Thursday, 11 June 2015

Surviving Separation from the Potters House Network of Churches

 “Reflections on Separation from "The Potters House (Not TD Jakes) / CFM Churches”. 


Introduction:
I have been asked to share some of my reflections regarding the Jan 2015 separation from The Potters House / CFM fellowship. Though at first unsure, thinking of the amount of pastors (& congregants) that have gone through & will go through their own separation from Potters House / CFM in the past, these reflections may be helpful for those processing this journey.

Going through separation from Potters House (CFM/The Door) is for some quite difficult, this post is to help people process that journey better.

For posterity, the following list of 50 pastors no longer in the Potters House UK &/or churches shut down is not exhaustive and (does not include the amount of congregants that leave nor the multiple dozens of redirected pastors) is only from memory; however what it does show, is that statistically a significant number of current pastors will go through their own separation from Potters House within the next few years (when this post was written the number was 32 & has now grown to 50!).


Peter Bayerman – (Started Walthamstow - No Longer in PH);
David Vicary (Bury St Edmunds: Walthamstow - No Longer in PH);
John Galt (Bury St. Edmunds- No Longer in PH);
Dave Foster (Scotland churches shut down- No Longer in PH);
Neil Watts? (Started Cambridge - church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Trevor Bradshaw (Started Torquay - church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Jon Spurgeon (started Wembley church left PH - No Longer in PH);
Toks Odofin (Started Shepherds Bush, church left the fellowship- No Longer in PH);
Clement Okusi (started Croydon- No Longer in PH);
Kevin Brown (Dundee church shut down- No Longer in PH);
George Tafla (started Kilburn church shut down- No Longer in PH);
John Onelum (started Ealing; Manor Park church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Tony Ogunike; (Shephers Bush, Church shut down - No Longer in PH)
Kelvin Roy-Palmer (started Tottenham; Ghana; Guyana; West Bromwich- No Longer in PH);
Kantz Mizra (Barry, Wales church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Craig Thomas (started Cardiff- No Longer in PH);
Everton Brown (started Watford- No Longer in PH);
Roy Hewitt (started Wandsworth- No Longer in PH);
Easton Wilson (started Bolton- No Longer in PH);
Jason Morris (started Wolverhampton- No Longer in PH);
Chris ? (started Woolwich- No Longer in PH);
Kodjo Abolou (Marseille church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Fola Oyediran (started Jos; Nigeria; & Dublin church - No Longer in PH);
Gary Taylor (Newcastle- No Longer in PH);
Michael Nicholau (Started Edmonton - church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Alex Amaku (Started Kilburn church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Nigel Davies (started Norwich- No Longer in PH);
Michael Lopez (Nottingham- No Longer in PH);
Jim Calhoun (sic) (Edinburgh church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Richard Tull (Started Merton &Clapham church - both shut down- No Longer in PH);
Topps Oluwatobi (Started Hackney - church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Andrew Martin (Brighton- No Longer in PH);
Clyde Planter (Bristol- No Longer in PH);
Emmanuel Okonkwo (Anthony Village Lagos; Nigeria- No Longer in PH),
Ashley Charles (Canterbury- No Longer in PH),
Paul Pritchard (Started Stockport church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Kosi Amesu (Manchester- No Longer in PH);
Yomi Oluwatobi (Liverpool- church shut down- No Longer in PH);
Juvencio Da Silva (Started Oldham church shut down);
Ephraim Morgan (Started Openshaw Manchester church shut down);
Christian Chukuwelu (Brighton- No Longer in PH);
Ben Baiden (Started Deptford - Church shut down);
George Oduro Mensah (Started Spelthorne - Church shut down);
Jonathon Beckford (Started Oxford Church shut down);
Luke Saunders (Started Crawley Church - Church shut down - No Longer in PH)
Linton Robinson (started Church in wales) - Church shut down - No longer in PH)
Tass Sawyer (started Church in Chatham?) -  Church shut down.
Nathan Plamer (Walthamstow Worship leader / Pastored in Southampton) - No Longer in PH
Dominic Dorrant (Streatham - Church shut down).
Daniel Leung (Started Preston - Left to go Hillsong Sydney) - No Longer in PH

Freedom
When separating from a heavy handed shepherding network, you can feel a tremendous sense of freedom and release from their standards and legalistic control. My wife & I were able to attend more Saturday evening restaurants, shows and family gatherings together in the first nine months out of PH then we did in the five years prior. The danger however, is that is in this ‘new found freedom’ you drop your guard, cross boundaries and enter into devastating sin. This is often, used by the network as an example of ‘look what happens when you leave PH’ to the extent there is an expectation that those who leave PH will fail.
Most have heard the adage do not throw out the baby out with the bathwater, but the challenge is recognising what is the bath water to be thrown away and what is the baby to be kept? PH do not allow TV’s, Cinemas, Beards, Alcohol, Brides to walk up the aisle on their wedding day, bible college, mixing with other churches and you have to sign contracts. Whilst most Churches do not have a TV or Cinema ban or contracts they may have views or standards on alcohol for example. The baby to be kept in Christianity will always be Prayer, Fasting, Bible reading, worship, and Evangelism.

Different people will take different amounts of time to process leaving a network like PH; some say it took them several years to readjust to balanced biblical living. For us the most challenging part was the first ninety days but gradually we began to heal and readjust to our new paradigm.

What to do?
Maintain boundaries and resist temptation, but generally unless something obviously needs to be changed immediately proceed slowly, give it at least six – twelve months before making major changes. For example we have not had a TV in our home for twenty years and though we have been out of the network for a year now we still do not have one (yet).


Faith
When you become a part of a church network, it invariably shapes your thinking & worldview, especially if you are ‘saved’ in it. You buy into their ethos and vision. In fact these might have been the very qualities that attracted you to them in the first place.

However the danger with this is that your Christian worldview may be limited or even distorted by your context. In other words you must believe that God is bigger, wider, deeper, higher and more accurate than you or your networks theological viewpoint. Ephesians 3:20 (TLB) says this: Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-- infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. 

If your faith is confined only to the perspective of your network, then should you be separated from that network, your faith may struggle to adapt, especially if some (erroneously) equate separation from a network as separation from Christ, the will of God or the Church universal (Matthew 16:18).

This means you must have a reservoir of scripture and theological understanding upon which you can draw upon to help you move towards your God ordained destiny and future. You must know that your destiny is never limited to a network or leader but like Joseph and David, is bound up in the bundle of the living with God himself (Genesis 37-50; 1st Samuel 25:29).

What to do?
You must cultivate a broader viewpoint of Christianity, which requires you connecting with perspectives & people beyond your network. This may involve you reading other authors and perspectives than those espoused by your network. For others this may involve biblical courses and education (many can be done online). I obtained University degrees in theology whilst pastoring full time, which enabled me to get a broader perspective.

You do not need formal theological education to pastor successfully, but one of the things formal education does is teach you is to ‘ask’ and ‘answer’ questions’ about what you believe (1st Peter 3:15). Many controlling networks do not like people to ask questions or to think independently and this can lead to accusations of rebellion and independence.

Finances
When you become part of a network invariably your finances become entwined in it, by virtue of your giving into the vision of the network via tithes, offerings, pledges, love offerings, world evangelism, mission, conferences, etc. For example, many sincere congregants and pastors have made huge financial sacrifices in supporting their network.

Another way your finances are entwined in a network is if you are receiving your main income from the network by virtue of your role as a pastor, evangelist, or staff member. Pastors have families to feed and bills to pay like everyone else. Now being separated from the network becomes more than just a theological issue but one of economic survival, especially the older you get (Luke 16:3-9).

Ministers have been known to stay in a network they strongly disagreed with purely for financial reasons to the point of even compromising their conscience before God (Acts 23:1).

What to do?
You must be a good steward and develop income streams outside of the influence of your network. In Genesis 2:10-14 God puts Adam in the Garden of Eden. His job was to maintain the garden, yet God provided four streams (Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates) to help him to do it. This meant that if one stream dried up, there were other streams that enabled God’s work to continue.

Many of the national leaders that I have spoken to, have shared with me some of the multiple investments and income streams they had made over the years (Proverbs 10:5).


Friends
When you become a part of a network invariably over time your friendships become concentrated on those within the network. You become gradually disconnected from relationships outside of the network (especially those that are unsaved), because you become absorbed by the culture and work ethic of the network.

Should you then become disconnected from the network, you may also find yourself disconnected from those very same friendships. In other words you need to be aware than many of your current and closest relationships in the network are conditional upon you remaining in the network. It is not uncommon for long term friends who were best men and bridesmaids at each other’s weddings to be shunned later because of being separated from the network.

It often surprises and shocks people to find that what they considered to be genuine lifelong friendships and alliances are lost when they are no longer part of the network. Often the refrain is ‘righteousness over relationships’ (thank God he does not think this way otherwise we would be righteously punished for our sins, John 3:16). This becomes even more difficult when the separated one is painted negatively by the network.

Many years ago, I began to view the Church as being much broader than my insular sphere. This brought me into relationships with people that were outside of my network. This became critical when I was at my lowest ebb, because many of these friends (outside of the network) stood by me and my family, for which I am grateful for.

What to do?
You must build and cultivate relationships beyond the control and influence of your network. Proverbs 18:1 says A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.

Family
One of the common things upon joining a network is that you want your family to also be a part of that network. There are many instances where whole families have joined a network through an initial family member joining. However when there is a separation one of the early causalities can be family relationships. Stories abound of marriages, and families divided over network loyalty. One network founding leader even refused to attend the funeral of his daughter who had left the network along with her husband many years prior.

Unfortunately it is becoming more and more common for leaders tol target the wife of a man who wants to leave. Many times wives will have most of their friends & relationships in the network. This can be taken advantage of by the network.

In 1 Timothy 3:1-5 the order is not ministry first, it is family first. It is family that qualifies you for ministry:
1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)

This is a fundamental posturing of your life in relation to family and family relationships are not to be trivialised.

What to do?
View your family as a divine priority, spend time with them and do not neglect them.

Forgiveness
Being separated from a network can be painful. For some it is one of the most devastating and traumatic experiences of life. As a result you can feel betrayed, bitter & violated. Therefore one has to intentionally work at guarding ones heart. Proverbs 4:23 says: Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 


Now this is not an excuse to tell those who have been hurt or violated ‘get over it’….. I believe God hears and heeds the bitter cries of his people (Exodus 3:9). In 1 Samuel 1:10 it was Hannah’s bitterness of soul that led her to cry out to God. This led to her vow of faith in dedicating her not yet conceived baby son Samuel to God.

Forgiving others does not mean you are letting people get away with it or ignoring the fact that you may have been treated unfairly. What is does mean is that you trust God who sees the bigger picture, whilst also knowing that our relationships are both vertical and horizontal. Jesus is clear that unforgiveness towards our fellow man hinders our relationship with Him (Matthew 6:15; Genesis 50:20).

What to do? 
Pray for and forgive those you feel have hurt you.

Facts
When separations occur there are often many sides and perspectives to the whys and hows of what happened. As people try to process whatever limited information they have, facts will be misunderstood, exaggerated and unfortunately twisted.

As Christians we are people of truth, often for us (at least for me) truth is black and white. So when we hear things that are not true (especially negativity about us) we want to set the record straight. Proverbs 18:17 says: Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight (TLB).

The problem is, you cannot respond to every inaccurate story or account. If you do, you are likely to end up frustrated emotionally and spiritually drained in the process. There is a place for recording your views and your side of the story, but once you have done that and made it available for those who need to hear it, then you must leave it!

This has been a challenge for me, because as those who have debated me know, I like to get my point across. And it has been a great lesson in learning to shut up! In Matthew 27:12-14 (TLB) we read of how Jesus responded to the many accusations against him

12 But when the chief priests and other Jewish leaders made their many accusations against him, Jesus remained silent.
13 "Don't you hear what they are saying?" Pilate demanded.
14 But Jesus said nothing, much to the governor's surprise.

What to do?
Examine your own heart, motives and actions, where have you erred? With integrity state your side of the story as clearly as possible, to the relevant parties and leave it to God to vindicate you.

Psalms 26:1(NKJ) Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip. 

Conclusion
Separating from a church network can be painful and traumatic, but it is survivable! You need to know that there is life, joy, purpose and destiny in Christ Jesus beyond any organisation.

My prayer is that those who find themselves going through a similar painful situation will come out of it with their relationship with Jesus Christ and their family stronger than ever, knowing their best years are ahead of them.

Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

Shalom.......

47 comments:

  1. I was a part of this fellowship for ten years I was the door director. We left last July a lot of things I saw that I didn't agree with talking down on other church's pastor calling homosexuals fags over the pulpit but what did it for me is I had a good pastor friend that left but in a right manner and yet I was told to stay away from them that they were rebels and that they are out of the covering and are out of the will of God this man was apart of this fellowship 22 years and they just cut him off. Well I made a stand and confronted them with what I felt was wrong and it didn't go well so I decided it was time for me and my family to leave and when we did all our friends basically said not to talk to them that I was a rebel and had a rebellious spirit upon me even though I didn't backslide and to this day were are still serving Christ faithfully. This read really helped me and encouraged me thank u. I remember hearing u preach here in San Antonio Texas at pastor Rubi church

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  3. Clement: I'd never heard of you until moments ago when I linked to this piece from a posting at Escape the Fellowship @Yahoo. I was in the Fellowship near the beginning. Saved through Victory Chapel in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1973. I left in 1983. It took me about 5 years to start to feel comfortable with life again and another 10 years or so to really get right with God. Been serving Him now with hope and faith for many years. You have done a fine job explaining what those leaving will find out as they move forward with their new lives. I will offer one more piece of advice for anyone who walks away from PH. In the initial flush of giddy freedom, don't do anything you can't undo. Don't get tripped up by a sin that devastates your soul. Keep boundaries of clean living and stay close to the Lord. Mitchell is wrong: God will not be after you to punish you. It is Satan who will lead you to punishment and separation. Don't be so foolish as to follow. Stand up to temptation and follow the map in your hand, God's Holy Word.

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  4. In any situation I always like to hear both sides to a story as I know some can be based on favouritism or just biased, the more I tried to seek some answers the more difficult it was, I really questioned this and it left me feeling uncomfortable.. I'm not trying to get into anyone's personal business as I've been through my own issues with churches in general, and it's left a sour taste in my mouth, all that to say I know there is no perfect church like there are no perfect people.. It hurts me when I see these thing's transpire and I wonder what does God actually think of all this division in the body of Christ? There's a lot more I'd like to say, but for now I'll remain quiet, until such times that a suitable time occurs. Ultimately God builds his church...

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  5. The couple who canterbury who left why?

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    1. No idea..... they are contactable via facebook.... God bless.

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  6. Hello,

    Great peace Mr Okusi, I won't make it obvious about which couple I am talking as I am getting a sense that that this isn't right time, but I got reminded about an incident that took place that put me off going to that new church branch alone (not the potter's house fellowship altogether, as I simply returned to another church and regularly enjoy it).

    I think that the couple I am about to talk about should honestly explain to the current and past members exactly WHY they left ( in fact got removed from pastoring position) but told participants otherwise which was untrue.

    I didn't know what to make of it, As from my observation the couple was not acting pastoring role (And I don't particularly mean sinning) at all but desperately trying to please some groups in the church or even trying to fit in which is not bad thing as we are all human, I'm sure we can understand the pressures of pioneering while also setting an example, up keeping an image and being there to guide people is very difficult, it is hard to be a practicing Christian let alone a Pastoring role I'm sure we could all agree!
    So back to my thoughts on the couple being removed from pastoring position and being put on disciplinary but instead left-

    This same couple who instigated minor issues with me, then pandering to church attendees about issues that didn't concern them as there were friendships formed outside of the church. Are the same couple with the same pastor who stated 'wish not to tell anyone to not influence others but hopes and encourages members to stay within the fellowship' I suspect he is scared to be confronted as I have personally witnessed this pastoring being judgmental others wrong doings, and biased approach to me, the reason for me stating this is because this couple have been greeted by former church members who have been mutual with them and have ignored these people; which I think is disgusting and very rude. This just goes to show the arrongnance of the same couple who having brief knowledge of their background should find humility otherwise God will show them otherwise.

    Anyways I'm glad God reassured and I do believen Karma, I'm still for the truth to come out, the main reason isn't particularly for me but just because it is important that members are aware of what they are getting themselves into.

    Yours Sincerely
    God Bless

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  7. Morning Clement Okusi

    This article is really helpful and is evening bringing back memories; I am just looking at old photo's of friends from the fellowship, I got this feeling of sadness that although I still worship at the fellowship, due to life's commitments I cannot be a full time ministry member and don't think I ever will be, and currently attend another church.

    Although I got flashes of the positive plus good times, I was saddened to see that some of some the attendee's, ministry members who were very charismatic have a complete new life away from church, and some have gone to resent the church both adults and young people.

    Could you explain why former members of this church find it hard emotionally from this church when leaving?

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    1. You are repeatedly taught that God fitly frames the church and if this is where you got saved then this is where you are to stay and never leave or you are out of the will of God and will go to hell. Also you see how everyone gets cut off and bad mouthed after they leave the church and you are terrified to leave. That's how they keep people there and keep the church from finding out why people really leave, by cutting them off. This fellowship is very abusive, all churches in the fellowship are the same and do the same.

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  8. Fola Oyediran was not removed. He passed away, please correct this it is very offensive.

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    1. Hi anonymous, several months before my friend Fola Oyediran died he formally left the Potters House.

      Such was Nigel Browns anger at this, that he refused (initially) to attend Folas Funeral. It was myself who called him & persuade him to change the time of the pastors meetings (which clashed with the funeral) to allow Pastors to attend - Shalom.

      PS Happy to discuss ANY topic (within reason & context) however I do not usually dialouge with annonymous people.

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    2. I went to Norwich PH which Nigel Brown took over from Nigel Davies. Let us say, he had a real spirit of cronyism than Christ. The more I read Scripture, the more it came to life at the Potter's House about those who 'serve their own belly' and preach the Gospel for the wrong reasons. However (Phillipians if I remember correctly) it is still good the Gospel is preached. The Norwich Church got started off the back of a Billy Graham revival meeting. Nigel Davies registered as a pastor to receive those who answered the altar call. Neil Watts (if I've got this the right way round) was received by Nigel Davies, his twin Andy Watts was received by a CofE Church if memory serves, but went over to the PH when his brother Neil spoke of 'taking the world for Jesus Christ'. I liked them both, but the one could see the PH is an extension of one man's ego and that a real spirit of evil runs in that fellowship. No Crosses? I came to the conclusion it is so the focus of the congregants is the Pastor not Christ. But as Paul wrote, it is good that the Gospel was preached.

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  9. I am having problems with the PH after 11 years attending the church. i have not finally made a decision but thank you for your blog it has given me food for thought

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  10. I didn't know about a ban on beards. I do remember a couple of guys from Canada on a fellowship trip in Israel were surprised I was a Pastor and had a beard. Its a strange rule if true.

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    1. Hey Paul, this is classic ph, most rules are not written down but preached. Hopefully now you think about it most ph pastors are clean shaven....lol.

      PS how are you doing? long time no hear?

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  11. Due to the ungodly teaching and leadership of Nicolas Kyriacon. Lead pastor of Potters House Nottingham my son's father Keli Semme as failed to father his son.
    Four years ago I spoke to Nicolas asking if he could mediate contact between Keli and his first born and I believe only child. His repose was:"If you peruse Keli having a relationship with his son it will have detrimental consiquences."
    It was clear that he had been paired possible with a female member.
    Keli as always been a sheep even under the leadership of his previous spiritual father Apostle Alfred William.Who was a true father to us but like a prodigal son. My son's father Keli Semme joined this church therefore selling is soul to the devil.
    If a church can nor support and encour age building strong relationships between a father and a son. Then what form of love is truly in existence amongst this community?
    What a church community thinks about an individual is irrelevant to God's judgement upon their lives.
    Now that my son is growing and living with out his father I have solely placed judgement in the hands of God our creator who is the Alpha and Omaga.
    Potters House Nottingham is not a Christian community that the spirit of God dwells in.
    But a dwelling place that permits the wicked evil intentions of man

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    1. Josephine, the whole fellowship is a cult, they welcome you with open arms, indoctrinate you with false doctrine, use you and abuse and once you begin to see the truth and try to leave, they lie about you and say that you are a rebel and a backslider, and tell everyone in the church to cut you off. Same story over and over again, I know because I was in this fellowship for 20 years and gave over 200,000 to the church and after finding out that the pastor was a crook and wasn't honest with the finances, we left and now nobody talks to us, even though we are still christians and go to a different church. The emotional and physical damage this fellowship does to you is beyond words! Stay away from this fellowship please!!!!

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  12. Hi, you may or may not remember me but I really hope you see this. My names Christine I was the white girl from the woolwich branch who was kicked out because it was believed I was a wolfs in sheeps clothing. Anyway it's a lot more complicated. I need, desperately spiritual guidance as it was too hard soul distorting that I gave up. As a result me and my husband divorced. I am a sinner and have backslid. I which to seek Jesus again. Not sure if his calling me or I have unresolved issues but I need him in my life. I need a church to attend to and one where a pastor may be patient as I'm afraid to trust one now. Do you have any suggestions. Thanks

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    1. Christine, I would like to help you. My email is maggiescraggle@outlook.com

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  13. Catherine Wilson7 December 2017 at 20:42

    Dear Clement Okusi,

    First of all, thank you for your blog. I have found it very helpful as will others who suffered after leaving the Potters House. I didn't know you personally but I have heard of you within the fellowship. Anyway, I joined Nottingham PH when Steve and Melanie Ware were there and continued on when Michael Lopez took over. It caused me deep anxiety for many years and I was hospitalised for psychosis. I didn't ever want to go back to Christianity after the PH, but God is gracious and patient and has brought me home. I now have a proper perspective of God, as my Father and friend, not something which the PH promoted. Anyway Clement, I can already see that God is using you through this blog to reach many people who have been wounded by PH. I'll pray for you and hope that many will come to know Jesus through you. God bless you and your family. Cathy Wilson, Nottingham

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    1. Dear Catherine, thank you for your comments, glad the blog helped.

      Praying that you find the love & grace of God to keep moving on - God bless.

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    2. Thank you Clement, I remember you. I attended ph Nottingham on and off for many years, but straight from the start because i had prior church experience it was obvious that there was doctrinal error,but because i so loved those people because of God,that where there, i served and waited. Yet with the limited biblical knowledge I had it was immposible to maintain enough energy to commit to the constant pressures within the church and then being aware that judgement is cast on those who dont tow the line. The people that are praised there are the movers and shakers or the people that show commitment to potters house doctrine alone. Problem is your expected to go against your own concsience to commit, for the bible says if we are not entirely sure about doing something and we do it anyway that we have corrupting ourselves(hence having a teacher that can teach instead of just making you feel better is needed). corrupting their growing clarity of faith it becomes difficult for attendees to have any other trust than in there pastor and the system of ph. They can no longer endure sound doctrine and will indeed fight against the very word of (although unknowingly to uphold the ph system) God. when you learn we are set free from the law although there is a matching of the law when growing well because there is no law against love,and a growing christian increasingly loves,and then when you ask something like should i tithe, you are NOT told give from your heart ,you are told first, if you dont give ten percent specifically to your pastor that you have broken Gods law. This is actually a cultic way of control because the person doesnt understand they can give freely but that there salvation depends on the ten percent,amongst the many other laws they have there .
      Its actually AMAZING how hard it is to speak to someone that wont examine what they hear and believe that by even mentioning this is an attack on there eternal existence,but thats what wolves do , they manipulate us with laws so that we are comfortable in our catholic works salvation ,as in i do this and that so im secure , even when there is a wolf around and who can spot a wolf if you think hes a puppy.

      Any current potters never trust in your pastor instead listen love serve and trust in the lord and you will have all that you need to nourish and encourage your brothers. And please please please start reading your bibles cover to cover , not a sentence here and a sentence their because the leaders there twist odd sentences and change others around which would be obvious if you read it yourself, then the problems for you, now you know , will start. EXAMINE, TEST EXAMINE, TEST.

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  14. Hi Pst Clement Okusi, I remember your baptism, your testimony and your focused nature. I would say we need to know the difference between being fellowship minded or kingdom minded. Fellowship is good yet it must be for the for the kingdom. Im pleased God is using you and never saw or see you as the enemy but a co worker. I prayed Lord if your hand is with him we will see in time and you have remained hungry for lost souls. Was never a close buddy yet admired your focused nature and your genuine hello to me in passing(hard to fake year in year out) May God continue to bless the ministry and every lost soul won for his kingdom

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  15. May God bless all who have been through pain sine leaving PH.

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  16. Leaving but still in love with Jesus.20 August 2018 at 06:49

    Hi there,

    I have some questions ...
    I am currently in a Potter's House but have had many red flags go off and believe the Holy Spirit is warning me to leave.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the fellowships deception and control is only mostly revealed when a member enters into ministry, therefore making it appear a squeaky clean church to any outsider.
    Unfortunately for me, I made a stuff up a month ago, for which I was stood down from ministry, therefore when I leave I fully expect it will be told of me that I am a bitter backslider - despite the fact I have been a born-again Christian for 19 years(I am 27).
    Coincidentally, as I had also just entered ministry around the time of the offense, it coincides with the time I started to see the red flags. Worse, that my talk with the pastor about my situation actually revealed and confirmed more spiritual abuse and control.
    So I expect leaving church will not be pretty and I will be labelled rebellious and back-sliden, even though I love Jesus with all my heart, am yielded to Him and will go on to serve Him.

    One question I have is that when a member is stood down from ministry for committing an offense, do the pastors preach a specific sermon that targets the individual that committed the offense?
    My pastor used an example in his sermon that was identical to my situation... I am the only one in our entire church who comes from that background. I would reveal more but am afraid my current members may see my comments and identify me.
    Even my friend beside me expressed disgust to me later and believed it was targeted.
    I cannot express how degraded I felt at that moment.
    After so much hard work and time and money invested, it felt they had turned on me in an instant and been incredibly callous with my treatment.

    One of my biggest red flags was the handling of church discipline of a young engaged couple. Weeks before their wedding it was brought to light they had made a stuff-up and had slept-together. So weeks prior to their wedding the pastor cancelled the entire wedding and the couple were made to tell friends and family it was off. I think this is absolutely appalling and a form of public shaming. Not only that, but they have family overseas so many family members may have already purchased airfares.
    I could say much on this subject as to why I believe it is unbiblical and wrong but won't.

    The other big red flag was finding out that if a person like the couple confesses to having made a stuff-up, they are stood down from ministry. HOWEVER, if caught later, they are straight thrown out of church. I believe this to be unbiblical and should only be used in cases of unrepentant sin, or walking in that particular sin - not one off offenses. It is to be used as a extreme measure and only as a last resort to restore someone(Correct me if I am wrong.)

    There have been many, many red flags but on order not to bore I will not list them.
    Me leaving will not be out of bitterness as I firmly believed God called me into Potter's House when He did, and used it to grow me, but now it is time to move on.
    I believe the way pastors are viewed in church is idolatry.
    I am saved by grace, not by works(E.g tithing - this yet again should come from a conviction from God to give - not because an organisation told me so).
    My biggest reason for leaving however is the control within the church and the push for the organisation - I do not follow the convictions of man, but God. I do not here to build or preach an organisation, but Christ's kingdom.
    God bless!

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    1. I was a member of the Flagstaff AZ congregation from 79-90. Your sin is ABSOLUTELY preached from the pulpit. I am sorry this happened. It becomes quite toxic when we can't confess our sins to one another. I found this article by Clement Okusi spot-on. When finally out, life is scary, and the pendulum swings the other way. But God is faithful. I met Jesus at PH, and thankful He never gave up on me. There IS life after PH in Him!

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  17. To God be the glory everything will be made perfect in Jesus name. Amen. My God continue to bless his children and guide them through all life's trials and tribulations. Judgement belongs to God a d not to man. I know the God whom I serve I live in joy handing all the unjust actions of men unto him. I am only just seeing this text again. I strongly remain prayerful that all the captives will be set free. To live a life worth the glory of God. Amen.

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  18. Sister Ana thank you very much for your words of encouragement to God be the glory.AMEN.

    Dear Sister Catherine Wilson,
    I want you to know that God loves you. No matter what trails and tribulations you may have faced and are facing. Understand that God permitted it. Please please please, do not give up. I plead with you to continue and engage in your personal relationship with God. You are strong, resilient and beautiful. Both in flesh and spirit in whom God created in his perfection.

    Our faith is a journey and needs nurturing. If you are not prepared yet to be part of a church community. There are lots of amazing tools and materials out there for you to feed on. Start talking and engaging with God directly. Bring out a chair and invite him into your life. Believe it or not he is carrying you this very moment. I promise you that he will never let us go. The most wonderful thing in the world is the blood of Jesus which was shed so that both you and I may have mercy. Start today with connection with him and be spirit lead. We seem to focus more on men when God is always by our side. Communicate directly with him and allow him to Guide you. Know that his love is ours till eternity and you don't have to earn it. It is your birth right. I love you and will pray for you.It shall and will be well with you in Jesus name Amen. To God be the glory for great things he shall do. Stay blessed. Remember judgment belongs to God and not man. I love you xxx

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  19. The list of 45 pastors you have provided are quite high but however what it doesn't say is why some of these churches have shut down or why some of these pastors have been removed. Some have been removed on account of sexual immorality and others such as Pastor Ben is still in the fellowship and serving Jesus!

    you have stated in your article that PH does not allow TV’s, Cinemas, Beards, Alcohol, Brides to walk up the aisle on their wedding day, bible college, mixing with other churches and you have to sign contracts. Most of this is utter rubbish! Firstly PH does not control rather advice. One of our pastor handed over his church to go and study theology just months and he is expected to return once this is completed. I have heard clement actually running a scheme where he had asked his members to sign certain contracts, this doesn’t happen in the church that I attend. I have actually heard Clement preach several times, once he mentioned how he walks up to his church members randomly and plucks the phone out of their hands to check what they are looking at. Clement is a great preacher and his preaching has helped me personally but I don't believe slandering other churches is Christ like and bears the fruit of the spirit. I understand that you have been hurt and may have had some differences with the leaders of PH. As a Christian I could have respected you just walking away and serving Jesus peacefully rather than going to the length of writing inaccurate information in blogs.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, thanks for your comments, I sense your sincerity which is why I published your comments.

      1). The list is now 47 & rising & you are correct that 4 out of 47 of the listed pastors were removed for moral failure & that maybe 5 of the listed pastors are still attend PH (2 because their wives won’t leave). But you still agree the number is high (close to 50% attrition!!).

      I would also add that all if not most that went through separations from PH are still serving Jesus.

      2). unfortunately you are unaware or ill informed about most of the rules & creeping legalism of PH. I will surmise that you are from the Preston Church which is still quite young.

      I have preached in this church, great folks & leaders......shame they had to leave in order to do a bible degree. My assistant sent Nigel Brown an email that I had completed a theology degree. This email was then sent to Greg / Wayman Mitchell to demonstrate "rebellion" on my part. If you send me your details privately I will happily forward you the email.

      However your pastor got into some trouble with Nigel Brown for not wearing a tie during the area rallies. Also he was criticised for having a black stage backdrop & Hillsong style pulpit & ministry (ironically).

      PH DO NOT allow TV’s/ Cinema’s/Alcohol/ Brides to walk up the aisle/Pastors to have beards/ mixing with other churches & attending Bible colleges.

      3). The comment about the phones was a joke which you guys laughed at .

      4). Glad my preaching helped you personally.

      5). A blog helping many folks to survive a difficult period in their lives is hardly slander. Thousands of people worldwide have read this blog over the last 4 years & yours is maybe the 2nd or 3rd negative (sort of) comment I’ve had.

      The sad reality is that PH was birthed when Wayman Mitchell pulled out 300 churches from Foursquare in the early 80’s. Since then thousands (maybe 5000?) of churches have left the fellowship, including a few weeks ago Neil McCann from National leader of New Zealand (Ignite) - 8 Churches.

      You can read about it here https://nzgate.blogspot.com/

      A few of the others include Larry Neville (Praise chapel) – 4300 churches & Tommy Alverez (New Destiny) – 150 Churches, Ron Jones – 50 Churches & Rudy Van Dierman – 8 Churches.

      I get it, you love your church & what God appears to be doing, but there is a dark side to PH (trust me, I’ve seen it) & it is only a matter of time before you see it too.

      Much love to all the saints in your church - In Christ.

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  20. My father Phillip Carvell was one of the first of the 'leaders' from Potters House Australia who left due to not agreeing with their teachings. Not only was he shunned by many good friends, other pastors, who also didn't agree, turned against him maybe out of fear. The long term effects this had on our family as a whole have been devastating and Wayman Mitchell and Mike Mastin will one day be held accountable for destroying lives. My father spent over 16 years serving that church earning a pittance of 'love offerings' as an evangelist which also destroyed our family financially while the Mastis travelled between Aus and USA enjoying a carefree life. So much hypocrisy.

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  21. Hello Pastor, God bless you for this blog. We have been saved before joining PH but have been attending for a year now with my husband. We are migrants from an African country and both have tertiary education. Recently, I notice that they do not like us asking questions about their doctrine, and the one that surprises me is that women are not allowed to lead prayers, worship etc. Please is this the same in all PH branches or just ours? We are beginning t consider some of the teachings as not bible-based and the thought of this realisation scares us.

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    1. Hi, if you Google Potters House / CFM / The Door, there is lots of info.

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    2. Women can do nursery. The end.

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  22. Hi there, I absolutely agree with you on the difficulties of leaving a church such as the Potter's House. I was just wondering how you came to find the details of the pastors who left? The reason I'm asking is that my father's name is in your list. His church was shut down, and he became a member of the congregation for 10+ years before formally leaving, but only relatively recently. Because he was a congregation member when he left, I am wondering how the information came to be known around the fellowship.

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  23. Hi anonymous, without more information hard to answer your question.

    There is lots of information by ex PH members on the internet, just google it.

    I attended Praise Chapel (ex PH) Conference in 2018 & they have 4300 churches worldwide.

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  24. Hello, I'm currently attending a PH in the states. The pastor's wife is well known from her father who is very big in the PH community. Born and breed in the PH community. They are pioneering a "baby church" here in my state. At first it was pretty amazing, their goal to outreach to "every one", planting churches to spread God's word. But they use tactics that are manipulative and guilt trip you, serious spiritual abuse. I fell hard wanting to please God. Going to every service, prayer before service, cleaning the church, help count tithe, and fellowship. They were pushing us to discipleship. Telling my husband to cover his tattoos, and if you didn't do their secret standards you were treated badly. If you questioned them about their "standards" they would lie to your face. People would come that had problems, like no food and they were looked down on. If you didn't tithe you were looked down on. They expected accountability, which felt more like prison. The friendship's didn't feel genuine. Anything I confided in with someone, it was in the sermon next service. Everything you did they were watching you. Pushing me to quit school, to have more kids, and in reality these 2 women advising me were miserable as stay at home moms. The pastor's wife would contradict what she would be advising me to do, it felt wrong. I didn't feel good at all. I started counseling at a Christian based service and the pastor's wife got furious, then caught herself. She stated that is why she is here to carry my burdens. I thought isn't that why Jesus died for us. I thought I was going crazy, but their are plenty of accounts stating the similar stories across the internet. My counselor suggested I look up legalism. Your right when you stated it looks fine from the outside, until they want you to discipleship, and still not all their standards are given. I truly have fear of going to another church. Because my walk with God is new, I do not understand what is right. PH was the first church we committed to. You research Christianity and there are so many different types and beliefs. My husband did tell the pastor we are going to a different church and not to contact us, but i know we will be the big example in his next sermon. I totally feel hurt, mislead, and brainwashed. Not knowing what to believe. Christian women wearing head covers in some churches, tithing is looked at differently in different churches. New law vs old law. To understand conviction vs condemnation. This experience has took a toll on me. Everyone wants to be holy and right, forgetting the teachings of Jesus. I understand why people don't go to church or fall away from God. Who can you trust? No man for sure. Spiritual warfare is real, but we oppress one another in the church. Heartbreaking and discouraging.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    God Bless

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  25. im just on here passing time as its raining and i cant work dont know why i even clicked on it but i do remember nigel davies and evonne in muspole street and peter bayerman opening walthamstow for all its faults which are many i got saved there and probably would never have been welcome anywhere else i have seen so many young lives damaged since then but met my wife witnessing on the street and we are both saddened by the missed opportunity for so many who would be still serving God today but will maybe never go to any church again. Shaun in lincolnshire

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