Why I Love Westloop UBF!

wlI was prompted yesterday by Ben’s comment to share how much I love the church at Westloop UBF.

They share the gospel through worship

The first thing that comes to my mind about Westloop UBF is the worship. I have had the privilege to worship with them three times in the last several years. Each time I felt the love of Christ and heard the gospel through the unspoken chords of music they played. I’m not talking about the style of music or the words of music exactly. It was that the Holy Spirit in me rejoiced to meet up with the Holy Spirit in them.

They accept me

This might be the most profoundly Christ-like aspect of Westloop UBF. Or it might be to some the most Satanic aspect. But they accept me for who I am. They made no attempts to change me. They let me speak without a script. They asked me questions to understand me. They wanted to know more about my books. I will never forget my discussions and prayer with Henry. He is truly an ambassador of Christ.

They disagree with me

The thing I love most about Ben is that he is not afraid to disagree with me. We don’t tip-toe around but share why we disagree. While there is much we agree on, there is much we don’t agree on. And believe it or not, I have changed based on some of Ben’s feedback. For example, early on I was brutally criticizing ubf. Ben told me I am like a spotlight. He suggested becoming a laser light with pinpoint accuracy might be more effective than just blasting ubf with spotlights. I have learned endlessly from Ben’s Facebook posts as well!

They live in the gap

There is a famous verse in the bible about standing in the gap. No one exemplifies this more in my life than Ben and Rhoel and Westloop UBF. I don’t now how they do it exactly but somehow they live in the tension between ubf and exubf. They have redeemed the name “UBF” and yet still remain part of the organization. I am not strong enough to do such a thing, so I respect them highly. Maybe you just have to be a Looper to understand this!

They appointed me

Here is a little-known fact that many Loopers may not even know (or like). After I resigned from being Director of Detroit UBF, Ben made my wife and I honorary elders at Westloop UBF. I accepted. So wrap your mind around this: I really never left ubf.

So thank you Westloop Church! You have shown me the love of Christ and I thank you for this. I love you Loopers!


  1. Joe Schafer

    Yes, I love WestLoop as well. I always feel loved and accepted and edified by them. May they live long and prosper.

    And I love Hyde Park. I love the way that Hyde Park is being renewed by other parts of the Body of Christ. May they live long and prosper.

    And I love Waterloo. Some close friends of mine are moving to Waterloo soon and I hope that they check out Waterloo UBF because I love Andy Stumpf and I think that Waterloo UBF would be an excellent fit for them. May they live long and prosper.

    And I suspect that I would love Wright College too. May they live long and prosper.

    • Joe Schafer

      And Penn State UBF still exists. We are planning to use our resources in some exciting ways to serve the local community and the greater Body of Christ. Someday I may write about this, to share what we are doing. I hope that UBF headquarters will bless this work and partner with us to make it possible.

  2. Thanks, Brian, I’m genuinely floored and flabbergasted by what you wrote. But I’d have to fully affirm everything you wrote, including welcoming you and your family as honorary elders. I would also honor Chris, Charles and countless others as honorary elders because of your whole-hearted devotion and dedication to ubf, which is the only church I’ve ever been a part of since I became a Christian in 1980.

    I welcome and honor you because I was complicit by my silence and ignorance (which is no excuse) of the abuse you went through, which to this day has sadly not been apologized for, and for which I am ashamed. But even if others will not apologize, I sincerely do apologize as a 35 year committed Christian to ubf and to Christ, who is the ultimate head of ubf.

    Thanks again, Brian. I really had goose bumps reading what you wrote. I truly love you as my brother and friend because we can disagree with each other without being disagreeable or offensive or by calling each other names!

  3. @Joe, that is great to hear. The two things I have prayed for the most since 2011 are the following: 1) The deconstructing of ubf KOPAHN shepherding ideology and 2) The redemption of every ubf chapter.

    Note that I do not pray for nor participate in the reforming of ubf chapters. Redemption is the way forward at this point (after 50+ years of history). And redemption starts with repentance and confession of sin, as Chris points out so well.

    @Ben, Anytime anyone reaches out to me for help, I try to make a point to mention that they should learn from Westloop UBF. The church meeting there should be looked at as an example (not the explicit pattern but example) of how to redeem UBF. Today I plan to complete my 3 part article series with my more complete thoughts on the topic “Why I say UBF is a Cult”. After that I don’t have any articles planned.

  4. Hi Brian, After reading my comment, one person sent me a private email:

    “Please publicly say that Brian is not an honorary elder of WestLoop and that you said among him as a gesture of friendship. But he is Not an honaray elder of WestLoop. Make it clear. And apologize to Brian that is how you feel but it is not what WestLoop see him as.”

    As a member of a pretty diverse community at WL, there are strong diverse opinions on both sides of the fence. Please feel free to change your opinion of WL as a result of this comment. I’m fine with it. As far as I’m concerned it changes nothing between us. We’re still friends and brothers.

  5. I was flattered enough today when Brian equated me with the Darth Vader (maybe my German accent makes me the perfect fit?), so no more honorary titles please ;-) Let’s not try to compete with UBF in that regard.

    • Good point Chris :)

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      The West Loop logo always brought to mind the Star Wars title (same font?). But, really, I’d love to visit the places where all the ubfriends are! It would be great to see everybody and their families in person and where they’re at.

  6. I also want to express my love and gratitude toward West Loop members. In 2002-03, my wife initially started studying the Bible with Ben Toh’s daughter and subsequently committed herself to his fellowship. She expresses to this day how much she felt loved and accepted by the members there, who later went on to form the core group of the West Loop congregation.

    I spoke about how Rhoel Lomahan reached out to me. It turned out to be very good timing. For some time, I was thinking about taking some seminary courses and eventually going on to obtain some kind of degree or training, that is after I finished my current PhD. But after I had a falling out with my chapter, I became somewhat disillusioned with theology, namely due to the seeming impracticality of it, which I spoke about in my sermon. If Rhoel hand’t invited me to give a sermon, I would have never struggled with this disillusionment as hard as I did to prepare the sermon on Incarnational Spirituality. This has turned out to be a significant turning point in my life as I feel as though I’m beginning to gain my bearings again, theologically and spiritually speaking.

    I’m also going to give a talk on listening to God through the Word/word (Christ/Scripture) at Hyde Park in June if anyone wishes to come out. Two great chapters in my book ;)

    • Glad to hear this! Are you writing a book?

    • Haha, hey Brian, kind of meant it as a pun, as in West Loop and Hyde Park are two great chapters from my perspective that I’ve encountered along my personal journey. But who knows, perhaps the two talks would be good material for a book. we’ll see…

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      “listening to God through the Word/word (Christ/Scripture)”

      Great topic! Please share that here as well. I don’t expect to be in the Chicago area in June. :)

      I would love to discuss that and hear from everyone. That the Word came to mean both the person, Christ, and the Scripture is beyond me and has made for a terrible mess of things in churches.

    • Charles, this is a very sticky topic indeed. I’m not even going to pretend as if I’ve got it figured out, but I currently have a detailed skeleton for the talk that should shape up to be something worth listening to. Hyde Park will record the talk, so after it’s done, I’ll post both my written material and a link to the audio on this site.

    • Charles Wilson
      Charles Wilson

      David, I look forward to it!