CHC Confessions has had members and ex-members share their experiences when they attended City Harvest Church. Do their stories sound like your stories at Christian City Church?
CG and CGL mean Cell Group and Cell Group Leader for those who don’t know what the abbreviations mean!
A CHC Confessor writes,
Hi everyone, I’m an ex-CHC member/ currently an atheist. This is my first ever post so please be kind. 🙂
I read the stories here and my heart breaks. I’ve had my share of experiences too.
Gave till it hurt, and I couldn’t meet other pay…ments for months.
Publicly embarrassed by pastors and ministry leaders over petty issues, eg not smiling enough when singing a praise song.
Forced by ex-CGL to ‘break up’ with my friends because they went to the wrong church.
Scolded by ex-CGL and ex-ZP when I shared my dream career and said I wanted to pursue it. They said I wasn’t smart or talented enough, and I should just forget it.
Finally realizing that no matter how hard I tried, I would never fit in or be happy in this church. I was different, and to my cell(s) and ministry group(s), being different is unacceptable.
So I left CHC, and eventually the faith, 5 years ago. I’m much happier now.
I was listening to a new pop hit the other day. The tune is uplifting and energetic, and the lyrics are worth listening to! Because they describe how I feel about this whole mess.
The lyrics in the verse sound like what I experienced in CHC…
But the best part is the chorus. Now, this is only a lighthearted pop song, don’t take it too seriously…
But this is my tongue-in-cheek observation: the chorus sounds almost like God himself could have sung it.
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter,
Dancing through the fire ‘cos
I am a champion
And you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion ‘cos
I am a champion
And you’re gonna hear me roar!”
Hear that sound, CHC leaders?
It’s the Lion of Judah.
He’s coming to defend the innocent,
Heal the wounded, restore the broken.
And He’s coming for you.
‘Roar’, by Katy Perry. Enjoy! 🙂
Source: CHC Confessions, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/CHCConfessions/posts/666579736694740, Published 12/09/2013. Accessed 12/09/2013.
Another CHC Confessor writes,
Things started to change when I started to see some stuff when were not revealed as an ordinary member.
You will be treated differently if you have status in society, or wealthy, or know how to say right things at right time. Some CGL never need to attend meeting regular, if the CG have growth, or you have status. You have priviledge free carpark as well.
Zone secretary conctantly haunt you for target attendance EACH WEEK, from Tue to Fri. If you cannot meet target, there will be counselling session. You will feel like you are working as finacial advisor. In fact, your team leader is a financial advisor.
You can’t imagine how a typical and ordinally CGL go thru the stress every week; and always been labelled as not competent. You will be humillated in front of people.
When CG member has financial difficulty, we have find our own way to help them. In DD zone, you were not expected to bring this “problem” to them. My CG had a member constantly in financial difficulty, because she was a single mother. I always bought her some grocery, even I was just earning $2000 and had my own family as well. That was a time I was “encouraged” by my team leader to buy Ed Hardy shirt which cost me $200. That was a huge amount for me. I was thinking perhaps I could get more food to someone who need it desperately indeed.
Members were asked to buy the workbook for bible class. I had members who in financial difficulty, must also buy all those books. Even though it was $12, but for some family, it was a lot. it is enough for thier whole day meal back then. Most of the time, I was the one who bought for them. They were not allowed to use old copy (They workbook has some sentences which require you to fill in the blank).
You were not allowed to oppose pastors’ opinion. You be categorized as “difficult” CGL. I had seen many CGL “dissappear” suddenly; or asked to step down.
But one of the most dissapointing experiences was that during 2010, just before the saga broke out, I was having marriage issue with my wife then. I decided to step down as CGL becuase I found I need to work on the relationship with my wife. Instead of having blessing from the team leader, I had a scolding and “counselling session” from them. All the CGLs in the same team, since the day I had decided to step down, no one even bother.
DD never even call to find out what happen to me. All the fellowship we had build up in prayer meeting, fasting and sacrificing, at the end when you are “not doing well”, no one seems to call. Not even a SMS to ask how are you doing.
I was transferred to another group, lead by another ZS. By then, I had closed up my heart cause I know no matter how much I had done, no one really bother.
I had finally decided to leave when my son, about 3 years old that time, was bullied by the ZS’s daugther. When I was attending the adult CG, that was also another room to let the children play together. For a few weeks, my son was isolated by this ZS’ daughter, and she asked the rest of the children not to play with my son. I thought my 3 years old son must have offended her but I found out there was no reason and this was going on for months. I finally realised why my son cried in the room whenever I was having CG in living room.
Perhaps, this was how the ZS character, and the daughter picked up from the parent somehow. I realised the church no longer the same where I used to be. Everyone was putting up a mask up front.
Finally, I left the church one week before KH was caught. I should had done so earlier.
Till today, attedning church is just another routine for me. I will probably never trust any leader or pastor anymore, as the scar is already formed.
Source: CHC Confessions, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/CHCConfessions/posts/666579310028116, Published 12/09/2013. Accessed 12/09/2013.
Laura Stamper said:
Please consider coming back to the faith. Jesus Christ must be deeply grieved by the abuses people have endured “in his Name”. I myself am having a terrifically difficult time finding a scriptural church. Very discouraging. Please know that it is not the heart of God for you to be poured over with guilt for not measuring up to some standard – financial or otherwise. That’s the whole point, we are all unable to meet God’s holy standards. That’s why we need Jesus. He loves you more than you can imagine.
Sean L said:
I have some understanding on what you went through. By God’s mercy, several years ago, God delivered me and my family from a C3 “church.”
[Backstory: In my early teens, I was introduced to charismatic-Pentecostalism. After graduating high-school I went into the US Navy, continuing to attend these kind of churches wherever I was stationed. After the Navy, a business venture brought me to southern California, where I met my wife; she’d been raised Roman-Catholic and had left to attend a mega-site church in north San Diego county. I was already attending C3 San Diego, when I met my future wife, and I asked her to check out the church I had joined. So, she started attending C3 with me before we were married. We married after completing their pre-marriage program. My wife and I, and eventually our oldest child, were very involved volunteering, what C3 heavily promotes as “serving full time in the house of God.” For years we served as usher, door greeter, and restroom attendant. Since the C3 pastor was searching for a building suitable for his vision, each meeting needed to be set up, from rows of chairs, to the stage, podium, and band area. You can imagine how many dedicated volunteers were needed every Sunday, Wednesday, Friday for Kidz church, ect for set up and breakdown. We were faithful tithers. We committed yearly for their “Rise and Build” campaigns. Bit by bit, the Word of God written in Scripture began to convict us of the bad doctrine coming from the pulpit. Bit by bit, God’s Word began to awaken in us, a growing sense of dismay. Hesitantly, I began to test the pastor’s sermons to Scripture. There were many unscriptural things being stated regularly from the pulpit. Initially I would think of excuses for the pastor’s words. But the Holy Spirit was causing me to go back to the Bible again and again. I had a good relationship with the pastor, and had exchanged e-mails with him in the past. But there was a point where the man I had so deeply respected, was no longer interested in talking with me via e-mail or in person. When I finally approached the pastor about his teachings, I was told my family and I needed to leave, we were no longer welcome.]
That was a very difficult time for me, and my family. But I am thankful to God for it. After continuing to search God’s Word AND sit under god-fearing teaching [such as John MacArthur], my understanding became clear — the C3 pastor was a false teacher leading a false church.
So then WHY did I end up at a false church, giving to a false church, following and believing a false teacher, and being happy the whole time I was doing it? It was because I TESTED NOTHING. I grew up in the Pentecostal/Charismatic church since I was a child. Everything taught from the pulpit, in Christian books, or Christian TV, I accepted and believed. This led me to being deceived and deceiving others.
So I encourage you to:
(1) Do what the Bible commands us to do: 1 Thess 5:21, 22
(2) These verses show why God commands us to test everything: Jer 14:14; Mt 7:15; 2 Pet 2:1; Jude 1:4; Gal 2:4; Mk 13:22; Col 2:4; 2 Cor 11:13-15
(3) These verses show that we (you, me) are responsible to ensure we’re not being deceived: Mt 24:4; Mk 13:5; 2 Thess 2:3; Jer 29:8; Eph 5:6,7; Rev 2:2
(4) These verses show we cannot just believe a pastor because they’re popular: Jer 5:31; Is 30:10; Jer 29:8; 2 Tim 4:3; Lam 2:14; Jer 6:14,8:11,23:17; Ez 13:10
(5) These verses God warns us if we do not test all things: Jer 29:31; 1 Tim 4:1; Rom 16:18; 2 Tim 2:17,18,4:4; 2 Thess 2:11; 2 Pet 2:3,17; Jer 27:10,15
I encourage you as you do these things starting now and going forward it will keep you from error. As you apply the Word of God to what you had been taught and experienced, you will find, as I did, you were taught and believed false teachings.
Regarding being hurt, the realization that you had been lied to, wasted time and money, and therefore not wanting anything else to do with God or church. I understand your feelings, but do not mistake what happened to you by the false pastor and his false church by attributing it to God and His true Church. The false pastor does not belong to God and his false church is not God’s either. So you have experienced something that is not of God.
Pringle is deceived and deceiving others. (2 Tim 3:13)
The pastor is deceived and deceiving others.
The elders/board are deceived and deceiving others.
The CGLs, ZGs are deceived and deceiving others.
The people attending the church (regardless of how friendly, nice, loving, etc they may be) are deceived and deceiving others.
And all of these people from Pringle on down are being deceived by the master deceiver himself – Rev 12:9; Gen 3:1
Only because of God’s mercy upon you, you are no longer a part of it – being deceived and deceiving others.
On Judgment Day, God will deal with them if they do not repent. (Rev 20:11-15) As for us (you, me) we too will give an account of ourselves before God.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23)
– Each person will face God’s judgment for their own sin
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27)
– God enabled Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)
– Our response
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
– Belief in Jesus = proof is a life of trust & obeying God’s Word (the Bible)
Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. (Matthew 7:21)
If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. (1 John 2:4)
– And after giving our life to Jesus, as we read/learn God’s Word and learn to live according to it, we then ask for forgiveness each time we sin
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)
I encourage you:
(1) Begin reading, studying, obeying, meditating on the Word of God. Begin to listen to right teaching. Some that I listen to are:
(2) Find a Bible teaching, verse-by-verse, no frills, church. I’m sure before you bought stock in a company, you did your due diligence researching thoroughly about the company before you invested. How much more, when it comes to our spiritual life? Do your due diligence researching thoroughly a church before you begin investing/attending it.
Listen to these messages, they will help you understand what to be looking for in a church and pastor:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Cor 13:14)
I can completely identify with what you went through. I was heavily involved as you were; we gave to the building fund (admittedly it was our decision, but the constant push for money is outrageous). I accepted what was taught. I always went along with the money teaching, but every time they talked about tithing being New Testament and Jesus telling the Pharisees they should keep doing it – I never felt comfortable with that, because there is no future reference to it.
I’ve seen the same happen to friends in the church – burned out until there was nothing left, paid very little.
I’ve seen lots of people leave; in fact I am watching one family being torn apart right now – not entirely because of c3, but what I believe is an addiction or something to it.
Having read many, many of these posts, it has finally occurred to me that this kind of thing is widespread throughout the movement. Admittedly it’s not every c3, as I know some good plants. But to see the same treatment of people, the same doctrine issues, the same (it seems) global push on money – all I can assume is it starts at the top and works its way down.
It’s sad really; the c3 I went to was alive and pumping when I first started going there. Then I don’t know what happened. They just wanted to be “big” – the big church (which is usually only 1/2 full), the push on money, the glitz and glam, the nepotism – oh believe me, I could post a whole article here. It angers me to my bones the way family members get treated like royalty and everyone else is a commoner. I’m sorry but that’s the truth and most people will tell you that in certain churches that’s how it operates. It’s truly disgusting. I would open up more except we may get a lawyers letter…
There are a few local churches I am considering attending. But at the moment I just couldn’t be bothered. I’m growing more than I have before and I’m not attending. I know what Hebrews says, but other than that, my walk is going up and on.
You did an excellent job articulating your thoughts and provided scripture for your recommendations. Well said!