Truthfully, I have put off writing this post for several weeks. But, after certain emails and comments which I have received; I believe it is time to share these events. This post will reveal several of the thoughts I had while I was going through the process of leaving Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). In previous posts, I have shared certain ones, but here the events that led to the thoughts will be put together for a more accurate picture. There came a point where I was forbidden to be on church property. What happened that would cause me to leave the group all together? Not all thoughts and events which occurred are fit for this public forum; but those may be shared under different circumstances. In reality, I did not think the path of separation from WOFF would take the path that it has. But, who can really know the future except God, Himself?
Readers should not make the mistake of thinking that these exact same thoughts would help their friends or relatives leave WOFF. Everyone had their certain individual thoughts that allowed them to go into WOFF and they must have their own unique thoughts, in order to leave. No two people go in or come out the exact same way. There can be “freedom thoughts” tailored to each individual and those help the most. The struggles of those who leave should be an indication of the mind control and turmoil that goes on inside the group. No other church that I have attended -EVER- has had the intense emotional baggage and wreckage with leaving, as when I decided to leave WOFF.
Let’s go back to August 2005. During several years previous, I had worked for the property management company which is owned by a family in the church. The hours were long. (Read this post to learn about an event previous to 2005- http://tiny.cc/6ii3q ) August 12, 2005 was a Friday. That was a long day and I ended up working until mid-night in Gaffney, SC. The thought that day was- “That is it! I done. I am looking for other work.” After the events in 2003, I had pushed away the thought because of the junk I went through the first time I went looking for other work. Within weeks, I had secured a contract for other work and approached the owner about training someone else. I was leaving. Over the next few weeks, I trained someone else as my replacement.
The level of adult fellowship someone has when they were in my position, drops- tremendously. I felt the separation from the other members and did not know how to deal with it. Certain folks called me “out from under authority” and “on a bad path”. But, I could not stomach the idea of going back to the property management company, at that time. During this time, I had my first taste of “being in discipleship”. Still, I was not regretting my decision. Not once during this period did I think I would be put out of the church. Eventually, I came back into the sanctuary, in time to participate in a friend’s wedding.
Fast forward to June of 2007. The contract I had ended and I could not replace it quickly. Middle to late September of 2007, I was offered another job with the property management company. It promised to be long hours for sure. But, I was told “You could be home by 6:00PM”. After being harangued by a couple of folks and being told I was “ungrateful” for not quickly jumping on that job; I took the job in October of 2007, on the condition was that I would be able to keep my part-time work . So, the first two weeks were a blur as my supervisor left the country and my training was a 3+ hour trip to Columbia, SC, to take him to the airport.
During this time, I was not the perfect employee. There were too many bases to cover and I was also committed to some other part time obligations. Move forward to March 2008. On or about March 16th, Jane Whaley announced there would be two nights of prayer leading up to the Wednesday night service. On Monday evening the doors would be locked at 7:00PM sharp. Latecomers would not be allowed in. Sure enough, the doors were locked and some folks were not allowed in. Tuesday evening, I was running late from Spartanburg, SC and barely made it in the door before the doors were locked again promptly at 7:00PM. Folks from the “Security Team” locked the doors and stood guard. The date was March 18, 2008.
The fellow who was my supervisor pulled up his chair and started to “pray” with me. Soon, he words turned to a full fledge, open rebuke. He was rebuking me for “working too much” and not getting home with my family. He said many things that were not said in a very calm manner. Included in the foray of verbal abuse was this phrase- “You are the King of Euphemisms!” That comment followed the “You are a liar” comment. So, needless to say, I was not actually feeling the love of God from him, at that moment. I was hot. Another “minister” (the “new shampoo” and a “new dog”- guy) came over to see what was going on and check on me. Well, he did not miss the “mood of the moment”. There was steam. Near the end of “such a time as this”; I stood up to be excused to the restroom and the first fellow said I was “lying”. (meaning I did not have to go to the restroom!) I told him he was wrong and went my way. During the trip to the restroom, I was reeling. The caustic abuse that I had just been “blessed” with was not going very far in endearing me to the supervisor or WOFF in general. This supervisor was considered “leadership” in many areas and his “gift” had just planted a big one right on me. The minister who came up to check on me had done nothing to moderate the intensity of the “showers of blessings” which had been raining on me. If I remember correctly, I went walking that night to consider the events of the evening.
The next day, I made it into work and was at my desk. The man who had “blessed” me the night before was at his desk in the same office. He was working on several projects; one of which was trying to come up with words to describe newly renovated apartments in SC, that would have used, refinished appliances. He turned to me and said, “John, can you help us with the descriptions we need for these appliances?”. I said, “No.” He had called me the King of Euphemisms and now was asking me to help him describe something? Either he had a short memory or it was a dig. He could speak 6 or 7(?) languages and needed me to help him with English? Needless to say, in my mind the answer of “No” was elaborated with many other words.
These events would all lead to April 9, 2008. That meeting would be the most definitive turning point in my stay at WOFF. This will be covered in the next post. Thank you, for reading this far.
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