Here’s my story about Master’s Commission and the history of the program:
I entered Master’s Commission in 1998, after I graduated high school. From there, my story continues. Some of you aren’t familiar with Master’s Commission and want more information on the program. Some of you have attended a Master’s Commission program somewhere around the world and have had a similar experience that I’ve had. Others of you are still involved in the group, have graduated and may be Master’s Commission directors around the United States or beyond.
Essentially, Master’s Commission was fashioned after the Mormon (or Latter Day Saint–LDS) missionary program for young adults. I have a lot of LDS friends, whom I’ve known from childhood.
After high school, one of my good friends went on an LDS mission to Venezuela. I went to Master’s Commission, in an Assembly of God church. What she got out of the mission training program was high level language training, housing, food, and travel expenses covered. She also got two years paid tuition when she returned to the states to Brigham Young University. The University has a highly respected academic reputation and tuition for the 2010–2011 school year is $4,420 for LDS students ($8,840 for non-LDS students) (as quoted from the BYU website: http://saas.byu.edu/ebrochure/BYU_New_Freshmen_Guide/Financial_Aid/Worried_about_Paying_for_College_.php).
Why do I make this point? My LDS friend ended up giving up a year of her young adulthood to serve as a missionary in Venezuela. She was able to leave after her mission was finished, and she came back to the U.S. with some paid college tuition to an academically qualified school.
Master’s Commission never offered college credits, or classes while I attended. It wasn’t until this past summer (2010) that I spoke with Lloyd Zeigler and he said that students had the option of getting their Bachelor’s degree through Master’s Commissions partnership with a college.
I researched this more and found out that this college is not accredited with the U.S. Department of Education. More info is in this post here: http://www.mycultlife.com/?p=561
For most of the Master’s Commission graduates who attended from 2010 to previous years, we didn’t get any career training, college courses, or professional experience that is marketable. Most of us have worked really hard overcoming this set back. I entered college at the age of 25, which is incredibly stressful and difficult. Once you have the financial responsibilities of a 25 year old, you’re likely to need to work full-time to pay for your bills and have to struggle to maintain your grades. Something is going to suffer.
I consider Master’s Commission a set back in my life, because of that reason alone.
As the MCIN website states, Master’s Commission is a 9 month discipleship program. What is a discipleship program? From my experience in Master’s Commission Phoenix, which is now Master’s Commission USA in Dallas, TX; Master’s Commission of Austin ran by Nathan Davies and Tim Wilson; and Elevate 3D (formerly Master’s Commission Industries) ran now by Greg Thompson the discipleship program is a manipulative, controlling, destructive wanna-be school or pastor’s training program that takes away the decision making abilities of young adults who are fresh out of high school (and sometimes older). From my experience, the discipleship program is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually destructive. It is a way to take away the rights of young people, make them feel like they are elite Christians, and send them out into the world with a guilt trip, handicapped emotionally and spiritually, and many times–depressed with no sense of self-worth.
How’s that for keeping up with the main “heart” of what those two original founders wanted the program to be?
Here’s some information and history about Master’s Commission.
The story I was always told from Lloyd Zeigler, when I attended Phoenix Master’s Commission at Phoenix First Assembly of God under Pastor Tommy Barnett, was this, which can also be found on the MCIN website http://mcin.org/overview/history/:
“The idea for Master’s Commission was birthed while two men, Carmen Balsamo and Larry Kerychuck, were at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting Phoenix, Arizona. Larry was speaking a message entitled, “Who’s Your Hero?” and after that meeting they had a conversation with the brother of a Mormon missionary. This young man told Carmen and Larry that his brother was his hero because of his commitment to his beliefs. This young man had converted to the Mormon faith and forfeited a college scholarship to fulfill his 2 year Mormon mission in a rural part of America. The young man expressed how impressed he was with the commitment of the Mormon people to their religion and asked why Christians were not as committed.
As they walked away from that conversation, these two men desired to find a way for young, Christian men and women to give one-year of their life in service to God. They decided that they would first personally take that time frame and dedicate themselves to scripture memory, Biblical studies, outreach, witnessing and accountability to each other. They found, after that one-year period, their personal and Spiritual development was astounding and Carmen decided to offer an opportunity for others to be involved. Francis Graves, wife of church missions overseer Charlie Graves, was a great woman of prayer and came up with the name masters commission. The initial group was 12 members and met daily at the campus of the Phoenix First Assembly of God Church in 1984. Tragically, in the early stages of Master’s Commission, Carmen Balsamo died from a sudden heart attack. Phoenix First Senior Pastor Tommy Barnett then introduced Pastor Lloyd Zeigler as the man to develop the program; Master’s Commission has exploded throughout his tenure.
Pastor Lloyd Zeigler transformed this concept from a single 12 member meeting into the nation’s leading discipleship program with over 100 affiliated programs worldwide. He also developed the Master’s Commission International Network (MCIN) in 1995 whose purpose was to assist the development of other Master’s Commission programs nationally and internationally. Pastor Zeigler currently still oversees and directs his own Master’s Commission program, the MCIN, and is the Lead Pastor of Relevant Church in the North Dallas, Texas area.”