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
Yet the purpose of this support groupessay is not to
dwell on the problems but to analyze them to find a solution.
What should we do when we suffer abuse?
Whether you join
Liv-n-LetLiv or not, may God bless you.
- Forgive the abuser. Don't seek vengeance.
- 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
- 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.
- Envelop all these things in prayer.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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
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.