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Fairfax church of Christ, Fairfax, Virginia

November 15 2010 at 7:34 AM
Anonymous  (no login)
from IP address

We have had the same wonderful pulpit minister for quite a few years. It has been beginning to seem that we are becoming a "Community" church. Our slogan it to "Be God's Church to the community." It is rumored that our pulpit minister earns $140,000/yr -- but "he's very involved in giving." We hired an "executive" minister" just over a year ago (I suspect he earned good money too), but he has been "let go" probably due to the economy. Our congregation has had an electrified choir sitting in the front row for several years. We have a female "Minister" of children's education. The preaching minister refers to the building as the "Church," as in "when we go to Church." The sign out from says "Church of Christ," not "The church of Christ meets here." The "purpose driven Church" is a phrase not uncommonly heard, and could be as referenced by the book, "The purpose driven life." Our female "entertainment and art director" has left, The head church secretary has left, (we still have two working) as have about 300 of the recently approximately 900 members, and the female children's minister is also director of the day school for up to kindergarten kids. It probably has 60 to 100 children five days a week. Several weeks ago (last time we attended there) there was a "Catholic Style) communion held, where row-by-row, members went forward for communion to be served to them by the six-or-so elders -- so we "could better focus on the meaning of communion." We felt it very distracting, and one could see many congregants returning to their seats with their hands folded, just as one is expected to in a Catholic Church. The minister doesn't always "bless" the congregation at dismissal, but does sometimes, and does not say "May" God bless America, but "God bless America," or "God bless us all," as if he's the Pope as has that authority.

We have felt for some time that this congregation is being hijacked and the other members might want to log in here to have a say in their opinion. We just found this sight last week.

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Ken Sublett
(Login Ken.Sublett)

Yes: that's the hostile takeover paggern

November 16 2010, 10:01 AM 

The result has been to free up the elders to focus more on their pastoral care role and less on their oversight role. Two of our elders commit attending most of meetings for both the elders and the MCT to ensure these two key leadership groups stay connected

First, you shift the elders off to being SHEPHERDS and the ministry team under the master controls the agenda. This is not a Church of Christ.

There is no role of preaching in a church of Christ: the elders are commanded to teach that which has been taught.

There is no LAW OF GIVING other than free will offering; get the word out and stop enabling a wolf.

This is afflicted by the Missional ministry scam which restores the 5-fold ministry defined in Ephesians 4.

Paul in Ephesians 4 warned against what is happening in your church: you will notice that Christ's will is that the Elders as the only Pastor-Teacher is to teach what has been taught and that is to PREVENT exactly what is going on.

The WOLVES have been let in by the shepherds: they need to wake up.

The VISIONEERING (not a word as missional is not a word) is to...

Discern where God is at work and join Him there.

Set Strategic Directions (Strategic is a Lucadoish warfare word)

See how Blackeby/King hallucinate that a "spirit" is leading their discerenemt. Jesus had the final Word and warned against "private interpretation" which is further expounding for pay.

Affirm ministry leaders. They have fired the Deacons. That is the role of the OWNERS: the members.

The "pastors" are just one part of the trinity leadership which is overpowered by the unlawful preacher and the staff under HIS oversight as he fleeces the lambs.

Get the word out: Jesus died to free you from the LADED BURDEN (performance worship) and the Burden Laders. Jesus called the Scribes and Pharisses, hypocrites and named "performance preachers, entertaining singers and instrument players. Ezekiel 33

I suspect that there has been a "frog boiling period" so that most of the people are intimidated by the preacher if he can fleece 140,000.oo a year out of the Widow's purse and the hard working, honest people.

The Cluster Coordinators "encourage new expression of ministry and allow old ministres.

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Adam Brown
(no login)

Fairfax church of Christ, Fairfax, VA

March 25 2011, 4:13 PM 

Having interned for the Fairfax church and thus interacted with their staff on a daily basis, I have a unique perspective on the issue. There are a few of your points I can disprove:

1) The executive minister you speak of left the staff voluntarily. He recognized himself that due to the decreased size of the congregation there was no longer a need for an executive minister. That combined with the fact that his wife wanted to move back to Texas caused him to leave. He was paid 3 months salary (through the end of the year) and is now living in the DFW area.

2) The church secretary had been working as the secretary for more than 30 years and she retired voluntarily, due I think to family issues. She is a very sweet lady and also moved back to Texas.

3) The female children's minister does NOT oversee the preschool program that takes place in the building during the week. The preschool ("Kingdom Kids" or something like that) is a completely separate entity that pays rent to Fairfax church of Christ for use of their building. The director is a member of the church, but is employed by the preschool and not the church.

4) While I was there, we also experienced communion similar to what you have described. I wouldn't call it "Catholic" in nature for many reasons. First off, in Catholic communion, each person goes up to the front of the worship hall and receives communion directly from the priest. At Fairfax, there were many communion stations set up throughout the auditorium, and each member partook of it without assistance. There were also elders set up at each communion table that were available for prayer with any member who needed it, but they were very non-invasive and their wives were there with them to pray with women if a woman wanted to pray with another woman.

5) Electrified choir? I agree that they do have some issues with the volume of the praise team (it should be more of a background sound) but another reason that they're so loud is because there aren't very many people at the services. A congregation of 600 with an auditorium like Fairfax's does not need two services. This is an antiquated practice from the days of ~1000 members and parking issues, neither of which Fairfax has anymore.

Also (I'm done disproving things), it was my understanding that the reason for the mass exodus at Fairfax around late 2008-end of 2009 was due to TALK of things such as expanding women's roles in the church and instrumental worship. The church did have a monthly instrumental worship service, called Music and a Message, about once a month on Wednesday nights I believe. This stopped before I worked there when the creative arts minister left in March or April of 2010. Let me emphasize again that there was only TALK of changes that would only be preceded by extensive study by the elders, many of whom I know to be very Godly men and fitting all the Biblical characteristics of elders. Basically, there was study on the issues, but no changes occurred; people left because they were tired of the talk and uncertainty about the issues.

I'm not as much in the Fairfax loop as I once was, but I still maintain the friendships that I made there to the extent I can from ~1000 miles away. I would highly recommend Fairfax to anyone looking for a church family in Northern Virginia.

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Adam Brown
(Login abrown10)

Fairfax church of Christ, Fairfax, VA

March 26 2011, 3:33 PM 

I also wanted to clarify...Fairfax wants to be God's HEART to the community, not God's church as the first poster said. Fairfax is very heavily involved in helping out the local community, for example, year-round the youth group has food drives to take food to a local elementary school for them to feed those in their school who cannot afford to pay for the cafeteria meals. Every summer on Wednesday nights, the youth group conducts a weekly Vacation Bible School at a local housing project community. There are many other things in the community that the church participates in as well.

As per the minister's salary, I can't verify that this figure is true, but I should point out (and the original poster should know this since I assume he/she lives there) that the cost of living in Northern Virginia is very high. Fairfax County is in the top 5 richest counties in America and it is not cheap to live there. So there should be an increase in a minister's salary compared to other areas of the country. The preacher has been with that church since the early 1990's and is the longest tenured member of that staff after the retirement of the church secretary. On average, people leave Fairfax after only 22 months due to the nature of the area, with a lot of Fairfax members working in some capacity of the federal government. (Side note: one Sunday when I was there, the preacher asked how many people had shaken hands with the President. I was shocked at how many hands went up.) Fairfax is very blessed to have the preacher they have for about 20 years now and given the static nature of the area, it's nice to have at least one constant at that church.

I have not been back to Fairfax or Northern Virginia since December 2010 and don't plan to any time soon (I go to college in Arkansas and live in Nashville, TN) but I would go back given the chance in a heartbeat. Fairfax was the first church I was able to invest myself in on my own, where I wasn't known as my parents' son or my siblings' brother, but just as Adam. It will always have a special place in my heart and I hold many of the people I met there in the highest regard.

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John Watson Smith
(Login jwatsonsmith)

Conditional Grace of God

January 23 2012, 8:44 PM 

Consider the book of John. God's word became flesh and lived among men for a few years. Jesus says in John 3 that unless one is born again he cannot see or enter the kingdom of heaven. Something is therefore required of any individual to obtain the status of being "in the kingdom of heaven". That something is being born of the water and the spirit. In John 4 Jesus says that we must worship in spirit and truth. Again an action on the part of women and men is required to be acceptable to God. In John 6 Jesus says that he who comes to him will never hunger or thirst. What is it that one must do to come to Jesus. Again in John 6 Jesus says that humans must eat of his flesh and blood to have eternal life and to abide in him. Remembering that Jesus is the very word of God we conclude that taking in his word the Bible is the requirement - and that taking it in as regular life sustaining food is to be done with the word of God.

Something to use to measure the church where you attend. Jesus said he was hated by the world because he testified that its "works were evil" John 7. How does the church you attend testify that the works of the world are evil? Many churches where salaries and standard of living are high don't testify to evil as they don't want to offend.anyone Does the church you attend testify as followers of Christ or present itself as theatrical window dressing with a watered down message?

Your comments appreciated

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john watson smith
(Login johnwatsonsmith)

questions for Fairfax and similar churches

February 16 2012, 9:58 AM 

Have you maintained the greatness of God in your preaching and teaching program? Has the creation story, miracles of the new testament and the promises of God been placed before the elect so that they will forget? How can you believe in the support of Psalm 27 if you don't believe in an all powerful God?

Have your preaching and teaching programs been revised to look for experience not Bible evidence. Do the books of men written by an assortment of denominational leaders find a way into Bible class discussions and sermons? Remember the doctrine of John 4 and 6 about living water and the bread of life. Remember also the statement to Timothy that the scripture completely furnishes us.

Has pop psychology infested your teaching and preaching? Hasn't this resulted in felt needs being exalted over the redemption of sinners and spiritual values? Psychology is man oriented while the Bible is God oriented. Do you agree? If so then why not stick to the admonitions found in Titus and TImothy = preach the word of God!

Do you have sermons that ask the hear to make a decision based on truth or speeches that ramble and wander all over opinion and current thoughts of men? Again the words of the Spirit to TImothy should be remembered here.

Do you have an addition to self importance which has not been exposed and corrected? Remember the sorrow of Lamentations
where those who should speak up did not.

comments welcome

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120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
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Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)

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