Are UBF Chapter Directors/Missionaries Accountable?

accountable-quote-MoliereWhen deemed necessary, can they be questioned, challenged, corrected, or rebuked?

In 2013, the current UBF General Director, changed parts of his New Year’s address based on comments he received from several UBF people. He was told that the content of his overall message was very good. But some of his comments and application were insensitive, especially toward those who have experienced spiritual abuse at the hands of UBF chapter directors and Korean missionaries in various parts of the world, including the U.S. and Canada. Truth be told, he did not realize and never intended to be offensive or insensitive. Also, he graciously welcomed the comments without being defensive. Then he removed the offensive parts of his message. This was greatly encouraging to me and to many others. His message, without the offensive elements, was well received by the UBF staff and leaders.

This, I believe, is an excellent praiseworthy model of a Christian leader–one who is able to receive unfavorable comments and critique without being personally offended, and then humbly making the necessary corrections. I believe that our current general director is a humble man of God who loves Jesus: he wants to do what is right before God and for the good of the future of the people of God in UBF. That is why I respect him.

What about other older UBF chapter directors and missionaries? Are they as open and welcoming to unfavorable comments, objections and critiques? Do they think that it is OK for young people to question their leadership over their chapter or over UBF?

accountability_chickensSadly, in my opinion, there are some older “clandestine” UBF chapter directors and missionaries who do not humbly welcome objections, corrections, challenges, or critique. They take it personally as an insult and as an affront. They behave as though no one junior to them has the right to call them to be accountable, or to answer to any questions of inappropriate speech or actions. Their subjective response is “How dare you?” Those who have been in UBF for over 2-3 decades know who those UBF leaders are. UBFriends does not single out perpetrators. We respect current and former UBF people, including the UBF leaders who were spiritually abusive, and who may continue to be authoritarian. But we will address such behavior, because it dishonors God and hurts people in the church of UBF, which is the bride and the body of Christ.

Furthermore, does the Bible teach that younger people should not rebuke, challenge, or correct their older (church) leader? Well, Nathan, a subject of King David, rebuked the king, who has authority over him. Paul, a newer apostle rebuked Peter, the most senior apostle. Countless (unpopular) prophets rebuked countless (established) religious leaders and kings in Israel. Jesus, a young itinerant evangelist severely and very very negatively rebuked the top religious leaders of Israel who were all older than him. Heck, even  a donkey rebuked Balaam the prophet.

From my observations, some UBF chapter directors and missionaries have privately and publicly corrected and rebuked their sheep for all sorts of things–sometimes without restraint and with intolerance, indignation and anger. Their attitude is “Keep spiritual order. Just obey. Don’t question.” Isn’t this abusive? Do some UBF leaders make unilateral decisions that affect you without first discussing with you? Do they meddle with your life as shepherds “over” you?

As much as such UBF leaders expect their sheep and juniors to be accountable to them, are they likewise equally accountable? Do they welcome correction? Can their decisions be questioned? Can we ask that they be accountable? Or should our attitude be: “we should trust God and not question them, since God appointed them (and not you) as the leader”?


  1. “In 2013, the current UBF General Director, changed parts of his New Year’s address based on comments he received from several UBF people. He was told that the content of his overall message was very good.”

    Let’s not forget that I severely rebuked the GD’s message in private discussion with him. Some of my specific and explicit points of contention were the things he changed. So it is even more remarkable that he listened to a former member like me.

  2. “Are UBF Chapter Directors/Missionaries Accountable?”

    Ultimately all directors will bow and submit to Jesus Christ. For their sake, it is time to stand up and demand their accountability. It is said that power concedes nothing without a demand. Now is the time to hold your chapter director accountable. Keep asking questions. Keep digging into problems. Keep raising your voices of concern. The Spirit has decreed this time as a time of accountability. Call them into account!

    The words of Frederick Douglass ring loud and clear. These words speak to the “sheep” in ubf:

    “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

    This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.

    Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.”

    (source: West India Emancipation on 8/1857)

  3. “Heck, even a donkey rebuked Balaam the prophet.”

    Yes, indeed. One night in 2011 I realized I was just a “donkey” in the eyes of ubf directors. So I wrote my SUMMARY REBUKE OF KOREAN AUTHORITY IN UBF.

    • Brian, your experience in being re-awakened by the Holy Spirit, as is detailed in your letter, is quite fascinating. I have found myself becoming increasingly intrigued and perhaps inspired by your journey. I just have one question: How was God sovereignly working in your midst during the 24 years you spent in UBF before ‘waking up’; what conclusions have you drawn from this? I’m not asking this to jump into an ‘end justifying the means’ type of discussion, but I’m just really curious to know. A good function of this site would be to serve as a repository of former and current UBF members’ life journeys.

    • Excellent questions David. Here is what I’ve processed so far:

      “How was God sovereignly working in your midst during the 24 years you spent in UBF before ‘waking up’”

      > Most of that time was what I call “building the cocoon”. In one sense, it is common and perhaps necessary for a Christian to enter into a cocoon stage. Mine was an extended cocoon time it seems. This was part of God’s sovereign hand in my life.

      “what conclusions have you drawn from this?”

      > A cocoon is necessary for a butterfly to emerge. What ubf doesn’t realize is now many butterflies have been aborted by weaving the cocoon too tightly or crushed by demanding them to remain as caterpillars.

      > Since I was a Christian before ubf, I have conclude that one sovereign purpose of God for those 24 years was to prepare me as a witness and voice to articulate the gospel to ubf people. No one can say truthfully that I am just a bitter member or a casual bystander. I was Mr. ubf, a real insider who heard and saw so much. I am convinced that God’s sovereign purpose for my life is and has been to preach the gospel Jesus preached: forgiveness, freedom, fulfillment, grace, peace, life, kingdom, glory and rest.

    • Mark Mederich

      Brian, seems like your time in Detroit became partly like Paul’s time in Arabia, lonely but time with God

  4. @David Weed: For me, I think that God’s sovereignty was working for the 10 years that was in UBF by allowing me to experience the futility of trying to please God either through personal spiritual growth and through works of righteousness. Before I was in UBF, I thought that God is pleased when I grow and displeased when I do not grow, and many respects, this theology was supported within the ministry. I was drawn to UBF because it was so regimented, I thought it would help me change so that I could please God. If I had not entered UBF, I don’t think I would have ever moved past my performance-driven mentality of approaching God, and move into a relationship based on grace. In that respect, I see the 10 years as God’s instrument to help me acknowledge His unconditional love and receive it through grace.

    • Mark Mederich

      what is spiritual order? (sounds like something man-made to benefit those who invented it:))))))

  5. Thanks Joshua, David, Brian.

    My wife and I were talking for a long time yesterday about how we really love our life in UBF. We really love what UBF does, which is focus on Bible study with young people. We discussed how we cannot imagine living anywhere else besides living near a university campus and being surrounded by young people.

    We might prefer living in a “better house” and in a “nice suburb,” but we both concluded that we would become totally bored. We love the UBF expression of Christian life, evangelism, discipleship that gives us limitless opportunities to share Jesus with others. We would choose no other life other than the 70 years combined that we have both spent in UBF.

    The ONLY problem is the authoritarian hierarchical top-down control and the politics behind the scenes, which I believe UBFriends is bringing to the forefront.

  6. “The ONLY problem is the authoritarian hierarchical top-down control and the politics behind the scenes, which I believe UBFriends is bringing to the forefront.”

    The authoritarian hierarchical top-down control and the politics behind the scenes is not the only problem but it is the only problem that cannot be overcome by working things out. It is certainly the primary problem. This is why I contend that change isn’t the answer for ubf. Change won’t happen, even with double-agents, until the power and control is challenged and removed.

    Change anything you want, but if the authoritarian control is not renounced and the 20 or so dictator-like directors are not removed from their office of power, nothing significant will change. That is why we need both the reconciliation and intervention of the Holy Spirit and the “William Wilburforces”/”Sophie Scholls” in ubf to step forward.

  7. big bear

    Brian, I agree with you 100% that the power and the control must be removed for there to be any real spiritual growth in UBF.

  8. I want to come back to this after some thought, but first I reviewed past articles and want to remind people of them. They all address the role of leadership. I wish there was some way to take an honest and fool proof poll (quiz/survey) to ask people in UBF to define leadership. I would also caveat it by exluding Bible verses so that the person is limited to their thoughts as expressed through their own wording usage.

    I contrasted one key leadership article with a couple indirect articles because of the socio-cultural aspect of UBF.
    Here are a couple of the articles about leadership, but really all of them should be reposted:

    • Yes, I would agree gc, there are many articles here that need re-visited. I think in 2019 or so, after I’ve “moved on”, someone will need those articles and the conversations will start up again. The discussion seems to have run its course for now on those.

      In regard to leadership, any leader should pay attention to the things that followers want most: TRUST, COMPASSION, STABILITY, HOPE.

      I found those things in 1987 in ubf leaders. But trust was shattered when I was ordered to break into my pastor’s house. Compassion was non-existent when I wanted to be a missionary. Stability was broken when I was told I was not a Christian when I was already a Christian before ubf. And hope was lost when I tried to raise just a few concerns and started asking questions about the suffering of my friends.

    • I agree with you Brian. I am just hoping that some “new respondants” (if there are any) may review these.

      Accountability and leadership go hand in hand. We need a leader whose example is truly and sincerely Christ centered. But often times we get leaders who would rather be political agents. As a result everything gets ugly and who looks bad? Anyone who objects.

    • Mark Mederich

      being told by founder to break into pastor’s house=extreme emotional trauma
      (could cause mental split/schizophrenia: like father telling son to break into older brother’s house)
      absolute human obedience must be ABSOLUTELY CONDEMNED. (period)

  9. I would like to say “Yes!” but I can’t. Personally, I think a good window of change for some people is to watch their family. Observe their children. What kind of relationship is encouraged? How do they relate to each other? I have seen the crisis of second gens in UBF and know that the children of older missionaries suffered a lot. Some senior missionaries awoke to these relationship problems in their family and corrected them. Maybe they even applied what they had discovered and learned into a change in ministry. I know that my home chapter director had changed for one, but I do not know to what degree. (That is because of time line for my entry.)

    I think the majority of leaders are not open to criticism. Those that are may be seen in the ministry context of being different and against the traditional UBF way. Junior’s don’t have a right to call them to be accountable. It is the hierarchy. A junior not only lacks the experience in the ministry, but also in life. Just reviewing the old articles I read the comment that even a young missionary is affected by this same dead end situation. A young missionary should listen to the older and wiser senior missionary. Well, you did get the older part right.

    We need to get away from the Christianity that is heavy laden with Korean culture. In a Korean context it is understandable, because there is a social structure at work. (Now, I said understandable, I am not an advocate.) I also see the concern for younger native leaders to take the lead for America or Canada or anywhere that is not Korea. Why are young native leaders being appointed in name only? Why do I read comments from Brian, Ben and Joe that suggest that even though a pioneering chapter evolved into an official chapter – that chapter is still under the authority of a Korean? I am loosely asking since I don’t know all the behind the scenes stuff. It is not only important to establish native leaders, but also that they take leadership by 100%. This could aid the openness for accountability since there should be no influence from Korean culture. It should also shed insight into new approaches by a native for the population of that country. That being said, we are having this discussion after many have already said that all natives conform to certain measures and the intolerance to juniors speaking up is a classic.

    When a junior speaks up it disrupts the environment. All of a sudden everyone has to do damage control for any young students who may have heard about the situation. Frankly, this causes an even more stressful environment because in a healthy church any topic should be free to discuss. If there is fear that someone may leave because of a controversial topic then isn’t that a warning. What are people trying to hide? As far as keeping spiritual order – let’s put this in different language. Let’s keep social order – obey your senior.

    It is abusive for decisions to be made about your life without your consent. After a decision has been made you are confronted with a tough choice – say “yes” and continue to say “yes” or say “no” and receive rebuke and judgment for lack of faith. So, if you do not put your 100% trust in UBF leaders that is the same as not trusting God 100% – I really don’t think so.

    Thank God for UBFriends! Here is a place where we can share and express our thoughts. It is possible we may be corrected by our peers or even yes a senior member or ex-member, but no one is fighting for power. Most of us are rather challenging UBF to publicly confess its history and clean up. We are also discussing fundamental Christian issues that arise in any gathering – however – primarily in a UBF context.

    • gc, just a couple responses to your questions. Yes, I would like to say “Yes!” to Ben’s question, are the directors accountable? But like you, I have to admit the reality that they are not accountable to the chapter members. They are only accountable to the hierarchy above them, which is in disarray currently.

      “Why are young native leaders being appointed in name only?”

      I think it is because ubf directors love the “new sheep” smell and feel. They chew them up and spit them out when anyone becomes a “senior” leader.

      I am a good example. I remember being married for 10 years, I was 35 years old and had 2 daughters. I had been a junior leader for many years. I was a fellowship leader. Shouldn’t I have been considered a “senior leader”?

      But no! I was just a junior leader and in the eyes of my director I was still just a weak, timid 18 year old like when he first met me.

      ubf directors just won’t give up their power and authority. When anyone grows and becomes mature, the director senses that the leader is a threat and pushes them away.

      It was SO SAD and such a tragedy to watch grown men older than me, who were in their 40’s at the time, be made to look like foolish teenagers, always asking for permission from the Korean director or another Korean missionary. THAT is why I speak so harshly against the Korean authority in ubf. Such authority must be challenged and dismantled if there is any hope for life of ubf ministry in the future.

      “Why do I read comments from Brian, Ben and Joe that suggest that even though a pioneering chapter evolved into an official chapter – that chapter is still under the authority of a Korean?”

      Yes! Chicago ubf didn’t recognize Detroit ubf as a chapter for several years. We were just a fellowship of Toledo. Still some people think I live in Toledo and dismiss what I say because I am just someone “wounded by PH”. That is not the entire truth of my reality. PH caused problems yes, but he is not the root problem. The root of the ubf problems is the authority expressed in the shepherd/sheep bondage.

      Release the bonds!

    • gc, thanks for your perceptive comments. Ben and Joe are among the most senior, dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable non-Korean UBF members. It is important that their Biblical views and those of others like them be respected and listened to very carefully, at least as they relate to North American ministry.

    • “the most senior, dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable non-Korean UBF members.”

      What about senior, dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable non-Korean former members? Oh wait, those people are just bitter and poisonous so we should dismiss them automatically no matter what they say.

    • Absolutely- “others like them” also includes multitudes of people who may be former members, Korean missionaries and younger people who may hold similar perspectives, not the least of whom is Brian Karcher.

    • Nice, but I wasn’t thinking of myself. I had Joshua’s family, Chris’ family, Vitaly’s family, big bear’s family, DavidB’s family, etc. in mind.

    • Mark Mederich


    • Mark Mederich

      senior (remaining) members…views=personal considerations, however standards of right/wrong apply universally regardless of cultural considerations
      anyone might like to invoke;

      speaking of preferences may inadvertently (or advertently) derail real issues.

  10. Now, I am just throwing this one out there. I already mentioned about native leaders who pioneer without any real say or standing. How about other Korean missionaries? I believe they have the same process – yes/no?

    If both Korean and native leader pioneer and follow the same regulation it could be argued as fair. (Follow me on this, don’t tear me to pieces.) However, if there is a dual standard, one for the native and one for the Korean missionary than that is a big problem. Similarly, if there is even another consideration for second gens who happen to be called to pioneer than the practice is overwhelmed with trouble from the start.

    My stance is very clear, adapt to the people you have committed to serve and do not try to implant your social ideology on them.

    There are many variants even among Koreans. A man who held high authority during military service may have loved his experience which may or may not affect how he perceives leadership later on. Another man may have hated his experience in military and carries out a more moderate approach in leading. What I am addressing is the common comparison of Korean leaders in UBF to an inherent application of military order. This goes beyond Confucianism because even the idea of “training” takes on new meanings.

    Now a younger man from Korea may handle things very differently and with more sensitivity.

    I would rather not pick on UBF as most commonly outlined by the general concerns which really do come from cultural differences. That being said if a foreigner goes to Korea to work there they are constantly told, “This is Korea. Get used to it.” Just go online to see many examples from various blogs about teaching and so on. In that same breath, any Korean should be aware that when something arises in a country foreign to them the same sentiment may be stated.

    It might be unclear, but I will try to help what I am getting at. If a foreigner goes to Korea that is their choice from some desire to teach or do something more. That person should already be prepared for many cultural tendencies that are otherwise objectionable. But when Korean missionaries desire to go somewhere and bring the gospel to native inhabitants there should be no question about cultural toleration. Frankly, cultural concern should be a moot point in matters of faith. The Koreans should willingly struggle and adapt and that does not just include eating foreign food and watching TV and movies or listening to music. They need to integrate at a social level that goes beyond establishing a church in that country and city.

    The social value system needs to be challenged. This article is addressing accountability, but how can any foreigner in UBF effectively challenge when in even a Korean context accountability is a touchy issue? But we are not in Korea! Many Koreans were convicted to go somewhere. Bringing UBF to America, Canada, UK, Russia, Mexico etc…..should at some point realize a sovereignty. Once continental and country directors are established the responsibility should become theirs. Once a chapter director is recognized it should become his/her responsibility.

    Once more, we all understand why primary activity was done by Korean missionaries, but at this time UBF really should examine how it may effectively give responsibility over to native or non-native chapter leaders. Once responsibility has been handed over we can address more clearly the matter of accountability. Until then I think accountability will only come from a minority of Korean leadership in UBF.

    • gc,

      “How about other Korean missionaries? I believe they have the same process – yes/no?”

      NO! There is no process for Americans to become missionaries (as far as I know). But there is a very clear process for Koreans. Problem is that most Americans would never go through such “training”.

      I wanted to be a missionary almost my entire 24 years in ubf. Everyone knew it. Part of our MbF was to pray to be missionaries to Russia, because I had already been a 3 month ubf missionary in St.Petersburg.

      But I was told I would be a bad missionary. This made me angry but I never expressed it. Instead, we went to Detroit. The irony is that I would indeed have been a bad ubf missionary. I do not have the selfish ambition or the absolute loyalty or the sublte manipulation abilities needed to reach the “missionary” status. And of course the obvious reason: I am not Korean, I am American.

  11. big bear

    Yes, the Korean leadership must become accountable. I was surprised that all the time I was under a Korean director in UBF that he never wrote a testimony yet he demanded and rebuked all those who did not write on Fridays. It is a double standard. It seems like UBF is kind of migrating Korean people to America and making them missionaries at the cost of us Americans. Maybe the underlying motive is to conquer the world through UBF under the umbrella of religion. Many Korean directors get financial help as well from headquarters and this puts them at an advantage over us who have to struggle. In other words, you have to trust God with what they are doing with the ministry. From my almost 30 years in UBF, I felt that their intentions were pure and right but this all changed after my director asked me to keep my mouth shut and go to another church. I will not keep my mouth shut because the Lord above knows that I must speak out His truth for it burns within me.

    • “It seems like UBF is kind of migrating Korean people to America and making them missionaries at the cost of us Americans.”

      This is exactly what several of us noticed too, big bear. I am convinced there is no widespread conspiracy to “dominate the world”. But I am also convinced there are ubf chapter directors who view this networking as their primary reason for doing ubf ministry.

      Toledo ubf was a Korean immigration machine for several years. But that is broken up now after half of the leaders left. If you were a Korean young person in Korea, you could come to Toledo and get a PhD with almost no effort. This made my wife so angry because she received zero help for her PhD, and yet these young Koreans would come to visit, get a PhD and good paying job and have such a nice life in America.

      I think we need to uncover the multiple layers of ubf and define what ubf consists of. In 2012, one newspaper reporter in Chicago correctly wrote that ubf is a “mixed bag”.

      Well, here is the mixed bag as far as I can tell. Your experience in ubf will often depend on what mixture exists in your chapter.

      I’m not sure if this is a comprehensive list but here are the layers of issues I’ve had to fight through. This multi-layered system allows chapter directors to remain unaccountable except to their direct superior in the pyramid.

      1. BUSINESS LAYER: Take a multi-level marketing system and swap out business concepts with spiritual discipline activity

      2. CONFUCIAN LAYER: Emphasize the 5 Confucian values and use them as the ultimate lens to see the world and yourself through

      3. CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST LAYER: Create an 8-point list of Christianized slogans that are loosely based on right-wing, conservative Christianity

      4. INDOCTRINATION LAYER: Proof-text the 8-point list with the Bible, especially by repeatedly emphasizing Genesis 12, Genesis 22, Exodus 19:5,6, John 4, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Ephesians 2:10 (which requires developing various indoctrination programs, such as the UBF 7 step and 9 step programs)

      5. SHEPHERDING LAYER: Implement the shepherding movement authority structure

      6. SHUNNING LAYER: Ignore, dismiss and demonize former members and critical voices

      7. SELF-PRAISE LAYER: Publish only positive material about your organization and establish nostalgic hagiographies about yourself

      8. HUMAN LAYER: Repeat the cycle of rebuilding the system every 5 years, which requires continuous re-indoctrination efforts by older members

    • “I was surprised that all the time I was under a Korean director in UBF that he never wrote a testimony yet he demanded and rebuked all those who did not write on Fridays.”

      Same for me, big bear. In my 10 years at UBF I must have shared well over 500 testimonies, and listened to tenthousands of testimonies of members, but I did not hear a single testimony of my chapter director or other people higher in the hierarchy. The essence of these testimonies is admitting sins, repenting and promising to do better next week. By not sharing their testimonies, the directors send the message that they are without sin, that they have nothing to repent of and to improve, while at the same time everybody else feels guilty for failing to live up to the standards and promises of last week’s testimony. It manifests the idea that the director is “the servant of God”, while the member has always to prove that he is even worthy of being part of the community. This is a very powerful mechanism in the UBF system; it’s one of the ingredients that make up a poisonous mixture. When you only hear the words “Bible study” or “testimony sharing” it sounds all good and well. But if you look carefully what these words mean in UBF, how exactly they are practiced and what they entail, you will find many such crucial problematic details all working together to establish the system that leads to dependency and spiritual abuse.

      The Bible says “confess your sins to each other” (Jam 5:16) and “submit to one another” (Eph 5:21). In a healthy church, these things are bidirectional, but in UBF they are unidirectional.

    • Mark Mederich

      “In other words, you have to trust God with what they are doing with the ministry.” (& with God’s $: God is watching by the way:)

      it finally dawned on me that collective $ has always been the problem when religion goes bad: the house of prayer turned into a marketplace in Jesus’ time, Catholic church sale of indulgences & celibacy savings lost on lawsuits.

      I suppose native members contribute the lion’s share of $ & effort in established longterm ministries, but do they reap only the lamb’s share of the consequent collective “blessings”?

  12. Missionaries who leave Korea do not have the biblical mindset to humbly learn from indigenous people. Their mindset is basically to “conquer and subdue” the natives to their spiritual authority.

    So to this day, any native UBF leader in any country, perhaps including the U.S. and Canada, is still expected to humbly defer to the “covering” senior missionary chapter director/pioneer, or even to the UBF director of Korea.

    • big bear

      Chris…I think you touch on many good points…we have to protect families….Ubf needs to be shaken and to stiff and to sad….it is God time for renewal…Jesus said you will be hated by all men but he who stands firm will be saved….thanks for great insight….

    • Mark Mederich

      silly, sad: pyramids can only support one pinpoint at the top, while facilitators (“organic” leaders) willing to share the stage when followers are ready to step up, form a square shared oversight (like Jethro’s idea for Moses to share judging numerous disputes);

      better yet when enough followers step up, some long-term facilitators can step down to maintain broad base of support (advisory role) spreading the square out to a rectangle

  13. gc, “at this time UBF really should examine how it may effectively give responsibility over to native or non-native chapter leaders.”

    It is too late for that. Too many native leaders have left. There is a gaping hole in most ubf chapters. You have the senior Korean missionaries who have been in ubf 20+ years, and the you have new, young students who have been in ubf less than 3 years. Almost every “Abraham of Faith” in ubf has left. Most “junior leaders” have left.

    ubf is now faced with starting all over with a few native leaders who are left. And the funny thing is, the ubf directors seem ok with this, almost happy that they no longer have to deal with “lazy junior leaders” who were hindering their “world mission plan”.

    • Mark Mederich

      from a business point of view: the years of $ & effort of past members is already “in the organizational bank” so they are expendable:(
      new members though requiring startup investment, become a replacement source of $/effort so “the steamroller” keeps moving

    • Mark Mederich

      centralized organization=central control of $, what else matters?
      I’m afraid the only solution is financial clarification (of course input must be limited since outpt is poorly defined)

  14. Some older missionaries from Korea simply do not know what to do with themselves if they are not the respected, recognized and regarded as the “senior leader” or chapter director, or if they do not have the final say over any matter of disagreement or conflict.

  15. big bear

    wow…Brian and Ben you both do your homework. I have been woke up after almost 30 years….this site has been very helpful to help me to see the broader perspective of christian life and to examine myself in a new light and what I blindly obeyed for so long…..thanks for all your labors for the body of christ. agree with you both

  16. @big bear. Even though you were told to “keep your mouth shut, leave UBF and go to another church,” you are still able to make your own independent decision before God in regards to whether or not you should “keep your mouth shut,” or “leave UBF,” or “go to another church.”

    Sadly, variations of this offensive directive has been given to so many UBF people who dares to question something/anything that the senior UBF leader does not like, especially “shut your mouth!”

    • Mark Mederich

      since religions & churches belong to God (not owned by people), not to mention you showed good faith support=pouring in 30 years $/effort, you have right to worship where you want, when you help you God! Amen.)

      noone had a right to tell you those things, it came from their own insecurity about losing their situation when others would follow suit

  17. @big bear: then there are the veiled threats that if you continue to post “slanderous things”, certain sins that were confessed privately will be disclosed publicly. Acts 23:3 comes to mind.

    A leaders may avoid being accountable, but no leader can avoid being called to account.

  18. big bear

    Joshua…I am only speaking the truth…maybe someone will listen..God knows..I hope the world knows the truth…..”….keep your mouth shut, the more you talk the worse it is for you, go to baptist church, nobody will understands you…” These are the words spoken to me…..the truth…..I asked how long….very long time. Is this love of God or bury me under a rug? I will say no more. I stand before God. I can do no other.

    • Mark Mederich

      you sound like a very influential & dangerous person:)
      (that’s a compliment)

  19. @big bear: Welcome to the club.. the club of those who experienced the ubf shunning process. At least my phone call was somewhat polite: “Don’t talk. Just listen. You may be the one who is spiritually dead. What happens here is none of your business.”

    • big bear

      THANKS Brian…I will be a voice in the desert like you:)

    • Mark Mederich

      reading between the phone lines:
      ‘oh & thanks for yer 24yrs service, but you’all don’t come back now..’ (sweet:)

      THE VOICE: good nickname for this website, for without it we’d have none. Thanks Brian, Joe, Ben, Others..

  20. When church leaders are not accountable and when they surround themselves with like-minded people who support each other without question, the church and ministry starts falling apart:

  21. Maria Peace
    Maria Peace

    Today, I just said goodbye to a Korean missionary family who joined our ministry six months after we pioneered our new chapter. They have been with us for 3 years. They are a diplomatic family and their term of service finished. I can say that they have been the most supported UBF people we ever met. They have supported us, financially, spiritually and emotionally. I have never met anyone so humble and so kind as this Korean family. Though they are in higher ranks, humanly because of their positions and also they have been missionaries longer than we have, they never assumed any feelings of superiority over us. They will be greatly missed. So when I hear about the Korean leadership abuse in UBF, I think its better to take out the word Korean. Granted there are many abusive leaders. But its not all Korean. I can say this personally. Let’s not make it a race issue. But yes, Ben I believe that UBF directors and missionaries should be accountable. If not to their congregation, it will be before God. John and I tremble before God as overseer of God’s flock under our care. We have made many mistakes and by God’s grace through our Lord Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we are still in our mission field. It has been a terrible time in Ukraine. There is so much hate, mistrust and violence. I pray for God’s help. May God help us forgive each other. May God bring Peace to this country as well as to all nations.

    • Joe Schafer

      “So when I hear about the Korean leadership abuse in UBF, I think its better to take out the word Korean.” – See more at:

      Maria, I can sympathize with what you are saying. It’s important not to scapegoat anyone because of their race. Racism is evil. But when we are engaging in cross-cultural missionary activity, we cannot be blind to race or forbid talk about race, because race is a huge factor in understanding what is going on in the church. Think about Paul’s missionary work. The churches that he planted were a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. Paul was adamant that in Christ all are equal. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Paul is the very opposite of a racist. But if you look in Paul’s letter to the Romans, how often does Paul specifically talk about Jews and Gentiles? He uses that language over and over. The Jew-Gentile differences were very real and very strongly felt. To bridge the gap between the groups, people needed to talk those differences, understand them, and then overcome them in light of the gospel. Not pretend that the differences weren’t there.

    • Thank you for sharing this Maria. It is good to remind us of such stories. Also we continue to pray for your family and hope you are all safe in the Ukraine.

    • Maria Peace
      Maria Peace

      Yes Joe, I see your point. I do feel the difference. But with this ambassador’s family, we felt like we were friends. When the former UBF director visited Ukraine and was invited to the ambassador’s dinner, the ambassador only spoke English. He did this so that we would not be insulted. John and I have been to many dinners where people spoke only Korean and we always felt out of place and belittled. I was very moved by this small gesture. I can say without a doubt that he is an Ambassador of Christ. He is a trained diplomat. He live in many nations and is very sensitive to cultural differences. It shows in his professionalism and in his Christian life. I am very thankful to God, his family joined our ministry even if it was only for 3 precious years.

    • Maria Peace
      Maria Peace

      BK, thank you for your prayers for us and for Ukraine. Please continue to pray unceasingly.

    • Joe Schafer

      Thank you, Maria. Your explanation is helpful.

  22. Well put, Joe. I think Mark Cuban’s recent comments helped spark just those kinds of thoughts. I appreciate the terminology discussion Cuban recently sparked… I had to think about something as I watched my favorite team the Thunder fail miserably in San Antonio :(

    We should discuss “prejudice” (any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable), “racism” (“a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others”) and “bigotry” (intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself)

    I think this article is a fair summary:

    “Where Cuban should be reassured — and the rest of us should be reminded — is that having prejudiced thoughts doesn’t make someone a bigot. Only acting like a bigot does.”

  23. I received an email from Craig Gross who started tripleXXX church in order to fight against pornography. He is encouraging pastors and Christians to be accountable to each other. This is what he shared in his email, which he ended with a sad note regarding Mark Driscoll and his lack of accountability:

    “I’ve seen a lot of pastors come and go because of extramarital affairs, flirting, porn addiction, gambling addictions, and a whole mess of other stuff. It’s never easy to see a pastor, leader or friends shipwreck their life because of bad choices. Usually they lose their spouse, respect from their kids, their extended family, and their job.

    With Mark Driscoll, the details are different but the core truth remains the same: he didn’t have people speaking into his life to help him make the best choices. This was his downfall. He didn’t let anyone in to help guide him, to speak truth to him, to coach him, to tell him when decisions might be a bad idea.

    He didn’t make himself accountable.

    As a leader, if you don’t have accountability, your time is coming. You will fall. I’m not saying this to scare you (okay, maybe I am), but it’s for your own good. I hope you all are choosing to be a leader that’s OPEN.”

    I thought that what he wrote regarding Driscoll is chilling.

    • Oh my gosh, though I do not understand the business and logistics behind it, what a big mess from this mass email that was sent out!

      Apparently, some people really didn’t like the line: “He (Mark Driscoll) didn’t make himself accountable.”

    • forestsfailyou

      As far as I can gather even though MD stepped down it appears he took the the emails of people and is trying to have his right hand man sell them. This guy bought the list, then sent people on the list an email that he was willing to help anyone abused by MD, then the guy found out and refunded the money and told him he didn’t have the right to use the list.

  24. Mark Mederich

    “Are UBF Chapter Directors/Missionaries Accountable?”

  25. Mark Mederich

    “Who accounts for all the money from annual fees?” How is the money accounted for? Who controls the money from annual fraternity fees? How is the money spent and on what?Does the University have any control or influence of the annual fee money collected from all the fraternity members? Is the fee money that is collected available as public knowledge to all the members? etc., etc”

    WOW EDU CLUBS HAVE SIMILAR PROBLEM TO RELIGIOUS ORGS (but core issue is Elite mentality which wrongly enriches old/destroys young/disenchants middle-age:)

  26. Mark Mederich

    we shall overcome! if they ain’t agonna do it, i’ll just a do it myself/leave em in the dust:) HALLELUJAH!
    mission possible for any up to it: let’s go!