Thursday, January 7, 2010

Experience of a Post-Quester

I received this email with the story of one of our posters who used to go to Quest. His experience is rough as many of ours has been. Read his story and if you feel led to respond with an encouraging word, then feel free to do so.

"Thanks for creating this site. I'm glad to see an active outlet inexistence for those who have been harmed by Quest to discuss what they endured, warn others, and find healing. Questers do need our love andunderstanding as well as our continued prayers.
The reason for this entire post is because some current Questers who post here want specifics. I'm also tired of their implied maliciousness towards anyone who could possibly have something bad to say about QCC. Here's my story in brief...

My experience at Quest for around a year was not positive in its majority, unfortunately. I will not name anyone specifically although it could be helpful (and certainly within scriptural boundaries) for the church to confront its own. First off, I was not in leadership,and I was active in a life group. I am in my mid to late 20's. I was fairly well known and also attended both the college group "Reverb" aswell as the young adult group "Mosaic" fairly regularly.
Initially I was treated well, and every one at QCC around my age suddenly acted very interested in me as soon as I started attending. That interest was not very genuine as I later came to find out after multiple attempts to foster a genuine friendship with a few of them failed repeatedly. None of them were willing to be as forthcoming with the same information they seemed so eager to prod from me either.

The Lord has been at work in my life for many years, brought me through much, and taught me much. I know His presence and guidance. I am a genuine born again Christian, understand what it means to be saved according to what Jesus said in scripture, and have seen further evidence of this through the fruit I bear because of the change the Holy Spirit has brought in my life. I am not the man I used to be. Those at Quest, however, where not so content with my faith and peace of mind. I was continually pressured (often by large groups in circle around me...creepy much?) into thinking that I might be kidding myself and that maybe I "just had a head knowledge". Nothing I said or proof I could offer could dissuade them. As a result I was continually shunned and made an outsider from that point on. Typical cult behavior. I was being pushed away in an effort to make me conform and seek acceptance. I saw this exact same strategy time and time again with the saved and unsaved alike who visited.

Life groups seldom touched on anything deep. They seemed little more than monitoring devices to keep tabs on people, constantly inject Quest rhetoric, and foster a feeling of unquestioned loyalty to"leaders". Out of further respect, I will not list my former lifegroup leader and any of the shallow and hypocritical behavior rampant within our group. However, you'd think that Christians wouldn't constantly quote an obscene anti-Christian movie like "Borat", behave exceedingly crudely, or have statues in their homes of a naked Africannative with a giant upright phallus on a spring.

On the occasions that I either disagreed with something said in a sermon, wondered why scripture was seldom studied (or used to back upa "sermon" points), questioned why obviously openly homosexual members where in staff positions, or just wanted to go deeper in my understanding of why Quest's pursuits (and considerable revenue) seldom seemed to extend beyond the building and into Christian service to the community (as both Jesus and the early church were fond of)...I was either ignored, rebuffed, and made to feel inferior via thinly veiled insults. Whenever I used scripture in its correct context to support my opinion or provide a rebuttal to something said to me (often in a fashion to indicate there was no argument and I was rude or stupid for even making one), I was told on more than one occasion that it was possible to read scripture with the wrong heart (simply because I didn't agree with things they had taken out of context) or that it was possible to read it too much. Do I even need to go into what's wrong with those statements?

In the end, all that I saw underneath the nice manufactured atmosphere was a lot of immaturity, arrogance, manipulation, commercialism, and a system designed to perpetuate the existence of the Quest machine and unquestioned obedience regardless of one's misgivings or unanswered questions. Compartmentalization and secrecy abound in an environmentwhere genuineness and transparency are extolled as virtue. They care more about making everyone happy and making sure the stupor produced from their crafted environment isn't disturbed. Point in case...they do nothing about all the spoiled emo kids of memebers/staff who makeout and smoke cigarettes in front of the church during service, but they will happily make sure a family with a baby moves away from the sound booth (so their precious video recording will be flawless) regardless of the discomfort and embarrassment it causes the family.Mind you the issue with the family was something I heard about, but didn't see personally. However, it is believable considering the disposition of the staff when it comes to a "production". They also boot anyone out of their live internet broadcast who asks theological questions they may have answers not supported by Quest dogma. This happened to me one week when I was sick at home and asked a simple question. It was fairly early in my time at Quest.
I could go on and on listing specifics and recalling various conversations, but I won't. It would be too lengthy and I would end uprambling. In conclusion, Quest puts more emphasis on itself and how they have changed people's lives with Jesus being a foot note. They also confuse coming to the understanding of the love of God with salvation. They don't spend much time talking about repentance, belief, and obedience to Jesus nor going deeper into simply studying books of the Bible. QCC is enthroned instead and there is always a gimmick to keep the crowd smiling. The puppeteers have perfected what emotional strings they need to pull in order to keep the majority from seeing past the glamour. They serve for the most part spiritual junkfood with little nutrition. They are wholly unapologetic and unashamed. They feel they can do no wrong.
May God have mercy on them and open their eyes."

Thanks for your boldness in posting your story! I wish you well on your journey of healing and discovering God's intent for what a community of believers looks like for today.



  1. There is no one on quest staff that is a homosexual.

  2. I just left Quest after being there for 3 1/2 years. I was on the leadership track, was in a lifegroup, and served my heart out...and while I agree with 99% of the things you wrote, I do have one question: What does having a gay person serving at any church have anything to do with this?
    And just for the record...there are no (openly or otherwise) gay staff members at Quest.

  3. Many of my experiences at Q would mirror yours and we left several years ago(4?). The openly cult-like culture was becoming increasingly flagrant.I had been told to stop asking questions in small theology was too challenging. At one point I had attempted to discuss some of my concerns with the pastor by calling for an appointment. Instead I was rebuffed and accused of badgering and yelling at his "assistant" in a scathing email from the pastor (that I was not allowed to see or talk to). Apparently I was the one with the problem and did not follow "protocol". When that wasnt going to happen I agreed to meet with an elder. Nothing my husband and I had to say made any connection. We were speaking a foreign language. Instead, we were exposed to gross arrogance that attempted to belittle our opinion and convince us that we weren't saved. My husband mentioned that we had always been involved in church and in leadership and would frequently talk with the pastor. He was told that "that would never happen here".

  4. Being a homosexual is against God's will. It's clear in the Bible so that's why it has a lot to do with this regardless if there is or isn't a homosexual serving the church.

  5. Is lying against Gods will? Should u be kept from serving in Gods church if u lie? No one is perfect and loves us in our mess.

  6. How come this blog and others state that they aren't about "bashing", but all the while allowing not even thinly-veiled bashing in posts? I don't doubt the authenticity of the experience(s), but things could have been stated in a more civil fashion. If you're going to state non-bashing as a tenet you should at least stick to it, don't you think? But that's not why I'm writing.

    What gets me about this blog and the one or two others out there like it is how you single out Quest as if it's the only church at which people have ever been hurt.

    Over the years I've been to dozens of churches, and attended some for long seasons. At the best and worst of them there has always been some degree of disagreement, disappointment and hurt, eventually, with someone over something. At the best and worst I have seen "cults of personality" and inner circles, over-zealousness and self-righteousness (often with the best of intentions but, sadly, over-done), scripture used well and used out-of-context... It is simply part of being in community with people, who are far, far from perfect. Even at Quest.

    Does this put me in the same boat as the so-called post-Quest "victims"? Not at all. I simply have my eyes open to the facts and enough experience to know that as sad as it is, things like this are going to happen to someone, sometime, at EVERY church. Not because of the church per se, but because it is comprised of people.

    The times that I have left a church over a hurt or disagreement it has resulted in a another search, finding some other church that clicks, an initial period of "that last place sucked / this new place is great!", then a reality check that brings me right back to seeing that disappointment will always be the result when my faith is placed in the people of the church rather than my relationship with Jesus Himself.

    I suppose it's mostly a sign of the times and the web-savvy nature of the day that at no time in the past do I recall anyone launching campaigns against the church they just left over such things. Sure, there were internal rows or even "battles" if you will, leading to or just before leaving. But after that folks I know have always tended just to man up and move on. That's why I don't understand this strong focus on Quest even as you are admittedly not even going there anymore.

  7. Let me leave you with this thought: no church organization can or will be able to serve everyone such that they will be satisfied in every way. Each church organization is going to have certain core strengths and ministries, certain things they are good at and on which they will focus. Each will serve certain people in certain situations in certain ways based on this. And each will be filled with people, with hearts both big and little, intentions both good and bad, visions both large and tiny, who will always make mistakes... and sometimes, will move the Earth.

    When you find yourself at a church with which you cannot align or which does not serve you well - or which no longer serves you well - just... oh, I don't know... go find another church, maybe? Calmly turn over any duties or responsibilities, peacefully extract yourself, and start looking forward rather than pointing back.

    All that said, I really hope and pray that everyone here can find a church in which they can be happy and healthy and just grow in Jesus.

    For those who are looking, please know that you are not likely to find that one church that meets the needs of every one in every way, is filled with people who never have bad days or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, whose people have views and opinions that always line up perfectly with everyone else's, and so on. When you find someplace like this, I really hope your time is constructively spent on continuing the search.

    ... But if you do find it, one hopes that more time will be spent blogging about that, than about the place you just left.

  8. Wow that was great realist I 100% agree!

  9. QCC may not have anyone who is openly gay on staff, but I know of a few who advertise all the outward signs and mannerisms that might not come out and say it. One of whom I know is on staff who even invited me to a gay club after I had left the church. When I rejected his offer and told him that the idea disgusted me, he implied that it would be wise that I not tell anyone from QCC about it.

    If you honestly believe that homosexuality or any other form of sin is God's will for anyone, I'd advise you to throw out the emergent theology and re-read the Bible itself.

    Here are a few verses from the New Testament that like to make an argument against anything stated in the Old Testament.

    I'd also advise reading these verses from a trustworthy translation instead of some of the newer compromised versions that don't provide a word for word translation and attempt to do your thinking for you.

    Romans 1:26-27
    1 Corinthians 6:9-20
    Galatians 5:16-21
    Ephesians 4:19-24
    Ephesians 5:3-5
    1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
    Hebrews 13:4
    Revelation 21:8 (For those of you that like to say Jesus never said anything about homosexuality)

    Forgive us, "Realist", for not mincing words to protect QCC's P.R. Part of living authentically is in telling the truth even if it is sometime unpleasant. If QCC is seen in a negative light then it is because of their actions and behavior, not the people they have abused.

  10. "PumkinJeans", I am somewhat shocked at the implication that anything I wrote was protecting anyone's "P.R." or, most especially, cast any blame on anyone who might have actually been abused (though I must freely confess my opinion that words such as "abuse(d)" and "cult" have been bandied about by some folks more for the emotional impact than for strict accuracy, in at least some cases. But that is another discussion entirely).

    Given the emphasis you placed on "trustworthy translation" (by which one certainly hopes you do not mean KJV!) one would assume an emphasis on correct context as well, so I am bit surprised. However, my text is there for all to read so I am satisfied that anyone with the desire to know what I really wrote may do so.

    That's an interesting list of verses you provided. Given your early emphasis and parenthetical aside, one might be forgiven for assuming the list is intended to be New Testament scripture/verses speaking directly against homosexuality... but that would be incorrect.

    The first two verses support the point fairly well, but regardless of the translation used and whether taken as presented or in the full context of the surrounding text one would be stretching Galatians 5:16-21, Ephesians 4:19-24, Ephesians 5:3-5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, Hebrews 13:4 and/or Revelation 21:8 all out of shape to state or imply that they refer specifically to homosexual behavior, or even to a person being of homosexual orientation (which is not, in and of itself, a sin).

    Granted, it is obvious that all of those verses refer to sexual sin(s) in general, which would include (but not be limited to) homosexual behavior. To imply that those particular verses all speak specifically against homosexuality or even homosexual behavior would be at best incorrect and at worst (dare I say) manipulative.

    None of us appreciate such tactics from the pulpit or from "leaders"; surely, then, it would behoove us to ensure it is not a tactic we employ ourselves regardless of the point we are attempting to prove. Just sayin'.

  11. And thats where I blow the whistle on the homosexuality discussion. I appreciate everyone's posts, but lets try to not de-rail too much from the intent of the blog. :)