From a reader here:
THINGS COG MINISTERS NEED TO THINK ABOUT
1 .You Are Placing Yourself As Directly Responsible for Human Lives.
Every decision that you make impacts a human life, a marriage, or a family. You are placing it on yourself a family's stability every second of your ministry. Every time you give a mandate, you take their entire emotional stability into your hands.
I grew up in a family that was impacted severely by every decision that a minister made. One decision by a minister could easily cause a domino effect that could change the mood, emotions, events – every aspect of the life of a person or a family. It can't be underestimated what this can do to a person's emotional or spiritual stability as a person. Your simple order to “quit a job” can have consequences that can last a decade. Your order to “stop seeing a person” can have consequences that can last a lifetime, or it could be the best thing to happen to a person. The simplest “correction” could be the very thing that could throw a fragile person over the edge. The control you have over a person is directly proportional to who the person believes that you are. And you ministers in the COG have taught them that you act as a direct representative of God and Jesus Christ. They feel, through your teachings, that disobeying you is the same as disobeying God. That's an extremely heavy responsibility to carry for any person, especially if it was even possible to be true. But it's not a matter of concern, in reality, if it is true or not – it's what they believe. So if it's real or if it's a master deception – the impact is the same, because they're acting on that belief. Therefore, the power you have is nearly god-like, and too many COG pastors let that power go to their heads, directly affecting the entire lives of their congregation. You have them write down every word you say in notes. You issue edicts and orders with lectern-pounding authority. Don't underestimate the power you've convinced them you have – and you are responsible for the decisions you have made on every single life that passes through your congregation – good, or bad. Every moment of depression, every moment of tears, every moment of inner hate, worry, and fear. You've put yourself in a huge position that I would be terrified every second of every day to be in. You've put yourself between a person and God. Too many COG ministers take that with a grain of salt, consumed and drunk with the power and control they've convinced the congregation they have.
2. Most of You are Drunk with Power and Control.Instead of being a representative of the love of Jesus Christ, too many of you are drunk with the power and the control that you have with people. What's important to you is not so much what happens in the lives of the people you pastor, but how well they listen and obey YOU. It's not so much the impact of what happens in their lives that's the issue – it's how much they listen to what you have to say and do it. Your concern is “who's in charge”, not what your decisions do to people. Your concern is “government”, and sheriff-like authority. Your concern is if they are obedient or disobedient, not what it does to their lives, their families, their everything.
3. These people pay your bills.How many times do you think about the fact that you are directly supported by your congregation? Putting aside your constant commands to tithe you say are biblical, do you ever take time to consider the fact they these are the people who put food on your table? Who pays your bills? Who pays for the clothes on your children's back, or the car your drive? Does it ever click to you just how much they sacrifice so you can live in the house you live in, or enjoy the life that you have? Do you ever think about the laborer in your congregation who works 12 hours a day in back-breaking work so you can live a posh live as a church pastor? Do you ever think about the plumber or the electrician in their skill? These people pay for you to live the life you have, and yet most of you are more concerned about how much they obey your every word about even their jobs or their life yet you forget if they all decided to get up and walk out, you'd be in a creek without a paddle.
4. You've put yourself in a place of high judgement.
5. Have you ever put yourself in their shoes before?
Have you ever woken up worried and scared that your electricity might be shut off because they couldn't afford to pay the bill? Have you ever worked 12 hours a day, worried that one mistake could get you fired? Have you ever not had food on the table, where even buying a 2-liter of soda is a luxury? Have you ever been worried that you would be made fun of going to church because you just don't have the money to buy the clothes that are required of you? Do you understand the pressures and the tension that one of your teens is under? Do you understand what it is like to live in a chronic, lifelong medical condition with constant pain or immobility?
Have YOU, as a COG pastor, ever looked at a fellow minister, not with admiration, but with fear? That one false thing you say could get you kicked out of the only church you have ever known? Or that one bad thing you do could, in your mind, cost you your very eternal salvation forever and ever? Have you, as a COG pastor, ever understood the pain that is felt when you are wrongly accused – and your pastor will not even listen to you over the word of someone else? Have YOU, as a COG pastor, ever even experienced a tenth of the things one of your members have? Or do you, as a COG pastor, simply brush off their very real concerns and fears and issues as just signs of weakness, or an attitude problem?
Have YOU, as a COG pastor, ever tried to “get rid” of someone because they aren't meeting what you want them to become? Have YOU, as a COG pastor, ever ignored a certain type of person, or treated them like dirt under your feet, because they are different? Or because you just know they aren't paying half or all of their tithe? Have you EVER put yourself in their shoes, or ever had even a little bit of understanding of their everyday issues? Or do you live in a bubble of ignorance because of the easy life that the Church has given you from day one – and just don't get what “their problem is”?
Have YOU, as a COG pastor, ever been so consumed with pride about who you are, that it concerns you? Have you ever walked up to the podium and thought “Oh, look at me, I'm a PASTOR, and I'm walking up to the podium, I'm so blessed...”? Have you ever thought to yourself how good you sound in the PA system when you speak, and hear your own voice? Have you ever yelled in the PA just to hear the power you have over people? Do you ever sit in your chair of power in your home office, with arrogance and cockiness about who you are? Do you ever get enraged when someone doesn't show you the respect you think you deserve, not realizing how hurt that the person might be over something they've never been able to tell you before, because they are afraid you'll kick them out?
Do YOU, as a COG pastor, even care if you hear rumors from your congregation that you might be prideful, arrogant, conceited, stubborn, cold, calloused, power-hungry, or even abusive? Or you dismiss those rumors as simply bitter, angry people who have attitude problems and don't have the proper attitude toward government? Are you more protective over your power than you are over their concerns? Is your love of your paycheck of more concern than their impressions of who you are, and the way they think and feel about you? Does it even concern you that they feel bound to go to your church, not because of any type of spiritual nurturing and food they get from you, but simply because they have to because they feel it's the only way they have to worship God, but inwardly know that you are thought of as corrupt, hard, and even maybe anti-Christ? Does that even matter to you? It should.
You are a pastor. You are occupying a place between them and God. Your congregations look to you on a level that is far higher than any pastor of a mainstream church normally has. They look at you as their intermediary between them and God. And it is no secret that many in the COG's right now, at this moment, are frustrated, discouraged, depressed, disheartened, sad, and in despair because they are not being spiritually nurtured or fed in their congregations. They can see your power-hungry, dictatorial, out-of-touch ways. Yet they feel if they say anything at all, they'll be summarily dismissed, or thrown to the curb because you do not understand them, nor do you listen to them. You are a pastor. Yet most of you don't act like it. You sit there, collect your paychecks, without regard of the immensity of your position or of your job. You are supposed to represent Jesus Christ. Most of you do not.
I'm speaking out for those who can't. I don't have those concerns they have – my security is in Christ, not in any man. You will likely dismiss everything I have said here. That's your prerogative. But you cannot ever say you have not been told. It's being told right here. Stop the corruption. Stop the hubris. Stop the pride. Stop the attitudes. Stop the arrogance. Stop the lack of compassion. Start acting like the role you play – start acting like you know Jesus Christ like you claim you do. Because the way many you act right now makes you look like you are servants of the devil not of God. And that's something that should make you get on your knees, begging for forgiveness.
I can say these things because I don't have to fear your hand of dis-fellowshipment. It's too bad that those frustrated and sad in your churches who endure your heavy hands of spiritual abuse cannot say the same. More than this, I can say these things as a Christian in the spirit of love for those who don't feel they have a voice.
- A Former Member of WCG, who sees what's happening to the minds and hearts of your congregations.