Beloved ones -
It is with great sadness I have read the posts here about ROC. I am not a member, and have not visited much, though I know others who have. ROC appeals to impessionable young people, those in sin, and those who have grown cold in their faith, but who love the music and the preaching that is very easy to understand and deals not so much with theology but the practical aspects of living the Christian life. The presence of the Lord can be felt at ROC when you attend. There is enthusiam, excitement, and joy there, but unfortunately, that's not all.
For all the good this ministry may do, it does help to keep your eyes open if the rumors that are smoldering below the surface persist. Yes, anyone can have a past. But that past must be dealt with through repentance, counseling, mentoring, and accountability. If the person involved refuses such a plan by mature Christians, then his autonomy should be held in question. Confession is cleansing and purifying. Putting sin behind us and walking in the light of Jesus is God's way. But others must be drawn in to help.
If funds are misused, again, accountability should be demanded.
Don't fault someone for living in a nice house. If it was a gift, the gift (though perhaps not the giver) should be made public. To all outward appearances, the vehicles seem to be over the top. And often, one of the signs of misuse of funds is the secret use of funds. If you're not doing anything wrong with the money, you have nothing to hide. Make it public. If you keep it all a deep, dark secret, perhaps there are sticky fingers in the pot.
One of the things I immediately wondered about when I learned how ROC functioned was this: Why no worship on Sunday? Isn't that the Christian's day of worship? What do ROC people do on Sunday? Worship elsewhere? Reserve this day for play? Just curious. But what happened to "...on the first day of the week...???"
There seems to be many ministries at ROC. Why not do several things really well rather than so many outreaches? Not that Richmond doesn't need them all. It would seem to me Saturday would be exhausting for some ROC people.
And, yes, followup on those who come to know Christ through this ministry would be helpful. Anyone can get caught up in the moment at an "altar call", and then just go back into the same life lived before. A discipleship time for new converts to return and receive prayer, instruction, Bible helps and counseling could benefit those who come to Christ through this ministry. Anyone knows a hot coal left to itself will die out and get cold, but kept on the heap will continue to stay warm and burn. And, yes, the numbers of converts somehow seems to be inflated.
I have seen the glow of Christ on the faces of some people at ROC. It was obvious they had come out of deep sin. They worshipped the Lord in a way that was lovely to observe - with deep passion. How sad it would be to see them become disillusioned if their leadership should fall.
I do hope reconciliation will come. I have no investment in this issue, except as a member of the body of Christ. But as another Christian, with a heart for purity in the church, I would love to see what is good about ROC continue and what is not good be corrected. Soon, in a new facility, there will be more room and opportunity to reach Richmond. What a black mark it would be on the cause of Christ to have that building filled with controversy. Why not "clean house" now and get the old stuff out of the way and have repentance and restoration come quickly. The leadership may have to take some drastic humbling steps like asking for mentoring, public and private confession, asking for a legitimate accounting system, trading some vehicles, realigning and re-evaluating ministries. What a wonderful witness that would be not only to those in the church, but those in the community. Revival would break out.
I will pray for ROC. I suggest that for all of us who care.
To the one who has asked for help in becoming restored, I would suggest much time on your knees in prayer, much time in the word of God, and finding an older mature Christian to pour out your heart to. Ask for wisdom from the Lord. Pray more, speak less. Even the early church had its difficulties and sometimes separation occured, however, the Lord is more honored when we seek Him for His answers. Dwelling together in unity is beautiful to see. But each must do his or her part. Stiff necks don't turn toward God.
I send each of you my love and prayers for a bright future.