Liv-n-LetLiv a Campaign of God's Grace

Site search Web search Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind
About us

Learning Center

Ministry Opportunities

Donor Services


Italian side of bridge
German center pillar of bridge

Romanian side of bridge
Integrity InterNetwork
Art Zone

Your donations are valued. This site is advertizement-free.  We depend on your donations to continue to provide high quality information.   If God touches your heart with what you read here, please support our work.     Use check or credit card secured by PayPal.
Don't forget to bookmark this page!
Share this page with a friend!
Click here to link to us.

Support for the abused

"he suffered so that he can help those who are suffering." 2 Corinthians

In the 1990's two of the largest ministries in the US, Jimmy Swaggart and the PTL Club shattered due to their leaders being caught in ethical scandals.  In 2005, news broke out that shook the Roman Catholic Church.  Some American priests had been sexually abusing some youth.  There are thousands of people who have been abused by churches.  That abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or spiritual.  Accountability structures are more well developed in the Roman Catholic Church where priests have authority figures above them, but that person may not take that responsibility seriously to hold him accountable.  Such is usually not the case in Protestant churches where anyone and his brother can form and register a new church or denomination.  Many times, in Protestant circles, abuse is facilitated by the total authority that the pastor retains for himself.  Rogue religious leaders lead wherever their cult will follow.  For the charasmatic ones, like Jim Jones, the people will follow unto death.   

Perhaps you have been the victim of some kind of abuse, sexual, physical, psychological, financial or some other type.  We want to provide you a safe place to come.  We won't make demands of you or pass a collection plate, even if you are a member.

The cold, distant statistics became reality for me a couple of times.  From most people's accounts, I tend to be overly honest and trusting, easy game for the cults.  For almost 11 years, until May 2006, I was a member of Knox Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (I'll call it Knox Church from now on.)

Now you may be saying what I heard on the radio last week, that Ann Arbor is 26 miles surrounded by reality, and from living there I can tell you it is true.  It is another world dominated by the ultra-liberal.  Statistics show that the University of Michigan has more reported incidents of racism per capita than any other school in the US.  

The culture infiltrates any church it surrounds and the racism and homosexual permissiveness of the University of Michigan consciously or subconsciously affects their employees who also are members of the churches in the area.  Most might say that they are against the practice of homosexuality and may even let minorities hold leadership positions, but the problem is much deeper than the surface will show.  

Yet the purpose of this support groupessay is not to dwell on the problems but to analyze them to find a solution.

Personal solution
What should we do when we suffer abuse?

  1. Forgive the abuser.  Don't seek vengeance.
  2. Find some people with whom you can share your burdens, that won't judge you for criticizing religious people.  After all, Jesus called the religious leaders a "brood of vipers" and criticized them for abusing their flocks with burdens and they don't lift a finger to help.  We are to be like Him, right?  Click here to join Liv-n-LetLiv.
  3. When you have the strength, go to the authorities.  Take somebody with you like Matthew 18 advocates.  First go to a leader in your church.  If he/she doesn't listen, go up the chain of authority.  If they don't listen, treat them like a "tax collector."  Tax collectors in the Bible were avoided, so leave the church, possibly even with a public letter of resignation.  Consider taking legal action.
  4. Envelop all these things in prayer.  
  5. Let the peace of Christ guide your heart.  Don't expect anybody to believe you.  Don't expect anyone to do anything to correct the person.  There are people you thought were sheep that will take off their wool to reveal that they are wolves that will join the others to abuse you.  Most of those in the church are there for personal gain--more status, networking for business, to build a bigger church building, etc.  They can't give two beans about your condition.  The sooner you face this reality, the less you will be hurt when your expectations get dashed later on.  But, Jesus cares about you and we do too.
  6. Make appropriate changes to your behavior.  Care for yourself and don't be so gullible, like I am/have been.  (I'll be working on it right beside you, brother and sister.)  Perhaps you will have to avoid going to church because of the memories of abuse.  Perhaps you will want to tithe to missionaries and poor you know instead of those institutionalized by the church.  I've been on the other side of the offering plate.  The more institutionalized a missionary is, the more money that goes to overhead, travel by the church staff, buildings, conferences, and fancy lifestyles unbecoming to people who are supposed to be following the example of Paul and the other apostles.
  7. Don't give up the fight.  Don't be like the lukewarm people whom God will spit out of His mouth.  Stay faithful and find a Christian with whom to grow.  Read the Bible.  Pray.  Bring people to salvation in Christ.  Don't expect a materialistic cathedral with plush carpet, basketball courts, and fancy Powerpoint presentations to save anyone.
Whether you join Liv-n-LetLiv or not, may God bless you.

A look on the other side of the offering plate.

Taking my commitment to the church seriously, I gave thousands of dollars a year to Knox Evangelical Presbyterian Church and submitted myself to their guidance.

As a member of their church and a supported missionary, I was told I needed to get a team for support and sustainment.  Since I already had a group of Romanians in a team in the field, and being from more conservative cultures, I figured that this meant a wife, the Biblical "helpmate."  So I almost doubled my expenses by marrying a fantastic woman, and even had her approved by the Knox pastor before we married.

But, being from Ann Arbor, they had pictured that my helpmate(s) would be American male(s).  So, I increased my budget even more by moving from Romania to Germany, where my sending mission had an American missionary.  That meant abandoning a fruitul ministry where I had been inspiring my friends and family to help for a place that was twice as expensive.  

Had Knox helped support the expenses of having a helpmate they wanted to support me?  No.  Did Knox help with the move?  No.  Did they support the team they directed us to get?  No.   Furthermore, they cut back support so that we couldn't afford the team we had and eventually eliminated support all together.  

They wanted me to get more training, so I spent hundreds of dollars to go to a very good missiology course.  

Knox refused to recognize my wife or team and cut off support after I had doubled my expenses.  They thought that my donors should pick up the tab!  My donors were giving an average of $60 per month and they were giving an average of $0.60/member/month!  I no longer had the money to continue our ministry and we had to go without heat in our apartment and to eating only 4 days a week.

One of the Mission Committee members told an Advisor of mine that they had had no plans to give me any more than 1 year's worth of support.  What would possess someone to give false pretenses of wanting to support you if you do X,Y, and Z when they knew full well that they had no intention to do so? Finally, we had to quit ministry and return to the USA in May 2006.

I recognize that not all churches are like Knox and presently, there is a large exodus of people leaving there, so it is clearly below average, but I just wanted you to know that, like you, I have suffered some abuse.  

We are bringing these issues up to higher authorities (if there are any) and on this website we'll post any changes.

We are not discouraging anyone from going to Knox EPC, as many people like that kind of environment. But, just know what you are getting into. We found it more like a religious country club than a New Testament style church.

Go to top of page.

Contact us at:
e-mail us e-mail address

© 2006