Now we needed to make a plan; how were we going pray without getting caught? We discussed options and decided to be irregular, to move locations, and to not frequent popular GFA coffee stops. At the time it began to bother me. I felt God was calling us to pray, but I also knew if we did it openly we could be reprimanded. Yes you did just read that. So on irregular Thursdays occasional Wednesdays hidden in my schedule as "something else" we joined together in prayer, not the same bat channel, not the same bat time, for an hour we prayed for leadership and anything else God placed on our hearts.
Do you find this odd? Are you asking yourself why did we feel the necessity to hide our actions?
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Well my first year here at GFA was exciting and I was invited at lunch to pray and fast on Thursdays with some other like minded ladies. I was used to fasting on Thursdays so I agreed, with anticipation in my heart. I looked forward to praying for the lost world and the needs of the ministry. It was a joy to sacrifice my meal and my free time to pray for the lost. But it didn't last...
Leadership came to us, they had seen us (a group of ladies) meeting together in the office oh the horrors... behind closed doors. Long story short we were told it wasn't permitted. I wasn't given a real reason just "it's not allowed, it's not sanctioned." Bemused/shocked/disappointed we stopped.
Now today after all the staff meetings that have been called in the name of transparency, if I were to ask why? I am sure I would be told they didn't want cliques to form.
I feel that answer is pathetic. Cliques are going to form in any organization... To my eyes the most exclusive clique is the one at the top; talk about the kettle calling the pot black. Funny at the same time in our staff training group we were informed that being in the same class would bind us together to make exceptionally strong friendships. This is very true being in a class together, sharing a trip to India these things will create a group with strong ties to one another... sound like a clique to you? Yeah I thought so too. So to me the attitude of being allowed to be tight with your "besties" on one hand but not being allowed to pray together on the other because of cliques, sends a disingenuous message.
Wouldn't it be better to just allow people to pray? If you were stressed give us a list of things to pray for that will keep us busy. If you thought were were going to get prideful or cliquey tell us that! Ask us to evaluate our hearts on a regular basis, It smacked to me of oddness, and of a lack of trust that the Lord would not guide us. Now getting some distance 12 years later I see the disingenuousness of it all, with 20/20 vision. I see a long standing set of parameters that are based on control not trust.
I do feel leadership has been hurt? of course all people made mistakes. Instead of responding, GFA has reacted. Over an over again they have used one method. Grace is talked of but, when you screw up (or one person, one child messed up), rules are put in place for all members. It is like we are children and they are our parent.
It's fascinating to me I feel GFA has been for years in it's adolescence as a ministry. As a parent I have to remember my children are arrows from the Lord. At some point we need to take them out, fit them to the bow, draw it back and let them fly. If you don't, you end up with adult children living in the basement watching TV, playing video games and eating all the salami you bought for yourself.
GFA is at a cross roads I truly feel if Rules are truly replaced by Grace, If transparency overcomes the secretive attitude, if trust not control is lauded; GFA can go on to become an amazing power house for the field. I also think if the staff continues to feel un-empowered, GFA as a ministry will never grow up, it will stay an adolescent forever never fully growing into all the Lord has for it.