If UBF Would Listen…

ListenOver the past few weeks there has been more than usual comments and articles that I, who love to read your stuff, can’t keep up! The cynical part of me remembers what UBF leaders would say about the recent increased activity on UBFriends: “This is happening because of Satan’s severe attack to hinder us from preparing our whole hearts for the 2013 ISBC.” Regardless, I thought that the recent comments by namuehling, Joshua, and Brian Karcher articulated clearly what the UBF system did to them—and to nameless and countless other exUBFers who find it too painful to revisit their woundedness while in UBF. Of course, UBF contributed some benefit to them by the work of the Holy Spirit. But the sad and painful reality is that over the last five decades, UBF has also caused much wounding and abuse in the name of shepherding, which may take years to address (when we are ready to address them), not to mention correct.

I hope that UBF leaders will at least begin to LISTEN to what the UBF system has done. I copied their 10 points:

1. Less self-confidence: I have less self-confidence. This is directly from the focus on my sin for 20 years. (Is it because UBF leaders hold their sheep’s sin over them?)

2. Hinders a relationship with God: I am floundering in developing a relationship with God. It was good to understand that simply doing things did nothing for my relationship with God, but it is has been hard to develop ways to bring me closer to God. (Is it because UBF focuses on works, performance and behavior?)

3. Hinders relationships with people: It has been a hindrance in my relationships with people. Trust is definitely the issue here. Also, I never had time to develop healthy relationships, even with my wife and children, so this is new ground. (Is it because the UBF leader does not build relationships with their sheep, and instead primarily gives direction and orders?)

4. Becoming critical: It has been hard to find a healthy church-my experiences have made me overly critical. (Is it because the UBF leader is critical rather than gracious?) (For 1-4, see more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/06/29/puppets-on-a-string/#comment-8995)

5. Difficulty in making my own decisions: I had so much direction in UBF that I struggle now in making a large decision on my own. (Do UBF leaders make decisions for their sheep? For instance, make them go to a conference when they don’t want to or can’t afford it?)

6. Tendency to please people: Not speaking until I have discerned what I’m expected to say, not acting until I know what’s the norm, how people will react, thinking about people’s reaction more than what God’s will is. (Is it because the UBF leader impresses upon you that you have to please them?)

7. Confusion and loss of identity: Confusion over what my family’s “mission” or role is within Christ’s church and within the local church also. Before we were clearly a “house church” and “shepherd family,” but what are we now? There’s a loss of identity as a family. (Is it because the UBF leader tells you who you should be, rather than allow you to discover for yourself who you are in Christ?) (For 5-7 see more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/06/29/puppets-on-a-string/#comment-8995)

8. How to be a husband. (Did the UBF leader model how to be a husband who loves his wife?)

9. How to be a father. (Did the UBF leader model how to be a father who does not exasperate his children, or his sheep?)

10. How to have an outlet for what I’ve learned. (For 8-10 see more at: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/06/29/puppets-on-a-string/#comment-8995)

Can anyone add to this list?

Why has the UBF system caused this? My simplistic answer is the need by UBF leaders to have control over others, which is the root of sin of every human being. (I think that UBF needs to begin teaching that the root of sin is to desire control over God and others.) The need for control is in fact a much greater sin in older Christian leaders than in young sheep. Will UBF ever learn to let go of their need for control? Do UBF leaders truly believe that the Holy Spirit knows better what to do with UBF than they do?

Finally, will UBF listen and take to heart even one of these 10 points? Does UBF understand that some leaders have oppressed, stymied and disfigured the image of God in their sheep? That they have caused PTSD-like symptoms in them? That exUBFers have needed expensive Christian counseling after leaving UBF? That they have been gossiped about and regarded very negatively and critically after leaving UBF? (Sorry that I always have far more questions than I do have answers!)


  1. “Why has the UBF system caused this? My simplistic answer is the need by UBF leaders to have control over others, which is the root of sin of every human being. (I think that UBF needs to begin teaching that the root of sin is to desire control over God and others.)”

    I concur that this is one of the core problmes of UBF. To be honest, before the inception of ubfriends, I could not understand the plight of those who had left UBF. It is still a complex phenomenon in and of itself, but I think what most have experienced is their shepherd’s desire to control them rather than allowing the Spirit to guide them.

    My eyes were opened with the situation earlier this year at our chapter. On the one hand, the opposing party wanted to vehemently block your efforts to build bridges with another ministry. Then they said to me that, ‘Dr. Ben is free to do whatever he wants.’ This message was so discordant than what you were met with at the joint meeting. I was stunned by this statement because it revealed such deep-seated disingenuous. And to this day, they are still oblivious to the fact that there is a major rift between the two ministries. It’s the same double message that many bible students receive, “You are free to do whatever we want you to do.”

    I’m beginning to realize that the sins of control, manipulation, deceit and the like are much more insidious, egregious, disgusting and hideous than what are deemed as common Christian sins, e.g., lust, anger, laziness, etc. We are all of course susceptible and guilty of committing these sins, but as a church we must make it a priority to mitigate these. The question is, in our current UBF context, how?

    • “We sin when we overreach. The sin is not in wanting to live a holy life. The sin is putting down other people in the pursuit of one’s personal holiness. The sin is not in wanting to win the lost for Jesus. The sin is sacrificing any consideration of respect, limits, boundaries, and propriety in winning the lost for Jesus. The aims of those who abuse others in the name of Jesus may in fact be good aims. However, in striving to fulfill those aims, abusive Christians overreach and disregard other important and significant matters pertaining to the gospel.”(Major Scott Nicloy)

  2. Why has the UBF system caused this? I think it boils down to this: a lack of genuine, selfless, agenda-less, Christ-like love. Love is measured in the quality of the relationship, not in the amount of service. Is our love for God measured by how much works we do for Him? Is it not measured by the quality of our love relationship? Many problems would disappear if UBF leaders stopped giving themselves credit for loving their members based on how much they have done for them, and begin to genuinely seek to love them as friends. I’m glad the ISBC theme is “So Loved.” Its time for UBFers to deeply meditate about love and consider how they have failed to relate to others with love. Authoritativeness is not love. Controlling is not love. Coercion is not love. Burdening with activities is not love. Being stand-off-ish is not love. Cooking delicious meals is not love if its merely a ploy to ingratiate. And most of all, so-called “trying to help someone” isn’t love. Loving them is love.

    • MarthaO

      Joshua +1

      What I have come to realize is that their love is very conditional and superficial. They extend their love as long as you do what they say. ( Which is not love at all). They keep you at an arms length, there is no real genuine relationship. Or how do you explain the attitude towards those who leave the ministry? They loved you while you were in UBF and as soon as you leave they turn their back on you and call you satan! How is this Christian love? If they had a genuine love relationship with those who left then they would be willing to listen even if it is painful.

      A few years ago, Mark and I went through real deep struggles. Our first born lived 3 months and then passed. Later our third daughter was born with a medical condition. We realized that even though we had been in the ministry for so long, we didnt have any real relationships. It reminded me of the parable of the “good Samaritan” people were too busy with ministry to really stop or take the time to love and care. I still remember one missionary rebuking me for not asking about their Christmas program. We had been fighting for our daughter’s life for nearly a month in a hospital that was 3 hours away from Toledo. Im sorry but the Christmas program was not in my mind at all. My child was dying. I still don’t understand this inhumane system. Doing Ministry is much more important than taking care of people already in the ministry. This is why we have had such an unhealthy ministry.

      Lately, in Toledo, some of our families are taking the time to really sit and listen to each other and intentionally build genuine relationships. ( of course you do have those people (traditionalists) who feel uncomfortable with this kind of ministry) This is not easy because we are finding out that the system has broken our trust for one another. Their is a lot of pain and brokenness and misunderstandings. How do we pick up all those broken pieces. Many traditional Ubfers feel more comfortable if we just move forward and keep doing “ministry”, but that’s not real gospel ministry. Real gospel ministry is going deeper into this mess and bringing healing so that we can move forward together. How can a broken body be effective? It cant, just like a house that is divided cannot stand.

      As we seek God to help heal us and restore us and lead us, it is my hope that our Toledo ministry may change one relationship at a time from the inside out. That God may bring reconciliation, healing and unity not only amongst those in the ministry but also among those who left our Toledo ministry. Arent we all Brothers and Sisters in Christ, whether you are in or out of UBF? But reconciliation, healing and unity will not come unless we are willing to listen, to revisit those dark places of hurt and pain

    • big bear

      marthaO…the problem it is easier to live in a system rather than love people unconditional….Ubf people justify everything with I have to teach 1-1, or I cant love others because I have to be faithful to mission…..the system is screwed up…..in the short term it provides structure…but structure cant teach love….I know wifes in Ubf who complain their husbands ignore them….and husbands who know without the system they would be in divorce court…marriages and families are superficial..this is why many kids want out…families first and marriages…the system and many of the directors can go to hell…if not there already

  3. @Joshua, the problem is that UBF has had love figured out for the past fifty years. Love is instilling UBF’s unique mission to the world, i.e. campus mission into the hearts of hopeless young college students (cf. http://ubf.org/node/155). I have been blessed immensely through serving college students as well as being served, but particular seasons like this one eventually come to and end; people are meant to transition from one season to another, usually prompted by the Spirit, and thus they can’t have someone dictate to them a particular life direction, which is a common phenomenon in UBF. Love is, in my opinion, helping a person to listen to, discern and ultimately follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. And finally be free with what God wants to do in a person’s life.

    • Good point David. I contend that we do NOT need any re-definition of basic words, such as grace, mercy, love. Jesus embraced humanity. Jesus wept. Jesus did not redefine humanity, but embraced us as we are, and then offers us transformation.

  4. Thanks, Dave, Yeah, the sin of wanting control may be more overpowering than the sin of lust or greed, because a Christian knows the latter is wrong, while the former may not seem bad.

    In effect all sins are sins of wanting control. Younger brother sins desire control over God to get what they want. But older brother sins desire control not only over God but also over the younger brother.

    That’s why in the Bible the sins of older brothers (religious leaders and Pharisees) are worse than the sins of younger brothers (tax collectors and prostitutes).

  5. Yeah, Joshua, I agree that a lack of Christ-like love is foundational to the flawed UBF system of control and manipulation in the name of shepherding sheep.

    But I think that many will attest that some missionaries are clueless that they are not loving, because they have embraced the authoritarian hierarchy unquestioningly as being biblical. They might really think they are pleasing God and loving you by squezing you to conform to the UBF system.

    Thus, a continuous ongoing dialogue needs to happen, to counteract predictable abusive behavioral patterns that have become the norm of “shepherding” for 50 years.

  6. big bear

    A few minutes ago my wife woke me up from a dream in which I was preaching again…in my sermon I preached on “God is Love” … the ten points here are all sins of UBF…my family noted after 29 years with UBF they noticed many great works of God and even my daughter could say without question that she saw great work of God in our UBF ministry but what disturbed me most is she did not see love in our family or in UBF ministry…I contested and could not understand…but now I see that she was so right…the whole point is to love God and your neighbors..you get so caught up in the agenda of raising disciples in the system that love goes out the window for works and you slip out of the main truth of the Bible…I can now see why the Pharisees missed it…preachers should live in God’s love and genuinely love people and have compassion…in UBF you are taught to ignore people just do the business of numbers and do the business of ministry out of pressure…it works in the short run..but later you find you are not truly loving people but a system of power, control, and manipulation and it is hard to see…it took me 29 years to see it because everything fell apart…I believe God is not done with me yet…but getting out of UBF was the only way that I could see my own sin and the sin of UBF…the message is “God is Love” not rules, not agenda, not systems, not religion…UBF people do not love people in a true sense..though there are some who do…they are an exception but many only obey a system and desire control and they really believe they are loving God in such a system of abuse..I thought so…God is teaching me His love and is slowly restoring me in His grace to live in love…it starts when you let go of the UBF system..maybe it started off in love..but the system replaced God and love somehow…many are superficial and blinded to love..Saint Francis once told his followers, “Let’s start over”….The new Pope is a good example of a new start for the Catholic Church…UBF has restore love..the theme for the conference is right on for them..maybe they can truly repent this time and be accountable to us who have been abuse and taught wrongly…and show love and let go of their righteous pride and arrogance…

  7. big bear

    I think feeding the homeless and taking the gospel to the streets where families are hurting and to meet real people will help many to get off their white horses…UBF does nothing for people…all money is only used for UBF…Mother Sarah Barry did encourage me when I was a director to make networks with other ministries and I did become friends with other ministries and etc…but I felt uncomfortable because of the system of UBF and the things they taught me..UBF is the best church in the world…my chapter director called other churches “bullshit” in their teachings and literally shunned other churches…this mentality became mine…this is so wrong and is not love….the church is the bride of Christ…and all Christians are apart of it…beware of a church that looks down on other Christians and other churches..this is cult like

    • Mark Mederich

      unfortunately religious pride bore it’s ugly head too often in history; e.g. religious leaders in Jesus’ time quaintly killed Him, the Son of God

      growing up Catholic in a small town, catholics felt like the true church descended directly all the way from the apostles; the Baptist church in the next town felt like catholics were going to hell for idolatry of having statues, mary worship,etc

      later in Chicago, when Promisekeepers was getting popular: a little neighborhood church pastor was sincerely concerned saying,’how can someone go there & stand next to the Muslim & the Catholic,etc & expect to evangelize them without getting lukewarm dissuaded by them yourself?’

      my point is we must control religion or it will control us:)

  8. Ben, at first 1-4 were substituted by false confidence, a special way of having relationship with God (mechanical daily bread and testimony) and other members of the church (they’re everything at first) and critical spirit misidentified as discernment and spiritual insight, I think.

  9. I am talking about “at first”, because otherwise how a young man could stay in a place he has less confidence and less relationship with others.

  10. And thanks for pointing out this link, David. Here is a quote from the end part of the ubf self-glorification report (I mean “history”..)

    This is most absurd in my opinion. Ironically, I used to use these words below to defend ubf back in 2004…until Chris helped me see my own stupidity :)

    “For the last two years our ministry experienced a painful division. Someone said, “Well, the time is changed. We have been persecuted a lot. Now let us change our ministry as one which serves the same common functions of the church.” Others said, “We must maintain our specific mission, spirit and way of working in UBF to the end.” To be the same or to be different: that is the question. But we know the conclusion very well. Until now, God led us to live different lives from that of the world. Because of this confidence that we are different people, we were willing to dedicate our youth to God and endure all kinds of hardships. If the UBF ancestors and we wanted to be the same with worldly people, why did we rejoice in all kinds of sufferings? The spiritual heritage God had given to the UBF ministry is, in one word, “different lives.” No matter how difficult it may have been and how many persecutions we had to endure, we must maintain this spiritual heritage God had given to us through the UBF ancestors of faith.”

    So no, ubf will NOT listen. It is a waste of time to try to get ubf chapter directors to listen. We need to help young people in ubf start to think for themselves, be empowered to make their own decisions and realize the missionaries have no actual control over their lives except the control you let them have.

    • Brian, I quoted this exact same part of the history article when talking with Dr. Ben yesterday. This stuck out to me the most because it encapsulates the main problem with UBF; an unwillingness to consider the legitimacy of any other facet of ministry besides campus mission. In my opinion, we are just now beginning to address the needs of the families in UBF because the leadership has realized that unhappy families cannot do campus ministry well. This sounds very cynical, but I have seen enough to believe that almost everything is a means to the end of carrying out campus ministry.

      Here is a medical missions report from Uganda :http://ubf.org/?q=node/158. Great, sacrificial work, of a medical nature, was performed there. But the last sentence of the report mentions ‘campus discipleship ministry’. What? How does that even apply here when the context of the report is medical missions? This same repetition of the ‘core values’ is what will continue to stifle people’s spiritual growth in UBF.

      You said, “We need people to start to think for themselves”. If this happens, UBF as we know it, as the missionaries know it, would cease to exist; it would be transformed into something uncanny. Many, many critical thinkers have left the ministry because they are not willing to be stifled by UBF’s ideology. How can we create an environment where freedom can flourish?

    • @DavidW: “How can we create an environment where freedom can flourish?”

      In my view:

      1) Release the bonds of permanent, life-long shepherd-sheep relationships.

      2) Replace entrenched leaders with bodies of elders purposefully chosen to get out from under the narrow focus of preserving UBF heritage.

      3) Establish a limited term for missionaries (5-10 years etc.) after which they return back to their home country. In other words, separate the office of pastor and missionary.

      4) Recruit outside sources for help in pastoral training, church discipline, missionary training (not in a UBF sense of the term, but legitimate training for Christian ministry), family ministry, marriage ministry, children, etc.

      In other words, stop being UBF and be something else, just like you said.

    • +1

      “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies…”

      Yes, joshua, that is the path forward that leads to life. It is the gospel way. It is the way of Jesus. By losing your life for Jesus and the gospel, you find it. If ubf people want to be preserved in history in a positive light, they need to let ubf die.

  11. @DavidW:

    “The question is, in our current UBF context, how?”

    I’m glad to hear you ask “how?”. That is more fundamental than “what?”. But ubf will get nowhere until you ask the question “Why?”

    ubfers need to starting asking Why should anyone stay here? Why should ubf exist at all? Why should God not destroy ubf? Why do we have our ministry?

    People do not buy from your for what you sell… they buy for why you sell it. ubf needs to ask yourselves, Why do we believe what we believe?

    • That’s a good point, Brian. Before we seek ways to remedy the situation, we need to ask why is it this way in the first place. It’s an oversimplification to say that we are like this because of the collective, indwelling sin of the church, e.g., ‘we are all sinners, it’s as simple as that’. We have to become more introspective and ask why are practices such as campus mission, daily bread and testimony writing, and one to one ministry so precious to UBFers? These are potentially wonderful things, tools I would say, but can and have totally replaced the gospel. We insist more on working these things than trusting in the work of Christ. Why do we do this; why this insistence on methods rather than the power of God’s grace (but you know, most hardliners will say that God empowers us specifically to uphold these core facets of UBF ministry, but this sentiment actually narrows the scope of what God can really do)? When we can answer this, then fundamentally people will begin to change.

    • yes, yes and yes, DavidW!

      Someone said we live in an analog world, not a binary one. I really really wanted to believe the binary wordlview ubf gave me. But it falls apart. Human beings are far more complicated than “in” or “out”.

      Some of your points remind me of a document I found where a Korean reviewed several Korean missions groups, including ubf. He correctly points out both the positive and the negative. And the constructive criticism this Korean man came up with confirmed everything I ever experienced in ubf. Because those things were never addressed in a meaningful way or any way at all in most cases, ubf continues to split off and divide. The author notes that this is a common theme in all Korean churches. They normallly just split after about 5 years, rather than address the issues of the division.

      ubf might keep asking “what can we do?” But in reality it is not so difficult. Just listen to your critics and address them.

      I’m preparing an article to share here where I review the Korean report about Korean missions groups.

  12. I believe that one reason UBF leaders don’t want to listen is that they begin their lives in ministry with the wrong premise. They hold onto three premises:
    * First, the premise that everyone in the church must be supporting the same mission.
    * Second, they hold onto the premise that the entire family must participate in the UBF mission.
    * And third they operate with the premise that if they keep doing what they are doing that eventually God will bless them.

    1) They began their mission lives with the premise that everyone in the congregation should be engaged in one mission, campus evangelism through the UBF ministry. If they are not directly involved in teaching and preaching then they can serve in a supportive role. If you want to serve or support in another type of ministry, there is no place for the person. With this premise then people who attend the church are a not important in fulfilling the mission. It doesn’t matter if they go or stay. Maybe some may secretly or not so secretly hope they would leave. Some leaders may attempt to disciple them, with the hopes that they may conform, one day to the mission of the church. They may hold this hope for years. But there is one goal, mature spiritually and support the UBF mission.

    2) The real premise should be held onto is that that not everyone is called to serve the same mission. The church must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and nurture the works that the Spirit is trying to manifest in their midst. It may not be what you expect either. But a church must begin with the premise that not all people will called to the same mission and that all legitimate expressions of faith must be supported and nurtured in the church.

    Many families marry with the idea and the hope that they can be a house church. They dedicate themselves to Christ, one another, but also to the mission of UBF. They expect their children to be dedicated to the church. This causes many problems, especially when all members of the family do not want to participate in the mission of UBF. Starting out with this premise will hinder relationships with all the family members eventually. The new premise should be to find out how God wants to work through your family. Glorifying God through the family unit is more important than keeping the same mission. We need to find out how this is possible. And being silent is not the proper reaction to this.

    3) The third premise is that if you keep doing what you are doing then God will bless you. This is not true. We see the extreme results of this kind of thinking in the Amish communities. Such thinking makes Christian congregations irrelevant and unable to engage the greater community. Many UBF people don’t want things to change. They want to keep Saturday group study, the same Sunday Service, the same suit and ties (even though students, and even professors don’t wear them), the same testimony sharing, the same leaders without any changes, the same form and function of ministry. Unchecked this will continue on for another 50 years. How far are we going to drift and become irrelevant to the culture? The results of operating in this premise is that we will attempt to force others to conform to the premise and if one does not then they must change or leave. This is very human reaction to differences and causes so many problems.

    The new premise must be we need to keep the core of the gospel and make changes to be more relevant to the new culture. We need to be instep with the spirit. We must be sensitive to the changes that are going on around us.

    • @Anon,

      Good points. Regarding #2, I’d say that I agree with you, but in my view, the problem is far worse than you say. The problem as you state it is that they hold the premise that the entire family must participate in UBF mission. If only that were case! In reality, the UBF mission is the premise for the entire family. The family doesn’t have any other identity or connection other than UBF mission, and the UBF mission takes precedence over the family. Like a recent quote from Ben, his initial idea was that if he didn’t like his wife, it didn’t matter; he would just sleep in a different bed and then serve together in the morning. I bet there are lots of families in UBF who do just that. And they’re praised for being an “exemplary” house church.

      And regarding children, not only are they expected to participate, but when they are young, the parents are often expected to neglect them (sometimes to an extreme, illegal degree) for the interests of UBF mission. (Especially in small ministries with few human resources.) Many families must take on staggering financial stresses for the sake of UBF mission.

      “…they dedicate themselves to christ, one another…” Uh, ya, I was taught that dedication to each other is actually a bad thing. Rather, I was repeatedly told that I must devote my wife and children to God in order to serve campus ministry. In a variety of ways, I was indirectly prevented from being devoted to my wife properly. We were discouraged from sharing our personal testimonies with other, we were discouraged from telling the other what our respective Bible teachers told us, we were often prevented from taking outings together, we were “tested” to see if we would be more loyal to our Bible teacher or our spouse. Even the timing and frequency of our physical intimacy was attempted to be controlled.

      “Glorifying God through the family unit is more important than keeping the same mission” — Amen. And the family unit should be clearly understood: husband, wife, and Jesus. NO ONE ELSE! No intrusive Bible teachers or chapter directors or anyone else. Well meaning or not.

    • @Anon: “The new premise must be we need to keep the core of the gospel”

      I’d say not “keep” but “discover”.

    • @anon
      excellent points. have you ever brought up these points and what do you do if the leader doesn’t agree and continues as before?

    • Mark Mederich

      Amen. if ubf listens, sooner or later everyone listens, when it becomes more costly ($) not to

    • Hi Andrew, and welcome.

      You asked: “what do you do if the leader doesn’t agree and continues as before?”

      Good question. My answer is that you keep asking. If the repeated answer is the same, then you may have to leave. Or maybe you just stay and tune out the problem. I found numerous shepherds in my chapter who did just that: they just checked out of the ministry, but stayed anyway. ubf directors have taken a “bury my bones” vow, so you can be sure they won’t change their mind.

  13. Excellent 4 points, Joshua, for a flourishing ubf ministry: http://www.ubfriends.org/2013/07/01/if-ubf-would-listen/#comment-9038 My reflections on it are as follows:

    1) To release permanent life long shepherd sheep relationships is absolutely mandatory but is really really hard, if not humanly impossible. That’s why Pharaoh went after the Israelite slaves to enslave them again after releasing them. Some senior UBF leaders are so comfortable to have minions under them that it is humanly impossible for them to “release their sheep/slaves” barring a miraculous work of the Spirit.

    2) In principle we absolutely need a body of accountable leaders. But unfortunately most body of elders/leaders are of the same mindset, while those with a differing perspective are not welcomed or included in this “governing body.”

    3) Limited term for missionaries YES. But they don’t have to go back to Korea. They can stay in their mission field, but they MUST take a back seat (yeah right!) and allow indigenous leaders to truly lead without them imposing themselves (yeah right!)

    4) Absolutely need outside sources. We have not done this in 50 years with any consistency or regularity. Even today, this is adamantly resisted by some. Why? Some senior leaders want to be the top dog, and not some outside advisor.

    • Well, if that’s how things are and how they will always be, good bye and good riddance–UBF will become continually more irrelevant and less effective. Any further conversation is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

      I think I’m a little bit more optimistic than your reflection. But I agree that barring any supernatural intervention, a generation needs to pass before these 4 points can be really implemented.

      If any UBFers disagree, then please prove me wrong. And then invite me to your Bible conference!

    • “And then invite me to your Bible conference!”

      LOL. But seriously, this speaks to the ministry of reconciliation, joshua. I remember always hearing only about two types of ministry in ubf: ministry of God’s word and ministry of prayer. Those are valid and necessary for a healthy ministry. But if all you have is individuals running around reading the bible and praying, you’ve got a wounding machine and your ministry will likely be accused of being a cult, no matter how well you know the bible or how many times you pray.

      And that is precisely why Christ-followers need to find the other ministries that the bible speaks of. Most importantly, the ministry of reconciliation must be included, i.e. 2 Corinthians 5:10-19.

      If a church does not have such a ministry as normal and primary, I would say it is not a Christian church. Division does occur at times, but to consider division a natural part of the ministry means you are living in denial and most likely in a fantasy world where you don’t see the human beings around you.

  14. @Joshua, perhaps you’re a GHF (glass half full) person while I am generally a GHE (glass half empty) person. I have hope in God, but I practically function in pessimism and reality, while always hoping and knowing that GOD CAN (and often will and does) PROVE ME WRONG.

    • Ben, I’m a GHM kind of guy… “glass has milk”. So as long as there is milk in the glass, stop debating over how full it is and just drink it already!

  15. big bear

    THE UBF system causes this because it does not love and accept sinners like Jesus teaches. The system condemns and judges others. It is so full of self righteousness not Jesus focused but work focused. It is all about ubf not the whole body of Christ. No outreach for the poor or tolerances for others who dont feed sheep or work in system. I think they forgot God grace personal and corporately. It is a business not a church. God is Love.

    • Mark Mederich

      show business (busy ness for show..); who needs religion gone bad? (‘church on steroids’:)

  16. Speaking of various minsitries in the bible, it is highly relevent to note that the minstry of the Old Testament is mentioned in the bible as the ministry of death and condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:1-10).

    So for Christ-followers, trying to emulate the OT minsitry of the priesthood or the leadership ministry of Moses/Joshua, is actually a ministry that brings death and condemnation. In other words, don’t do it. Emulate Christ and the NT ministries!

    • Sometimes Scripture is just SO amazing!

      Look at 2 Corinthians 3:10! “For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.”

      Does ubf have a certain glory becuase of imitating the OT ministries? No! Not in comparison to the surpassing glory of the NT ministries! If ubf people really are seeking glory, then they should pay attention to the gospel. The gospel is much more than atonement. The gospel includes the gospel of the glory of Christ. That is good news.

    • Mark Mederich

      i think we’ve been too kind to corrupt religious; time to talk tough/act tough until they stand up & ‘fly right’ the old fashioned way, or sue the pants off ’em the modern way if they prefer; what shall it be?

    • Mark Mederich

      maybe next saturday, i can declare in my daily bread message urgent truths in the center (the center of the universe? no just the center of one little religion:)

      oh, sure it’s supposed to be about Jesus’ humility/service, but that will never be emulated by ‘religious’ leaders anyway (history is clear) so might as well use it as a platform to announce ‘battle of the races’ (when korean misuses benefits while speaking against hispanic, american says what must be said………….)

  17. namuehling

    The 50 year anniversary mission statement shows that UBF refuses to listen. History shows us that UBF refuses to listen. What do you think it will take?

    • It will take several things I believe…

      The outcry of injustice must reach Heaven. I am convinced that happened sometime between 2009 to 2011 or so. Like AbNial, I’m convinced God is more than willing to bless and reform ubf ministry. But many of us sense that ubf leaders have pushed God too far. God is longsuffering, but will he not intervene at some point? I think so. ubf likely won’t avoid a massive split or some other big event.

      There must be a source of light to illuminate what’s been going on. That has been happening with social media and various voices inside ubf.

      There must be a cloud of witnesses who confirm the main problems. That happened way back in the 1970’s. The cloud just keeps getting bigger.

      There must be people with decisive actions based on the Holy Spirit’s leading. That has been happening with more and more courage lately. More and more people in ubf are starting to listen to the Spirit. At the moment the Spirit seems to have been telling them to leave, but maybe there are other actions going on.

      But still the main catalyst is missing… ubf directors who repent.

    • Mark Mederich

      repentance will never happen, korean pride runs too deep..

    • Mark Mederich

      it’s time for legal action…let’s resolve this once & for all, too much wasted breathe on deaf ears.