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Mariners Church seems to have lost their identity as a nurturing local congregation and appears to be changing into a media brand, all the while neglecting its attendees. It wasn't that long ago that the whole weekend volunteer team became disillusioned and walked off. They've had close to a dozen staff leave the preschool over toxic leadership (allegedly). Elders and long term volunteers are leaving. Long standing bible studies and communities of people were kicked off campus. Too many good men and women are getting cancelled, silenced and pushed out of the congregation. This megachurch has become a mega bummer for many people. In its wake, Mariners Church has broken communities of believers and damaged hearts strewn all over the place. Has their pride overwhelmed their ability to love their church family well?

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Singles - Abandon Ship! Part #6

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Roger Roger

Singles - Abandon Ship! Part #6

Post by Roger Roger »

For the last few years this same volunteer leader has been involved in trying to get the singles ministry organized and focused. However, this area is one of the saddest stories I have experienced at Mariners. More than 50% of this church considers themselves single yet there are more people checking Eric Geiger's email and writing copy for him than there are working in the singles ministry. After several years under Simple Church, it has very little to show for itself and very few committed relationships created. It has long been neglected and underserved by this church. They start and stop this ministry constantly and rarely have anyone managing or supervising it that seems to understand anything about the heart of single, only to shut it down again and again. It's so very disappointing and hurtful to this community! The need is so great and the commitment by Mariners so weak so anemic. With the facilities they have and volume of people attending this church, it could easily be a wonderful vibrant ministry touching lives deeply and creating a continuous flow of solid Christian families, but no, they are hung up in their egos and Simple Church rather than serving this community well. Frankly, if this ministry was a boat, they couldn't hit the water if they fell out.

The skills you need in a committed relationship are no different before or after marriage. They're the same! Yet, the commitment to marrieds is extremely out of balance to singles. Why are we not developing these skills with singles before marriage? Instead, we generally wait until after marriage and address it in couples ministry or in therapy. The Mariners/Christian divorce rate isn't any different than the secular rate which tells us that we are not preparing singles for marriage nor are the programs used working. Marriage Matters can pull anywhere from 800-1,100 people at Mariners. Why isn't this same event being run with a focus on singles? The singles ministry should be pulling those same numbers if they were promoting a desirable ministry, but they're not.

I watched this hopeful energetic volunteer pour himself into serving this community only to be thwarted at almost every turn by the singles pastor and Mariners Church. Neither of which wanted to hear what the actual singles wanted for their ministry or how they wanted to be organized. Specifically, the 40+ singles had a very talented team of professionals, executives and experienced ministry organizers that could have run a battleship let alone this ministry. Really, all the young (late 20s when he started) pastor had to do is get out of their way and they could have run it for him, oh, but not Mariners.

They had to implement Simple Church and create an atmosphere that no one on the singles leadership team neither appreciated nor cared about. Everything in singles is focused on Rooted signups and small group signups. That's all they care about. Everything else is just an annoyance for them. Unprofitable, if you will. Well at least for the singles pastor's annual review. I know it falls way short for the development, healing and the refamily of the single person, but we can't expect Mariners Singles Ministry to be insightful, compassionate and operate with spiritual maturity that would go against their culture, lol.

The core team of 40+ single leaders did try to break this cycle by drafting a white paper that gave Mariners of a preferred ministry plan and structure that would work. Instead of discussing it with the leaders and trying work with them, it was rejected immediately without discussion or any consideration. As in most toxic relationships based on control and fear, our hopeful volunteer had false accusations made against him by the singles pastor and he was fired off the core leadership team for drafting the original white paper. They made an example of him in an effort to intimidate the rest of the team! He was told that he didn't have permission to talk to the other single leaders unless he was in the presence of staff. That was his offense. Unbelievable, but true! They cleared out the rest of the team by the end of the year. The singles pastor shunned our lay leader for the whole of 2021 and would not allow him into event planning meetings even though many of the existing teams and leaders continue to use his skills to execute their events.

Later that year our volunteer leader was asked to not help on any other singles events and strongly suggested that he leave Mariners all together by the singles pastor and another pastor friend of his. Our hopeful volunteer had done some unforgivable sins: 1) he tried to organize a mid-week worship and prayer service 2) he organized and fed about 70 singles with private donations for thanksgiving 3) he helped set up a dance to celebrate Christmas again with private donations. Why? The singles ministry was not planning anything for these stressful times of the year for singles. For these heretical, abusive and disrespectful offenses that were against the precepts of Simple Church, he was cancelled and expelled! Happily, I might add.

As you see, this church is not healthy. The singles ministry is not healthy, the pastor is not healthy or spiritually mature, the supervision is clueless and Simple Church isn't a Godly management perspective. It is a woke weapon for toxic fearful control that is used to hurt and isolate singles. This ministry is not worth your time in its present condition. It is not focused on loving, growing and serving singles. It is about proving the folly of Simple Church, abusively loading people into Rooted and small groups. This singles pastor just ran a serve event and nobody attended. I wonder why? He's broken too much community. I know he's been told this more than once, but the meanest thing you can do to singles is take them out of community. It is cruel to isolate them and now people don't trust him or Mariners Church. Trust is a two way street my friend. Is this how you were taught to love the people that you were entrusted with? You better think again (maybe some real humility and repentance).

John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

How does a church build disciples when they can't even love and serve their church body? Hard hearts and mean people run this ministry and church. They simply do not care about you only what you can do for them. Sure, take a class if you like the teacher or you feel spiritually led, but beware your taking a risk if you trust them or try to serve with them. So, why even waste your time here? I think it is time to abandon this ship and find a safe healthy church!