Posted by: celticanglican | November 12, 2011

Tips for Welcoming Ex-Cult Members Into Your Church

Ex cult members should be warmly welcomed, but should not be pressured into getting involved in activities, especially classes or home groups. Some have gone through upsetting ordeals in these contexts. Pushing someone into getting involved too quickly could very well result in pushing him or her out the door. Members should be periodically reminded of this, especially those in welcoming/newcomer ministry.

Even coming to church at all is a major step for those who have been badly hurt emotionally.

Some aspects of worship can be “trigger” points. Being asked to come forward to be prayed for or welcomed may be too much for some.

If your church practices healing, an explanation of how Anglicans and other liturgical Christians understand healing may help.

Providing as much honest information as possible about your denomination or tradition’s history will help.  Newcomers from abusive Bible-based groups are coming from a strong ‘the one true church” background and may be wary of anything that hints that your church also expresses this belief.

Some may need some time to adjust to believing in entirely different doctrines. Appropriate space should be given for them to explore and learn.

Providing an “instructed” service (where the clergy or a member of the
congregation explain each part of the service for visitors) or a detailed booklet about your order of service may help.

There may be some initial awkwardness because of the radical differences between liturgical worship and worship in some other traditions. Newcomers should not feel obligated to take part in any part of the service that they’re uncomfortable with.

Explanations of exactly how your congregation receives communion and who may receive should also be included.

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Responses

  1. You are so right; thank you for saying this. It’s not well-known in most churches, and scares us off. God bless you!

    • You’re most welcome. Although I’ve never been in that particular situation, I know others who have been. My advice is kind of a compilation of what I’ve read from others, so anyone who wants to is free to add their own comments about what does and doesn’t work.


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