By a former SLO Assembly member, first posted on the Assembly
bulletin board in 2003.
It has been said that those who are ignorant of history repeat it. I've heard
that some profound changes are taking place in some of the assemblies that still
exist. That is truly encouraging, but don't settle for a merely repackaged
assembly system. 2 Cor 7 speaks of zeal in repentance.
Expect that from the leaders. In my opinion the changes will be in their
attitude first, then their behavior.
Be patient, but if something looks wrong ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS! FOLLOW UP!
GET OUTSIDE INPUT! Don't feel guilty about holding the leaders accountable.
Leaders should be held more accountable than non-leaders. Leaders in the
Geftakys ministry were not used to being held accountable except by those ABOVE
them in rank.
You are not being 'divisive' if you ask questions that used to be forbidden.
You have a right to know (especially given the past). While doing so, keep in
mind this quote from the book entitled "Tired of Trying to Measure Up", by Jeff
VanVonderen (pg. 70):
"...every time your pastor or Bible study leader speaks firmly to
you or doesn't accept your view, do not label him or her as spiritually
It's a human trait to react defensively or to be slow in accepting opinions
that are not ours. If you have a problem with the way things are being
conducted, go to your leader in a gentle, humble spirit and share your
In a safe system, your confrontation should be welcomed, even if there is
not full agreement. However, change takes time, so if you are rebuffed,
don't automatically flash accusations."
The following questions will help you evaluate and participate in the process
of change in your assembly:
- How much interaction is there between the assembly leaders and leaders of
- Are you uncomfortable about asking leaders of other churches what they think
about the assembly?
- Do the leaders encourage you to look at the website to learn the historical
facts about the assembly, or do they drop subtle hints that the site is
inappropriate in some way?
- Do the leaders openly invite you to ask questions about the history of the
- Do the leaders give vague or pat answers to your questions?
- Do you think that if you ask certain
questions regarding the history of the assembly the leaders will accuse you of
being 'suspicious', or use some other means to make you feel like you just
crossed an invisible line that you weren't supposed to cross?
- Do you sense that assembly history is a forbidden subject in the assembly
(even when the leaders are not present)?
- Are the leaders open to the idea of using some of the books and tapes that
are listed on the Assembly Reflections website to help the saints learn
from the past? Other churches have cult workshops. If you want to reduce the
risk of being enslaved again in a yoke of bondage then it will help you if you
learn about the dynamics of what makes these groups tick. In my opinion now is
the time to dive in and learn about these groups. Sure, you will not always be
thinking so much about these things, but it is one of the phases of getting on
with your life.
- Does your book table have some of the books that are listed on the
Assembly Reflections website? This may not be necessary, but in my
opinion it would be a good idea.
- Are the finances handled openly with no pat excuses for secrecy such as,
"Well, the Lord knows how to handle His money"?
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