The quotes below are from a group of notes I found recently. These are from 2001. I was asked to be part of a committee at church about five months after moving to that church. This regards what participating in that was like.

[Pastor]:

One of the administrative meetings held at [a man’s] house lasted until 1:00 am. This was on the Saturday evening of [a wedding at the church]. I understand that the meeting began late [due to the wedding] (8:00 or 9:00 I think). However, although I was very tired and not feeling well, and though [another woman there] came through she was sick, and though everyone there was… aware of these facts, we were told printing had to be completed, at [the man’s] house, that night. I raised the concern that Sunday morning at 1:00 am is too late at night; the response was that anyone who didn’t feel committed to staying could leave.

There were too many committee meetings that were ‘unofficial’ but nonetheless overwhelming which included admin committee. The response was that undedicated members could have skipped those meetings and that [the leader] couldn’t remember holding those meetings. [Someone else said that, yes, I was at the meetings, and the leader] informed me that if I was, it was without his consent. I was asked to be at that ‘informal’ meeting because I went to [the local university].

This was typical–if you were asked to participate in something you worked no matter what until the leader said you could go. If you left ‘early’ (even if early was 1:00 am), you were considered uncommitted or unfaithful or undedicated. And so we stayed and we worked, even on very short notice.

printing of programs was done Sunday afternoon and began shortly before the evening service. I was at [a friend’s house from church] when [the leader] called them and asked the to meet him at his office to print.

The event was held on the next day. We got everything printed, but we were exhausted. In following years I was told to be on the committee again, and actually traded for second shift for the three months prior to the event to keep from having to be on that committee.

Unhealthy groups are not considerate of people’s time. They expect people to do anything that’s asked of them at any minute, and they use this to their advantage. It’s harder to think through what’s happening and recognize how unhealthy the group is when you’re constantly jumping from task to task as assigned by the leaders and giving numerous hours to the church every week.

Have you experienced this in an unhealthy group? Were you pushed to do more than was healthy for you? Were you physically and/or mentally exhausted trying to ‘live for God’? Were you told you were unfaithful or uncommitted or told you just didn’t love God enough if you asked for a break or said you had already made plans?

Even God rested.