Arise Church Board

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Pastors Blog

Comments: 19

Dear Pastors and Christian Leaders

Arise Church Board

Today I find myself in quite some inner turmoil. I have been very careful and judicious about what I have said and written publicly about Arise Church and John Cameron in particular. I still want to adopt that practise. But something must be said about what we now read on the Arise Church website.

Late yesterday the Arise Board issued this statement.

The heading reads ‘Acknowledgement of John & Gillian’s Service & Ministry’. Amongst many glowing things it says about the Cameron’s, it says this:- ‘Aotearoa New Zealand is different because of the ministry of John & Gillian. Their courage, faith and obedience to God to step out and launch Arise Church in 2002 has left an indelible mark on the Christian landscape in this nation and has impacted tens of thousands of lives’………..their lasting impact within the wider Christian church of New Zealand cannot be understated’.

It is true that the Pathfinding Report made a positive comment towards the end of their Report under the heading ‘Positives and Other Perspectives’. I quote:-“We have also through this review process heard from many people regarding the things they appreciate about Arise Church. We have heard of people’s experience of Arise as a place of belonging, and a place of tremendous personal and professional growth. We have heard of the deep gratitude held by some people for the support, encouragement and care they have received. A number of submissions raised that being part of Arise Church has been a central and defining part of their life – adding meaning, and allowing them to contribute to something of value beyond themselves. We also heard from a few family members who identified that they have seen the positive influence Arise has been on their loved ones”.

So to acknowledge this is only fair but that must not and can not over shadow the harm that has been done. This comment came in a Report of 91 Recommendations of things that can be improved, not to say anything about a few stories that have personally been shared with me that are nothing short of devastating.

I’ve been incredibly disappointed at the way the Arise Church Board has handled this whole issue especially after the Pathfinding Report was leaked. And now we read this acknowledgement which if you were to read it without any prior knowledge would suggest that the Cameron’s have done nothing wrong.

Sorry, but this is so wrong.

Some questions must be asked at this time.

  1. How can a Church Board say this in the light of 545 submitters (most of whom are complainants) to the Pathfinding Report? We need to keep in mind that this is unprecedented in New Zealand as far as I am aware. If we go back over the last 5 years all other reviews/investigations of misconduct by leaders, managers or coaches has been triggered by just 2 or 3 complaints. On occasion a few more but nothing close to 545. To think there are 545 submitters/complainants in this case is astounding. I still find it hard to believe.
  2. Why would you write this at a time when so many former Arise and even current Arise members are bewildered, disappointed, sad and hurt? Why would you rub salt in the wound?
  3. Are you as Board members so ensconced in the Arise culture of ‘toxic positivity and culture of honour’ that you are completely blinded to what you are saying, doing and writing?
  4. Are you perhaps facing a threat or two by John Cameron around defamation, slander or libel that you feel you needed to say this? Have you been pressured to write this at best or threatened at worst?
  5. Why did you even have to write a public statement like this? Was this really necessary? And if it was, why write it on your website so that the whole world can see it?

To my brothers and sisters in Christ on the Arise Church Board, I want to ask you to please re-consider what you are doing. Please first and foremost have the stories, the griefs and the hurts of 545 complainants as your primary focus. This is what you as a Board and Spiritual Oversight are called upon to do.

Kind regards

Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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  1. Emma Emma Kia ora Alan, thank you very much for your thoughtful and considered words. I so appreciate the perspective you offer here.

    At the least, I hope other church leaders take note of what is unfolding.

    Being centred on the person and teaching of Jesus will go a long way towards that. Who needs a smoke machine when you can have a personal encounter with the living God!

    With warmest wishes - a former Arise member, volunteer, intern and staff member. Thursday, September 8, 2022
  2. Ivan Ivan Yes to point 2 - very much so Friday, September 9, 2022
  3. Chris Chris Hi Alan,

    We have seen only one side of this story playing out and natural justice hasn’t been served here.

    The Pathfinding report states that it has not investigated one complaint. It hasn’t even verified whether the complainants have attended Arise or understood the history of the relationship with the complainant.

    Further, no complaints have been raised before to authorities which if the grievances have been so numerous one would have anticipated.

    These steps are essential in understanding the validity of a complaint or multiple complaints.

    The complaints in this case were raised by Farrier who has had an agenda to give Arise a bloody nose following their opposition to certain wording within the Conversion Prohibition Practice Bill. Farrier started fishing for stories in September last year.

    He struck gold when Pathfinding was appointed. He found an ally with teeth - which has become a massive issue for Arise because they anticipated this would be unbiased.

    However the final report hasn’t been written by a professional with experience in establishing facts such as a QC or senior lawyer. Certainly many people I have spoken to in the legal fraternity have been shocked that the board was prepared to release something so poorly executed.

    From the report we see that there were 230 responses from people who state that they have left Arise. Everyone else including the 100+ staff who worked with John and Gillian everyday are still there which begs the question, Why? They are not all mentally weak drones are they?

    This raises questions over the trustworthiness of the report and Charlotte Cummings lens. Pathfinding have stated that they only recorded the negative findings in transcripts and then recorded positive statements in aggregate.

    Not one complaint has been correctly investigated by either Pathfinding or the Board. The report was not of an investigation it states.

    What has been established is that some of the complainants have been asked to leave Arise for criminal behaviour, or have been made by staff who have been dismissed.

    My understanding is that no complaints have been upheld by WorkSafe, the police or any other outside agency (we are waiting to hear what the Charities Commission find). Further, to this point no staff member has brought a successful personal grievance against Arise.

    Trusting a report that has been build from invalidated, anonymous complaints, written by someone with a vastly different values set: as demonstrated by Charlotte Cummings status as a same-sex marriage celebrant), and which clearly fails to uphold or support a Godly standard of Justice. This highlights the presence of substantial bias which no one is commenting on yet needs to be part of our consideration in this context.

    I would encourage you to seek out John and Gillian personally if you genuinely want to see this situation used redemptively for the benefit of the broader body of Christ.

    There are lots of mistakes and issues to learn from here but we must start from a foundation of Justice and truth before jumping to conclusions and believing the full narrative that Charlotte and David have created.

    In my view all allegations need to be investigated and the Cameron’s given an opportunity to respond. I would personally like this to be done with a heart that Justice and Truth is given an opportunity for all parties.

    The way this has played out has not been a Godly or righteous process in my view.

    Friday, September 9, 2022
  4. Jeremy Jeremy In response to Chris’ comment above.

    I’m curious as to why you’ve come at this from such a defensive position and not realise the hypocrisy of casting doubt on 545 submissions (notwithstanding countless other un submitted accounts of former staff and attendees) while in defence of Arise.

    As someone who has seen the good, bad and ugly at Arise (nearly 12 years serving, attending, leading a lifegroup, volunteering) I can vouch for the fact that many accounts come from credible people who have formerly been staff, interns or congregants, some whom I have known personally for many years.

    But I guess to you, my 2 cents doesn’t count for much.

    So much for Biblical Justice when you cast doubt on any and every eyewitness account on what went on in Arise no matter the credibility.
    Friday, September 9, 2022
  5. Chris Chris Thanks Jeremy,

    My heart has not been to cast doubt over all complainants, but rather question how we can rely on findings from a process that hasn't been robust and has obvious bias.

    I cannot question your experiences of course. I know from my own experience with John was that when I was an intern working with him, he once spoke to me intensely. So I booked a meeting with him, which he was very open to, I challenged him over that interaction and he listened. He then subsequently came back to me and thanked me for doing this.

    This was before 2016.

    My personal experience of walking through a Matthew 18 process with John was successful. He listened to me, it wasn't difficult and our relationship is still intact today.

    I can't vouch for others

    Friday, September 9, 2022
  6. Jeremy Jeremy Hey Chris,

    You mention it was not your intention to cast doubt, yet that is exactly what you have done with weak evidence to back that up (committing the classic ad-hominem attack to undermine an individual’s credibility).

    Your one good experience with John does not negate the other problematic issues that have been raised. Just like you, I have been an intern and have seen the good and the bad. The good doesn’t justify the bad, not to mention the severity of what has been exposed and corroborated by many, is of grave consequence.

    The irony of it all is that all this doubt cast on the PF report is coming from the very people who commissioned it.

    At the end of the day, God isn’t blind to what has happened and one can only pray and hope that reasonable and good men and women will step up to the plate and change things. Friday, September 9, 2022
  7. Chris Chris Thanks Jeremy and Emma,

    It appears that your personal experiences are quite different to my own and hence the fact we are missing each other. Sorry for this.

    I am not trying to cast doubt in order to further hurt people with valid issues. I am hoping that in a forum for leaders such as this blog, that we have dialogue even if it is uncomfortable.

    I am advocating for a truthful process that is more robust than what we have seen. If you are interested in a diverse opinion, I will elaborate a little further:

    The Arise Board and Pathfinding Process raises many unanswered questions

    What I am questioning is the process that the board and Pathfinding have followed. e.g. whether there has been natural justice offered to those that have had complaints made about them. I understand that there have been complaints raised about many former and current staff, however I haven't heard of anyone being presented with these complaints directly either by Pathfinding or the board as their employer or former employer.

    If you were on staff and implicated by a complaint, wouldn't you want to know the specifics so you could respond. All 116 of them couldn't be bad eggs ... otherwise no one would stick around as a member or intern as long as they have.

    At present, the implications of an unknown number of complaints just hang in the air ... summarised by Pathfinding ... but are otherwise unable to be unresponded to by anyone who was culpable.

    If something happened between you and someone within Arise staff, wouldn't it be ideal for you and them to meet and address the issues?

    Your situations are specific and so you have more concrete information that isn't in the public domain. Even what is out in the open is only one side of the story and we all know there are nuances that matter when we hear both sides. That is why for there to be justice there requires a hearing of both parties.

    The Pathfinding Report

    At this point there a lot of questions over the validity of SOME of the responses to Pathfinding Report but we don't know which are which. Those I know who had spoken to an interviewer, have asked for their Pathfinding transcript. What they have received is not what they say that they had discussed with the interviewer. What I was told was that negatives have been added or amplified and positives experiences not recorded. Like it or not, this indicates a biased process or at least one would question the competence of Pathfinding for processes such as this.

    This unfortunate because it certainly appears that there logically must be plenty of valid concerns that need to be raised and dealt with. My encouragement would be that each issue is dealt with in a biblical manner where at a starting point, both sides of the story are heard.

    Isn't that the only way that true apologies can be given?

    Reconciliation or Retribution

    If we don't want restoration or reconciliation, then all we are left with is retribution, aren't we? Someone's head on a platter or even the complete dismantling of Arise as some are calling for online.

    In my case, as I have already said, those in Arise leadership heard my complaints, apologised and consequently relationship was restored and there were no repeat of the behavior toward me. All of us need forgiveness and to extend forgiveness. Matthew 18 encourages us to do this firstly one on one, then if they don't respond, take someone with you, and if that fails take the issue before the broader church.

    Friday, September 9, 2022
  8. Alan Vink Alan Vink Hi Chris
    I agree that the process of natural justice is very important. However, as John Cameron and the Arise Church Board 'commissioned' the Pathfinding Review I would have thought it is now there responsibility to ensure Natural Justice is done. It appears to me they haven't. That seems very odd to me.

    The Board said this on 13th April.
    "As a leadership we have been working to understand these stories and what has led to this hurt. These stories are real and authentic, and there are people hurting because of the actions and culture of performance that was a part of Arise".

    JC wrote this on the 11th April:-
    "We are going to listen and learn. Myself and the leadership team have been reviewing the information that has been brought to light. We have sought advice from an independent body to guide the church on next steps and have appointed an independent reviewer to confidentially hear people’s stories, and to make recommendations to our Board and leadership team for the purpose of organisational change. We are open for dialogue, and will be making the organisational changes recommended". Friday, September 9, 2022
  9. Jeremy Jeremy Thanks Alan for weighing in on this topic and for your post.

    To Chris,

    Thanks for engaging despite our differences.

    What you have pointed out in your last reply is all well and good, but unfortunately painting a very simplistic picture of the dynamics at play.

    1) I quote you:

    " My encouragement would be that each issue is dealt with in a biblical manner where at a starting point, both sides of the story are heard.

    Isn't that the only way that true apologies can be given?"

    It would be naïve to think that if only the people who have suffered harm would bring their grievances to the perpetrator and sort it out in private, then all of this could be avoided! What's missing from this is the acknowledgement of the imbalance of power between the victim and perpetrator where the perpetrator sometimes hold the victim's employment/leadership position/reputation in their hand and it can be a real hurdle for the victim to confront the the person.

    There are a host of diverse reasons as to why issues never get raised and resolved in this manner.

    2) Let's not forget that many submissions to Pathfinding are issues that have been raised within Arise in the past, but have hit a dead end because of a whole variety of reasons. Either an accused person refuses to listen and simply gaslights the victim more etc. The PF report was, for some, a very tangible way for them to bring attention their concerns and complaints after other avenues of resolution have been denied or long expired (many years ago for some people who did not want to re-live their hurt).

    3) From the outset, Pathfinding was never an investigation into the legitimacy of the allegations and submissions so you are accusing it of not being something it was never supposed to be.

    4) Here I quote you:

    "What I was told was that negatives have been added or amplified and positives experiences not recorded. Like it or not, this indicates a biased process or at least one would question the competence of Pathfinding for processes such as this."

    On one hand, you question the legitimacy of some submissions and allege a bias in the PF process, and on the other hand, you are inclined to believe "what you were told" about the process because it fit your narrative. I feel there is a double standard here? Which is more credible? Hundreds of corroborating accounts or a handful (if that many) of people saying PF swayed the process? This isn't consistent or logical.

    5) "Even what is out in the open is only one side of the story and we all know there are nuances that matter when we hear both sides".

    Many submissions were not about isolated incidences but about systemic issues that point to a cultural problem. It is not a case of a person's word against another. It is more about widespread patterns of behaviour, distorted theology and manipulation that people are pointing out.

    6) On the subject of reconciliation or retribution. Many people made their PF submission in hopes that real change would happen, not just outward change, but genuine heart change. While only God can know what goes on in the depths of people's hearts, it is difficult to see deep change with current developments. The spirit of the majority has not been retribution (despite there being anger which is understandably so).

    Friday, September 9, 2022
  10. Chris Chris Thanks Jeremy,

    I am heartened to see your last point and appreciate your other responses.

    Point 1: Matthew 18 encourages us to first to one on one. But you make a good point about "power imbalances" though. This is real and I acknowledge that this was no doubt a factor in many cases here.

    My recommendation to others in these situations (employer /employee or pastor / member) and you need to bring along a support person. I simply encourage people to take a competent older friend. Even with this, I agree that it does require courage and it is far better not to have the situation occur at all in the first place.

    However, it is also naive too to think that we can control all human relationships to the point where these situations will never come up. Most of us need to get better at handling these courageous conversations.

    Point 2: I have no insight into how these respondents have handled matters in the past but I take your point that any unresolved issues obviously wouldn't have gone well.

    Point 3: For there to be natural justice then both sides need to be able to respond to actual complaints and not just summaries of complaints. Thats my key concern.

    Point 4:

    Regarding the double-standard that you are raising in Point 4. I lack the external corroboration that you are to be able to make because of your experience. This means that when I have had concerns of bias it colours the veracity of the whole report unfortunately.

    What I believe would have really helped, is when the report makes a recommendation to address a complaint then it should have provided information such as the number of complaints made of this nature and the distribution of these issues over time.

    For instance, if complaints over 'racial slurs' then it would be more helpful if the report provided the time period and frequency when these events occurred. This would let everyone know whether these were active concerns to be addressed still or whether they had been resolved already.

    Point 5: I can see that there have been obvious cultural issues which have exacerbated things like the 'power imbalance' issue. There are other things that I have observed to that are a function of the average age and experience of leaders that have led to mishandling of complex pastoral issues.

    I know this might be incredibly presumptuous of me to ask you this (given it might be an emotionally sensitive topic) ....

    What are your thoughts on the best process that could to enable Arise to righteously move forward, given the painful situation the community is in now and with the further complication that the founders have all been asked to walk away, despite having offered to engage in a redemptive or conciliative process.

    The board keeps making missteps and are not bringing unity. There are also other groups who are hiding anonymously amplifying grievances and pulling down people within the Arise community in hateful ways. Tragic to watch.

    Given all of this mess, what do you think would make a difference to those you know are still hurting?

    Friday, September 9, 2022
  11. Chris Chris Thanks Alan,

    I agree that board's actions have been strange, where in one announcement they have stated that they have desired that natural justice is afforded all parties (when saying that the report release was being delayed), but even after they have released the report, there hasn't been any opportunity for specific complaints to be responded to.

    This is very hard to understand looking in from the outside.

    Another strange thing is that the broader Review process appears to lack the elements required to bring true reconciliation or justice to the affected parties.

    Answering your point about the discrepancies between John's statement initially and the board's subsequent behavior after he stepped down:

    Pathfinding Review Version 1 - Internship only
    FYI - In my observation, there are two versions of the Pathfinding review that Arise commissioned. Version 1 was what John initiated when he was still leading Arise. This is the review that he was speaking to in your quote dated the 11th of April. This related to the interns' experiences raised initially by Farrier with Arise.

    As public allegations ramped up by the 12th, John and Brent had recused themselves from the board and executive leadership. This was reportedly to ensure there were no conflicts of interest occurring in the Churches handling of the complaints. John's public statements seemed contrite and genuinely concerned for those people who were hurting. Once he stepped down, he no longer was the voice for Arise.

    At this point the Pathfinding review a small-scale independent feedback process intended for past and present students of the Ministry Internship. John appeared completely committed to addressing all issues raised in this review. Why initiate the review otherwise?

    Pathfinding Review Version 2 - Whole church
    By the 13th of April, John was no longer on the board or in an active leadership role of the Church. These responsibilities had passed to Graeme Kirkwood, the now Board Chairman. The Board authorised an expansion of the review which was now to include the whole church. This was announced on the 13th later in the day.

    The review that we are now seeing as the Pathfinding review is Version 2.

    From this point forward John was no longer in control of Arise. The board had removed him from the Trust and the constitution, and they have not allowed him a path back from this point.

    I think that many in the church are saddened by this reality.

    Whatever the motives behind the board's actions, I question whether the justice has been served for everyone caught up in this situation.

    Those who were vulnerable and communicated to Pathfinding in good faith have been hurt again and again because they are not getting the measure of closure they have hoped for. Then there are those who have been implicated in Pathfinding's findings but have had no opportunity to respond or be investigated (Yes, being investigated allows you to state your side of the story robustly and bring out all relevant facts and this is important). These staff are also justified in feeling aggrieved at this lack of justice.

    Then we have the founders who have been accused of a long list of things also without a right of reply or having any allegation tested through an investigation. Ultimately this will make it very difficult to move forward for them. Though this might satisfy some, it isn't how we should be handling things within the Christian community.

    As I have said before, I am concerned that a Godly process where ALL have the opportunity to grow and heal needs to be given a chance. What is a better way of handling this mess other than just pragmatically "Moving on"? Friday, September 9, 2022
  12. Andrew Andrew I’ve been following this discussion with interest tonight. I would like to raise one main point here.

    This is not just an Arise problem. This is a much wider issue happening in hundreds of spaces calling themselves “church”. It is particularly prevalent in this flavour of megachurch where the elements of celebrity, honour culture and relentless growth are magnified. The stories in the Pathfinding review are specific to Arise but exactly the same themes came out about Hillsong over the past year or so, many coming out of Life Church, City Impact etc. We have to grapple with this wider problem if we want perspective. Arise can’t simply paper over a few things, make a few token changes and expect health to come. It needs deep reflection.

    I encourage you to read Frank Ritchie’s article here. It gives an incredibly deep and thoughtful reflection on the issues at Arise and indeed in many spaces like it. The discussion on ekklesia vs church is particularly profound. The way forward is to reflect on these things and commit to the ekklesia that Jesus asked us to build, not the empire we have built. Friday, September 9, 2022
  13. Alan Vink Alan Vink Hi Chris
    As I see it and from my experience with issues similar to this it is now up to the Board to do what is right. The PF Review was only ever a 'listening exercise', a gathering of stories and the writing of a report as to their findings. As I said above it was commissioned by both John Cameron and the Board two days later. That work is done now and if justice has not been done then the Board should respond to this.Perhaps some kind of Truth and Reconciliation process. The Cameron's also have options. And BTW it was the right thing for John to step down from the Board AND as SP. That would be normal practice in situations like this.
    Finally for now Chris, may I urge you to be careful about shooting the messenger. Saturday, September 10, 2022
  14. Alan Vink Alan Vink Hi Andrew
    Thanks for your rsponse. I agree with you. I have read Frank's paper and he and I are convening a Roundtable Conversation with some Pastors in Hamilton next week. Saturday, September 10, 2022
  15. Chris Chris Hi Alan,

    I think it would be fairer to say that I was simply “questioning the accuracy of the message”.

    This was my whole point for posting. You have made a whole host of assumptions about John and Gillian based on the Pathfinding report or at most I suspect only hearing one side of the story.

    As leaders it’s not hard to jump on a zoom, have an email interaction or fly down for a face to face. If your heart is to strengthen the body of Christ then this investment would be well worth it. At least then you can get the full measure of the people, outline your concerns and evidence and see where that takes you.

    Blog (public) based critiques from people who haven’t tried a more personal approach first lacks a demonstration of the authenticity that Frank and others have been calling for in our Church communities.

    Pointing out some obvious differences doesn’t mean that these facts demand the conclusion of bias. However as leaders we need to have our eyes wide open when the whole picture raises concerning questions.

    We all need to guard against our own prejudices when we are dealing with situations as important as this.

    Saturday, September 10, 2022
  16. Jeremy Jeremy Hi Chris,

    While I cannot speak for Alan, I can say that much of what you have said in the above response is just naive and wishful thinking.

    Most of what is known about John and Gillian Cameron comes from personal experience, independent and corroborated accounts of their behaviour and character, what they say on and off stage/theology over many years etc. Please keep in mind that much of what came out in the PF report has been well known for many years amongst people in and out of Arise so PF or David Farrier are not creating a narrative that people are jumping onto like you suggest.

    To address your other point, the Camerons (and other key leaders) who have been implicated in some allegations have had issues brought to them many times in the course of the last 20 years. So it is not for a lack of trying to sort things out face to face that is the issue. It’s pride mixed with a poor theological foundation that hinders them from understanding and resolving these said issues.

    Unless you have a real reason to cast doubt upon the multitude of corroborated accounts (beyond just seeing labelling them as jumping onto the DF and PF bandwagon), I’m inclined to say that those arguments of yours bear little weight.
    Sunday, September 11, 2022
  17. Chris Chris Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you again for your response. I am sorry to hear that you and friends had a bad experience. I don't want to diminish the validity of genuine responses to PF at all - I have tried to qualify my points as best as I can without getting too carried away with links to actual documents etc.

    Let's say then, that the core PF findings are on target, I have one lingering question:

    Did John and Gillian:
    a) demonstrate character failings that fall within the biblical criteria disqualifying an overseer from church office. (1 Tim 3)

    Monday, September 12, 2022
  18. Andrew Andrew Chris - I would like to add my voice to the others as one who contributed to PF, was a member and leader at Arise and saw John’s “dark side”. I recommend you read the experience of Nat who was at Arise for 18 years in this post.

    I have heard your feelings on David Farrier so just skip to the direct quote of Nat’s story. Her experience was so representative of mine and so many others I have spoken to. She writes beautifully, and so clearly articulates the massive issues at Arise.

    In answer to your question about John’s character failings:

    “He cannot be a drunkard, or someone who lashes out at others, or argumentative, or someone who simply craves more money, but instead, recognized by his gentleness.”
    ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

    I would argue that grabbing people by the collar, yelling at them in front of others (my personal experience), constant disapproval of minor details like room temperature, music volume, what the singer is wearing etc qualifies as “someone who lashes out at others”.

    I can’t speak to John’s personal feelings about money as I don’t know him well enough but what can be observed from the outside (clothing brands etc) are concerning.

    The bit that rings the loudest bell is “recognised by gentleness”. From my own and others’ personal experiences it would be extremely hard to ascribe this trait to John.

    I appreciate you have had good dealings with him. If you’re the Chris I suspect you are, you made it all the way to the top in John’s leadership structure. Bear in mind that you were probably selected out as an “eagle” early on, probably as an intern, for intensive resource to be poured into your development. Had you been identified as a turkey, like the 95%, your experience would no doubt have been different. Tuesday, September 13, 2022
  19. Chris Chris Thanks Andrew,

    I’m not a Passion translation fan but having said this the criteria for leadership and eldership in Timothy are stringent I agree.

    I have been shaking my head wondering where people with any courage were if this was routinely happening. Why did staff stay, members remain in the pews etc if this was a consistent experience.

    I can only conclude that these events diminished as the church matured.

    If leaders around us fail these biblical tests and we see these concerning signs then we must stand up and speak out to them personally. We all need to be salt and light.

    I don’t agree with the approach taken by a few vocal and embittered who stand and criticize without having attempted to speak one on one first to the people concerned.

    People in the blogosphere seldom if ever seek out the people they criticize. It’s a tragedy when communicating or traveling is so easy these days.

    Regardless of failings there is no way that. John and Gillian have built the church that Arise had become using anger, bullying and manipulation as the primary force.

    We had current interns and staff say to me that they have never seen this behaviour. This again points to this being less prevalent now -
    Indicating repentance and change had been happening.

    I’m praying that John and Gillian keep growing and have an opportunity to have conversations with people that needed to be had earlier to clean up the relational breaches that may have happened.

    God is incredibly faithful to bring us through nasty relational messes. I’ve had to put matters right with my kids for being overbearing and angry. God has been incredible at restoring the relationship to an incredible place.

    I don’t know where Arise will head from here but I pray that they spend more time looking to Him than dwelling into the voices of the culture and those who are holding onto hurt in the wrong way.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2022