Grace Community Church in Detroit is doing a study series entitled “Secrets”. It is nothing short of amazing to see the power of revealing our secrets to church leadership, and seeing that leadership pray, preach and heal in response to those secrets. What is more, all this has been done with utmost care, concern and respect. Many have cried tears of joy as they were led to discover and accept the forgiveness of God.
What is my secret? My secret is that I left the church I had been attending for many years, but I didn’t tell anyone. I left UBF ministry in 2003, after participating fully in the ministry since 1987. UBF is a campus ministry, and has many good programs for college students. However, it is not yet setup in a way to meet people’s needs after graduating.
Why didn’t I tell anyone? I didn’t reveal this at the time because I wasn’t strong enough at the time. Leaving a structured ministry like UBF is not easy. In fact, leaving is often very traumatic and full of political drama tantamount to the Godfather! At the time I had a stone of bitterness and malice in my heart. I was alone in Detroit, Michigan with no job, three young children and a financial situation near bankruptcy. I nearly shipwrecked my faith.
At a critical moment in 2003, a good friend of mine told me how he could see the stone of bitterness in me. His prayer for me moved me to overcome this stone. In fact, God melted it. I then made a new decision: to build a life for me and my family apart from UBF. For 8 years now, I have done just that. I have remained connected to UBF by attending 3 or 4 conferences or meetings per year. But I was attending those conferences, not as a member, but as an observer. I had decided to remain connected to UBF, obeying in every way in order to appear as a member. This turned out to be rather easy. UBF leaders value obedience so highly that I just needed to obey. I wasn’t held accountable for anything else. So I was free to build a new life.
In 2003 I also began ferociously defending UBF ministry on the internet. Why? I was looking for a reason to stay. I was also looking for justification for the 16 years I had spent committed to UBF. I had seen problems and issues, but why had I stayed so faithful? I desperately looked for an answer.
After a few years, I found that I could no longer defend UBF as an organization. Why should I need to defend it anyway? If what has been built is built by and for God, it will remain and be used by God. In 2009 I decided to read two open letters to UBF from two good friends and spiritual mentors I had known in the late 80’s. They recounted an event that I had particpated in. I realized I had sinned and hurt their family terribly by helping to pack their belongings into a truck to “help” them (My Confession).
As I built my life without UBF programs and practices, without the UBF heritage, my eyes began to see. I began to see the pattern of families leaving with wounds and sores. During college years, UBF was so good, so helpful and so wonderful. But some chapters of UBF seemed to be built as wounding machines, chewing up good Christian men and women after graduating from college, and spitting them out like fodder. I saw this happen to at least 13 families the past 21 years. I couldn’t let this happen again when I heard of the same patterns occurring yet again in 2011.
Some have asked me if I am leaving UBF. My answer is: No, I am not. I left in 2003.