I recently got an email from a Master’s Commission director who was very kind about my blog, but his last line lingered with me: “Keep doing what you’re doing. I hope it doesn’t take the good ones down with the bad…”
This has clearly been something I’ve been very thoughtful about since I began this project. I feel really torn on the subject, because I know there are probably some good programs out there; however, I’m not sure exactly how that can be determined based on the current MCIN structure, and
I’ve heard more stories of abuse than I think should be tolerated within any structure–public, private, Christian or not.
Part of my reply to him was the following questions, and I’ll pose them to you, current Master’s Commission directors, and ask that you answer honestly (either in comment form, an email to me, or to your conscience).
I’d love to hear from you if there’s anything you’ve changed in your program, or revamped [after reading my blog]. Do you mind me asking if you pay your staff and support staff at least minimum wage? That’s one of my main concerns for the student workers, since I know all Master’s are typically something that end up being a large work force for any church.
I’m also concerned with the intangible things, such as the level of control the directors and staff put onto the students. In my group, for example, we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music, watch any movie that was not PG or G rated, and we had to dress in a way that was extremely modest or we were forced to change clothing. Do you have any rules like that? Implied or explicit?
What I’m most concerned with, as you can understand, is seeing whole, healthy young adults walk out of Master’s Commission. I’m finding that the more open I’m becoming, that’s sadly not the case [meaning there are a lot of existing wounded young adults who’ve left MC]. I don’t want the cycle of abuse to perpetuate past my years there. It’s wrong and it sickens me. I can’t sleep at night if I know that people are going through what I went through–and sadly a large number of people are.
I hope we can all work together to make the abuse stop. I know the first step is an open dialogue, so I thank you for reaching out and emailing me. It means a lot.
So, if you are a Master’s Commission director, or a pastor affiliated with an MC group in your church,
please take time to answer honestly how you are treating these young youth workers in your church. My advice to you is this: if you can’t afford to pay everyone on staff and support staff minimum wage or better (hopefully better), then what are you doing with that many staff members? You have to make a choice between operating illegally and abusively, and treating people kindly. You also have to make a choice who you are willing to keep, and pay, and who you need to tell that you have to let go. Even if they are willing to work for you for free, it’s WRONG on your part to keep them and abuse that naivete.
Finally, if you know of an MC group who could benefit from these questions, please drop me a line with their name and email address to: mycultlife at gmail.com.