Dear board members and leadership of GFA,
As I begin to write this I realize that I am standing before my Maker and King who requires from me honesty and truth. It is my heart felt conviction that I represent my family and their experiences at GFA not as a weapon of destruction, but as a mirror of self-evaluation that aides in the refining fire of Christ’s ongoing molding us into His image. In order to be brief I will try and summarize just a few key times that we took pause and recognized what we were experiencing at GFA was in direct opposition to how God, in His Word, calls His children to treat one another.
Looking back the most prevailing contradiction we saw played out was a spirit of fear. It was drilled into our heads that we need to be so cautious of being manipulated by others outside of the ministry, that everyone we came in contact with, family and people from our churches we need to look at as potential distractions from our “call.” Especially if they did not understand, agree or even challenged us on our “call.”
This became so very obvious to my wife and I when after three years at the ministry her walk had become so empty and her spirit had become so down from all her health problems that she reached an all time low and was feeling spiritually empty. I challenged her to look for a Kay Arthur Precepts Bible study like she went to when we were back home. They always were so spiritually invigorating for her. She would always come home with tons of notes and stories to tell me about how God spoke to her.
So after several months of my prodding she finally found one close to our home at Prestonwood Baptist Church. In my excitement I shared this new news with a women married to one of the leaders. I thought she would be very excited for my wife, only to find myself called into the office of David C. several hours later. He challenged me to not let her go the Bible study because she will be surrounding herself with women of affluence that would open up the opportunity for her to covet their lifestyle and then come home and lure me away from my “call” at the ministry. Even tough I explained all the benefits for her to him, he said he has seen this happen before and recommended that if my wife has this “free time” that it would be better spent helping the single women who serve in the office with meals or doing their laundry.
On a side note, my wife had been doing KP’s secretaries laundry for many months without their prompting. In my “blind” desire to “submit to my authority” I went home to inform my wife of this. My wife broke down like I had never seen her. Her spirit went from hope to even more hopelessness; her strongest point of contention was “who was the head of our household, GFA or me.” It became very clear to us both that it had become GFA. This placed a wedge in our relationship that took years to heal.
I remember back in October of 2010, several meetings being held talking about finances and circumstances with people in the ministry. This caused John B., at a separate meeting, to speak to staff because he wanted to squelch any rumors flying around that some staff might be getting laid off. I also remember a meeting several days later where KP spoke very vehemently about several staff members who they had conversations regarding their dissatisfaction with areas of the ministry. He even made the statement, “You know who you are!” I was taken back by KP’s comparison to Judas in his description of these individuals. I remember going home and telling my wife, “Someone is in really big trouble!” This was on a Friday.
On Monday morning I was called into David C.’s office. David informed me that we were being let go. We were one of just two families that were fired. KP was referring to us? I was dumbfounded. Neither of us had ever spoken to leadership or anyone up to that point, about anything we were feeling. David said the reason we were being released is that we were not fully supported. So what’s the truth? Many other families and singles were not even close to being fully supported. I knew of some who were a lot more deficient in their monthly support than we were, so why us?
David told me I had to clean out my desk and leave in the next three hours. I was in shock! What did I do? I was being treated like someone who had just committed a crime and was being asked to leave immediately. In order to come to GFA we sold our home and left our families, friends, my job as a public school art teacher, my ministry as children’s ministry coordinator at our church, I even cashed in my retirement loosing 70% of it to come to serve at GFA. I was told that staff was considered “family”. I was told it was my “calling for life”. I was prepared and willing to spend the rest of my life at GFA. What had gone wrong? Does the leadership not hear correctly from the Lord when they ask us to come on staff? Are we that expendable? I asked David if I had done something wrong and he said “no, not at all.” He was practically in tears, seemingly broken over this.
The day we were let go was my oldest daughter’s 17th birthday and the following day my wife was going in for her second major back surgery. David said he knew these facts, and seemed very broken up because he had to do this to us. That very morning before my meeting with David, God in His grace, had prepared my heart that no matter what I faced I should not fear and I sensed a peace from God had come over me. Out of this peace from God I was able to respond to this scary and life altering event with kindness and grace comforting David, with a peace that was not my own. Not that this justifies the ministries mistreatments and ungodly actions, but it allowed me to leave the ministry the way I felt Christ would do.
I recall asking David C. if they were still going to provide meals for us when my wife was released from the hospital. He responded with a very emphatic “Why, I don’t see why not!” I received an email from him the next day while in my wife’s hospital room informing me that after further evaluation the ministry was so very busy at the moment that they would not have the time to help us out with meals. It was then my wife, just out of surgery and in tears, reminded me of a time where she was told by a leaders wife not to give a meal to a women and her family who was having surgery because she was not on staff anymore. She was told that we needed to focus on the needs of staff only. Thus the shunning begins. Immediately, the severing of close relationships was evident. People did not call to see how we were, did not help when they had previously offered to, and simply acted as if we had fallen off the face of the earth. Since we were no longer “on staff” we were considered a distraction to the greater good, “The lost.” If not for the Christ-likeness of individuals at our church who, out of their abundance, displayed love and care for us by ministering to us both financially and spiritually, we would have been ruined!
When a ministry becomes so big that honesty, integrity, love, family and Christ-likeness are just talking points rather than actions I think that ministry needs to do some soul searching and re-evaluate who is the head of the that ministry, man or God. God does not run his church and ministries on fear, but on love and trusting that whatever we go through in life what matters most is our love for Him and our brothers and sister in the lord.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. -1 Corinthians 13:1-7 ESV
It is my hope and prayer that this overview of events is not seen as an attack, but a heartfelt appeal to the hearts and minds of loving servants who may have inadvertently lost sight of the fact that they are responsible for their actions. I forgive GFA for these events, but feel it is important to point them out so as to give the opportunity for repentance and healing. It also is helpful since my wife and I were never offered the opportunity to have an exit interview.