Dealing with threats to your church —  July 28, 2017

The first time people from the Branch Davidians came to our church they seemed inoffensive enough. Dressed in their black suits and carrying several EGW books they arrived early and joined a Sabbath school class (and promptly took it over). I found out from another colleague how they had to discipline several members because of the work of these people. They don’t do evangelism. They prey on your people. We asked them not to return, to no avail so we had them removed by authorities. It caused a bit of a stir and even some push back. We lost no members.

According to what I hear literally every week we have three major groups (there are more) that present insidious content and bring trauma to the church.
1. 2520 Prophecy
2. Branch Dividians/Shepperds Rod
3. Jesus was created. (I know its not the right name, but you know what I mean)

1. Pastor bad. Church bad. Us good.
2. We are the only ones that have new light.
3. Usually have a leader that can’t be questioned.
4. Use Ellen White to prove their point.

What to do:
1. Past history. Look and ask where they came from. 90% of the time, they had issues there.
2. Get on it early. It will get awkward and messy. Your choice is awkward and messy now for a bit or later with more victims, pain, and loss. Start interceding early so God exposes the lies.
3. Stop being Jesus. Let me ask you a question. Have you heard all those testimonies of people in these groups that because of the pastor’s work changed course? Yeah, me either. Some have. Sure. However, I do not want to live my life making decisions as if I am always the exception to the rule. Usually they are good leaders so you wonder what could have been if they would just change. They will not. God hasn’t been able to, but you can? Ok.
4. Inform your leadership and church administration. Do this early and often. Stop trying to fix everything without letting your administration know. One thing administrations hate is surprises when the bomb has already detonated and they have to come in a clean the mess.
5. Invite guests. Use your conference officials, seminary professors and university teachers to teach the church on these things. You won’t save everyone, but you will save many undecided.
6. Preach solid, biblical, Adventist sermons. They will still criticize them but reasonable people will see the lies. (you should have been doing this anyway)
7. Ask them to leave, especially SR. Church is not a public space. The earlier you do this the better.

Let me know how I can pray for you!

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5 responses to Dealing with threats to your church

  1. David Dennis (Southern New England Conference) July 29, 2017 at 1:02 am

    When I had known Shepherd’s Rod people in the church I would specifically point them out during the welcome. I would also tell everyone that they are here to recruit new members. They will ask you for a phone number, and email address, (or in the old days your mailing address.) I would tell everyone they are free to give their contact information. But I will guarantee you they will send you literature that is hyper critical of the SDA Church.

    I had in my office a section of one of the old history books I read at Andrews (something Remnant) photo copied. I promised anyone who would like to know more about the history of the Shepherd’s Rods I would gladly give them a short history after the worship service.

    I did this all with a smile on my face and joy in my voice. I was not going to allow them to walk or sit freely among my people.

    After an incident in my first church back from seminary I caught a Shepherd’s Rod person copying addresses out of the Guest Book during potluck. From that point on I never allowed the guest book to be kept out in the open after the service or out of the sight the greeters.

    I don’t know of one member I lost to the Shepherd’s Rods

  2. Very Good! Sounds like-you have BEEN THERE!

  3. I remember when I was a very young girl one Sabbath during service at La Sierra church, a man stood up and started speaking loudly. We watched in astonishment as the drama played out. I believe deacons took care of getting him to leave. I was told he was a
    Shepherds Rod…I was too young to study who they are…but I did later on. One man came to Corona church and to SS. He carried a lot of books and papers. His main message that he wanted to get attention on was how women were dressing and how we wore pant suits. Main thing is disruption.

  4. Excellent points to ponder…though I respectfully disagree on point three. Always be Jesus! God CAN and will in His time. You could make the same point by responding as Jesus with the Pharisees and giving Biblical examples of God’s timing and ways not being the ways of man.

  5. Esther Recinos July 31, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    About 34 years ago a man and his wife came to church where I was at that time and in SS loudly criticized the members for not always kneeling to pray. So for devine service it was announced that those who wanted could kneel. About half of the congregation kneeled out of courtesy to the visitor. Then later he sneered at everyone saying that pictur
    es are idols. There was a picture of Jesus behind the pulpit so he taunted everyone with having kneeled and worshipped the picture! He was a feast-keeper (he said). His wife also wore a floor length pioneer style dress with a silly little hat because “women have to cover their heads”.