Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: kayjay12000 ()
Date: April 20, 2011 08:38PM

Hi to all,
I was a member of a NewFrontiers church for the best part of 20+ years.
Perhaps before saying anything further I should state that the final result of my time there has been a virtual total loss of faith: I would not claim to be a Christian. I still read the bible, pray from time to time, but for me, the almost deliberate and total waste of the best years of my life has just been too much.
Let me also say that without doubt some of the kindest and most generous people I have ever come across were in that church, I have no problem with the rank and file membership whatsoever. My story is this:
I became christian in the mid seventies, within a few years became both evangelist and youth leader at a South London Baptist church. Also during this time I worked as a volunteer with London City Mission. I preached at church, in the street, at the speakers area at the Tower of London and at work. All of this was voluntary.
I became unemployed in the late '70's but finally found a job in the county of Kent.
For a whole variety of reasons this did not work out at all. However I said to Gos that If I could see just one conversion I would take that as reason to start a church in the small village where I lived. Within a few monthswe had around 25 people meeting in my living room every sunday, we launched missions to local towns and generally were I think particularly succseful in reaching youth in the local area.
Now, to cut a long story short, we joined with another group who were just about to be planted into a local town by "Coastlands" -as was- NewFrontiers as is.
Right from the very start it was made clear that the leader of this church would not even discuss anything I had done previously. I was also told clearly that because I was unemployed {clearly an unforgiveable sin} I should not do any street evangelism.
Nevertheless I stayed with the church for around 20+ years, you see I really wanted to have a part in building Gods Kingdom. Now, being just about as qualified {degrees in Theology, Sociology and History, training in psychology, law and community work as well as the previously mentioned experience in evangelism and church leadership} as it is possible to be, it occured to me one day whilst driving to church that there was absolutely no point in continuing this pointless exercise any further. You see in my working life I was called upon to advise courts on sentencing tariffs, address various government bodies on social problems\issues but at church I was expected to be a pew filler.
Yes, yes, I got to play in the worship band. I had been a very keen musician, had taught guitar, bass guitar, played in bands, done sessions etc. However at church there was an element that made sure that I was never really happy doing that.
There was simply no reason to go-there was no reason not to go either-thats how irrelevant this whole silly game had become.
So I left. I am now deeply involved with what some call Earth based spirituality, a member of a Druid order, but I'll tell you this for nothing-I have never known the almost perpetual dismissing of any talents I may have. Folks here will tend to say either nothing or encourage one.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: kayjay12000 ()
Date: April 20, 2011 09:45PM

SO SO Sorry!
I left out a key point in my previous post:
I had worked at developing a theology of social action for years-I was already trained and experienced in both social work and community work-so, I worked and worked developing biblical concepts that-frankly-were not the usual right wing BS.
Finally NewFrontiers began to take an interest in such things. church began looking into these kind of areas, a few meetings, a "who has a vision for this kind of thing" meeting.
Then I heard through the grapevine that I had been dropped from anything to do with the projects being considered. Yeah, I could advise local government, I could help and advise other {non Newfrontiers} churches, but as for my own church................nada, nothing, not needed.
The big problem with NewFrontiers is this: the promise everything-deep emphasis on relationships, solid biblical teaching....y'all know the kind of stuff I mean. Worse, if your face fits they go a fair way to delivering it too.
But If your face doesn't fit, and mine never really did-didn't like their position on women leaders for one thing...
Its like this: a well to do guy drives up to church, maybe in a BMW or Audi. hes doing well financially...for NewFrontiers there has to be a good reason NOT to have the dude in some kind of leadership role ASAP.
Now, I arrived on my motorcycle-or one of the secondhand cars I occasionally owned, periods of unemployment and financial difficulties.....for NewFrontiers there would have to be an incrediably good reason to ever be considered as anything other than pew fodder.
So this is how you do it, this is how to destroy a mans faith.....cripple him with boredom.
I was with NewFrontiers for over 20 years because I really thought that I wanted to help. I left NewFrontiers because they didn't want my help. Toxic church? oh yeah bro' oh yeah.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Gavtaz ()
Date: April 21, 2011 05:26PM

Sorry to hear about your problems with New Frontiers but you’re not alone. They seem to favour professional white people with good jobs who tithe at least 10%, we’re been told that 10% is just a starting figure and we should look to increase our tithe each year. You must support everything they do and be totally committed to the leadership and not question anything, they may then decide to use you. It sounds like you are similar to me in that you think issues through and make your own mind up. I’m still going to my local New Frontiers church but I know that it will not be for much longer, I’m just pew fodder too. I have questioned some of their views, this has not gone down well and I have been told by one of our leaders that I will never be used in any form of leadership in this church or any other NF church. I’ve been a Sunday school teacher for over 12 years and lead house groups in my previous churches, but because I have questioned a few things I’m now not fit to serve God, what total rubbish. I know that this time has been hard for you but please don’t give up on God, he loves you and has got a plan and a purpose for you. I have struggled with my time at New Frontiers but when I look back at what’s happen I know that I’ve learnt a lot and I have grown spiritually. The great thing about web sites like this is that you realise that it’s not just you; lots of other people are in the same situation.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: April 22, 2011 08:08AM

Hi Kayjay12000
I'm sorry to read what happened to you and how it has put you off Christianity. On reading your post, although I have no knowledge of New Frontiers, there were similarities in your account to my experiences in Struthers memorial Pentecostal Church (also on Rick Ross site here). Favouritism of certain people especially those with money or family favouritism, ignoring a person's talents, gifts and previous valuable experience in Christian service, discouraged from questioning what leaders say or preach, stopping people from serving in church when they want to and feel led to do so, and lack of sincere love and care, all exist in this church I was in.

Just to say, then, there are a number of churches with the same unhealthy, abusive signs. Don't feel guilty or condemned that you joined one without knowing what it'd be like, and had bad experiences. It has happened to many many sincere Christians.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: kayjay12000 ()
Date: April 22, 2011 04:35PM

Hi Rensil,

Firstly - thank you for your response and encouragement!
Also, I am so sorry to hear that you yourself have hat to deal with similar problems.
As regards my faith, although hardly of an orthodox variety, I have become much closer to God in recent years than I was ten years ago, which is when I finally decided to walk out.
You see part of the problem was that I could see right from the start who things were going to be-if I'd only opened my eyes!
On virtually the first time I met the guy who was to lead the church plant I sought to tell him some of the things that we had been doing in local churches. His reply:
"Well, lots of people come to us claiming to have some kind of leadership gift, most of them come to nothing."
I wasn't claiming any kind of leadership gift, just sharing a little about my previous experience. I really should at that point have seen how things were and left, gone somewhere else.
Immediately before leaving the church I contacted all I thought I may have offended to apologise, so that I could leave with relationships as undamaged as possible. Not that I could ever even imagine returning to that church {but who knows......}
But if I'm honest this was not the first church I have had troubles with, I think I must be open to the idea that -at the very least- some of the problem must lie with me.
Anyways, very best of wishes to you-hope you have a great Easter.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: July 08, 2011 11:23AM

I had a very brief encounter with an NFI church and it was enough to set alarm bells ringing. I was lookign for a local church to settle in so I contacted the NFI church office and they seemed very friendly. They put me in touch with a couple from the church and being female myself, the wife called me and arranged to meet me outside the church the following Sunday morning.

Everything seemed fine until the preaching started. It was all aimed at the man and how God was calling men to be men and take their place in the church. I got the impression that this was not a one of preach to boost the men but a regular occurance. This was confirmed when speaking to the lady who met me and other women after the service. They were asking me to come to housegroup and told me that they now had separate groups for men and women as the Apostles had had a 'word from God' that the men should be built up and encouraged.

I was told in so many words that the role of the women was to encourage the men and be totally subserviant towards them. It was the men who were the important ones and they would pass on the relevant details from God to the women. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-man but I believe that the Bible teaches that believers should meet together for the encouragement of ALL believers. I don't ever see Jesus treating women as less important. In fact he often went against Jewish customs and had time for women in a culture that had women as subserviant and second class. After the one meeting I left, never to return. After reading some of the posts on this thread I seem to have had a lucky escape.

Shortly afterwards I moved to Scotland and went to Struthers Memorial Church, which is also covered in this section regarding destructive churches. One of the comments made by Pyjamas6, back in 2010 caused me concern. He said "People are always leaving our church, and I am very sad for them, because I know there’s nothing else worth going to in our town, but it’s up to them." This smacks of an attitude I saw a ot in Struthers Church. Basically thier church was the best. Furthermore, all other churches in the area were a waste of space and they didnt know why they bothered opening thier doors. They were 'dead' churches and only their church was 'alive' to the things of God. This kind of 'spiritual elitism' is very dangerous and should set alarm bells ringing. I know in the case of Struthers church, the leaders who passed such judgements had very little contact with other churches, so were hardly qualified to make such an assumption.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Eutychus ()
Date: August 29, 2011 04:59AM

I've posted on this forum a while back about NewFrontiers. Just dropping by here to mention I wrote an account of my experiences culminating in my departure from leading an NF church, which is online here. In fairness, there have been some positive changes for me personally recently, as you can read there.

There is also an ongoing discussion on the potential for change within NewFrontiers on the Ship of Fools website, here.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: bea ()
Date: October 28, 2011 09:24PM

I can't speak for all of New Frontiers. But I grew up in a church that was part of NF/Evangelical Allience. In terms of abuses carried out by the church, I don't even know where to start. My father was one of the original founders of the church. Nobody elected leadership, leadership was determined by what "spiritual gifts" a person displayed (faked?) and the person was hand-picked by established elders. My father's sole income was from the church - preaching and dealing with the accounts. We were not poor. As a very young child I travelled all over the world doing "church-planting", we had two cars and a 3-bedroomed house in a nice area, we went on holiday a couple of times a year for leisure. Women were not allowed to be involved in leadership and were taught to be subservient. There was one Indian couple in the church who were generally pitied for not coming from a "Christian country", and seen as inherently evil or uncivilised but "saved" by the church. As a child I had the incredibly ignorant view that almost everyone with different coloured skin (but especially Indian and middle-eastern people) lived in a mud hut and practised witchcraft/satanism, and that they should be pitied and prayed for because of being 'bad people'. My Grandma was involved in a different NF church in London, and after the Indian Ocean tsunami in '04 (which killed 230,000 people in 14 countries) she told me that they deserved it - apparently it was "God's punishment" for them being "bad people"!!

Then of course there's the toronto blessing - I have seen many disturbed people screaming and thrashing about in a frenzy, convulsing, crying, laughing like hyenas, clucking like chickens - very disturbing for a child to witness. I also heard disabled or ill people being told they weren't recovering because they were sinners/not good enough christians. Anyone who developed a mental illness was shunned. Anyone who left for a different kind of church (a "dead" church) was demonised. My aunty was told she was being attacked by the devil and in some bizarre ritual was held in her house for days and endured some kind of naked exorcism (I don't know any more details than this) carried out by an elder and his wife. She got so messed up by this she got really paranoid and thought the devil had possessed her husband. She ended up in a psychiatric hospital and they divorced.

That's not even the worst of it. Physical abuse of children was actively encouraged. I remember my sister used to have trouble swallowing her food because of anxiety. This was of course "wilful disobedience" and she was held onto by one adult whilst the other beat her with a stick until she swallowed her food.

3 of the old leadership team have been accused of child sexual abuse (one of them my father). Two of these have had allegations made against them by several people. One of these elders who was accused by several people (including his young grandchildren) along with his son stayed in leadership despite the allegations until just a few months ago, when he retired. He also lived in practically a mansion and yet the church was his sole income. Someone in leadership of Evangelical Alliance has also been investigated for child sexual abuse (the same person who 'exorcised' my aunty). I know of several people abused in the family setting who were members of the church. Children being abused had nowhere to go for help - the church had its own school so even the school was controlled by the elders (who were seen by members as "prophets"). Members were encouraged to use services of other members rather than outside of the church - even my dentist was a member!

So, in my experience of a NF church, it was very much like a cult, and very abusive, spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually. In my early years I barely met anyone outside the group and feel I was totally indoctrinated and brainwashed.

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: bea ()
Date: October 28, 2011 09:33PM

I forgot to mention -- we were also told that the world was going to end in the year 2000 - judgement day was coming! Any sinners (ie those who didn't conform to the elder's wishes) would die but our loyal church members would be granted eternal life! Quite a scary thought, as a child...

Re: New Frontiers International
Posted by: Pyjamas6 ()
Date: October 31, 2011 04:41AM

One of the comments made by Pyjamas6, back in 2010 caused me concern. He said "People are always leaving our church, and I am very sad for them, because I know there’s nothing else worth going to in our town, but it’s up to them."

Sorry, CovLass, that does look arrogant stated like that, doesn't it? I am certainly not saying either that our church is the best in the town - I often say it is not necessarily so - or that others are not good churches, so I shouldn't have phrased it like that. Some of the things I value in our church is the freedom of worship, the strong desire to see the Holy Spirit working during meetings, and the knowledge that the elders are never going to keep on doing something "because we've always done it" but will seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything. OK, that can go wrong, but that's where checks and balances are important. So what makes me sad is when people have experienced that and then leave, because I know they won't find it in other churches in the town, excellent 'though some of them are.

The rest of what you wrote is totally contrary to Newfrontiers values, so I wonder where were the checks and balances, the accountability to others? The only thing is that men do need special encouragement to be brought into many churches, but it was over the top if your report is accurate.

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