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Change in Power Structure in Chicago 
19th-Mar-2006 10:41 pm
http://chicagoubf.org/view_updates.php?url=http://chicagoubf.org/bbs/view.php&id=recent_messages&no=32

“Times of transition are difficult. Changes in principles and styles of leadership affect all supporting members. As roles are defined and redefined, it is easy for anyone to feel unappreciated or ignored. Our church is experiencing this as we reorganize from a fellowship-oriented to a campus-oriented approach. During such times anyone can struggle with feelings of alienation which give rise to doubt…

…Jesus wants us to see that God is working according to the Scriptures. This is the best medicine to help us overcome doubt. To be quite honest, I have been troubled from time to time over the changes we are making. I don’t change easily. It took one year for me to adjust to having our main worship service at 11:00 a.m. instead of 3:00 p.m. So I kept saying, “Good afternoon” when it was really morning. Recently, I felt my head was spinning with change.”
Comments 
20th-Mar-2006 05:03 am (UTC)
Chicago UBF is changing from a fellowship-oriented to a campus-oriented approach. What does this mean? If anyone knows anything about this, please comment on it. Based on the message, some people do not seem to accept the change. This change seems to be a major change after John Jun took over the power. So he must be behind this change. With him, many Korean missionaries seem to be behind this change too since they are the majority in UBF. Since a structural change is the reflection of the change in power structure in organization, we could assume that this organizational change is the reorganization of power structure in Chicago.

What kind of power structure does the shift from a fellowship-oriented to a campus-oriented approach represent? When Samuel Lee was alive, with a fellowship-oriented approach firmly established, every fellowship leader reported to him directly. But with a campus-oriented approach, it is probable that a leader over a campus would be appointed and that leader reports to Jun directly while the fellowship leaders in the same campus report to the director of the campus. Does this mean that Jun is trying to split his power and share it with these campus directors? Who would be appointed to these positions? Probably mostly Korean missionaries. When Samuel Lee was alive, no Korean missionaries could share even small bit of his power. Everyone was Samuel Lee’s subordinate. Now that he is gone, probably many Korean missionaries and other long-time Chicago supporters are trying to get bits of Samuel Lee’s absolute power?

The author of the message seems to be concerned about those who are left out in sharing this absolute power. In UBF it is very common that many Korean missionaries brag about how much they have sacrificed to serve UBF and they insist that their sacrifices should be appreciated. It is likely that those who didn't get their shares of the power would be in doubt that all their sacrifices have come to nothing. Maybe Jun appointed those who are very loyal to him and have personal relationship with him to the directors' position instead of going by how much they contributed to the UBF work. And Jun is using the passage to justify his work in power reorganization. Is this the beginning of religious power struggle that has been observed throughout human history after the absolute power is removed?
21st-Mar-2006 01:39 am (UTC) - Jun Establishing His Power
Does this mean that Jun is trying to split his power and share it with these campus directors?

It is more likely that Jun is attempting to increase his power. If it is correct that Jun is giving the orders to change UBF's power structure, change the worship service time, and change from a 'grocery store to a supermarket,' Jun would only increase in power. The one who orders the change is the one who has the most power. Perhaps Jun wants UBF members to know that he is to be absolutely obeyed just as Samuel Lee was. Regardless of the cosmetic changes or statements of change, UBF leaders have always kept the spiritual order of absolute obedience to themselves.
21st-Mar-2006 04:49 pm (UTC) - Re: Jun Establishing His Power
According to a South American UBF chapter director, having John Jun attend a recent South American conference made him so excited that he felt that he was "dreaming". The UBF cult of personality continues.

In the early 90s I was sent to Korea to "scout out" two potential arranged marriage partners. The John Jun I saw there had meals cooked for him by UBF "shepherdesses" and read very familiar-sounding recycled UBF messages on Sunday with minimal preparation. IOW, he was enjoying the power he had established. What do you expect from a UBF leader?
21st-Mar-2006 07:14 pm (UTC) - Re: Jun Establishing His Power
The John Jun I saw there had meals cooked for him by UBF "shepherdesses" and read very familiar-sounding recycled UBF messages on Sunday with minimal preparation. IOW, he was enjoying the power he had established.

Ironically, he has been praised in UBF (and praised himself) as someone who gave up a "secure" job as a medical doctor to "serve UBF full-time." See this link: http://ubf-info.de/int/late/kmib20041209.en.htm
20th-Mar-2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
Isn't this the way that UBF in Korea's been organized for a long-time, by campuses rather than "fellowships?" Jun is importing Korean UBF practices to Chicago. Maybe this is what he meant by going from a "grocery store to a supermarket" management style.

During such times anyone can struggle with feelings of alienation which give rise to doubt. ... This is the best medicine to help us overcome doubt.

A lot of talk of "doubt" here without any details on what the "doubt" might be about. "Doubt" in UBF means what? It means people questioning UBF, whether it's really THE work of God that they've been taught to believe it is, whether they've wasted repetitive years and decades of their lives in a failed sect. In other words, "doubt" in UBF means a shaking of people's faith, their faith in UBF. Only in cults and abusive groups is such a faith and loyalty to the group encouraged to such a degree.
20th-Mar-2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
Can you elaborate a bit more what "fellowship-based" means? In Germany we had the following structure:

1 headquarter (Cologne, now Heidelberg)
about 30 chapters that (each one based in a different university city)
about 2-6 "circles" (i.e. groups of 5-10 people plus fellowship leader)

The circle members would report to the fellowship leader who would report to the chapter leader, the chapter leader would report to the headquarter leader, who in turn reports to the Chicago HQ. Tithes also went from the chapters to the HQ, and from there to Chicago.

Of course, there were also various sub-hiearchies, sattelite chapters and rankings between the chapters and circles.
20th-Mar-2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
I think "fellowship-based" is just what you described for Germany. There are (used to be?) multiple UBF fellowships on a large campus like UIC in Chicago. Something like fellowships (smaller groups) might be retained, but now there's a new position called the "campus coordinator" for each campus that UBF operates on.
20th-Mar-2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
But what be different in the "campus-based" approach? No more "circles"/fellowships? No more "fellowship meetings"? I don't believe so. It was a very efficient instrument to control and supervise the members.
21st-Mar-2006 08:46 am (UTC)
Previously, Chicago UBF had two-tier structure with fellowship-oriented approach: Samuel Lee and fellowship leaders. There used to be about 25 fellowships in Chicago. All 25 fellowship leaders directly reported to Samuel Lee. There was not middle-tier between Samuel Lee and the fellowship leaders. This sort of characterizes Samuel Lee's absolute power. He controlled all 25 fellowship leaders directly. But now with campus-oriented approach, Jun is setting up the middle-tier that never existed before.

This middle-tier is called "coordinator". So they have now three-tier structure: John Jun; coordinators; fellowship leaders. This seems to be kind of de-centralization of the power concentrated solely on one person Samuel Lee. If there are some missionaries who are not happy with this decision, which was impossible when Samuel Lee's absolute power was in place since it was regarded as Satan's work for anyone to express negative opinion about Samuel Lee's decision, this also could be the sign of weakening of the previous absolute power.

It remains to be seen how many Korean missionaries would leave Chicago to pioneer new chapters or to join other chapters as prayer servants until the new decision is completely implemented. It would be also interesting to know who would be appointed to take up the new middle-tier power by Jun. My suspicion is that most of the power will be distributed among Korean missionaries and one or two native leaders will be also appointed to the position as example to show that Jun is working to strengthen the native leadership. Jun needs support from Korean missionaries and also from native leaders. That is another difficulty he needs to handle in Chicago but he didn't have to worry about it in Seoul. Maybe that could be another reason he had to create the new middle-tier.
21st-Mar-2006 11:33 am (UTC)
Ok, I understand. But I would not call it "de-centralization", since all campus leaders ("coordinators") will probably still report to John Jun. In a way, UBF is even more centralized now. In the past, Korea and USA had been somewhat idependent UBFs (though Lee of course tried to control Korea as well). But now the power is much more centralized in the hands of John Jun. The only difference is that th centralization will be less direct, i.e. the already existing pyramid will get an extra layer. So overall, it is not a big change, and it seems to only effect Chicago UBF, not the rest of UBF which always had that extra layer.
20th-Mar-2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Isn't this the way that UBF in Korea's been organized for a long-time, by campuses rather than "fellowships?" Jun is importing Korean UBF practices to Chicago. Maybe this is what he meant by going from a "grocery store to a supermarket" management style.

Probably that is what is happening: import Korean UBF practices to Chicago. I don't think that is going to work out well in Chicago. One reason is that all Korean missionaries in Chicago think that they are the AUTHENTIC UBF missionaries because they used to work under the direct command of Samuel Lee. They have the attitude of looking down on Korean UBF practices. Another one is that Chicago is not Seoul. If Jun thinks that it worked in Seoul so it will work in Chicago too, he is making a mistake. He must come up with what would work for American students. But he is looking for a system that would work for Korean missionaries and their children.
21st-Mar-2006 01:34 am (UTC)
He must come up with what would work for American students. But he is looking for a system that would work for Korean missionaries and their children.

This has been UBF's goal all along. UBF has never cared about how they could better serve American students, only how to better control them. The focus for Korean leaders that do not have the ability to control to the level of Lee is to provide an environment pleasing to the Koreans. Afterall, Americans come and go, so focusing on Americans would only decrease attendance because the Koreans would leave.

21st-Mar-2006 11:46 am (UTC)
Right. They always tried to transfer what worked in Korea to Germany as well.

Our leader sometimes let us plan the invitation campaign and invitation evenings (the main recruiting events). Then we would choose themes and Bible passages that we thought would be appropriate for German students. But then, the leader would tell us we should not use these passages, but choose Genesis 1 and would not accept our plans. He always thought that Genesis 1 was the best text to confront a German student with as introduction to reading the Bible. But in reality, Genesis 1 would only give raise to discussions about evolution theory where the Korean missionaries had no answers and knowledge. Therefore we prefered to take passages about Jesus, and focus on Jesus at first. But our leader wanted us to read Genesis 1 only and other OT passages, not NT, saying this had worked in Korea so well. This was one of many examples. The leaders would rather loose members than diverge from their Korean way of doing things.

They also forced the members to wear suit and tie though this comes accross so unnatural for German students and rather acts as a deterrent. In the beginning, they even tried to force German members to wear these ridiculous white gloves at their arranged marriages.
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