New Covenant Publications - A Counter Cult Ministry

 

Letter of Resignation from Zone Leaders in San Francisco

 

To The Leadership Group of the San Francisco Church of Christ,

This letter is our resignation from Leadership as Zone leaders and we request to be removed from the membership roll of this church.

After much Prayer and Soul searching my wife and I feel that we can no longer continue to be a part of the San Francisco church. Please understand that this has nothing to do with Bitterness, or lack of Forgiveness but is out of concern for people we feel are being neglected and not heard. We are extremely tired from trying desperately to exact changes that Leadership in San Francisco does not wish to address.

When we first came to San Francisco from New York - we knew immediately that the church was different. Initially we just chalked it up to "regional differences". However, the longer we were here, we had to admit to ourselves that we liked California except for the Church. We resolved to talk to our leaders about the things we saw hurting people and felt we could help a change to happen. We have had many conversations with the _______ and the _______ about changes that we feel would benefit the church, and how specific needs could be met. Although we were listened to, no changes were made and we watched people struggle and leave in spite of our best prayers, efforts and leadership conversations. Galatians 4:16, "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?"

When the Henry Kriete letter came out, we had great hope that Leadership in San Francisco would see some changes that could be made and that the church would change. However after the 3/1 service, we realized that the leadership here in San Francisco does not "get it". In other services all over the world, Leaders have been open about very specific sins when asking a congregation for forgiveness. In any sin study, if a person apologized the way we were apologized to on Saturday night they would have been told that they were vague, needed to be more specific and open about their sin and that they were not broken. The San Francisco apologies were very vague and hollow, to the point where new Disciples didn't understand what was going on, we believe that this was the intention.

The reason we believe that this was the intention is because the leadership consensus group has set a precedent in controlling information by banning/censoring Golden Rule Leadership, which advocates many of the same ideas as Henry's letter. __________ admitted to us that though he had never read the book, he agreed to censor it. I challenged him on the integrity of his vote, because he had never read the book, but went along with what the rest of the group voted. Banning the book is a means of controlling information that is released to the congregation, why was that deliberate sin not apologized for? There is no remorse for doing such a thing, just like there appears to be no intention of letting the congregation read Henry's Letter - even though Churches all over the world are making radical changes based upon its content, and encouraging their members to read it.

We were also concerned that Russ would gloat about being one of the few Former World Sector Leaders still standing. We feel that the only reason no one has asked for his resignation is because of the extreme fear of leadership that exists in this congregation, he has gathered people around him who say what his itching ears want to hear.(2 Timothy 4:3). We feel we can no longer support a church that says it cares about the people, but whose actions reveal a heart of stone, not a heart of flesh.

We have had an opportunity to speak, but for other regular members there is no plan for their voices to be heard. We feel that this means there is not a true heart of repentance here in San Francisco. We see Worldly Sorrow not Godly Sorrow (Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow leads to death-2 Cor. 7:10).
Even the coaches program being rolled out consists of leaders that were hand picked by other leaders. No one who will be lead by a coach has had any say in who their coach will be. A Coach is just another level of clergy for the sake of control (by saying this we do not want to question the sincerity of the coaches or their heart to serve). It concerns us that Russ does not feel the need to have Open Forums or go sector to sector asking people how they really feel, and requesting their input on any changes. From experience, things said at a sector level have stayed at a sector level. Russ should make himself available to answer questions and hear people's feelings. Contrary to what was read in a recent letter, this is not fighting in the isles, this is pure communication (Jesus did that- John 15:14-15). Steve Sapp and Steve Johnson, leaders whom we respect greatly are doing this, and we feel there is something extremely wrong in San Francisco if no one cares enough to facilitate that happening here. This is especially alarming to us as we were told 2 weeks ago by _________ that Steve Johnson and Russ Ewell were in complete agreement, and we now see that obviously that is not true. It appears that the San Francisco church is not unified with the rest of the churches that were mentioned.

Specific Sins/Problems we feel could have been apologized for:
1) Information control and treating members like children as far as what they are and are not allowed to read in this congregation. Examples: Golden Rule Leadership, and Henry Kreite's Letter.
2) Thinking of people who don't automatically agree with the way things are being run as "Problem People/Couple or "struggling" and looking down on these people.
3) Creating an environment where people fear talking about how they really feel and expressing their true opinions.
4) Leaving a Ministry Couple in place, that was young, inexperienced and lead through manipulation and coercion because they were insecure. After many complaints from many people who were lead by this couple, the Leadership Group then moved them on to a larger ministry. _______ admitted to us that this couple was never suppose to lead another sector, but were scheduled to lead and be re- trained under them. The standard for leadership in the Bible was never "they are the only person available".
5) Focusing on the "sharp", and not encouraging people to just study with someone who loved God and wanted to understand more about the Bible.
6) Refusal on the part of leadership to build a relationship with someone who was not an active study, and discouraging those who chose to do so.
7) Focusing on numbers of people studying and Baptisms that needed to happen instead of trying to make sure people you were baptizing were becoming True Disciples, whether they made it at the end of the month, or the next month.
8) Making non-paid staff feel coerced to come up with "crack open bible studies" so the "stats" could look better.
9) Repeatedly neglecting to give people discipling partners when changes happened.
10) Setting up Artificial goals such as all leaders having to pass a test to make sure they can teach the first principals studies. This made people anxious, however sector leaders never followed up to see if anyone had ever taken the test.
11) Continuing to let the practice of Tithing which only appears in the old testament, to be compelled with pledges and accountability when the scriptures set a standard of giving generously, an amount that you decide. "give what you've decided to give in your heart and not under compulsion (2 Cor 9:7).
12) Forcing Zone leaders to track down peoples tithes instead of asking how the person is doing spiritually if they missed their contribution.
13) Extreme neglect of those with special needs, chronic illness, pregnant women on bed rest, people with chronically ill children and the weak and weary.
14) Neglect of people after they have been baptized.
15) Lack of love and incredible mistrust for those moving in from other ministries, here in the bay area or from anywhere else.
16) Simply not wanting to deal with certain situations. The Wegers came to our sector at the time when it was a real mess. They came for a few weeks and we heard they had gotten into a car accident, then we never saw them again. No explanation, no decisions, no healing. It appeared that they just ran away saying "keep warm and well fed" without meeting any of the needs.
17) Continuing the practice of a multiple with special contribution. Multiple is no where in the bible. All the special contributions in the bible were voluntary, not compulsory and not once a year - these are rules taught by men. Take the burden off of the flock and let people give cheerfully, not under compulsion.
18) Making the Zone leaders feel responsible for making up missing money for their Zones special contribution goal.
19) Imposing restrictions on people who want to move to another congregation. Telling people in your coaches group that they need to agree to stay committed to the SF Church to be a coach is coercive and non Biblical.
20) Telling people they are doing badly spiritually if they want to spend an entire week/2 weeks/ weekend with family/friends/on vacation and that would mean them missing Church on Sunday.
21) Making it difficult for people to receive benevolence when they really need it and yet enforcing a weekly contribution that makes it difficult for members to meet their needs individually as it says in Acts 2:45. This makes the weekly gift like Corban, giving to the church but in giving the "gift devoted to God", neglecting the directive to give to each other as they have need. (Mark 7: 5-13)
22) Scott Colvin saying he was sorry for us not having more Baptisms in the East Bay. Baptizing was not our main problem in the Easy bay.
23) Making us feel like we have to write another letter to get your attention.
Please do not refer to us as fallen away as we are united in mind and thought with other Churches in the former movement. As a matter of conscience, we can no longer continue to be members here, as we feel "You have let go the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

We are not even sure why we wrote this letter, if you didn't listen to Henry, will you listen to us? I guess we just wanted to have a clear conscience before God (Ezekiel 3:17).

 

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