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Gregory Matthews

A comment on Annual Council

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Gregory Matthews

Today, October 10, the Annual Council is talking about denominational membership and the fact that in a year, 40 people will drop out for every 100 who will join, and that we really do  not know and understand the dynamics taking place in these people.

I am attempting to post the following comment on the Review website to address this issue in a small way.  I do not know yet if the Review will post my comment.

It is of interest to me that Annual Council has focused on our membership loss and an assumption that  we really do not understand the dynamics that may result in a person leaving the denomination.



I have been a congregational pastor and I have observed and experienced psychological dynamics within our congregations that were outside of my training and understanding at that time.  We may need leaders who better understand how people function emotionally and we may need to provide on a Conference level better resources than are commonly available.

I presently have a graduate degree in psychology.  While working on that degree I experienced SDAs with complex problems coming to our clinic because they could not relate to a clergyperson who told them that their first issue was to forgive and forget.  While that might be an appropriate issue, it is not likely to be the first issue that they needed to face.

As a Chaplain, in a non-SDA institution, I have had wounded ex-members come to me because they needed to talk.  I think of one who when she converted became pregnant by the local Elder who was giving her Bible studies.   When the congregation learned of the situation they turned upon her as the one who had led the man into sin.

Abuse can take several forms.  It can be physical, emotional, sexual and even spiritual.  I have personally related to people who have been abused in all of those ways.  I know of SDAs who have simply blown them away with the comment that they need to take their focus off of themselves.


I think of a clergyperson from another denomination whom I helped to become a SDA along with his wife.   Today, he is no longer a member.  It was simply to hard for the congregation where he worshiped to understand the spiritual journey that he was needing to make.

Individual congregations have personalities.  The bottom line may be that in order to grow spiritually a specific individual may need to seek spiritual nurture outside of the local SDA congregation and they may need to seek it from a non-SDA source.  We should be able to trust that our Lord not only leads in the present, but can lead that person back to the SDA denomination, if that is the direction that they need to go in order to grow spiritually.


 

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The Wanderer
24 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

As a Chaplain, in a non-SDA institution, I have had wounded ex-members come to me because they needed to talk.  I think of one who when she converted became pregnant by the local Elder who was giving her Bible studies.   When the congregation learned of the situation they turned upon her as the one who had led the man into sin.

People in the congregation who do this, blame the victim, likely have a lot of other stuff they are doing under the surface, and it still makes me wonder why the Disfellowship Gun isnt turned on them. Its always the ones who "sin" by not being perfect that get it, while these scum have no accountability at all when they raise the roof and accuse the victim like this. In one case I personally experienced, a "clergy" that had to be confronted because he was publically bullying a child in one of our schools, and I ended up being the one with "consequences" while this guy got to continue on as usual. Infact, he stood in the pulpit shortly after giving "testimonies" about his work with children, and preaching about how one could end up like the guys that got killed by those bears for cat-calling to Elijah.; if they dared to challenge a Pastor today. Of course, just as I was deciding to call police, he was "transferred" to another country. To do more of "the Lord's work" with children.

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The Wanderer
36 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:
Quote
We should be able to trust that our Lord not only leads in the present, but can lead that person back to the SDA denomination, if that is the direction that they need to go in order to grow spiritually.

 

"IF" is the word.

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Gregory Matthews

The REVIEW has posted my comment, in full, as I wrote it in the OP, on their website.

 

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