This week, an anonymous person commented here and asked for my thoughts on the rogue chapters in UBF. Instead of just replying in the comments, I decided to make my thoughts into today’s post.
I have several thoughts on the rogue chapters. First of all, this is not a new trend. It is called pioneering in UBF. Up to now, a large percentage, if not almost all, pioneering events in UBF happened because of self-induced strife, division or trouble of some kind (not real persecution, but in-fighting). For example, way back in 1990, James Kim’s family went to Houston in the midst of Godfather-like turmoil.
In my observation, many of the satellite UBF chapters around the world are “doing their own thing” while keeping face with UBF officially. This does not mean all UBF chapters are just rebellions waiting to happen; just that many of them started out with strife of some sort. Some UBF directors have the idea that they are blessing their chapter members by protecting them from other UBF members. Each chapter director seems to find his own way to implement the UBF idealogy in a “better” way.
I was surprised to hear this direction from an older Korean UBF missionary, who had been pioneering many years on his own. When I shared my struggles with him, he told me the best direction is to do what he has been doing for decades: form your own chapter and do what you want! That’s when I realized something significant: As a UBF director, I had no accountability to anyone. As long as I did not infringe on some other UBF director’s territory, I was free!
This sounded awesome at first. But then I realized a key problem with the current UBF authority structure. As a director I did indeed have freedom to do what I wanted, but I also had absolute power and authority. The only requirements from UBF headquarters was to send in offering & attendance numbers, to send in an annual work report and to be present at at least one staff conference per year. I didn’t even have to write “sogams”, just a work report. I realized that I could setup a Muslim training camp or an athiest think-tank in my chapter, and call it “UBF”. As long as I was good enough at playing the game, I could be my own man. This is ironic since UBF historically teaches you that no one is “their own man”.
After realizing how many rogue chapters are out there, and realizing that “going rogue” was my best chance at staying in UBF, I became fearful. I feared having too much power with no accountability. Is that a Christian way of leadership, I wondered? Soon after these things, and after many phone/email conversations, I resigned as director of Detroit UBF. I did not want to be part of such an unBiblical model of leadership. Such a model, in my observation, causes undue sectarianism and destroys the unity our Lord prayed for.