My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Joystones Fellowship, Lake Forest, CA, USA
Unfortunately, it has taken me years to see and admit how I was living in unhealthy "codependent" relationships with Joystones Fellowship and it's head leadership. This is my story.
I joined the group when I was in a very needy place in life, and it felt so good to get the attention I always wanted. Sadly my desperate need for love and support clouded my ability to see the warning signs every time they emerged, and I didn't have the strength or courage to speak up when I needed to, for I knew I would potentially lose the benefits and status as on of the "favorites", which I secretly enjoyed.
The warning signs were there all along, but I didn't want to admit them to myself for fear of losing all my close relationships, and my own spiritual pride. I saw how others were vilified behind their backs when they decided to leave for whatever reason, and I couldn't face losing my new family. The story when someone left the church was always the same - and one-sided. The church leadership was always the victim, and the member who left - were the perpetrators at fault in some way or another (and often twisted spiritually to make them led by the devil). Sadly, I participated in this charade and drank the cool-aide. Never did I think I would be "that person who left", for I prided myself as being a favorite and loyal member who would never defect (the attitude of loyalty was encouraged and rewarded by leadership).
It wasn't until I was deep in this community when I realized there were some things going on I could no longer stand for, and I needed to leave - but was afraid of the cost. With this small church group, you are either all IN, or your are OUT. From my experience with others, if you made the decision to leave Joystones, you were treated like a rebellious castaway.
Sometimes it's hard to see the signs of codependency when you are in deep place of need in your life. The problem with Joystones leadership is they feed off people who need them- and draw them into becoming dependent on them for everything spiritually and emotionally. It is subtle and hard to see at first, but soon the signs of codependency are everywhere.
Be careful when leaders make there way into your life, and begin meddling with all your relationships - drawing you further away from your family and those you once cared for, and into the hands of their exclusive control. Sometimes it seems innocent, but it is often veiled, and you don't realize what is happening
Here is a good video that explains some of the errors of Joystones Fellowship:
Be careful with people who prophesy out of their imaginations.
Be careful with people you put themselves in a position where you need them to hear from God and make decisions for your life.
Be careful with people who meddle with your relationships, under the veil of spiritual growth.
Be careful with people who are operating from a place of spiritual pride and control, bringing attention to themselves (as having the real answers) instead of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who should get ALL the glory.
Be careful of leaders who have no real accountability over them and others who will call them out when they are out of line.
Be careful for those who subtly or overtly manipulate others, under the guise of spiritual growth...
... for these are all signs of spiritual abuse.
Gratefully God has helped me forgive and move on. He's been faithful to lead me into a new spiritual family - one who keeps Jesus where He wants to be and belongs - at the heart and center. And I pray for the others who remain that God may give them spiritual eyes to see, and a heart of courage to speak the truth in love.