Part Three - Discipleship Movement
Measure your life by loss
and not by gain. Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth.
For love's strength stands in love's sacrifice. And He who suffers most
has most to give. ~ Ugo Bassi
Christian Fellowship began in Harry
Silvis' home. We first met in the living room and then moved to the
garage. Everything seemed to be functioning reasonably well, considering
the way we got started.
After only a few weeks, one of the young
men from our fellowship came home and mentioned he was not permitted to
go to his girlfriend's house. His girlfriend went to another church, and
she told him that her pastor stated I was in rebellion and deception,
and that since her boyfriend belonged to our church, he was not
permitted in her home. The girl's father told the young man that neither
he nor his family were permitted to fellowship with me or anyone from
our fellowship because I started a church without the permission of the
elders of the city (Ft. Lauderdale). I quickly called the pastor, and he
told me to call Bob Mumford who was his pastor. I talked to Bob and he
said he would set up a special meeting to try and solve the problem with
my former pastor at the Baptist church. I asked Harry Silvis to come
with me to this meeting.
Approximately ten pastors attended this
meeting. It started off with small talk among everyone and then a remark
was made to start the meeting. Bob then looked up at me and said,
"Listen here you little self-willed minister, if you think you are going
to do your own thing in this city, you are mistaken."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing,
what was going on? Questions raced through my mind. Is nobody really
Christian? Is this just a world of make-believe"? Where is Jesus? The
Bible? The love? I died. Thrown into total confusion, I bowed my head.
My confusion mistaken for insolence, Bob quickly retorted, "Look at me
when I am talking to you."
At that point, my system went into mass
confusion. Everything became a blank. Babble and accusations swirled
around me, none of which I was capable of dealing with. In retrospect, I
believe that was a good sign that God was not there. I do remember one
pastor sitting to my left remarking to the other leaders, "I know this
guy, he is an arrogant person. He has never been broken." In reality,
the first time he met me was in that meeting.
At some point, I stood up in frustration
to leave. Bob quickly got up and placed himself in front of me and began
to poke his finger at my chest while repeating these words over and
over: "Are you going to submit? Yes or no?" My anger began to intensify
and boil. I felt that nothing that was going on here was Christian. I
just wanted to hit him and leave. I remember responding like I was a
trapped rat and saying, "You were never involved in my life to help me,
why now do you believe you have the authority to hurt me? Goodbye!" I
then walked out, and as I did, I could hear them yelling at me as I
left. Harry was shocked and later told me, "If I hadn't been in that
meeting and you just explained what happened, I would never have
Later that week, Bob Mumford announced
to a crowd of about a thousand people that I was in deception and
rebellion and no one was to fellowship with me. Shortly thereafter, my
fiancé, who could no longer stand the pressure of what I was
experiencing, broke off our engagement. She did keep coming to church,
though. However, she brought her new boyfriend to the church meetings.
My emotional pain was overwhelming. Each night I cried myself to sleep.
"Why don't people care?" I prayed that the Lord for His great name's
sake would bring me through all these trials. I had no reason to live. I
lost everything and many were against me. I was a young Christian who
had little or no experience or wisdom to deal with these problems, sins,
and trials. Days and nights were filled with tears and doubts. I felt
God must be against me too. I felt that Satan was a foe too strong for
me, and that Jesus could not help me because of my many sins and
I remember one day I was crying so hard,
the guy I was living with, Arl Green, stayed home for fear I was going
to lose my mind. I didn't think I could take the pain any longer. I left
a high-paying job, my family, my friends, and now I was kicked out of a
church, marked by leaders of the city, denounced for being deceived,
abandoned by my fiancé and, it seemed, rejected by God. There was,
however, a little band of people who stayed with me.
I sat on a recliner chair and Arl was
lying on the couch. I was crying and he just lay there praying. Finally
the Lord spoke, "Andy what would give you hope?" I looked at the phone
and said, "If my fiancé would just call and tell me she wanted to get
back together, I think I could make it. There is just too much going on
and coming against me."
The Lord said, "Andy, who was David's
I remembered David crying out that the
"Lord" was his hope. The Lord said, "Look at your feet, look at your
hands, is there anything wrong with you?"
I said "No."
He said, "There is nothing wrong with
you, get up and live for me."
I jumped up, and said to Arl, "Let's
have a bowl of cereal." He must have thought I finally flipped. There
were still many days of confusion, conflict, tears and problems. I was
not able to hear as well as I should. I had no father to lead the way.
About a year later, I met Jim Croft. Jim
was under Derek Prince in the discipleship movement. I explained to Jim
what happened to me as a result of my meeting with Bob. Jim then spoke
to Derek and they brought me under Derek and His ministry. I must say,
at this point, that there is not a finer man of God than Derek Prince.
He is a man of integrity and honesty.
I came to know many of those men who had
been in that dreadful meeting. Many of them repented for their treatment
of me. Jim and I became good friends. I loved him for his honesty and
for being just a good down-to-earth guy.
Bob and I continued to have our
disagreements, mostly stemming from our positions on authority. I was
living in a house with seventeen other guys. Although I was the head of
that house, I would still get corrected a lot and receive many
unsolicited opinions. That can really deal with ones pride. I remember
one day when I was upset because the kitchen floor was not being
cleaned. I took it to the Lord and I made known my request (complaint)
to Him. I always took things to Him. I explained to the Lord that I was
the leader and they should submit to me as such. Beware of complaining
to the Lord, He might just respond to your complaint. When Jesus speaks,
He deals with you and not others. In His wisdom, He will never agree
with your complaint about others.. He leads you to humble yourself. He
said this to me, "Andy, you are the shepherd. They must learn from your
example and not your dictates. Doesn't the shepherd first go into the
new pasture? Did not I call you to serve and not to be served? Is not
the calling of my servants to be bond slaves and not to consider the
personal comforts of their own lives? You scrub the floors, Andy, and
wash their feet. If you do, you will be doing it unto me."
"Never," said General Gordon to a
corporal…, "Never tell another man to do what you are afraid to do
I saw the discipleship movement as
having a tendency to treat the elders as kings and lavish them in pomp.
And yet God was telling me to be a slave. Through the years, many have
taken advantage of my willingness to give and my willingness to
serve and be a servant for Him. A friend of my once said, "I am always
afraid that I will continue to help people until one day someone will
take advantage of me, and I will stop serving."
Authority is a tool that one can easily
use for ones personal advantage. When men try to exercise authority over
other men and their families, they are out of order. No leader has the
right to dictate the way a man raises his family or treats his wife.
Leaders may teach, or, in the case of abuse, intervene.
But I have found that men who demand
authority, (comma out) rarely submit to it. Men who demand that others
do things are many times unwilling to do it themselves. Some men who get
upset with others unwilling to support their ministry are poor examples
of compassion in helping a man lead his family. I have seen years of
abusive leaders, men assuming others should be focused on their vision,
while they themselves are unwilling to understand the hurt of others. I
do not believe an elder has the right to interfere in another man's
household. I have known pastors who abused men's wives and marriages for
the sake of their own ministry and calling. Self-interest is a strong
deception. Many men of vision quickly lose the purpose of their ministry
when they refuse to let go of what "God" is doing, or at least what they
think God is doing. It amazes me how often these leaders would use God
and the Bible to agree with their control over the people under their
ministry. Yet when their sacred cow is touched, they would cry
"Deception!" Authority is not about control; it is about dying for God's
sheep. God will often test a man of God to see if he loves the sheep or
his own vision. The discipleship movement made slaves of the sheep,
while the elders lived in the lap of luxury. There is much to be said on
this subject, as it is an important one. If we are truly under the
authority of God, we will lay our lives down for the sake of the sheep.
That is why I don't mind working when no one is willing to help. I do it
"The more holy a man is, the more
humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every
sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ."~ Hodges
The Fall of the movement
The movement finally fell. It was built
on the sand of men's personal self-interest. Though there were many
golden nuggets in the discipleship movement, there was too much
I gained much wisdom in all these
movements. I can attribute much of my suffering to my own sin and
personal character flaws. God was always trying to show me there was no
good in me. Yet much of our lives are built on parts that have been
untouched by His purifying fire.
I felt I was lied to from the very
beginning about Christianity, the church and relationships. I built a
foundation on the "sinners prayer," tried to establish a church on the
foundation of institutionalism, developed relationships on common
agreement and common character attributes. I was not aware that, while I
was seeking success, He was planning my demise. I thank Him that He
counted me worthy to suffer. There are few that God will permit the
blessing of the furnace. He often leaves the "Laodicean" Christian
self-deceived and self-contained, allowing him to justify his life.
I am looking for a city, whose builder
and maker is God…" The builder and maker can't be me, or you, or any one
previous page back to the top