I used to go to this church because I really loved what the leader was doing even though some of my friends had concerns. I ended up choosing to overlook their red flags and hoped for the best. But over time I realized my friends’ concerns were valid. I really feel bad having to leave this one star review but I just hope it helps someone not get hurt like I did.
For example, the leader always threatened us with hell if we didn’t follow His way of doing things. He called people names all the time when I thought He should have been nicer. Even called a woman a dog once. And when a respected young business man came to the church to honesty seek help He told him to sell all his possessions and when he didn’t, He let him walk away sad- who does this!?! Another time He called one of His own followers, “Satan.” And told a man to come preach with us instead of going to his own father’s funeral.
Sure we had large crowds at times but once people stuck around for awhile the majority would always leave because the approach was too intense. The only ones who really stayed were the young and non-professional/educated folks- like fisherman or those like tax collectors and prostitutes who had guilty consciences.
Not to mention, we were constantly in conflict with the other churches and their leaders. Sometimes I just wished our leader would play nice and be more unified with them. We could never go to the Temple without something bad happening- this never happened at my other church.
I am not going to call them a cult, but they are really doing a bad job of changing that impression. They always talk about discipleship, evangelism, holiness, etc. The leader told a recently delivered demon possessed man who lived by the tombs to go immediately and preach to his village– talk about not reading a room! He should have been told to wait until he was more stable or at least have cleaned up more.
We did some good things but it always came at the price of offending people and giving them ultimatums. And the leader’s teachings are way more extreme than the other churches. He said lust was the same as adultery, anger was like murder, and that giving God less than 100% was not enough. We were told to have faith but we were always working at the same time. I missed being able to just believe without any expectation of doing something. Not everyone is going to be as radical as them- some people just need to feel more comfortable before being asked to make such big commitments.
Now all the leader talks about is being persecuted by both the religious leaders and the government. I think I am going to start visiting other churches and talk to their leaders and see what they can do to help me achieve my goals.
Before you visit you should really ask yourself, is this leader and church worth all the trouble that comes along with attending?