Thursday, March 10, 2016

Richard Ames On What True Leaders Should Be In The Living Church of God

Richard Ames recently lectured Living Church of God members on what Godly service  and leadership is.  Apparently he has blinders on, since what he describes is not anything close to what LCG and his boss does.

The greatest is one who is a true servant—one who truly cares for and helps others! Notice that it was the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, who took little children up in His arms and who stooped over to wash the feet of His disciples. You can read about that foot-washing service in John 13. It was Jesus who sacrificed His life for us all! As the Apostle Paul wrote: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 
Jesus’ example was one of service, sacrifice and love. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). 
Whatever position we may hold in this life, we will never find true success unless we have an attitude of godly service toward others. One of the measures of true success is the degree of godly service one is willing to give. False success depends on the get principle, the standard carnal condition—or “default characteristic”—of human nature.

When has Rod Meredith or any of the leadership in the Living Church of God ever been a true servant leader?  They certainly practice none of the things that are exemplary of Jesus as mentioned in the first paragraph.

What has the leadership of the LCG ever sacrificed?  From Rod Meredith, down through all of his children, to the leaders in Charlotte, none of them have scarfed anything.  Its the membership that is expected to sacrifice.  to sell their homes, refinance their businesses, cash in retirement funds and send it in for the "final push."  A "final push" that Meredith has been declare for 60 years now.

Will Richard Ames, Rod Meredith, Jim Meredith, Rod McNair and other leaders in Charlotte sell their fancy homes and sacrifice for once in their lives?  Will they actually become servants of the brethren?  We all know the answer to that.  Its a resounding NO!


Black Ops Mikey said...

One would think that planning would be in a booklet about the 7 laws of success. In fact, some colleges have "Think, Plan, Act" seminars.

But the Armstrongs (both Herbert and GTA) did not inherit foresight as a talent to enable them to plan out their future. As a result, everything was 'by the seat of the pants' (interpreted to be some form of faith). That is why Armstrongism is such a mess. Pam Dewey over at Ambassador Watch made this observation about GTA:

""Charity Navigator showed a very modest salary for GTA when he was alive and for Mark when he took over. How did he live on that modest salary, living where he did? Was the house and cars all in the name of the church? Did he have money stashed away from his years at WCG?"

"Unless he lied through his teeth, GTA HAD no "money stashed away" when he left WCG. He spoke openly in his first year about how little grubstake he had to start his own ministry. (I don't have a firm memory of the exact details, but the amount "$10,000" comes to mind.) And used most of that up to launch his new radio program before some other folks came along and started donating to his efforts. I would assume, from his own testimony, that he'd just blown his money when he was in the WCG, thinking the gravy train would never stop."

The best plan for life is to ignore the Armstrongist philosophy of not planning because, he who fails to plan, plans to fail.

And really, can we say there are any real leaders anywhere in Armstrongism? Really?

Anonymous said...

Notice how morally outrageous this lecture is. It permeates 'service,' 'sacrifice,' 'godly service toward others,' 'godly service one is willing to give.' Where Oh where is trade as in the parable of the talents. Notice what Richard Ames left out:

Rev 11:18 "...and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name,.."

Yes, servants get paid, they are not slaves, which is what all this 'giving' amounts to. And who does the giving and who does the getting???

This is nothing more than socialistic 'passing the wealth around' in biblical clothing. Christ specifically condemned this in Luke 22 (thee benefactors thingy).

Luke_22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

The splinters ignore both points of lording it over people, and playing Father Xmas with other peoples money. Why am I the only one saying this? Where's everyone else?

Cheers TradingGuy.

Byker Bob said...

How old was GTA when the old man gave him the boot? Early 40s? I believe that was the age at which I stopped living from paycheck to paycheck and finally began to actually save money. Of course, most members couldn't save money with all of the tithes, building fund, emergencies, and gun laps, and many of the ministers lost all concept of the value of money and how the working classes had to be very resourceful and budget strictly just to get by, and not go into serious debt. We members certainly were not taking pilots lessons, or going on expensive hunting trips, decorating our homes opulently from the pages of magazines, wearing expensive tailored suits, gambling, and driving luxury cars. Ministers talked a lot about the Laodicean attitude, and then lived the lifestyle that was supposed to instigate it! Usually the most compassionate individuals are the ones who are actually suffering themselves, and can empathize. Not your Marie Antoinette types.


Black Ops Mikey said...

Yes, Byker Bob, it's all part of the Five Tithe belief system that makes planning nearly impossible. As you learned, it's a lot easier to plan your life when you stop giving your money away to scoundrels.

There's been a discussion about whether it is possible to have a true religion and undefiled by taking all the crap out of Armstrongism: Remove British Israelism, take out the excesses and abuses and keep it pure by eliminating all but the really good stuff. The answer is no. Such people forget what Jesus sad about the fruit of an evil tree (there's those darned two trees again). Armstrongism is a poisoned well and as long as you have one person left from Ambassador College leading the social group of misfits who had nothing in common at all until Armstrongism, all you have is a dysfunctional group with severe problems which will never be addressed because the group as a whole is so very comfortable with the insanity. An example? Well how about alcoholism for one. As long as you have a group of pleasantly plastered boozers socializing in a Mafia rotten to the core, there will be no progress at all and the disease will kill many while giving the alcoholics the 'benefit' of potentially ruining the lives of others with their behavior and, in some cases, vehicular homicide. There was an abortive attempt in the 1970s by a Dale Hampton and Dennis Luker to mitigate the problems in the WCG but those were quickly forgotten and the problems continued.

Armstrongism is a poisoned well begun by Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong as chief alcoholic boozers building a shell corporation to induct alcoholics and aggravate their problems by creating a "Feast of Booze" to proliferate problems.

That's just one problem among so many and the only solution is to disband the groups and get them into the appropriate therapy and medical treatment.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I worked around a lot of these guys at one time or another, and they weren't the embodiment of evil. They had their arrogant moments, and their nice moments. I had reasonable, enjoyable conversations with many of them, and some other, rather disturbing conversations, as well.

Here's what I see as part of the problem, perhaps the main source. In the HWA/COG tradition, ministers were (are) charged with handing down wisdom and advice from on high. Think about it; in congregations the world over, there were countless men and women with more education, business experience, and life wisdom than many/most of the ministers, and yet in HWA's "top down" model they sat at or near the bottom rung. Therefore, it was presumed that they would show up at church, or breathlessly read the latest member letter, or listen to/watch the World Tomorrow, and hang on every word as if it was instruction emanating from God himself. That set the whole thing up for failure, and rightly so. The people with brains didn't do that at all.

It was all about control. It wasn't just about providing spiritual insight and encouragement. It was about telling people what to do, and how to live. That's presumptuous. Presumptuousness gets any of us in trouble. And the more we do it, the worse it gets, until we've reached the point that we feel we have the right, even the responsibility, to control others.

These groups remain caught up in that model, and it's self-perpetuating. The "leaders" believe it's the way things ought to be, which reinforces in their minds the importance of their calling and their roles, and meanwhile they attract people who need/desire to be told what to do, and on and on it goes.

I'm convinced that's why they can be nice one moment, and nutso/overbearing the next. Most of us here lived it and experienced the wide range of emotions and second-guessing that went on in our own minds along the way. For me, the only option that made sense was to remove myself from that environment and move on. I happen to think that's the best option for anyone, but each of us needs to make our own decisions on such things.

Connie Schmidt said...


The breaking point was when they went to 11th tithe. That was a real back breaker!

In all seriousness now... true leadership ALWAYS requires that one "eats the same food as the troops".

**That means same lifestyle as the average member, and frankly for ministry, a notch below average.

**No special "parking spots" or seats. No unpaid members mowing your lawn, doing your electrical, baby sitting your kids, etc etc ad nauseum.

**No nepotism such as sons of ministers given first dibs at ministry, college placements, class officers, or spots on sports teams as captains or with girls, being "head cheerleader" etc.

**Adequate feedback mechanisms for job evaluation, and an accountability board composed of elected members who can dismiss a pastor for lack of performance, morals or malfeasance. The need for semi-annual reviews and accountability from the people they are supposedly serving and who are (in effect) THE CUSTOMERS!

Byker Bob said...

In a nutshell, here was the basic problem in dealing with th ministry : Everything they said, everything they told you to do was held as completely non-negotiable. This type of thinking begins to permeate every aspect of your life, including relationships with the secular individuals surrounding you, such as employers. It also conditions members to present their own authority as being non-negotiable to whomever they are over. Sooner or later, the negotiating skills of members atrophies. And that is the perfect compliment to the typical binary or black and white thinking which is part of the basic brainwashing process. At that point, unless something catastrophic happens, they've got you for life!


Anonymous said...

8.42 AM Just about every society in history, was and is a status society. This is obviously of Gods design. But the principle is that no one gets something for nothing. Hence, as Christ pointed out, the chief seat belongs to the chief giver. The problem in the churches is that the ministers are not the chief givers, but often the chief getters. They rob people of their lives by lording it over them, rather than instructing them. Therefore they do not deserve their private parking spots, or privileges for their children, or any other status benefits.

Retired Prof said...

Trading Guy, bewildered, asks: " Why am I the only one saying this? Where's everyone else?"

It's obvious. Everyone is out of step but you.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, if they would leave God out of the 'decision process' everybody would be more likely to be able to get along with each other. Because once people start speaking for God or Lording over people with a privlidged position, they stop listening and don't give a rat's ass about gaining any understanding about whatever the problem is. A rod of iron would be a good choice for a street fight but not for developing inter and intrapersonal skills.

TradingGuy, you have got some interesting ideas on trade etc, but does EVERYTHING have to boil down to a zero-sum game?


Anonymous said...

I was in Living for way too long and I can say that it is the members who serve the ministry unequivocally. The higher up you go in the chain, the worse it is. The underlings that fan the egos and lick the boots of the higher ups are the ones who get patted on the head and promoted. In Charlotte at LCG headquarters, no one wants to work together as a team because everyone is so afraid someone else will get credit or be noticed over themselves. Stepping on others to exalt oneself is prevalent and pervasive.

There's more Christian character in your local YMCA than in the entire minister filled Headquarters building of the Living Church of God.

It truly is a brood of vipers.

Anonymous said...

"8.42 AM Just about every society in history, was and is a status society. This is obviously of Gods design. But the principle is that no one gets something for nothing. Hence, as Christ pointed out, the chief seat belongs to the chief giver. The problem in the churches is that the ministers are not the chief givers, but often the chief getters. They rob people of their lives by lording it over them, rather than instructing them. Therefore they do not deserve their private parking spots, or privileges for their children, or any other status benefits."

Oh, that that is SO not true 11:45! The ministers are the chief givers, for they receive but mere mites in exchange for pearls of infinite value, pearls which they distribute fresh from the hand of God Almighty, Lord of Hosts, Creator of All. Where else can one go to find such pearls? At who else's hand can treasures of such inestimable worth be procured? And they give them away in exchange for what?

If anything, it's the undeserving, murmering members who are making off like bandits, and the ministers who are the ones leaving value all over the table. The members are not worthy of the priceless riches they receive from the ministers for pennies on the dollar. The members could never hope to afford to compensate the ministers with their pitiful, short-term, material tithes and offerings, for the eternal services they render, and yet they dare to complain? Meanwhile, selflessly, year-in and year-out, the meek and mild ministers take it on the chin, allowing the members to essentially rob them, all because they want what is eternally best for the members. Who can begrudge them if they seek, in small ways, to rectify the extreme inequities of the situation in which they find themselves called to, with a few status benefits, perhaps a private parking space, a chief seat or two, and maybe a little lording of it over now and again? After all, no one gets something for nothing, right? Maybe these ne'er-do-well members and even worse, ex-members should think twice before complaining, saying these suffering servants are not entitled. Not entitled, indeed! No, it is the complainers who feel entitled wrongly, because think they're entitled to the riches of God for nothing! They should get down on their knees and pray for forgiveness of the sin of Korah. What's a little abuse in the short run anyway? So what if that's the price of victory? Isn't it worth it, if that's what it takes to win in the long run? These undeserving dogs should thank God in heaven above he even permits them to draw near enough to the tables of His lowly servants to be able to lick His crumbs off their floors! They didn't ask to be called to such a hard life, being taken advantage of all the time by the members. These short-sighted members should consider how they would like it if the lot of ministry had fallen to them, and they had to put up with being abused by the members every single day. Then the shoe would be on the other foot, wouldn't it.


Anonymous said...

1.09 PM. Ha, ha, ha. Very funny, very witty. Ha, ha, ha.

Steve D said...

I was reviewing some notes from a book entitled, GROWING UP FUNDAMENTALIST and it so reminded me of WCG. Here are some comments: Faith is not about action, but about NOT doing certain things. Performance is important. Are we doing enough? The message is, "You're worthless until you accept Christ and this church, and then you're still pretty worthless." Everyone has a gift. If people feel safe they can blossom. Fundamentalists couldn't let you feel safe. I got very distrustful of people who had all the answers and no questions, or who felt that they knew everything about everything by virtue of who they were. The ones who were creative and energetic are the ones who had the courage and strength to get out.. A joyless, spirit-crushing church. Mean spirited and self congratulatory. A massive amount of compulsive behavior. Fundamentalists don't have friends, they have acquaintances. Having friends would require being open and vulnerable, they would have to drop the veil. There is too much condemnation. They treat one another like children on the playground. Immature people adding rules to God's laws.
Boy, does this describe the WCG?

Anonymous said...

"Richard Ames On What True Leaders Should Be In The Living Church of God"

LCG leadership speaking on how to be a true leader is like listening to Donald Trump speak on how to be humble.

Meredith (Daddy and Lil Jimmy), Ames, Winnail, McNair, etc wouldn't know real leadership if it bit them on the arse.

Do the members not roll their eyes when they hear this???

Anonymous said...

A leader doesn't act superior and bossy but walks beside those he serves as a colleague and a guide.

A leader doesn't use people. They are too busy developing people to become even better and more valuable to the team.

A real leader EARNS respect because of their exemplary behavior instead of demanding respect through fear of retribution and bullying.

A real leader realizes that people learn through mistakes and realizes that he, himself has been molded through his mistakes. This personal insight creates a forgiving heart in a real leader.

A real leader realizes that ruling with love is ALWAYS more effective than ruling with fear in the long run.

It's amazing to me that any of the men at LCG headquarters have the gumption to continue to speak on these things when they so clearly do not personify "good leadership qualities". The hypocrisy is astounding.

LCG leadership should stick to talking about their perception of God's government (aka the ministers bullying they members without consequence) and loose bricks, etc.

They should most certainly STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING REGARDING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER because they don't have it and they really don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Excerpts of a letter written to a minister about their true condition and roles that have caused much of the angst and criticism within the Church of God…..

“What many of you in such vaulted, authoritative positions never seem to understand, is that we’re not leaving the Body of Christ, but rather an imperfect, often misguided, confused or arrogant leader or organization, that have become more “hireling types” or now miss or abuse the point of their perceived calling on some or even many levels.

Quite simply, people are desperately looking for someone whose proper servant’s voice and life they recognize, who is a true, well rounded, serving shepherd, as designed and dedicated as Jesus Christ, revealed and showed through his own exemplary life and the subsequent apostle’s example.

What we’ve gotten instead, are many Korah, self-aggrandizing types, who’ve become almost papal like figures that one dares not question anything they say or do, as though God only fully answers their prayers and, anyone who follows them, must recognize they do so, in great trepidation, within God’s full authority.

I never thought I’d see in the aftermath of the demise of WCG such a menagerie of misguided and self-serving individuals, who seem to clamor for so much personal attention, as though they individually (and then collectively) are the cream of the crop, and the absolute apple in God’s eyes.

Yet the focus is to continue to blame the members for their indiscretions and lack of faith, and not a self-serving ministry who treat the people like merchandise, usually for their own personal use or benefit.

In essence, we are seeing naked emperors, pseudo apostles, prophets, witnesses, trainer of witnesses or other “look at me” roles, which must have the fawning few who worship their every word or deed.

Select few seem to fulfill the complete “job descriptions” given in Titus and Timothy; instead they seem to see it as a buffet of sorts, picking and choosing what they best like to do, rather than honoring the “complete and God centered calling”, even going above and beyond it, like a profitable servant should.

But even more sad, is most members can’t for the life of them ever see any of you who are in these prominent authoritative roles who demand our total loyalty, compliance or acceptance of all things taught or believed by you, ever coming under someone else’s human control or influence again, in true humility, because each in your own way have become a pious authority unto your selves.

I’ve often said there are 3 things you hardly ever hear a minister affiliated with the church of God over the year’s state or admit, are “I’m sorry”, “I’m wrong” and “I don’t know”. That mold is certainly still intact.

I know as members we have been taught, almost ad nausea, that we are the weak of this world and might barely make it to God’s Kingdom if we don’t fall in line behind the authority of God (via the ministry). But I’d have to say, the ministry as a whole, has certainly led the pack, backwards.

But I really do wonder how God perceives today’s “ministry”, who can’t seem to find any common spiritual ground with fellow, “well trained???”, extensively experienced men who should be able to rise above it all; especially with the double portion of help that the ministry feels they have, directly given by God?

Maybe the tares aren’t exactly who we have all thought they might be, but those who have done more of a disservice to God’s calling and accountability, because they merely have lost sight of the goal themselves or they have simply been ordained of men, but never of God.

I truly wonder if any of the various COG group’s leaders understand exactly what God does want and expects, not just from the lowly member, but doubly more from those who relish in authority and supreme governance, who have picked up the mantle of a minister or leader of one of these various, fractious groups, that now make up the church of God today?”