Church actions cause anger

Parishioners and residents who financially backed an art gallery are angry that some of the money is expected to be used instead to relocate a church. Full Story
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Former long term member

San Bernardino, CA

#1 Jul 24, 2008
Fair article. As a once long time church member I can vouch for the accuracy of this srticle. However, it doesn't even come close to conveying the betrayal and deception that many church members feel about the decision to relocate after having been fed the notion that the particular location was where God was going to build his "light on a hill". It is a departure from approximately 30 years of plans and visions for that location.
Kelly Monaghan

Seabrook, TX

#2 Jul 25, 2008
It's unfortunate that there is so much division in the church today! I think that it grieves the heart of God in a major way! When we as Christians backstab and push for our own selfish agenda, it shows the world that there is no difference between us and them... no wonder the world wants nothing to do with us. Even if Southlands Church was wrong, the way that some in the congregation are expressing their frustration is embarrassing and despicable and they should be ashamed of themselves. What happened to the Church being a family? Is this the way a family should treat itself?
There is a very Biblical way of working out our differences... this is not it!
Captain Bizzarr

Los Angeles, CA

#3 Jul 25, 2008
RELIGON THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL, the hypocrisy decete and betrayal makes me want to vomit. It angers me to see all these folks cheated out of their offering to the church. to bad the weak place themselves in such a situation that results in being swindled.
E Ortiz

Fremont, CA

#4 Jul 25, 2008
I don't understand some of the arguments being made here. If the someone gave 20% of their income to the church and the project did not go through, was that donation heard from God or for your own reasons? This article comes off as being about finances but when you read it sounds more about hurt feelings and not discussing your issues with who you need to talk to. These people should have settled their issues with the elders of this church, and not voice their complaints through a third party. It is utterly pathetic that people talk about accountability in this piece, but give no reason for it. People, you can get your money back, and if that is not the issue then I guess you think being accountable to God is not enough.
Wounded soul

Moreno Valley, CA

#5 Jul 25, 2008
I cannot believe what I have seen happening at this church. I have seen the head pastor running around the world like a rock star spending so much of the church funds, when this church was in financial straits. This church has completely lost all of its credibility within the community, because of three key elders making these kinds of decisions.
They had no choice but to sell the land because of their financial problems and therefore sold out their church congregation and school. It is a travesty and I think that these three elders should step down. In their hearts they know who they are. This church needs to regain the trust from their congregation and community. A church should stand solid and secure and not just pick up and move when the going gets tough.
Angry Church Member

Moreno Valley, CA

#6 Jul 25, 2008
This church is not for sale. If they try this again we will call the LA County Detectives and they can take a look at what has really been going on here. This is fraud and it is blatant.
Church AND Comm member

Covina, CA

#7 Jul 29, 2008
What I don't understand is why this has become an Us vs. Them issue. What the developers want to do in this community is unacceptable and I am working with those who are fighting that development. Southlands selling to them is a very acceptable practice in America called Capitalism, a system we all participate in and is better than most alternatives. Whether or not they should have sold in the first place is between the elders and God, He is the one they ultimately answer to. This church is not congregational, it is elder run. Anyone who goes there knows that. If you want a congregational church, go to one. And, if you gave money for the gallery and do not agree with the move, ask for your money back. We are all in this together, trying to figure it out one step at a time. We are all fallible, and one man's failure is success in another's eyes. We each need to not judge who's failing in our own eyes, and do what we believe is right before God. For me, I stand for the people and their health and welfare.
David Bell

United States

#8 Jul 29, 2008
I attended Southlands for years when it was known as Christian Chapel Of Walnut Valley.
This move BREAKS MY HEART.
If New Covenant Ministries is as dedicated to establishing NEW Churches why not just establish a NEW one in Brea? This is EXACTTLY what they said was their plan back when the name change came down. Keep Southlands as the LOCAL community needed it. Then train up and send leaders out to establish NEW churches.
It breAKS MY HEART BUT REGRETABBLY DOESNT SUPRISE ME.
David Bell

United States

#9 Jul 30, 2008
The church and people say everyone can get there money back if they want it. I have three issues with that. First people gave more then just money, they gave faith, trust, dreams, and time. There seems to be little explination to them of WHY the change. Did the God change His mind? Did the Elders missunderstand God? The Elders have a moral obligation to stand before the congregation and declare WHICH is the case. By their OWN words when I was there.
Secondly after the Church became Southlands anytime someone approached the Elders with such concerns or questions they were shut out. No explinations were givin and they left feeling they were being accused of disloyalty.
Finally, most people give at church WITHOUT recording it for charity/tax purposes. If I gave $10,000 over the last year but never recorded it will I get it back? Of courdse not! So Southlands Elders are well aware that 75 % or MORE of all people CAN NOT get there money back. Knowing this their statements that all can are false. Knowingly false.
Finally the post that Southlands is in financial trouble is heartbreaking if true. From 1980's until it became Southlands this Church was a shining example of financial security. It had NO DEBTS, and a had a surplus. They stated they would always pay as they go. IE NEVER go in debt but only build AFTER raising moneys. They stated this is what GOD's way and what GOD told them to do.Did this also change?
Carlos Sr

United States

#10 Jul 30, 2008
Matthew 6:3
What does "do not let the right hand know what the left hand is doing" mean?
Jesus was criticizing those who gave to get the admiration or praise of men. In order to make clear contrast with those who gave hoping everyone would know how much he gave, he instructed that no one should be informed how much you give: it is between you and God. I think this is a bit of hyperbole: my right hand does not "know" anything.
The point was: "when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
I guess some of us forget it is all about the Kingdom to come...
David Bell

United States

#11 Jul 30, 2008
Carlos Sr states "Jesus was criticizing those who gave to get the admiration or praise of men....he instructed that no one should be informed how much you give: it is between you and God."

No one is trying to get recognition for how much they gave. They gave for a SPECIFIC cause. They gave because they were told God said He wanted them to do this building project. Either God changed His mind and By God's own Laws owes them an apology, or the Church owes them an apology for misrepresenting what God said.
IF this was a private non profit and not a church they would be right now indicted on fraud. Thats the simple legal facts. By sating God said they can change and use the money for any purpose they want? Not according to God's laws.

When money is given as a tithe its upto the Church as its use. When its given for a specific offering if the "priests" took it for anything else God condemned it as theft. This money was given as an offering.
Carlos Sr

United States

#12 Jul 30, 2008
http://bible.cc/matthew/6-3.htm

alms, charity, merciful deeds, poor, doing kindness, Etc.
David Bell

United States

#13 Jul 31, 2008
You need to reread my post and the entire Bible. They were NOT giving alms or to the poor. They were NOT giving tithes. They were giving an offering for a specific purpose. A building. a SPECIFIC building project.
In the O.T.(which still shows Gods standards of right and wrong) when the sons of Samuel took of the sacrifices and offerings given for themselves God calls them thieves. God's laws and purposes dont change.
Also GOD commands ALL Christians to obey the laws of the land (as long as they dont violate God's laws). Again IF this was NOT a church but a non profit the pastors would ALREADY be indicted for fraud and theft. Saying they will repay anyone who wants it back when they KNOW most dont have any records is NOT a legal OR moral excuse. Its STILL fraud.
Despite this Im NOT SAYING that the Pastors of Southlands or NCMI which they are a part of are immoral or intending fraud. I dont know these particular Pastors. I DO know the leaders who raised them up. All good, God fearing people who seek to follow God with all thier hearts. Yet there can be a world of hurt and misdeeds done by Godly people who are wrong. ESPECIALLY if no one calls them accountable to the diffference between their DECLARED words and standards and their actions. Or their actions and the Word of God. This is one of the greatest dangers with the theology of "its between God and the Elders." If we trully love THEM WE have an obligation to call them to account.
Church AND Comm member

Covina, CA

#14 Aug 1, 2008
You are right David, on pretty much every point. When I wrote that it's between God and the elders, I did not mean to be flippant or even theological. Simply to say that legally they can sell the land if they want. The title bears the lead elders name. The church we go to is elder run legally. Whether or not their actions are ethically reprehensible is not a question. The answer is obviously yes. However, I do not want this to stumble people in their walks with the Lord, nor for those that already have a bad taste in their mouths for the church. What I was trying to say, albeit poorly as your comment pointed out, "be at peace with God yourself, and let the chips fall where they may for the elders and their actions. Let's get on with helping to stop the decimation of our community."
Church AND Comm member

Covina, CA

#15 Aug 1, 2008
And there are lots of people (obviously I am not included in this) that think the elders did a good thing in selling the property for so much. It will enable Southlands to buy the new property outright, renovate it quite nicely, sow seed for other churches, and enable them to plant out with seed for the church planters. Many think this shows God's favor and further enforces the notion that this is the right move. They believe that the current buildings needed too much work and money to make them structurally sound. The theory is that to be able to draw people in the community, a church needs to have the amenities that the money from the sale of the property brings, therefore, Southlands is successful if they are able to provide these things. This is why I said in my first comment that "one man's failure is another man's success."
Carlos Sr

United States

#16 Aug 3, 2008
I don't need to re-read the entire Bible to be able to cast judgment on others.
I'll let God do that!
I want to read to be able to reach the heart of God!
What I wrote about was the fact that the article was used as a platform to attack and divulge information that did not need to be there. Why? It is about a CHURCH! It is about Kingdom warfare.
Kelly said: "there is so much division in the church today!" "I think that it grieves the heart of God".
David Bell, draw a line between your location and the church's. What do you get? a divided country, right across the middle. Right across the heart of the nation. This is one of the reasons the church is hurting in this country. Division!
Those who ache for their money will get it back, they were promised a refund if they requested it.
I may or may not ask for mine back. That is between my Father and me.
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon"
C Garica

Rialto, CA

#17 Aug 3, 2008
This is heart rending. To know that people are so hurt. To see so much speculation and ill-informed conclusions drawn - from the articles as well as from the comments made here. I would like to encourage people who are against the move and those who aren't to be truly informed.

Who's seen the books? Who knows that the church was ever in financial difficulties that would require the selling of the property? Who has asked for, or has been told first hand that someone has asked for, the return of their Gallery donation and has been denied? Who knows that 75% of offerings are untraceable (in a nation where every dollar given to the church is a tax deduction, by the way)? Who has sat with any of the elders and spoken to them, asked the questions that you are asking other people or are letting obviously biased articles and anonymous people (anonymous? Really?)? Who knows who pays for the lead elder's international travel to visit other churches?

Have an opinion but have an informed opinion. All of this specualation, gossip (and that's what it is when you're repeating secondhand information), obviously biased articles with mis-quotes from leaders, and anonymous rock throwing is unfortunate and a little childish. The questions are valid and questions that I asked, but I went to leadership with my questions and disagreements. The people at Southlands can handle questions and even your disagreements. I am a member and I've had lots of questions and disagreements but I've spoken directly to several of the elders a number of times in the last two years.

You'll get no secondhand information from me, even though I can tell you facts from my own experience at the church over the last ten years -from my own conversations with leadership, from the financial statements, and from being there every week to see with my own eyes what has unfolded. I instead encourage you to speak to an elder or the superintendent of the school. Try it.

And, if there's fraud, factual fraud, I want to know. As a member of the church, I want to know. As a member of the body of Christ, I ask that if you have proof of fraud, bring it forward. Not speculation but proof.

Again, I encourage all to be informed before making comments. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I pray for those who are hurt that you have forgiveness and freedom, for your own sake.
Thresa

Scottsdale, AZ

#18 Aug 4, 2008
What I don't understand ( none of us do, unless we are God and can see others hearts) is that it's a building- not the church, the church is made up of people. If in fact you don't like the decisions made you can find a place of worship, that you will agree with- praise God we live in a free country. The issue here is- Are all parties involved walking based on the Word- when all is send and done. Are we doing what God would want us to? Treating one another the way we should if we go by "Christian". Some of the quotes in this article are from people who haven't even gone to Southlands for over 2 yrs, it makes me wonder why now? Is it really to do anything more than to make Southlands look bad? When all is send and done will this bring people to Christ or turn then away? Do we disregard all the good things we have learned under the elders just because you don't agree with a decision? Trust me, until you walk in their shoes you DO NOT know what they have to go through- again do we have the right or the ability to really know someone elses' heart without speaking to them? What in the world can a reporter at the Tribune have to offer in that way?
May we all be more concerned of our own walks with Christ, and reach out to those around us- people are dying and going to hell, we will be used to lead them to Jesus?
tom

San Bernardino, CA

#19 Aug 9, 2008
a test
tom

San Bernardino, CA

#20 Aug 9, 2008
Kelly, you hit it on the nail when you say no difference between us and them when we push for our own selfish agenda. I was at the church for many years that transcend the entire property purchases, vision, plans and goals. The current eldership is creating its own selfish plans that do not align with the vision and prophecies of 35 years. The prophecies have now "changed and been transformed". The elders are not available to discuss any matters unless you agree with them. Yes it grieves God when those in leadership harm others and there are no remedies of reconciliation.

This is a deep spiritual issue along with emotional and psychological matters. Those of us that have move on or shoved out are now grieving the loss. However, those of us that still live in the community and doing the vision outside of Christian Chapel of Walnut AKA Southlands still oppose the project above and beyond the erroneous decisions of the Southlands eldership managmenet team.
Kelly Monaghan wrote:
It's unfortunate that there is so much division in the church today! I think that it grieves the heart of God in a major way! When we as Christians backstab and push for our own selfish agenda, it shows the world that there is no difference between us and them... no wonder the world wants nothing to do with us. Even if Southlands Church was wrong, the way that some in the congregation are expressing their frustration is embarrassing and despicable and they should be ashamed of themselves. What happened to the Church being a family? Is this the way a family should treat itself?
There is a very Biblical way of working out our differences... this is not it!

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