In the fall of 2004, GFA put out a staff survey because they wanted to know why so many staff were leaving.
This survey was said to be anonymous, however several staff were called in to speak about their anonymous answers. Some staff chose not to answer the survey for fear of being recognized. A copy of a blank survey is at the bottom.
After the surveys were collected, KP sent an email of new policies.
The following are survey responses given by a staff member.
“… it’s gone beyond opinion to legalism, allowing no room for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives. … I believe they abuse their position by control and intimidation, lording their ‘spiritual authority’ over us.”
The first five questions identify Andrea as a stay-at-home mom with four children. To see those questions, see the blank survey at the bottom. We begin with number six.
6. On a scale of 0-11: I feel comfortable approaching my department coordinator/GFA leadership with ideas, suggestions, or criticisms.
“0: I had finally decided to approach John _____ about some recurring issues, but then his message one night was about how we should stop our petty grievances and focus our energies on reaching the lost. I wasn’t sure how he would view my concerns, and me for voicing them after his clear message, so I decided not to go.”
7. On a scale of 0-11: I feel comfortable approaching my department coordinator/GFA leadership with personal concerns or areas of spiritual struggle.
“0: More recently, in David _____ message, he made in clear he was too stressed out and depressed to handle one more person coming through is door, or words to that effect. I’ve never heard a leader talking like that in public, to the very people he’s called to shepherd. The fact that he’d just disciplined someone that day (his words) is scary. This isn’t an example of leadership I’d want to follow, and not knowing his mood, I won’t approach him.”
8. On a scale of 0-11: The GFA leadership has a clear picture of my specific responsibilities and workload.
“3: This wouldn’t be a problem except that KP claims that he does understand what my responsibilities and workload are, when in fact he doesn’t know me or my situation at all.” [One former staff member told me KP told her she is valued as much as a cow. I told her “no, certainly he was saying in India, you would be valued like a cow, but thanks be to Christ you’re not…” and she said no, he was disciplining me, and putting her in her place, for not supporting her husband, and obeying the leaders. Point is: Leaders don’t say they know what your life is like, especially when you are another gender, and a foreigner.]
9. On a scale of 0-11: I have the tools (training, technology, equipment, etc.) I need to do my task(s).
10. On a scale of 0-11: I understand how my service at GFA enables and equips the work on the mission field.
11. On a scale of 0-11: I feel appreciated for my service/what I contribute to the ministry.
“5: I believe the leadership truly values the role of women, as long as they serve GFA, or support their husbands and keep them happy at work at GFA. Bottom Line: My value to the leadership depends on how useful I am to it.”
12. On a scale of 0-11: I feel appreciated for who I am as a person.
“2: See above. If I’m not working at or for GFA, I’m not very important to it. I believe the leadership is very much a respecter of persons. There’s a perception that the older clique and those with marketable skills are/will be preferred and deferred to because their talents are so greatly desired.”
13. For parents of teens: How do you feel about GFA’s monthly youth meeting (YWAV)?
She didn’t answer because her children did not attend.
14. For ladies: How do you feel about GFA’s monthly ladies’ meeting?
a. Attending has definitely improved and enhanced my service at GFA.
b. I don’t know….
c. If the meetings weren’t mandatory, I wouldn’t attend.
d Attending has definitely not improved ….
“A: I enjoy Gisela’s talks as she opens the scripture for us and challenges us. She doesn’t try to manipulate us by telling us how hard she has it, or how much she prays for our children (more than her own) and how great she is. She lets others praise her. I wish she were more willing to share one on one. I feel like I’m missing out.”
15. How do you feel about GFA’s weekly and month prayer meetings?
c. If attendance weren’t mandatory, I wouldn’t attend.
d. Attending has definitely not improved my vision…
She chose: “Attending has definitely improved my vision and focus of why I serve at GFA” and “I have grown spiritually and learned more about prayer.”
“I enjoy the worship, prayer, and information. I don’t enjoy the “sermon” parts as it’s the same stuff: we should suffer like you all do (usually because of us) and for the lost. We’re here, aren’t we? We’ve counted the cost. Also, we wouldn’t need a “night of showing appreciation” if it flowed naturally from leadership. Feed us, lead us, inspire us; quit telling us how great you/GFA is.”
16. Based on what you know now about both a) the personal price it has cost you to serve the Lord at GFA and b) the eternal fruit I have seen on the mission field through your service at GFA, if you had the choice today, would you join GFA again?
“If this survey doesn’t yield results, then no, I wouldn’t come again and would prefer to be ignorant of this sorrow. But I won’t regret having come, as God will use it for His good, but I will grieve for all the hurt lives and the lost potential of a great ministry that seems to be self-destructing.”
17. Describe how your experience at GFA has compared to your initial expectations:
b. …pretty much what I expected….
c. …. the opposition [sic] of what I expected
“C: At first the family atmosphere was greater than what I had expected; unfortunately, the leadership is worse than what I expected. I expected servant leadership, people who genuinely care for us, have time for us, and their yes was yes and their no, no. Aside from the two sermons mentioned above (and the isolation of the leadership from the masses) I find there is favoritism for those at the upper levels, and an attempt to control the rest, a lack of clear decision making, and a lack of integrity. (explained below)”
18. Describe your feelings toward GFA guidelines and policies (i.e. limited church involvement, checking with GFA leadership before considering marriage, etc.):
a. they are protective and beneficial.
b. They are restrictive and intrusive
c. I have no feelings either way about them.
“B: I believe a person like KP, who starts a ministry that others leave all they’ve known to move and join, would know his opinion is important and valuable. But it’s gone beyond opinion to legalism, allowing no room for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives. It’s controlling, smacks of manipulation, and can lead to great abuse. These are strong words, but the whole leadership approach is intimidating: “if you have a problem, it must be you (and your rebellion or pride or lack of willingness to suffer) because everybody knows this is such a great place to be!””
19. What encourages you most about serving at GFA?
“That I am where God called me, that He’s not surprised by any of this and He allows it, and that He chose me to partner with Him in effectively reaching the lost. I greatly enjoy the people, but I’m reluctant to spend more time with them, because I’m afraid they may leave, and that hurts. This is not an overstatement. I have been friends with several people who have left/are considering leaving.”
20. “What areas of struggle you are currently dealing with?”
“I spend most of my quiet time praying, “can one serve a ministry one believes in despite a lack of respect for the leadership?” and praying for the leadership. I can’t read scripture without comparing (negatively) our leadership to Jesus’ servant example. I greatly struggle with GFA’s lack of quality leadership and integrity, (at least at the home office.) (I will focus on things I know of first hand not the things I have heard by hurting–not gossiping–people.) In addition to feeling, as mentioned above, that the leadership doesn’t really want to see us, I don’t respect them (although I do respect their position and will obey).
Specifically, the way the veil issue was handled was confusing. Something of this magnitude should have been introduced well before the brothers’ [from India, for the 25th anniversary celebration of GFA] arrival, well explained, etc. with time for people to pray about it, since if one adopts that point of view one should also wear—and explain— head coverings at their home/supporting churches. Instead of a knee jerk reaction. A leader said, “If you won’t wear it, don’t come” [to the celebration]—now it’s not even an issue—or is it? When I forget to wear it, am I being marked as a rebel? The same thing happened with the Kids’ Korner. Brother KP’s decision seemed to take John _____ by surprise (he went and closed it), upset the kids and just jerked the moms around. Now it’s not even a problem. Both issues are valid but should have been handled so much better. Why are decisions that affect peoples’ lives made, or at least implemented, in such a haphazard and shocking way?
Regarding integrity, the main issue that first disturbed me was the policy for the staff tour to India. I know people who were hurt they couldn’t go, and were told they had to be on staff for two years, yet several people went who hadn’t been on staff two years. This double standard led them to believe leadership didn’t think they were committed to the ministry, or capable.
Secondly I know some background regarding a recent staff departure, and I had a hard time listening to Brother KP’s explanation of it. His explanation did not match the facts as I know them. He could have simply stated there were differences in opinion and you both thought it was best for that person to seek God’s will about serving in another place. The staff is much more observant and involved than you give us credit for. Why do you tempt us to stumble by lying to us? None of this inspires confidence, respect, or trust.”
21. What do you appreciate about being at GFA?
“The loving people and their desire to serve, and of course knowing the effectiveness of GFA overseas and to refocus Western Christian’s spiritual walk. I like the challenges of being here, refining how I spend my time, and being with like-minded people. I personally like and pray for the “leadership” daily, many times a day, but I believe they abuse their position by control and intimidation, lording their “spiritual authority” over us. We need leaders who are true servants: available, approachable, who value our opinions and trust. They need greater accountability and more faith in us—there are so many Godly and quality people at GFA. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share with you. I was really beginning to despair.”
Recently she said: “And despair we did, as nothing seemed to change, in fact it got worse. Even the “Response to the Survey Meeting” was lukewarm, uninformative, and manipulative. I think I remember a lot of thank you so much (stroke stroke), we really appreciate this and will consider it. No repentance. No “we’re shocked and saddened” etc.]