Ever wonder why the Church of God had to have a Pastor GENERAL? That name has always grated on the minds of many COG members. That title has also set up abusive men who treat their members like chattel. Just look at Gerald Flurry, Rod Meredith, Wade Cox and Dave Pack. Facebook pages are filed with hundreds of people telling their stories about these men and how they have ruined families, marriages and lives by being GENERALS. Its everything from Coordinator GENERAL, Pastor GENERAL, to ADMIRAL.
The Living Church of God calls the leaders of their churches "ADMIRALS" of their own "SHIPS":
As a Pastor, you are in a sense the “captain” of your “ship”, or your congregation. Christ is the Admiral, following the analogy, directing the overall fleet of congregations through His flagship, Headquarters. He sets the pace and shows how a Pastor should lead his flock with servant leadership. What direction is your ship going? Is it heading in the right direction? Is it following the direction of the flagship? Or is it veering off in the opposite direction? Is it going in circles, or even backwards?
Are the passengers on your ship generally happy? Are they growing? Is there a positive, friendly, and peaceful atmosphere? What kind of atmosphere do you want to facilitate in your congregation? LCG Pastoral Manual pg. 2-4
Contrast that to the Good Shepherd from John:
John 10:1-18 The Message (MSG)
He Calls His Sheep by Name10 1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
11-13 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.
14-18 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd.
The story continues with the following that aptly describes ever single Church of God to this day. They have been ripped asunder and split into over 700 different groups all because "GENERALS" are lording themselves over the members instead of following the Good Shepherd. You can't run a COG army with a bunch of compliant sheep. Though it appears these "GENERALS" cannot run their armies as they thought. Every COG out there is in decline.
19-21 This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, “He’s crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?” But others weren’t so sure: “These aren’t the words of a crazy man. Can a ‘maniac’ open blind eyes?”
Will the Church of God "maniac's" ever open their eyes?
The Good Shepherd waits patiently at the late for the weary sheep.