I recently had a request from a parent who’s child is in Master’s Commission, wondering what to do, how to communicate with their child, etc.
I think it’s important to remember that every child is different, and if they’re over 18, they may argue and fight you, but ultimately they’re still your child.
Here are 6 Recommendations to Help Your Child Get Out of Master’s Commission:
1. From a Twitter Reader: “Warn them of the signs to watch out for – abuse and being taken advantage of. Encourage their child to be aware of such things.” Print out some of the lists from this website that show what things we’ve been through in the past. Show it to them. Call them and tell them about your concerns. Tell them you love them and support them, but feel like they should be aware of what may occur and why it’s wrong.
2. Immediately put a stop to the funding of their tuition and expenses. If your child doesn’t have money from YOU, they will most likely end up leaving Master’s Commission sooner. Master’s Commission depends and RELIES on you, the parent, funding the student’s tuition and expenses. The students and staff in Master’s Commission are not allowed to work (in most cases and most programs). Therefore, when you, the parent, stop funding them, the child won’t be able to stay in the program much longer without needing a job. Personal note: If my parents had done this, my seven year stint in Master’s Commission would’ve been cut down to two or three years indefinitely.
3. Go visit the campus. Whether it’s “parent’s weekend” or not, go visit the campus where your child stays and works. Make unannounced visits to see where he or she is working and what they’re doing. Stay to see what they’re fed at lunch and dinner, and ask to see their dorms. Ask the staff or Director for a list of “rules” the student’s must follow, including a copy of any recent sermons he or she has preached. See if any Coram Deo’s, conferences, or other meetings have been recorded on dvd, or cd–especially private meetings. If not, ask the Director when their next Coram Deo (or similar service) will take place. Be in attendance. Stay for the morning prayer sessions and pay particular attention to what the staff person running the prayer time says and does.
Sometimes you may not witness anything out of the ordinary, as the Director usually is on his or her best behavior when parents arrive.
4. Pick up the phone and speak with the Director personally. Let him or her know you’d like some questions answered. Ask him or her about their dating policies. For example, at what point can a student date someone? Do they have to ask permission even if they’re on staff? What do they have to be accountable for in a dating relationship? To whom are they to be accountable? Ask him or her what the students eat and where they get the food. For example, is the food donated? Who cooks it? Who ensures the nutritional value? What training does this person have? Ask about the student’s schedule. For example, ask for a written copy of what the student’s each day. How often do they stay up all night working or practicing? Who monitors that they take their day off? Ask how often the group travels and where they stay. Do they stay on the floor? What hours do they typically pull on a road trip? Do they do manual labor for the church? If so, do they get legal work breaks?
5. Call the Senior Pastor of the church your student’s Master’s Commission group is connected to. See above for questions for the pastor (questions to ask the Director). Ask the Senior Pastor if he/she knows how often the kids work for the church and what duties they do. Are they paid for the duties they do? Do they get legal work breaks? How often are kids involved in fundraisers for the church or ministry programs? Do they get legal work breaks? Do they get paid to do these?
6. If your child is under eighteen years of age, contact the state Labor Department and report labor violations. Make sure you have a full report, including your child’s name, the church name, director’s name, type of work your child is doing and the hours they’re required to work. If they work throughout the night, or late at night, make sure to include that in your report.
Some more advice from the My Cult Life Facebook Fan Page: