297Re: The Trapped Pastor
- Jan 1, 2006
[I have only read this one post in this thread. It is here that I must inject a much needed point. I have yet to meet a single Fellowship Pastor that was qualified to be a pastor. The averge
fellowship pastor doesn't have any formal biblical training, no formal counseling training, no managment skills, ... The average fellowship pasotr is launched soley because he kissed butt better than any of the other disciples. Proof of this can be found in those churches that have pulled from the fellowship and succeeded in staying a church. They operate just as Ken described. The follow the fellowship pattern but drop the fellowship name. Worthless.]
Then there is Ron Jones.
First, I want to say that I have nothing personal against Ron Jones. He was kind to me when I got out of the fellowship. However, that does not erase certain facts that I am going to discuss here.
Ron Jones is a Bible school graduate of the Assemblies of God. He hooked up with Mitch in the early days of church planting. He pioneered the church in Flagstaff. After that he returned to the Assemblies and was having success in building up a church. However, upon contacting the Mighty Mitch again he was told by the Seer of Prescott that he would miss his destiny if he stayed with the Assemblies.
So, Ron pioneered in Sierra Vista, Arizona. He did OK there. At one point, he and several others were ordained by Foursquare. At another point, Foursquare offered Jones the church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was a small congregation of 35 people. They did this independent of Lord Wayman. In other words, the opportunity for Ron to pastor this church was given to him by Foursquare, not Waymanchrist.
Ron had fantastic success in Colorado Springs. His church grew to 700 people. He became a favorite at conferences and it was said that the Colorado Springs conferences had a tremedous anointing on them. Ron, like Harold Warner and Greg Johnson, got along fairly well with Foursquare leadership, generally speaking.
Then came the break with Foursquare. Ron basically sided with Waymanchrist, and even took an offering at Prescott conference to buy back the church building there. However, Ron stayed in Foursquare for another full year after the rest of us left. It was under pressure from Lord Wayman that Ron finally pulled out and lost his own building. (This was when the Mighty Mitch met John Holland at Ron's building and prophesied doom over Foursquare.)
To make a long story short, Ron continued to do well over the next seven years but then he decided that he had built up enough of a fellowship of his own to be released from being under Prescott and the Pope. He wanted his church to be like unto Prescott, a mother church of its own fellowship. Wayman did not want to release Jones and the others who approached him about this and this led to the 1990 split.
Jones tried to continue with his ministry but fellowship forces, under the direction of Wayman O., began to undermine his church. He went from 700 down to 350 people in attendance. He was still holding conferences and trying to keep his baby works alive, but things got pretty grim.
Jones told me in 1994 that at one point he got to the place of dispair. He almost called Mitch up and "surrendered". He had been a barber in the past and went out one day and cut hair, thinking that his church might fall apart and that he would have to be making a living some other way than pastoring.
Now, I understand what std_for_ever is saying about the average fellowship pastor. Ron, however, was an ordained Bible school graduate. Yet, Mitch was still able to put him through the same hell on earth that he does to almost every pastor who leaves. Jones was getting more tolerant in his ministry, but that was leading to his church falling apart. So, in my opinion, he returned to the pattern of ministry that worked for him in the past.
To his credit, he did away with the hypocritical media rules. However, he reinforced many of the doctrines of the fellowship. You must come to church constantly, you must tithe to stay saved, you must submit, etc. As a result, he built back up, and exceeded his past growth.
Jones told me himself, in 1994, that he had lost about 85 to 90% of the people he had when he pulled from the fellowship. His strategy shifted from trying to keep people from leaving to recruiting new people at least at the same rate old people were leaving. This is what the fellowship has always done. He told me that he and his wife agreed not to speak about the fellowship any more. He said at that point they started growing.
A few months ago I had a conversation with a woman who had attended Ron Jones' church for a number of years. She and her husband left in 1998. She told of their fear of missing church because her husband was in "ministry" and how he was on the stage with a high fever because that was "faithfulness." She told me of the incredible pressure to give money. She also told me that when they finally did leave that they were totally shunned and considered backslidden. She mentioned that a friend of hers had recently visited Ron Jones church and was shocked to hear him bashing the other churches in town. Sound familiar? She said that when they left in 1998 the church was running about 1200 people.
A while back on Slam the Door, some ex members of Jones church showed up and talked about the enriching of the pastor and those he put on staff. Also, the giving of staff positions to relatives. So Chucky is not the only one. These ex members more or less affirmed that everything we were saying about the fellowship on Slam the Door was pretty much true of Jones' church and fellowship as well.
My opinion is that when the chips are down ex pastors of the fellowship have to make some decisions. Some lay it down and get out. If they remain Christians and want to return to ministry they seek a legitimate avenue to do so. Some, however, return to what worked for them so well in the fellowship, especially if they had any measure of success at all. For a show they change a few things here and there and say that these were the problems. They do not judge the fellowship "ministry" as it ought to be judged.
Jones did lose his church. If 90% had left when I talked to him in 1994, then what would the figure look like now in 2006? What he did was replace that church with people who know not Mitch, and who now look at Jones the same way people look at Mitch in the fellowship.
One ex fellowship leader told a friend of mine that being a fellowship leader was a fantastic experience. He told him it was like having the world at your feet. You were revered wherever you went. You could travel all over the world and stay in nice hotels. You could preach at conferences to enthralled audiences. What some are trying to do, and perhaps some have accomplished, is recapture that lifestyle. They use the methods that got them that lifestyle in the past. They didn't get out of the fellowship because they really judged it, or if they did start to judge it, they back peddled when they saw it was going to cost them everything that they achieved as a fellowship pastor/leader.
I am sorry, but if someone is still using the abusive and exploitive doctrines of the fellowship to have "success" in the "ministry," then they are still the same as Mitch.
Once again, I repeat, I have no personal vendetta against Ron Jones. If anything I would tend to favor him for the way he treated me. However, if someone who had hurt multitudes of people is nice to you, that doesn't negate the facts. I can't say to those people who are abused and exploited by a sham of a ministry, "Well, I think your pastor is a nice guy." That would be adding insult to injury for those poor folks.
So, it is not just the ignorant butt kissers who return to fellowship pattern after they leave Waymanland. It is any of these former successes who are not willing to pay the price to really escape from the fellowship. Why should they escape? They are the ones who ultimately benefit.
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