On every level of membership of the fellowship there are, what I would call, key players of the past. These are people who were part of the fellowship of Wayman Mitchell, who were crucial in the building of the churches in the early days of each church, and throughout the history of the fellowship, but who are no longer part of the fellowship.
On the membership level, these were members who were in music groups, acting troupes, ushers, faithful outreach workers, people who brought others into the church, people who followed up on new converts, people who faithfully tithed and offered tons of money, people who attended all the services, and so on. They were the driving force behind these churches getting to whatever level of attendance they reached. They labored, they gave, they sang the praises of the pastor and the leadership, and were the primary factor in new people being added to the churches.
I think of the Tucson church, The Door, the one I joined after my conversion to Christianity. I could list names of people who were the type members I just described, by the dozens, who were really the key behind Harold Warner's "success." Dozens, who are no longer a part of that church, and who haven't been there for quite some time. Yet, if you were to remove them from the history of that church, it would not have ever gotten off the ground and become the largest church in Wayman's fellowship.
I think it odd how the fellowship is perpetuated over time. The membership being constantly replaced is something we have discussed here in the past. Sometimes I marvel at the fact that the fellowship exists primarily due to the efforts of people who are no longer a part of it. It came to a place of thriving due to the sacrifice and efforts of people who eventually left it. Without those members, the fellowship would hardly exist, if at all. That is why I have said that these churches are built on the crushed lives of past members.
The very people who caused the fellowship to able to have growing churches, which were planting new churches, have generally been labeled backsliders, devils, traitors, and a host of other not very flattering terms, as they left the fellowship, burned out and used up. I find it strange that the very people who are responsible for the fellowship growing into a significant group of churches are now considered to be so evil. There are many sermons offered up, by Wayman and the boys, to explain and justify this characteristic of the fellowship, but none of them really make any sense. How is it that so many of the very people who got the fellowship "off the ground" ended up being so called backslidden devils?
This is also true at the pastoral level. There have been many couples who pioneered churches, and sent massive money back into Wayman's tithe and offering pyramid, who were branded devils when they left, and were forgotten. And that is another disturbing facet of Wayman's World. Not only are these people despised when they leave, they are eventually completely forgotten. Wayman will often, in the most massive religious pride, point to himself as a veritable savior of the people who attend his churches, asking questions like, "Where would you be without this ministry?" The real question is where would Wayman and his leaders be without those people in the fellowship who actually built it up?
There have been many pastors who successfully pioneered churches, who were eventually driven out, and the churches they pioneered were given to men who couldn't even get a church off the ground to save their lives. There have been many church members who brought a ton of people into the church, have been driven out, and then members who never brought anyone into the church are given "ministry" so that they can be the ones that "God is raising up."
My wish for a time machine is upon me, once again. I would go back in time and tell those key members, who were building up those churches, that they were just being used. I would tell those pioneer pastors that all that they succeeded in building would be given to Wayman's pet disciples, or one of the the other leader's pet disciples. And, I would tell those leaders, who were hyper loyal to Wayman O., and who preached at every conference that he was "the man," a prophet, an apostle, and that there was no one like him, that Wayman was going to stab them in the back in the end.
You see, even Wayman's most exploitive, hyper loyal leaders were only tools to build Wayman's religious kingdom. The moment they displeased Wayman, they were on their way out, just like all the others who actually built up that fellowship. Armed with sermons like, "Replacing the Old Guard," or "All of Asia Hath Forsaken Waymanchrist," the current members are convinced that God is going to do "a new thing." It is, in fact, the same old thing. Those current members will be used to continue to build up the kingdom of Wayman, by at least making sure that just as many new members are coming in as old members are going out. The sad truth of the matter is that one day they will be the members that are going out, and who have been replaced by their own efforts.
It's pretty strange when you think about it. When you are a fellowship member, who is putting forth his best effort to build the kingdom of Wayman, you are actually replacing yourself. When you make all the effort, and give all that money, so that new members are "locked in," you have ensured that when you leave, the pastor will still have a crowd to peach to. Some of those who came into the church as a result of your faithful efforts will then be taught that you are a miserable, backslidden devil who is most worthy of burning in hell forever. They may even be taught to curse you.
Here's an example from my personal experience. By my efforts, Paul and Linda Campo came into the Tucson church. I witnessed to Paul against the advice of the pastor, Harold Warner, who told me to stay away from Paul, having met him, and said that Paul simply did not want to get saved. But I persevered, and witnessed to Paul, resulting in first him, and then his wife, coming into the church, and canceling their divorce, which they were in the midst of. My reward for that? When I left the fellowship, I received a letter from Paul, quoting God Himself, and according to Paul, God said, "Do not pray for him any more, for I have rejected him due to his long standing rebellion against Me....." Paul prayed curses down on me, and had his congregation cheer when he heard of my divorce, as confirmation that his curses had born fruit.
That was my reward for bringing in a key couple to the Tucson church, and eventually to the fellowship itself. And that will be your reward as well, faithful Waymanite. You don't think so? When it happens, remember what you read here today.