“The Shepherding Movement” Is a Timely Read

I don’t hear much about this anymore, but it was a catalyst for a lot of contention and division in the Charismatic Renewal back in the mid 1970s and into the 1980s. Charles Simpson, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham and Ern Baxter were gifted teachers and authors who found some common ground in their spiritual passion, teaching, and alternative views of church life
Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be as helpful for everyone involved as they had hoped and it proved divisive among the Charismatic renewal as a whole. Someone sent me a new book last week entitled The Shepherding Movement , by David Moore.

I have to tell you, I wasn’t all that excited about reading it since it seems like an old story that doesn’t need to be resurrected. Though I wasn’t involved in the movement, I did help pick up some broken lives scattered in its wake. At the time I was deeply saddened by how those brothers had squandered their teaching gifts to create an institution that for many proved manipulative and destructive. But things aren’t always all that they seem. In recent years I have also met a number of people whose lives were deeply grounded in Jesus’ life through that movement. They talk with regret about the hurt it caused, but are still grateful for how God had used that season in their lives to equip them to live deeply in God’s life.

So in the past few days I read the book. I was just going to glance through it briefly and add it to the large stack of books that others want me to read. But somehow I got hooked by the story and drawn to the lessons the other was making. Moore’s book claims to be an academic treatise of the movement and he does a masterful job at maintaining an even-hand throughout. As he tells the story from extensive research and interviews with the key players a different story emerges than the one I’d assumed. He wrote about people who were passionate to find a more relevant way of living as the church and how they stumbled upon certain relationships and models they thought were Godly. As they played out, however, their desire to create a new structure and encase God’s work in it created a monster that even all of those who helped create it eventually came to lament.
Part way through this book I recognized that this was not just an historical curiosity; it was also a magnifying glass probing the motives of my own heart.

This is a timely book for anyone who hungers to find new models of church life to make it more relevant to today’s culture. This path has been trod before. The very idea that we can contain God’s working in a movement controlled by people, however gifted or wise, must be blown apart. To think that we can construct replicatable models, no matter how much people may cry for them, and the exaltation of any hierarchical structure to maintain it, invites us to recreate that same monster. This book shows all too well how the best people, driven by the best ambitions can end up doing things that not only distracts people from God’s life, but also devours them in the process. If we don’t learn the lessons of those who have gone before us, we are doomed to repeat their mistakes.

When we think our structures are more biblical, more Godly more right than other structures, we’ve already lost that battle. Jesus didn’t place the life of his church into any particular system, but into the hands of the Holy Spirit. That is best maintained by people from all over the world who will listen and follow Jesus in concert with others who are also doing so as well. He will knit us together through the relationships that he desires so that he can prepare a spotless bride for his pleasure.

I’m not advocating that we remain passive in this process, but that we take great care at how we labor. Let’s not invest our efforts in movements or models that will come to nothing but in people who will demonstrate his life in the world. We can equip people to view the church as Jesus viewed her. We can talk about scriptural priorities for discovering that life together and help people see the myriad of ways God gifts his people with authentic community. We can teach people how to walk together and listen to God together so that he can produce among them the expression of church life that will most encourage their journeys and reach people in their communities. But we dare not give ourselves to deceiving idea that we can encase that in a system or entrust it to any self-appointed group of leaders as a substitute for growing dependence on the Head of the Church himself.

This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about church renewal in our day. But don’t read it looking for mistakes others are making. This story will probe your own heart to ensure that you are working alongside Jesus as he builds his church rather than asking him to work alongside you as you try to build your own version of it.

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56 Comments
  1. Tim Patterson September 8, 2004 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for your brief review of this book and for continuing to be very candid with us. It is ahrd to continually admit that I am likely just as much at fault as I blame others to be.

    Tim

  2. Tim Patterson September 8, 2004 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for your brief review of this book and for continuing to be very candid with us. It is ahrd to continually admit that I am likely just as much at fault as I blame others to be.

    Tim

  3. Richard Lathom September 9, 2004 at 5:33 am

    "Let’s not invest our efforts in movements or models that will come to nothing but in people who will demonstrate his life in the world."

    You hit the nail squarely on the head! Our Lord Jesus set the example. He invested his earthly life in a small group of men then left them with the command to do the same i.e. invest themsleves in others. Thus they would "make disciples" who would make discriples and so on until the End.

  4. Matt September 9, 2004 at 7:19 am

    Interesting review. Charles Simpson came to the church I formerly was part of a few years ago, and I found out later he warned the leaders there that they were headed where he had been. His warning wasn’t accepted, and it wasn’t long before there was a big blow-up that shook many people’s faith and was a catalyst towards many of us realizing we had exchanged life in God for life in a religious system. I know that I along with everyone else continually tend in that direction. What is amazing to me is how faithful God is to turn our hearts back to Him even though we haven’t deserved it, understood it, or asked for it!

  5. Richard Lathom September 9, 2004 at 8:33 am

    "Let’s not invest our efforts in movements or models that will come to nothing but in people who will demonstrate his life in the world."

    You hit the nail squarely on the head! Our Lord Jesus set the example. He invested his earthly life in a small group of men then left them with the command to do the same i.e. invest themsleves in others. Thus they would "make disciples" who would make discriples and so on until the End.

  6. Matt September 9, 2004 at 10:19 am

    Interesting review. Charles Simpson came to the church I formerly was part of a few years ago, and I found out later he warned the leaders there that they were headed where he had been. His warning wasn’t accepted, and it wasn’t long before there was a big blow-up that shook many people’s faith and was a catalyst towards many of us realizing we had exchanged life in God for life in a religious system. I know that I along with everyone else continually tend in that direction. What is amazing to me is how faithful God is to turn our hearts back to Him even though we haven’t deserved it, understood it, or asked for it!

  7. Barry Steinman September 9, 2004 at 10:49 pm

    Wayne,

    Ern Baxter, in his later years – was actually the one who influenced me to become part of a relational house church.

    The sheparding movement had already been crumbling by that time. And he would talk to me about simple home based fellowships.

    In his later years, one night a week Ern would gather a few of us in his home. I remember him sharing with us how he used to preach to hundreds of thousands in stadiums, but he enjoyed the simple fellowship with us in his living room – much more than preaching to hundreds of thousands.

  8. Barry Steinman September 10, 2004 at 1:49 am

    Wayne,

    Ern Baxter, in his later years – was actually the one who influenced me to become part of a relational house church.

    The sheparding movement had already been crumbling by that time. And he would talk to me about simple home based fellowships.

    In his later years, one night a week Ern would gather a few of us in his home. I remember him sharing with us how he used to preach to hundreds of thousands in stadiums, but he enjoyed the simple fellowship with us in his living room – much more than preaching to hundreds of thousands.

  9. andrew in vegas September 10, 2004 at 5:55 pm

    I am struggling with the rage that is inside of me towards some organized religions. However, the house church movement has some of the same tendencies when it comes to controlling their subjects. I think that I have to remember to focus only on Father and leave the rest to him. I will not get anywhere with disdain for large churches. Thanks again for showing me his arms.

  10. Donna W. September 10, 2004 at 6:39 pm

    I am struggling with the rage that is inside of me towards some organized religions*****************************

    Hi Andrew,

    Give yourself time to heal. I understand your anger because I had to deal with it myself. I think it took me about 2 years to get over the anger that would well up in me at the drop of a hat when it came to organized religion. It will pass and there will come a day that you will have compassion for the people still bound to the system. I’ll be praying for you.

    God’s Best

    Donna W.

  11. andrew in vegas September 10, 2004 at 8:55 pm

    I am struggling with the rage that is inside of me towards some organized religions. However, the house church movement has some of the same tendencies when it comes to controlling their subjects. I think that I have to remember to focus only on Father and leave the rest to him. I will not get anywhere with disdain for large churches. Thanks again for showing me his arms.

  12. Donna W. September 10, 2004 at 9:39 pm

    I am struggling with the rage that is inside of me towards some organized religions*****************************

    Hi Andrew,

    Give yourself time to heal. I understand your anger because I had to deal with it myself. I think it took me about 2 years to get over the anger that would well up in me at the drop of a hat when it came to organized religion. It will pass and there will come a day that you will have compassion for the people still bound to the system. I’ll be praying for you.

    God’s Best

    Donna W.

  13. Doug Guilford February 9, 2005 at 2:32 am

    I was involved in the "discipleship movement" from the early 70’s until it ultimately dissolved, culminating with Bob Mumford’s letter of apology. The most accurate discription of what took place from my perspective is what began in the Spirit ended up in the flesh. I took part in various conferences and the Presence of God, the love for each other, the level of committment, and the depth of the teaching were unprecedented and unduplicated even to this day. Gods fingerprints on that movement were unmistakeable. I do not pretend to know all the reasons for it coming apart as it obviously did and the level of disallusionment and bitterness among loving people has created a grief in my life that I don’t think will pass. I have seen many "men of God" whose lives have been virtually distroyed. Others who have continued in ministry and have in the past preached the message of "the kingdom of God" and the" powers of the age to come" gravitate to a kind of intellectual ascent to the Word of God. The word that keeps gnawing at my spirit is presumption. The lack of deep seeded humility in Gods leaders as well as a pseudo-biblical approach to church life in this country will keep us from any kind of new-testament christian experience and locked into "cultural christianity" from which apart from an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit we will not escape.

  14. Doug Guilford February 9, 2005 at 5:32 am

    I was involved in the "discipleship movement" from the early 70’s until it ultimately dissolved, culminating with Bob Mumford’s letter of apology. The most accurate discription of what took place from my perspective is what began in the Spirit ended up in the flesh. I took part in various conferences and the Presence of God, the love for each other, the level of committment, and the depth of the teaching were unprecedented and unduplicated even to this day. Gods fingerprints on that movement were unmistakeable. I do not pretend to know all the reasons for it coming apart as it obviously did and the level of disallusionment and bitterness among loving people has created a grief in my life that I don’t think will pass. I have seen many "men of God" whose lives have been virtually distroyed. Others who have continued in ministry and have in the past preached the message of "the kingdom of God" and the" powers of the age to come" gravitate to a kind of intellectual ascent to the Word of God. The word that keeps gnawing at my spirit is presumption. The lack of deep seeded humility in Gods leaders as well as a pseudo-biblical approach to church life in this country will keep us from any kind of new-testament christian experience and locked into "cultural christianity" from which apart from an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit we will not escape.

  15. deb e. February 13, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    I grew up in and under a church oranized through the sheparding movement. It was a very difficult time. Especially being saved shortly before entering into a new church experience. The church finally was blown apart because even though the men were misgided and mislead God ultimately was in control. The main leadership kept the church base open to the phrophets in the church and after time there was a constant echo among them this structure was wrong. The chuch finally dispearsed.After I went forward with my family I had to heal and relearn alot of things but I did recieve a wealth of bible knowledge and faith in action during my time with the church, after and to this day. God always triumps.

  16. deb e. February 13, 2005 at 8:50 pm

    I grew up in and under a church oranized through the sheparding movement. It was a very difficult time. Especially being saved shortly before entering into a new church experience. The church finally was blown apart because even though the men were misgided and mislead God ultimately was in control. The main leadership kept the church base open to the phrophets in the church and after time there was a constant echo among them this structure was wrong. The chuch finally dispearsed.After I went forward with my family I had to heal and relearn alot of things but I did recieve a wealth of bible knowledge and faith in action during my time with the church, after and to this day. God always triumps.

  17. Jann R. April 15, 2005 at 2:14 pm

    I read the book because I am one of the casualties of this terrible, ungodly movement. I was prepared to be fairly angry reading the book but low and behold, it provided a healing and a peace that I was unprepared for. I even found myself forgiving (finally) the four men who propegated such crap.

    The one thing that none of the books on the so-called Sheparding movement talk about was the rampant misogyny. I learned that as a woman, I was really just a tad bit better than a pet lizard.

    It was a cult, pure and simple. With all of this said, I am grateful in some ways for the experience because I am now ULTLA sensitive to any misuse of church authority. And it drove me to find a deeper walk with my Lord because I got real desperate with all of the "things" that we were suppose to do, say, act, and be.

    Everyday now, I revel in the freedom that Jesus Christ has given me. And I know that our God truly is an awesome God.

  18. Jann R. April 15, 2005 at 5:14 pm

    I read the book because I am one of the casualties of this terrible, ungodly movement. I was prepared to be fairly angry reading the book but low and behold, it provided a healing and a peace that I was unprepared for. I even found myself forgiving (finally) the four men who propegated such crap.

    The one thing that none of the books on the so-called Sheparding movement talk about was the rampant misogyny. I learned that as a woman, I was really just a tad bit better than a pet lizard.

    It was a cult, pure and simple. With all of this said, I am grateful in some ways for the experience because I am now ULTLA sensitive to any misuse of church authority. And it drove me to find a deeper walk with my Lord because I got real desperate with all of the "things" that we were suppose to do, say, act, and be.

    Everyday now, I revel in the freedom that Jesus Christ has given me. And I know that our God truly is an awesome God.

  19. Steve September 15, 2005 at 8:54 pm

    I got saved in 1974 during the tail end of the Jesus movement.Lonnie Frisbee had started a Church in Santa Cruz and people were getting saved,signs and wonders were happening. Eventually we ended up going through Shepherding,I remember hearing Bob Mumford speak numerous times along with Dick Keyes. I remember the Holy Spirit was present at those meetings in a mighty way.Was God in it? I still to this day beleive that God gave Bob Mumford a hard word to bring to the Body of Christ…it was decipleship and yet its expression as a practical outworking became shepherding.Shepherding took on many different faces and applications. Looking back though what it brought forth as fruit was bondage and spiritual slavery. It became a legalistic man made system which choked out the work of the Holy Spirit.I know because it happened to me. I was there at its begining and I was there at its end within our church. I have thought about it a lot since those days and I believe I was spiritually abused. I beleive many people naively went into it with trust eventually got hurt. Words like covering and being committed became over emphasized and thier implication went deep into the heart of man…rather than God’s heart. Undershepherds were given people to desciple and they were measured by how there sheep acted,so men were trying to make it happen. I remember questioning my shepherd and he said if he spoke into my life

    and it was wrong I should just obey..and God would make it right. Well needless to say eventually the fruit of it became manifest and it was exposed for what it really was…a work of man. The Lord brought me back and I was lead over and over to the Gospels to see what Jesus was really like. It was so evident He wasnt like that…He was loving and forgiving. My heart goes out to anyone who went through shepherding and I hope if your out there and hurting..youll cast it upon the Good Shepherd and allow Him to minister to you…Lord Bless You…

  20. Steve September 15, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    I got saved in 1974 during the tail end of the Jesus movement.Lonnie Frisbee had started a Church in Santa Cruz and people were getting saved,signs and wonders were happening. Eventually we ended up going through Shepherding,I remember hearing Bob Mumford speak numerous times along with Dick Keyes. I remember the Holy Spirit was present at those meetings in a mighty way.Was God in it? I still to this day beleive that God gave Bob Mumford a hard word to bring to the Body of Christ…it was decipleship and yet its expression as a practical outworking became shepherding.Shepherding took on many different faces and applications. Looking back though what it brought forth as fruit was bondage and spiritual slavery. It became a legalistic man made system which choked out the work of the Holy Spirit.I know because it happened to me. I was there at its begining and I was there at its end within our church. I have thought about it a lot since those days and I believe I was spiritually abused. I beleive many people naively went into it with trust eventually got hurt. Words like covering and being committed became over emphasized and thier implication went deep into the heart of man…rather than God’s heart. Undershepherds were given people to desciple and they were measured by how there sheep acted,so men were trying to make it happen. I remember questioning my shepherd and he said if he spoke into my life

    and it was wrong I should just obey..and God would make it right. Well needless to say eventually the fruit of it became manifest and it was exposed for what it really was…a work of man. The Lord brought me back and I was lead over and over to the Gospels to see what Jesus was really like. It was so evident He wasnt like that…He was loving and forgiving. My heart goes out to anyone who went through shepherding and I hope if your out there and hurting..youll cast it upon the Good Shepherd and allow Him to minister to you…Lord Bless You…

  21. Karen B. October 4, 2005 at 5:27 am

    Tho I was not completely controlled by the shepherding movement, our church did adopt the covering doctrine, which many times put my head in a spin as I tried and tried to see it in the Scriptures. We were also told as sheep that we needed to be submissive to the church authorities and any questioning was regarded as a spirit of rebellion and on the road to being a heretic.

    My sister was more deeply involved in her church, and the shepherding movement for about 10 years. The end result was her family leaving the church, and they were accused of breaking covenant and disfellowshipped.

    Only recent years has the Lord stirred me to start searching for answers concerning this subject. The magnitude of the influence again, brought a numbing and shocking response.. things that I felt were in the past had to be dealt with before I started receiving healing in the inner man from the Lord.

    Thanks to the Lord, and to all who are faithful to work and expose these types of abuses within the church of Jesus Christ. May any and all who have been abused, manipulated and controlled by such ungodly teachings remember the simple words of our Lord Jesus: "He who the Son sets free, is free indeed".

    May God’s grace be with you all,

    Karen

  22. Karen B. October 4, 2005 at 8:27 am

    Tho I was not completely controlled by the shepherding movement, our church did adopt the covering doctrine, which many times put my head in a spin as I tried and tried to see it in the Scriptures. We were also told as sheep that we needed to be submissive to the church authorities and any questioning was regarded as a spirit of rebellion and on the road to being a heretic.

    My sister was more deeply involved in her church, and the shepherding movement for about 10 years. The end result was her family leaving the church, and they were accused of breaking covenant and disfellowshipped.

    Only recent years has the Lord stirred me to start searching for answers concerning this subject. The magnitude of the influence again, brought a numbing and shocking response.. things that I felt were in the past had to be dealt with before I started receiving healing in the inner man from the Lord.

    Thanks to the Lord, and to all who are faithful to work and expose these types of abuses within the church of Jesus Christ. May any and all who have been abused, manipulated and controlled by such ungodly teachings remember the simple words of our Lord Jesus: "He who the Son sets free, is free indeed".

    May God’s grace be with you all,

    Karen

  23. ann November 16, 2005 at 8:44 pm

    I haven’t read the book but was interested to read the comments by those who had. I was in the movement from its beginnings. My husband and I married and stayed in it for 18 more years. The church we left was still promoting shepherding and very controlling. When we left about 5 years ago, we were shunned because we had "broken covenant" and our"church family" always shunned those who leave. it was painful but are now happy to learn that God’s heart for us is affirming, loving, and non-condemning. The gospel they teach is very man-centred and brings everyone under fear of disapproval from the leaders who have been put on a pedastal. Woe to anyone who dares to disagree with them!

  24. ann November 16, 2005 at 11:44 pm

    I haven’t read the book but was interested to read the comments by those who had. I was in the movement from its beginnings. My husband and I married and stayed in it for 18 more years. The church we left was still promoting shepherding and very controlling. When we left about 5 years ago, we were shunned because we had "broken covenant" and our"church family" always shunned those who leave. it was painful but are now happy to learn that God’s heart for us is affirming, loving, and non-condemning. The gospel they teach is very man-centred and brings everyone under fear of disapproval from the leaders who have been put on a pedastal. Woe to anyone who dares to disagree with them!

  25. Bill Vaughan August 10, 2006 at 11:23 am

    I want to thank many of you who have written a blog entry about your involvement in the sheparding movement. Having been one of many leaders in that movement, I would like to share my own personal testimony about the movement. Yes the movement started in the spirit, then the crazies got involved and thats when everything started to fall apart. The main teachers never intended for this to go the way it did. As things started to spin out of control they tried their best to contain the damage. But to no avail, they couldn’t. Loose cannons, spiritual sheriffs, lone rangers and immature pastors, evangalists and decons trample on this movement. On has to ask, how and why God the Father started this. One, the Jesus movement was turning into a Jesus Cult. Two the carasmatic movement was turning into a free for all love fest for the gifts and not God. Three, many churches were flooded with new christians who were running amuck causing a lot of problems. In essence the church was turned upside down and demoninational walls were breached. A lot of people were blessed and a lot were injured. The goats did a great job of trampling on the kingdom seed. No one can say for sure what brought the movement to an end. It just did. Lessons were learned and those who pressed on were greatly blessed. To those that were hurt and injured I would just like to say this, forgive those that injured you and move on. Remember that its your Father in heaven whom you keep your eyes on.

  26. Bill Vaughan August 10, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    I want to thank many of you who have written a blog entry about your involvement in the sheparding movement. Having been one of many leaders in that movement, I would like to share my own personal testimony about the movement. Yes the movement started in the spirit, then the crazies got involved and thats when everything started to fall apart. The main teachers never intended for this to go the way it did. As things started to spin out of control they tried their best to contain the damage. But to no avail, they couldn’t. Loose cannons, spiritual sheriffs, lone rangers and immature pastors, evangalists and decons trample on this movement. On has to ask, how and why God the Father started this. One, the Jesus movement was turning into a Jesus Cult. Two the carasmatic movement was turning into a free for all love fest for the gifts and not God. Three, many churches were flooded with new christians who were running amuck causing a lot of problems. In essence the church was turned upside down and demoninational walls were breached. A lot of people were blessed and a lot were injured. The goats did a great job of trampling on the kingdom seed. No one can say for sure what brought the movement to an end. It just did. Lessons were learned and those who pressed on were greatly blessed. To those that were hurt and injured I would just like to say this, forgive those that injured you and move on. Remember that its your Father in heaven whom you keep your eyes on.

  27. amy ferrill November 24, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    I was saved in Dick Key’s church in 1977 in Ft. Lauderdale. Through job changes, marriage etc., we were in 5 Covenant Churches and finally left 2 years ago. To say it almost destroyed me is an understatement. I am very angry and just started working with Bob & Judy Pardon at Meadowhaven in Lakeville MA. They do residential counseling for people coming out of abusive groups & cults. I highly recommend it!!! The strain on my marriage has been enormous. My marriage was based on the foundation of the Covenant Church and I’m not sure how we’ll be when I am finally healed. If the foundation was cracked at the beginning, it’s scary. Anyway, I’d love to chat with anyone from Dick’s church or any other Covenant Church.

  28. amy ferrill November 24, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    I was saved in Dick Key’s church in 1977 in Ft. Lauderdale. Through job changes, marriage etc., we were in 5 Covenant Churches and finally left 2 years ago. To say it almost destroyed me is an understatement. I am very angry and just started working with Bob & Judy Pardon at Meadowhaven in Lakeville MA. They do residential counseling for people coming out of abusive groups & cults. I highly recommend it!!! The strain on my marriage has been enormous. My marriage was based on the foundation of the Covenant Church and I’m not sure how we’ll be when I am finally healed. If the foundation was cracked at the beginning, it’s scary. Anyway, I’d love to chat with anyone from Dick’s church or any other Covenant Church.

  29. Janine Narol March 6, 2007 at 5:16 am

    Very interesting reading. I just happened to stumble across this page while surfing the net. During 1970 and 71, I lived in a Christian young people’s center in Haight-Ashbury called Clayton House headed by Dick Key. At the time, I guess you could say I was a seeker. In the past, I lived a godless and sinful life, so I was in pretty sad spiritual shape at the time. It might even be fair to say that I was “oppressed” by the devil.

    Clayton House taught sheparding principles, although I don’t remember them using the term at that time. I would say that this was at the beginning of the sheparding movement. It seemed as though there were many miracles that occurred there at that time. I, however even though I prayed and prayed, was unable to receive anything from God, including salvation. Eventually, frustrated with my lack of spiritual progress, after a number of attempts to cast the devil out of me, I was kicked out of the house.

    Now what happened thereafter is truly amazing. Within three days, on an airplane between San Francisco and Chicago, while praying to God, I was miraculously and wonderfully saved and delivered! Shortly after my conversion, I was reading a church bulletin (I wish I had kept a copy of it.) The words seemed to jump off the page. It read something to the effect, “I’ve done it this way so that you would know that it was My work in you, not the work of men.” I felt God speaking to my heart that (as odd as this may seem) He had withheld his saving grace from me until I left a ministry where men received too much glory!

    This was over 35 years ago. God is as real to now as He was then. After practicing law for over twenty years and actively serving God in evangelical churches, I retired. I now serve as missionary in Taiwan. Even though I was over 50 years old when I started my missionary work, God wonderfully gave me the grace to learn to speak, write and read Chinese. God is the greatest joy and strength in my life!

  30. Janine Narol March 6, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Very interesting reading. I just happened to stumble across this page while surfing the net. During 1970 and 71, I lived in a Christian young people’s center in Haight-Ashbury called Clayton House headed by Dick Key. At the time, I guess you could say I was a seeker. In the past, I lived a godless and sinful life, so I was in pretty sad spiritual shape at the time. It might even be fair to say that I was “oppressed” by the devil.

    Clayton House taught sheparding principles, although I don’t remember them using the term at that time. I would say that this was at the beginning of the sheparding movement. It seemed as though there were many miracles that occurred there at that time. I, however even though I prayed and prayed, was unable to receive anything from God, including salvation. Eventually, frustrated with my lack of spiritual progress, after a number of attempts to cast the devil out of me, I was kicked out of the house.

    Now what happened thereafter is truly amazing. Within three days, on an airplane between San Francisco and Chicago, while praying to God, I was miraculously and wonderfully saved and delivered! Shortly after my conversion, I was reading a church bulletin (I wish I had kept a copy of it.) The words seemed to jump off the page. It read something to the effect, “I’ve done it this way so that you would know that it was My work in you, not the work of men.” I felt God speaking to my heart that (as odd as this may seem) He had withheld his saving grace from me until I left a ministry where men received too much glory!

    This was over 35 years ago. God is as real to now as He was then. After practicing law for over twenty years and actively serving God in evangelical churches, I retired. I now serve as missionary in Taiwan. Even though I was over 50 years old when I started my missionary work, God wonderfully gave me the grace to learn to speak, write and read Chinese. God is the greatest joy and strength in my life!

  31. Jeff January 14, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    I haven’t read this book, I plan to, but won’t comment on the book specifically, I knew and know many people involved in this movement that had their lives ruined and I’ll comment briefly on that…

    1. It was a cult, pure and simple. Maybe it didn’t start out as one, but it sure turned into one. I had many friends in Mobile whose parents jumped right in the middle of this movement, some of the kids got involved, most did not. As far as the FLF is concerned, Mumford is the only one (that I know of that openly and fully repented of it), Simpson never repented, still practices a polished-up version of it at CCM as far as I can tell. Now, if you don’t think it’s a cult, read Steve’s testimony above, what his “shepherd” told him is straight out of Mormonism and every other cult, satan has no new tricks. And I know for a fact many of my friends and their parents were told the exact same thing to force them to submit.
    2. It was perpetuated by greed. The pyramid nature of the whole scheme reminded me of Amway and Herbalife. I knew people who were made shepherds (and called pastors) who had no more biblical understanding than your average burger-flipper, these people heaped ruin on the heads of their flock. Businesses collapsed, family fortunes were lost (by people who could not afford to lose these type things), families were irreparably broken all in the name of discipleship.
    3. All these folks who start out by saying, “I was in it, it was started in the Spirit, blah, blah, blah,” you’re in denial. Yes, some good came out of it, but I remember reading of Joseph being sold as a slave by his brothers, good came from that but it didn’t make his brothers or their actions any less evil. I was there at the beginning of this movement too. The Shepherding movement was driven into the ditch almost instantaneously, because of it’s potential for abuse. Why did it take years for those involved to see the abuses that my friends and I saw from the very beginning? They saw it, they were getting rich off of it and kept their mouths shut. Before you go defending this movement, pause and think of the families torn apart, the scripture twisting, the extra-scriptural legalism to which these vile “shepherds” subjected their “sheep,” and remember the FINAL warning given by our Lord in the Scriptures, Rev 22:18, 19, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

    Be very, very careful when embracing anything that departs so radically from the traditional faith that has been entrusted to us by our forefathers and our God.

    Strong words, spoken in love…

  32. Jeff January 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    I haven’t read this book, I plan to, but won’t comment on the book specifically, I knew and know many people involved in this movement that had their lives ruined and I’ll comment briefly on that…

    1. It was a cult, pure and simple. Maybe it didn’t start out as one, but it sure turned into one. I had many friends in Mobile whose parents jumped right in the middle of this movement, some of the kids got involved, most did not. As far as the FLF is concerned, Mumford is the only one (that I know of that openly and fully repented of it), Simpson never repented, still practices a polished-up version of it at CCM as far as I can tell. Now, if you don’t think it’s a cult, read Steve’s testimony above, what his “shepherd” told him is straight out of Mormonism and every other cult, satan has no new tricks. And I know for a fact many of my friends and their parents were told the exact same thing to force them to submit.
    2. It was perpetuated by greed. The pyramid nature of the whole scheme reminded me of Amway and Herbalife. I knew people who were made shepherds (and called pastors) who had no more biblical understanding than your average burger-flipper, these people heaped ruin on the heads of their flock. Businesses collapsed, family fortunes were lost (by people who could not afford to lose these type things), families were irreparably broken all in the name of discipleship.
    3. All these folks who start out by saying, “I was in it, it was started in the Spirit, blah, blah, blah,” you’re in denial. Yes, some good came out of it, but I remember reading of Joseph being sold as a slave by his brothers, good came from that but it didn’t make his brothers or their actions any less evil. I was there at the beginning of this movement too. The Shepherding movement was driven into the ditch almost instantaneously, because of it’s potential for abuse. Why did it take years for those involved to see the abuses that my friends and I saw from the very beginning? They saw it, they were getting rich off of it and kept their mouths shut. Before you go defending this movement, pause and think of the families torn apart, the scripture twisting, the extra-scriptural legalism to which these vile “shepherds” subjected their “sheep,” and remember the FINAL warning given by our Lord in the Scriptures, Rev 22:18, 19, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

    Be very, very careful when embracing anything that departs so radically from the traditional faith that has been entrusted to us by our forefathers and our God.

    Strong words, spoken in love…

  33. Phoebe June 18, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Well, I’m sad to say this movement has not gone away, it just went underground for a while, then reemerged with different leaders under different names. I left a ministry that had about 70 churches nationwide. They are heavy into shepherding, but it is just now being made known. They’ve been around for 20 years or more, but people didn’t talk. A blog that came out last Nov blew the lid off, and now hundreds of people within this one organization are coming forward, myself included.

    A friend of mine had heard of this movement, and it sounded so similar to what I was seeing go on, I checked it out. Sure enough, it matches pefectly. I do see more of this happening in calvinistic or reformed groups now, not sure if that was the case before, I think it was primarily charismatic before. But the church I was part of was “reformed charismatic” – so I think this one organization has done more to bridge the gap more than any other, bringing some of the shepherding teachings over into mainstream reformed churches. It’s really frustrating to watch. And for some reason the older reformed guys like Piper, Mohler, MacArthur, Sproul, Duncan that have been around a while don’t have a clue apparently to the teachings going on inside this organization that they partner with.

    I’m going to get this book. thanks for the post and the blog…

  34. Phoebe June 18, 2008 at 3:06 am

    Well, I’m sad to say this movement has not gone away, it just went underground for a while, then reemerged with different leaders under different names. I left a ministry that had about 70 churches nationwide. They are heavy into shepherding, but it is just now being made known. They’ve been around for 20 years or more, but people didn’t talk. A blog that came out last Nov blew the lid off, and now hundreds of people within this one organization are coming forward, myself included.

    A friend of mine had heard of this movement, and it sounded so similar to what I was seeing go on, I checked it out. Sure enough, it matches pefectly. I do see more of this happening in calvinistic or reformed groups now, not sure if that was the case before, I think it was primarily charismatic before. But the church I was part of was “reformed charismatic” – so I think this one organization has done more to bridge the gap more than any other, bringing some of the shepherding teachings over into mainstream reformed churches. It’s really frustrating to watch. And for some reason the older reformed guys like Piper, Mohler, MacArthur, Sproul, Duncan that have been around a while don’t have a clue apparently to the teachings going on inside this organization that they partner with.

    I’m going to get this book. thanks for the post and the blog…

  35. Wayne June 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Error always has a way of resurfacing over and over again, especially when it has to do with well-intentioned men and women taking control of other people’s lives…

    Wayne

  36. Wayne June 19, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Error always has a way of resurfacing over and over again, especially when it has to do with well-intentioned men and women taking control of other people’s lives…

    Wayne

  37. Chelsea July 6, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I never knew what to call it. It was 1976 and I was 5 years old when my Mom took my brother and I to Christian Life Center in [city withheld]. What followed was 19 years of severe spiritual and emotional abuse all divinely sanctioned. We weren’t allowed to go to school, couldn’t do anything without approval and there was constant degradation of your spirit, you were unworthy and there was always some hidden sin that was going to take you straight to hell. [name withheld] was the ring leader-so many stories I could tell-so many stories I have blocked out. I am 37, have been out of the church since 1995, but would really like to hear from others who went there (most everyone left a couple years after I did, no one really talks about it or keeps in touch). I would like to redefine my childhood from these kind of foggy internalized memories of abuse to specific details that I can acknowledge and file under a movement and a person who was seriously mislead. Personally I am fine, taught myself, got my GED and three degrees and am a productive member of society-am no longer a Christian though.

  38. Chelsea July 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I never knew what to call it. It was 1976 and I was 5 years old when my Mom took my brother and I to Christian Life Center in [city withheld]. What followed was 19 years of severe spiritual and emotional abuse all divinely sanctioned. We weren’t allowed to go to school, couldn’t do anything without approval and there was constant degradation of your spirit, you were unworthy and there was always some hidden sin that was going to take you straight to hell. [name withheld] was the ring leader-so many stories I could tell-so many stories I have blocked out. I am 37, have been out of the church since 1995, but would really like to hear from others who went there (most everyone left a couple years after I did, no one really talks about it or keeps in touch). I would like to redefine my childhood from these kind of foggy internalized memories of abuse to specific details that I can acknowledge and file under a movement and a person who was seriously mislead. Personally I am fine, taught myself, got my GED and three degrees and am a productive member of society-am no longer a Christian though.

  39. Barbara Quinn December 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Dear friends,
    I really appreciate the honesty and frankness of those who shared their thoughts about the book, ( I haven’t read it yet ), and some of their painfully unpleasant experiences in church movements where authority was misused and relationships ruptured. My formerly awesomely anointed Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group, which I left in obedience to the lord, over eleven years ago, had some leanings toward heavy handed leadership, but as long as the leaders were truly yielded to the lord in obedience from the heart,and walking in love toward the group members, the Lord was able to protect them from ‘crossing the line”. They got into trouble later, and as I looked back and journalled much about it, also consulted the lord and the word which I love, I saw how authoritarianism had really very subtly crept in, and idols got set up in their hearts. We all loved them and were very patient with them, but they eventually completely stopped listening to the people. they also became resentful and rebellious in attitude toward the pastors and the spiritual authority in their church. I believe unforgiveness and bitterness set in, and they as leaders, became a cliquish group unto themselves, stopped listening to us and God, and actually became insulated from being able to see reality of what was going on. And four of the top leaders sadly became the very ones whose control basically grieved the Holy Spirit so much that the group lost the corporate anointing. In obedience I remained for my final year with the group. And that last year was so painful, knowing how the lord was being grieved. Although I did not defend myself re the snide comments, the sarcastic remarks, the ostracization, that came to me from them, I did speak up for the Holy Spirit, and what came against me I would not wish on my worst enemy. The group I left, bore little resemblance to the one I had joined six years before. I nearly left my church altogether, but my wonderful husband pleaded with me to not leave. I am now a very fulfilled believer in my church. The leaders I forgave, were all removed by the lord. And renewal in my church, in its healthier form goes on around the world. God is faithful. It took me some time to realize the truth and reality, that some shepherding and covering teaching, had crept into that prayer group, and that in itself was a spiritual time bomb just waiting to be used by the enemy, to ruin the community. The spiritual abuse I suffered near the end of my time in the group, was so bad that my physical health was seriously affected. Although I have recovered a lot today, I still bear the marks of a believer who loved Jesus enough, and loved people enough, to stand up for what I believed to be important at the time. I have never backed down, and I never will. forgive? yes! give in to selfishness and abuse of authority, hypocracy, and ignorance, and lack of charity? No! I think besides obedience to Jesus, and forgiveness, that standing up for what we believe to be the right and good and christian thing to do, somehow protects us from worse things happening to us, when and after we go through these kinds of spiritual nightmares. The Lord has invested much more of His wisdom and discernment into my life. I am so grateful to Him. He is my defender and my best friend. I hope to be used by God to help, defend, protect, and bring healing to, others who have been damaged by this kind of distorted christianty. I greatly respect the sincerity and honesty of those who shared. Only those who have gone through this, can know what it was like. those who poo poo it, don’t know what they’re talking about. because they’ve never walked in our shoes. Peace, blessings, and more healing, to everyone . Barbara Quinn.

  40. Barbara Quinn December 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Dear friends,
    I really appreciate the honesty and frankness of those who shared their thoughts about the book, ( I haven’t read it yet ), and some of their painfully unpleasant experiences in church movements where authority was misused and relationships ruptured. My formerly awesomely anointed Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group, which I left in obedience to the lord, over eleven years ago, had some leanings toward heavy handed leadership, but as long as the leaders were truly yielded to the lord in obedience from the heart,and walking in love toward the group members, the Lord was able to protect them from ‘crossing the line”. They got into trouble later, and as I looked back and journalled much about it, also consulted the lord and the word which I love, I saw how authoritarianism had really very subtly crept in, and idols got set up in their hearts. We all loved them and were very patient with them, but they eventually completely stopped listening to the people. they also became resentful and rebellious in attitude toward the pastors and the spiritual authority in their church. I believe unforgiveness and bitterness set in, and they as leaders, became a cliquish group unto themselves, stopped listening to us and God, and actually became insulated from being able to see reality of what was going on. And four of the top leaders sadly became the very ones whose control basically grieved the Holy Spirit so much that the group lost the corporate anointing. In obedience I remained for my final year with the group. And that last year was so painful, knowing how the lord was being grieved. Although I did not defend myself re the snide comments, the sarcastic remarks, the ostracization, that came to me from them, I did speak up for the Holy Spirit, and what came against me I would not wish on my worst enemy. The group I left, bore little resemblance to the one I had joined six years before. I nearly left my church altogether, but my wonderful husband pleaded with me to not leave. I am now a very fulfilled believer in my church. The leaders I forgave, were all removed by the lord. And renewal in my church, in its healthier form goes on around the world. God is faithful. It took me some time to realize the truth and reality, that some shepherding and covering teaching, had crept into that prayer group, and that in itself was a spiritual time bomb just waiting to be used by the enemy, to ruin the community. The spiritual abuse I suffered near the end of my time in the group, was so bad that my physical health was seriously affected. Although I have recovered a lot today, I still bear the marks of a believer who loved Jesus enough, and loved people enough, to stand up for what I believed to be important at the time. I have never backed down, and I never will. forgive? yes! give in to selfishness and abuse of authority, hypocracy, and ignorance, and lack of charity? No! I think besides obedience to Jesus, and forgiveness, that standing up for what we believe to be the right and good and christian thing to do, somehow protects us from worse things happening to us, when and after we go through these kinds of spiritual nightmares. The Lord has invested much more of His wisdom and discernment into my life. I am so grateful to Him. He is my defender and my best friend. I hope to be used by God to help, defend, protect, and bring healing to, others who have been damaged by this kind of distorted christianty. I greatly respect the sincerity and honesty of those who shared. Only those who have gone through this, can know what it was like. those who poo poo it, don’t know what they’re talking about. because they’ve never walked in our shoes. Peace, blessings, and more healing, to everyone . Barbara Quinn.

  41. Bill September 19, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Hi . . . I’m Bill . . . good to meet you . . . yes, there are “leaders” who will tell you to do what they say, even though they are wrong > I think of how in Galatians 2:11-13 we have how Peter had been eating with Gentile background Christians, and then Jewish background Christians came from James and Peter was afraid of what they would think of him eating with the Gentile believers; so he withdrew from the Christian Gentiles. And Paul says “even Barnabas” went along with this “hypocrisy”. So, here is an example of how a leader was wrong and others went along with him, but Paul, I understand, is showing it was wrong for Barnabas and others to go along with Peter while he was wrong.

    And we have 1 Kings 13:7-32 > “a man of God” was told not to eat or drink or stay in a certain area, but then an old prophet living in that area lied to the man, saying God told him to bring the man to eat and drink at the old prophet’s house. And the man of God went along with what the old prophet told him, though he had clearly been told not to eat or drink anywhere in that area where the old prophet was. Then the man was killed by a lion . . . after the old prophet was then used to tell him he would die for disobeying the LORD. The old prophet lied, then was also used to tell him he would die for going along with that old man’s lie.

    So, I “think” it is clear we must test and make sure with God about everything we do, no matter who is telling us what to do. We can personally check with God . . . at every moment, in His peace ruling in us (Colossians 3:15), to see what You really have us doing . . . at each moment with You > “according to His working which works in me mightily,” Paul says in Colossians 1:29. But we have, also > “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for our souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17) So, You, LORD, are able to personally lead each of us along with however You are leading a leader who You approve of > who is qualified according to 1 Timothy 3:1-10 and leads by example > “nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

    “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) So, we are commanded to test “all” things > do we test with our own ability, or do we test with God? Well . . . if we are to do what is “good”, this would be what *You*, God, know You want in each situation > so, then, I’d say we need to be able to personally test with You. And we have what happened with the Jewish leaders when they judged by what looked like *obvious* evidence, “but they did not ask counsel of the LORD,” we have in Joshua 9:14 > you might look at Joshua chapter nine. God bless you.

    But can we efficiently make sure with God about what to do at every moment? I offer > in God’s love, we are constantly in His leading, even with His own knowledge and good judgment > “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” (Philippians 1:9) In His own love, we have His stability, His leading, and His own beauty (1 Peter 3:4) so we are pleasing to You while we do all You please to share with us in the ruling of Your own perfect peace in our hearts > “‘Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'” (Matthew 11:29) So, we trust You to do this with us, please, and make sure we do not get in a wrong spirit, but are changed in our character so we are reliable and honest to sense and submit to You, please, in the name of Jesus Your Son we ask this and offer ourselves to You. Amen.

  42. Bill September 19, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Hi . . . I’m Bill . . . good to meet you . . . yes, there are “leaders” who will tell you to do what they say, even though they are wrong > I think of how in Galatians 2:11-13 we have how Peter had been eating with Gentile background Christians, and then Jewish background Christians came from James and Peter was afraid of what they would think of him eating with the Gentile believers; so he withdrew from the Christian Gentiles. And Paul says “even Barnabas” went along with this “hypocrisy”. So, here is an example of how a leader was wrong and others went along with him, but Paul, I understand, is showing it was wrong for Barnabas and others to go along with Peter while he was wrong.

    And we have 1 Kings 13:7-32 > “a man of God” was told not to eat or drink or stay in a certain area, but then an old prophet living in that area lied to the man, saying God told him to bring the man to eat and drink at the old prophet’s house. And the man of God went along with what the old prophet told him, though he had clearly been told not to eat or drink anywhere in that area where the old prophet was. Then the man was killed by a lion . . . after the old prophet was then used to tell him he would die for disobeying the LORD. The old prophet lied, then was also used to tell him he would die for going along with that old man’s lie.

    So, I “think” it is clear we must test and make sure with God about everything we do, no matter who is telling us what to do. We can personally check with God . . . at every moment, in His peace ruling in us (Colossians 3:15), to see what You really have us doing . . . at each moment with You > “according to His working which works in me mightily,” Paul says in Colossians 1:29. But we have, also > “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for our souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17) So, You, LORD, are able to personally lead each of us along with however You are leading a leader who You approve of > who is qualified according to 1 Timothy 3:1-10 and leads by example > “nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

    “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) So, we are commanded to test “all” things > do we test with our own ability, or do we test with God? Well . . . if we are to do what is “good”, this would be what *You*, God, know You want in each situation > so, then, I’d say we need to be able to personally test with You. And we have what happened with the Jewish leaders when they judged by what looked like *obvious* evidence, “but they did not ask counsel of the LORD,” we have in Joshua 9:14 > you might look at Joshua chapter nine. God bless you.

    But can we efficiently make sure with God about what to do at every moment? I offer > in God’s love, we are constantly in His leading, even with His own knowledge and good judgment > “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” (Philippians 1:9) In His own love, we have His stability, His leading, and His own beauty (1 Peter 3:4) so we are pleasing to You while we do all You please to share with us in the ruling of Your own perfect peace in our hearts > “‘Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'” (Matthew 11:29) So, we trust You to do this with us, please, and make sure we do not get in a wrong spirit, but are changed in our character so we are reliable and honest to sense and submit to You, please, in the name of Jesus Your Son we ask this and offer ourselves to You. Amen.

  43. Bill September 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    whoops . . . in the above post, I wrote, in a quote of Hebrews 13:17 . . . “they watch out for our souls” > this should be “they watch out for your souls” . . . with “your” instead of “our” > if you can just edit it, please do; or put in this correction notice, if you please. Thanks . . .

  44. Bill September 22, 2009 at 12:16 am

    whoops . . . in the above post, I wrote, in a quote of Hebrews 13:17 . . . “they watch out for our souls” > this should be “they watch out for your souls” . . . with “your” instead of “our” > if you can just edit it, please do; or put in this correction notice, if you please. Thanks . . .

  45. Mike Hiestand June 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I just found this blog while i googled Clayton house. Clayton house was founded by dick key in 1967. he had a burden for the hippies of haight-ashbury and this is where the Clayton house was located. I came to the house in December of 1967. dick prayed with me to receive my salvation there. I stayed until 1971. 3years later when the covering teaching was being taught i once again aligned myself to dick and moved to Florida to be covered by him in shepherding. i lived with his family for several years as a servant looking after his children so he could travel the world with Mumford as he proclaimed the message of the big 5. it was a revolution in every sense. God shut it down because it was not of Him. I believe I was the poster child of what it meant to truly give up your life and be a servant within the structure. I really believed that i was being matured for the kingdom and would one day have sheep of my own. I thank God that it never happened. What did happen was i lost my marriage and became a casualty. Spiritual abuse took its toll on me. even after 30 years of being free i long for the closness we all had. i feel i still have a warped view of community life and church has been a struggle, if it wasn’t for a study diet of solid bible teaching i fear i would sink into total despair because it all seemed so real back then. I talk with the Lord often about these matters and He always comforts me and encourages me to stay the course. I would love to hear from anyone who knew me back then.

  46. Mike Hiestand June 1, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I just found this blog while i googled Clayton house. Clayton house was founded by dick key in 1967. he had a burden for the hippies of haight-ashbury and this is where the Clayton house was located. I came to the house in December of 1967. dick prayed with me to receive my salvation there. I stayed until 1971. 3years later when the covering teaching was being taught i once again aligned myself to dick and moved to Florida to be covered by him in shepherding. i lived with his family for several years as a servant looking after his children so he could travel the world with Mumford as he proclaimed the message of the big 5. it was a revolution in every sense. God shut it down because it was not of Him. I believe I was the poster child of what it meant to truly give up your life and be a servant within the structure. I really believed that i was being matured for the kingdom and would one day have sheep of my own. I thank God that it never happened. What did happen was i lost my marriage and became a casualty. Spiritual abuse took its toll on me. even after 30 years of being free i long for the closness we all had. i feel i still have a warped view of community life and church has been a struggle, if it wasn’t for a study diet of solid bible teaching i fear i would sink into total despair because it all seemed so real back then. I talk with the Lord often about these matters and He always comforts me and encourages me to stay the course. I would love to hear from anyone who knew me back then.

  47. Ellen Scott August 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

    This is in response to Janine Narol’s posting-I remember you! I was in the Clayton House group when the “exorcisms” were happening. I was so young, just 18. I came out of a broken home and needed that sense of family. I was going to college in SF, but dropped out to join the group. I didn’t really understand what was happening in the house. I had never used drugs, nor had I been promiscuous. A relatively new Christian, I just wanted to deepen my relationship with Christ.

    I have had many years to rethink my experiences in SF. Clayton House offers me bitter-sweet memories that are still vivid for being so long ago. There were such precious people there who truly wanted to serve the Lord. Most of those in leadership really had the right motivation, but used inappropriate methods. Scripture was taken out of context, and even the true meaning altered to fit the needs of the speaker. Like so many cults Clayton House believed they were the ONLY true church. I was actually scared to death to leave the premises! I thought each time I walked out the door I was possibly walking into Satan’s lair.

    Ultimately, the leaders’ motivation to serve the Lord proved strong. When Bob, one of the main leaders, demonstrated the errors of the group to Dick Keys and the rest of the leadership, the church quickly disbanded. We all went our own ways, and I have wondered often where each person went, and how each has managed all these years.

    As in so many of the comments mentioned above, God had a purpose for this experience. I too am very sensitive to the correct use of authority in the church. I have learned the difference between “religion” (works to earn my way to the top) and “faith” (service as a result of gratitude for His sacrifice). I have been blessed with a strong Christian husband who daily exhibits Christ-like love towards others. If not for Clayton House and those I met there, my life would probably have been a different story. Only the Lord knows for sure. I am grateful for the experiences, even if the movement itself was wrong.

  48. Ellen Scott August 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

    This is in response to Janine Narol’s posting-I remember you! I was in the Clayton House group when the “exorcisms” were happening. I was so young, just 18. I came out of a broken home and needed that sense of family. I was going to college in SF, but dropped out to join the group. I didn’t really understand what was happening in the house. I had never used drugs, nor had I been promiscuous. A relatively new Christian, I just wanted to deepen my relationship with Christ.

    I have had many years to rethink my experiences in SF. Clayton House offers me bitter-sweet memories that are still vivid for being so long ago. There were such precious people there who truly wanted to serve the Lord. Most of those in leadership really had the right motivation, but used inappropriate methods. Scripture was taken out of context, and even the true meaning altered to fit the needs of the speaker. Like so many cults Clayton House believed they were the ONLY true church. I was actually scared to death to leave the premises! I thought each time I walked out the door I was possibly walking into Satan’s lair.

    Ultimately, the leaders’ motivation to serve the Lord proved strong. When Bob, one of the main leaders, demonstrated the errors of the group to Dick Keys and the rest of the leadership, the church quickly disbanded. We all went our own ways, and I have wondered often where each person went, and how each has managed all these years.

    As in so many of the comments mentioned above, God had a purpose for this experience. I too am very sensitive to the correct use of authority in the church. I have learned the difference between “religion” (works to earn my way to the top) and “faith” (service as a result of gratitude for His sacrifice). I have been blessed with a strong Christian husband who daily exhibits Christ-like love towards others. If not for Clayton House and those I met there, my life would probably have been a different story. Only the Lord knows for sure. I am grateful for the experiences, even if the movement itself was wrong.

  49. Gail Crandall July 26, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Hello, I was also a member of the Clayton House, from its beginnings in 1969-1971 plus. I was a Christian before Clayton House started and though I participated in some things and followed the leader’s advice I grew to know that the leader was deceived. He had told us early on that he was the 14th Apostle. I often doubted the things he said and I didn’t believe in all the so called “miracles” Jesus doesn’t have to do tricks to get us to follow him. I remember one time we were told Jesus was filling our teeth – or could. I remember this clearly! I spoke up about my doubts. I feel very sorry for those who were trying to serve the Lord there at Clayton House to have been told they were not spiritual enough because they didn’t have or see miracles. So sorry for my part. I thank God that I was also “kicked out” because I wasn’t following the teachings and had lost sight of Jesus Christ. I agreed with them, I had lost sight of Jesus because of the cloudiness of false doctrine. I continued to go to Evangelical churches and didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I had some trouble times on and off but went to school, got my RN and practiced for 20 years. I have had cancer and lung disease and have truly enjoyed the mercy of God. The main thing about Clayton House and also I believe the Shepherding movement is that there is a teaching that an individual who is saved may not go directly to the Lord or be related to Him, but goes through the leader or other higher up person. Remind you of anything? And oh Ellen, I remember you!

  50. Gail Crandall July 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Hello, I was also a member of the Clayton House, from its beginnings in 1969-1971 plus. I was a Christian before Clayton House started and though I participated in some things and followed the leader’s advice I grew to know that the leader was deceived. He had told us early on that he was the 14th Apostle. I often doubted the things he said and I didn’t believe in all the so called “miracles” Jesus doesn’t have to do tricks to get us to follow him. I remember one time we were told Jesus was filling our teeth – or could. I remember this clearly! I spoke up about my doubts. I feel very sorry for those who were trying to serve the Lord there at Clayton House to have been told they were not spiritual enough because they didn’t have or see miracles. So sorry for my part. I thank God that I was also “kicked out” because I wasn’t following the teachings and had lost sight of Jesus Christ. I agreed with them, I had lost sight of Jesus because of the cloudiness of false doctrine. I continued to go to Evangelical churches and didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I had some trouble times on and off but went to school, got my RN and practiced for 20 years. I have had cancer and lung disease and have truly enjoyed the mercy of God. The main thing about Clayton House and also I believe the Shepherding movement is that there is a teaching that an individual who is saved may not go directly to the Lord or be related to Him, but goes through the leader or other higher up person. Remind you of anything? And oh Ellen, I remember you!

  51. Nick Harrison July 26, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Janine, Mike, Ellen, and Gail, I remember you all very, very well. I was somewhat of a latecomer to Clayton House, but I was there at the end. I’m blessed in that the good memories I have outweigh the bad ones toward the end. I’d love to be in touch with others who were part of Clayton House. I’ve been in touch with a few over the years. I wonder if a Clayton House Facebook page was started, would anyone come?

  52. Nick Harrison July 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Janine, Mike, Ellen, and Gail, I remember you all very, very well. I was somewhat of a latecomer to Clayton House, but I was there at the end. I’m blessed in that the good memories I have outweigh the bad ones toward the end. I’d love to be in touch with others who were part of Clayton House. I’ve been in touch with a few over the years. I wonder if a Clayton House Facebook page was started, would anyone come?

  53. Gail Crandall October 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Hi, I’ve left a reply before about Clayton House. I would like to correspond with anyone who was a member or any who have questions. Please put your name in subject line. My email is: Crandalltucson@aol.com. It would be a pleasure to correspond.
    Gail Crandall

  54. Gail Crandall October 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Hi, I’ve left a reply before about Clayton House. I would like to correspond with anyone who was a member or any who have questions. Please put your name in subject line. My email is: Crandalltucson@aol.com. It would be a pleasure to correspond.
    Gail Crandall

  55. Esther August 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Hi, does anyone remember my mother, Linda Muir?  She lived in Clayton house in the late 1960’s.  She had bright red hair and was from Texas.  She always talks about Clayton house and how it formed her Christian identity in a positive way. 

  56. Esther August 29, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Hi, does anyone remember my mother, Linda Muir?  She lived in Clayton house in the late 1960’s.  She had bright red hair and was from Texas.  She always talks about Clayton house and how it formed her Christian identity in a positive way. 

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