcher thing is close here.

    One thing I told others that was painful to think much less explain is that so many people in UBF (and I don’t think intentionally, they don’t know what they do, literally) created an idol that looked like me, talked like me, and was me. When I stepped outside the bounds expected for the idol, there was a vacuum of understanding. I was punished verbally (and physically, though not with beatings or anything) with that idol.

    Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. These words are not just, “O, I’ll pretend like they don’t know, so I can forgive.” I realized that UBF literally does not know that they do these things. The carelessness and lack of self-appraisal is appalling and dangerous, not to mention really sorrowful, considering how many educated people we have in our ministry.

    It came from Dr. Lee–did he know he was being made into an idol? Was it intentional? Was it well intentioned but mistaken? Mother Barry too, God grant her peace. Her life has been set up as an idol, where zealots punish and humiliate themselves to mask how far from her example they’ve gone. Did they realize the kind of idolatry of self they were propagating? Or was it made around them by an ignorant, well-intentioned, but easily corruptible church body? Such a movement is difficult to detach oneself from.

    Let’s just say I had to detach myself from it at any cost. I couldn’t change the atmosphere and I didn’t want my children or friends to be caught up in it.

    • They know they’re “haemorrhaging leaders” and why–but they don’t know what they’re doing, unfortunately, and with few exceptions, are not to be trusted as other churches have been.

      Not to say every church is perfect but:

      Just in a few months visiting another church, i’ve seen
      -A pastor make for dang sure that no one thinks he’s attained Christ’s example, but is like all of us seeking for his place and role at all times
      -A ministry that seriously thinks that one transformed life is worth the effort of involving positive like minded people to help something simply so that God will work
      -A ministry committed to “safe space” training so that all volunteers and staff who oversee children understand the risks involved and the potential problems that can come from abuse or even simple mistakes in the care of young people
      -And still works in their own way to teach the Bible in relevant ways weekly, support local families in need, do community service projects and even support a local ministry in the city as well as one in Guatemala

      It can be done, if there is a will.

    • Matt, I am really glad to hear that you detached yourself from UBFism. Anyone who does this, even for 1 month, will begin to see the contradictions and unhealthy nature. UBFism stands in stark contrast to a healthy community, as you rightly point out.

      So then, do they know what they are doing? As you point, out, they do not realize how harmful UBFism is.

      However, they know what is happening.

      “I realized that UBF literally does not know that they do these things. – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#comment-19529

      If this was 1976, and if this was the first crisis/reform situation at UBF, I might agree with you (maybe). But now there is no excuse. They do know they do these things.

      Many, many people have told them what they are doing. The same leaders are in charge of ubf in 2015 as was 30 or 40 or 50 years ago. The same people.

      A healthy, reasonable person eventually sees the reality around them and starts to as why. Why are so many people hurt and leaving our group?

      But the top leaders at ubf do not ask such questions. They are in denial. We are not dealing with healthy, sane people who question what they are doing. We are dealing with pathological narcissists. Instead of questioning UBFism based on thousands of facts, they will arrogantly drive the group into the ground, clinging to their pride to the last day.

      Instead of questioning UBFism, some are adding more and more Christian paint onto it. Look at what Toledo ubf is doing:

      They created a membership class with a membership application.

      I would NEVER sign such crap! So to be a member of Toledo ubf, I would now have to agree to that list of hogwash? They just took UBFism and painted it up nicely with Christian words.

    • One good thing about that Toledo ubf membership class, they ADMIT they practice shepherding!

      Class 6: Discipleship and Mentoring

      A. Discipleship
      1) Important Purpose of the Church (Mt 28:19-20)
      2) What is a disciple?
      3) Why is discipleship important?
      4) How to be a disciple?

      B. How to Make Disciples / Spiritual Mentoring or Shepherding
      1) A relationship within the body of Christ in which both mentor and mentee seek to grow
      in the faith and knowledge of Christ.
      2) Christians are responsible for specific members (Ac 20:28)
      3) Mentor Role (aka. Shepherd)
      4) Mentee Role (aka. Sheep)
      5) Mentor / Mentee Relationships

    • This application class is so deceiving. A normal human being who speaks English knows that these three things are different:

      1. Make Disciples
      2. Spiritual Mentoring
      3. Shepherding

      These are three different topics, and yet the Toledo ubf class just lumps them in all together. Why? Well because they cannot just be honest and say “We practice the harmful shepherding theology that ICOC and others have renounced back in the 70’s.”

      The class also makes no mention of arranged marriage. When are they going to create an honest membership class? When will they tell young students what plans they really have for them?

      You cannot do this to young adults!

  10. “A pastor make for dang sure that no one thinks he’s attained Christ’s example, but is like all of us seeking for his place and role at all times…” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#comment-19529

    This seems to be so basic, elementary, foundational and fundamental to being a Christian!

    But as you put so aptly, “The carelessness and lack of self-appraisal is appalling and dangerous, not to mention really sorrowful, considering how many educated people we have in our ministry.” – See more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2015/09/19/missionaries-must-nurture-relationships-part-2/#comment-19529

    It reminds me of a saying quoted by churches who can’t see their blind spots and who keep insisting that they are doing just fine. (It’s the troublemakers who are causing trouble!) Carly Fiorina also quoted this about politicians. I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like “a fish swimming in dirty water for a long time has no idea that the water is dirty.”

    • You know, Ben, I started writing out some of the “reasons” why I left UBF, and I currently have an introduction, and one of my 10 or so main points fills up 2 pages of single space text.