New Covenant Publications - A Counter Cult Ministry

 

Phoenix Church Meeting

March 2, 2003

 

Here are the notes as best as I could gather them. I haven't the time to quote scriptures completely, so bear with me... First of all, I do have to admit that I think that something is a bit wrong on the premise. This meeting was addressed with little warning and was packaged in such a way that some may not have felt they shouldn't come because it was addressed to leaders, past and present. Maybe this was just a logistical thing, so that it could be a one shot deal rather than having several sectors come and go through the whole thing several times....just laying out that thought.

Joe Silipo says that this is a difficult time for him and for the church, yet God continues to move. He said he had lots that he wants to say. God is moving. Joe is getting calls from all over the place, "What's going on in the kingdom?" The church is definitely going under some changes. Joe feels as if he's been getting a good spanking.

Joe went into length his conversion, from attending a college "soul talk" to attending a pentacostal church to where he is today. God wants us to walk a certain way. He references Isaiah 30:18-21 and Romans 15: 1-7.

Joe then went into the ICC church history, as if to paint a picture of how the hierarchy started. at the very beginning, they had prayer partners. While this wasn't "hierarchy", it did cause factions as people would try to get better partners than other people. In 1985, when the church in Boston was planting lots of churches and reconstructions, discipling trees were created as a way to shepherd, but not meant to control. In 1988, WSL was created and then the hierarchy started. Los Angeles began with doing the discipleship study as the 1st study in the series, and this, in retrospect, caused such a lack of focus as to who Jesus is and his greatness and instead focus on the mission. People that studied didn't know God. Joe wanted to point out 1995 to 1999 as some good times in the church, with DPI, Hope and all of the good things that were happening.

Last November, Kip stepped down and WSL dismantled. He talked about the forum in San Diego, where Joe felt he apologized to everyone under the sun. He does want to examine what is right and revisit the role of women, teen ministry issues, leadership in the church, etc. He apologizes that it didn't happen earlier.

Joe is thankful for Henry's and other peoples letters. God will smack him and us till we repent. He referenced Peter being thrown for a loop in Acts 10 when God challenged him about the Gentiles, and again in Acts 15, when Paul did so as well. What is his sin? Joe wanted to specifically apologize for.....

1) Pride and Arrogance 1 Peter 5
He lifted up men rater than give glory to God. He used sarcasm in cutting ways to denigrade others.

2) He was a coward and people pleaser - he didn't take on the system and even promoted the system at times. Top down directives did a lot of damages....there are no checks and balances.

Here is where Joe broke down heavily. he taked about the situation in Tucson years ago. The church in Tucson was being lead by the Pallezeri's. Kip heard Marco P speak on numerous occasions whenever he was in Tucson (for his son's tennis matches occasionally brought him there). Kip wanted Marco in LA, and kip always gets his way. Plus, Kip wanted 10 bible talk leaders. Cory B pressured Joe. Joe put up a weak fight and in the end, buckled. Joe was forced to put the Alexopolouses in Tucson before he felt they were ready and Joe is deeply saddened that they've now been taken out of leadership.

3) Improper motivation - pressure to grow, produce, bear fruit... He apologizes for using the LA good, great and awesome stat sheet. He stopped doing it years ago, but never acknowledged that it was sinful. He put lots of pressure for having personal visitors and accountability.

4) Wrong teachings about bearing fruit 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
People mustn't be guilted by the old "Who here has been personally fruitful...." He eventually taught about "group fruit, where everyone helps", but never publicly denounced his previous sinful stance.

5) Compusion in giving - expecially SMC(thoughout 2 Corinthians)...People should give from the heart. He changed the method we give to be one where there was no compulsion, but he never acknowledged that it was sinful to do so. Joe said he doesn't want another church to impose a multiplier for us, but he does feel that the US and other 1st world churches should still collect for the poor churches. Joe is not for autonomy, but he is against one church leading another.

6) He felt his preaching left many to feel beat up.

7) 1 man show from 1996 to 2002. Joe didn't bring in another evangelist, even when the church was quite large. He wanted all that power.

8) Putting pressure to attend events. To Joe, he never heard of an optional event. It's wrong to make people feel guilty to attend every seminar, bibletalk and what not.

9) Diddn't focus on Gods 2 most important commands, and instead focused on growth in numbers.

10) wants to make amends ala Matthew 18.

Annie Silipo also shared about many of the same things, including pressuring women for womens days and wanting to speak at them. She also wanted people to talk to her ala Matthew 18.

Solutions.....

1) Repent - Introducing family talks to have people an opportunity to share how they are feeling and to voice grievances

To his credit, Joe broke down at this point and cried about all of the people that have left because of him. He would like to compose a letter to put on the Phoenix church website indicating so....stay tuned for that.

2) New study series focusing on loving God and teaching people who Jesus is.

3) Retrain and reteach right concepts...namely OTC.

4) Flaten the discipling tree, but not abandoning discipling

5) No compulsion in giving, but does believe the church is a brotherhood. Doesn't want us to ignore 3rd world churches.

6) Bring back monthly meetings of different respected non staff people to help meet the needs of the church. These people will get the role of deacon

7) Inviting back old staff members to give them chances to apologize. Joe specifically named Dave Eastman.

At this point, one of the elders in training spoke (Bob Wedin), and he said that webs and nets are something used to capture and kill as a warning to not trusting everything you read on the computer.

After that foot in mouth, he does say we've pushed some people away and not enough of th kids raised up to want to become Christians...this is to our shame.

Another elder (Greg Heitman) read Tom Jones letter.

I thought there was going to be a Q and A session. I think one was planned, but they needed the building for a evening service, so it ended at that point.

I apologize if the notes are disjointed, but I'm not good enough for the news....I'm barely literate.

 

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