Posts Tagged ‘megachurch’

As those of us who grew up in the black church know full well, things are done a little differently at times.

The Spirit needs to flow more heavily through a family member of the pastor. The big girl is kept in the choir to make it look bigger in some places. And every Sunday is a fashion show that would put ‘Operation Runway’ to shame.

New Birth pastor gets just that on the cover of Gospel Today magazineBut never have I seen something the likes of what Bishop Eddie Long has allegedly been doing in order to save face amidst some much needed PR.

Any Gospel Today subscribers in the house or on the Wall? Before you answer that proudly, check the latest cover story:

Bishop Eddie Long at the center of the scandal that rocked the church world.

According to the story I read in CNN’s Belief Blog, many subscribers were feeling like throwing this publication into the fiery furnace upon seeing – and reading – this article.

Some Gospel Today readers thought the magazine was downplaying  Long’s allegations, and others thought they shouldn’t have featured him at all. The biggest problem readers had was Long’s relationship with “Gospel Today” – he’s the chair of the magazine’s board.

Listen, I realize this phrase may not be in the Bible, but I believe the publication’s CEO “Dr.” Teresa Hairston needs to hear it anyway: “Conflict of interest.”

I’m sure that may have come up in journalism class. If not, then perhaps, “PAYOLA!”

How about that one?

Evidently, it didn’t and Ms. Hairston is popping her neck about this ballyhoo:

Hairston told readers that her magazine did not explore the legalities of the Long scandal, and chose instead to present a “biblical perspective.” Yeah, that’s quaint, namely when you pen this blast from your ivory towers:

Whether Bishop Long is guilty or not; whether the young men are guilty or not, the BODY OF CHRIST must handle this situation according to the Word of God! The mainstream press has painted a hideous picture; some have even called for Bishop Long’s resignation! They’re not even members!!

Sorry. I’ll save that memo for the police and the lawyers of the alleged victims who are seeking justice on their behalf. Because if Long did half of what they accuse him of doing, a resignation is going to be the last thing they ask handed to them on a silver platter.

Write that. Pen that. Quote that.

Mess like this in the hallowed pulpits across America needs to cease immediately. We should demand more of our leaders and not become inundated with a feeling of “Yes man” and “People pleaser.” Our job is to worship the Lord and respect the elders of the Church… not the other way around.

Of course, the light’s on but no one is home unless this is “handled according to the Word of God.” I’m no Bishop, but here we go:

It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit. (Hebrews 2:1-4 MSG)

Yes, indeed. A MEMO to Eddie Long and Teresa Hairston: “Get a grip!” Don’t look at me. It’s in the Word of God.

Ah yes. Another scintillating video from Cross Eyed (or video evangelism).

While on a sabbatical of my own this week, I ran across a delightful chiding from none other than John MacArthur. Since the inception, “well wishers” to The Writing on the Wall have tried to tell me I’ve been a little harsh on one Joel Osteen (namely our landmark series on “Victoria’s Secret“).

Sure, I think he’s corralling a ton of lukewarm sheep in the manger ready for slaughter. Yes, I believe his Caspar Milquetoast stance on, well everything, is liable to get a menial child of God a sardonic beatdown. And you bet, I think there is a little bit of John Osteen respecters who believe the boy is shaming his old man’s ministry.

However, thanks to this hide tanning by John MacArthur. I am not alone. Big shouts out to the teacher here.

[And a masonry shout out to the fine outlet ‘Defending. Contending.‘ for the find.]

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote on the Wall about a quaint church in Beaumont, Texas making international news by calling themselves, “A bunch of jerks.”

They addressed the hypocrisy among the faithful, the stigma in the Church and the elephant dropping bombs in the room.

If it ain't broke, buy another one.

It was a bold move because the biggest cause of Atheism would be Christians who do not reflect Christ. Great idea, right? Apparently so, because it’s been cloned according to the Christian Post.

A megachurch [NorthRidge Church] in Southeast Michigan is making a lot of people uncomfortable with its new billboard campaign that proclaims that the church is for hypocrites, losers and liars.

Well, of course, they are making a lot of people uncomfortable… the formula worked once before. Why not do it again?

“The reality is all human beings are the same. They’re flawed. We’re all the same inside [the church] and outside. We too are failures, losers, … hypocrites,” [Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church] continued.

“Jesus didn’t put up higher fences in heaven to keep the bad people out,” he said. “Rather, Jesus came down to earth and dwelled among the people. When you look into God’s word, He never turns inward. He turns outward.”

Don’t get me wrong… he’s right. Regretfully.

However, just because the word changed from “jerks” to “hypocrites,” does not make this an original idea. There’s no such thing as an original idea anyway, but at least give it a few months before you poach it?!

It’s no secret I don’t have much affinity for stereotypical Christian marketing. I mean, how difficult must it be to take a well-known brand and make an evangelism hack job out of it?

Christian marketing usually means copied marketing.

Oh. The scripture. That'll make us forget about the familiar logo.

Consider God: There was nothing but his idea. He imagined with vivid detail, molded the earth with complete ingenuity and relished in the unique nature of his creation.

He didn’t copy a logo. He didn’t “borrow” an invention. Everything he did was an original.

And that’s why it baffles me that marketing and advertising professionals who love the Lord and have dedicated their lives to him can’t at least go about their trade with a tad more originality.

Brands like ‘Not of this World‘ have taken what ‘Affliction’, ‘Silver Star’ and ‘MMA Elite’ has done for the mixed martial artist crowds and brought it to the Church. Bravo.

And then, there is the status quo that believes take what is known, plaster a verse on it and call it “divine providence.”

We can do better. We must do better.

Pastor Brad (imagine, he doesn’t like being called that) understands this whole “jerk” thing is lightning in a bottle. Everyone is looking at this. Everyone appreciates this. Because everyone agrees with this… except for the folk who are this.

A thought for all pastors: Be unconventional. Be daring. And most importantly, try to be original. You tend to make more news that way.

Just ask the little church in Beaumont, Texas about that one.

Last month, we spray painted the story on Elder Schuller “officially” filing bankruptcy.

It was like the quartet on the Titanic finally admitting to each other, “You know, with all these people frantically screaming and cursing the iceberg, I think we have a problem.” Nevertheless, he filed and no one was stunned.

Courtesy: Ana Venegas, Associated Press

Well, except him.

It seems this 84-year-old captain refuses to go down with the ship, according to the USA Today. That, or just wants one last cash grab for retirement.

“I need more help from you,” Schuller said, according to the Orange County Register. “If you are a tither, become a double-tither. If you are not a tither, become a tither. This ministry has earned your trust. This ministry has earned your help.”

Yeah, in this tough economy, we call that begging.

Let me get this straight: the Crystal Cathedral is $43 million in debt, is full of namby-pamby folk who “appreciate” positive thinking… and God, and has become the laughing stock of ecumenism.

Yet, the place where believers go to retire is going to become “double-tithers.” Keep it classy, Pops.

Despite the fact the media can’t get a single quote from Junior Schuller who was unceremoniously shown the door for first, a revolving door of positive thinkers and then finally, Sister Schuller. Let’s see how she did:

She assured church members Sunday that using “Biblical” money management the church would get out of bankruptcy. The congregation gave a standing ovation near the end of his daughter’s remarks.

That’s nice, but is it practical? This church is hemorrhaging and is home to thousands of believers.

And now they are being held hostage to an infomercial of inspiration in an effort to corral millions of dollars. Oh sure, blame the recession (he did), don’t pay your bills (he didn’t) and then hoard the cash.

Why do pastors with any notoriety fall in love with the fruit from the believers more than the believers themselves? We hope that guy will be the exception, but then stories like this keep coming up.

Does anyone have any sense?

“Sheila is really trying hard and she is a good person,” said Jean Hess, a member for 30 years and a greeter at the church’s doors. “But, I think, to get back to where it was, the church needs to look outside of the family to find a true leader.”

Yeah, that’s very logical but like anyone is going to pay to hear preach. Ah well, our heart will go on. God willing.

Jesus protect the Church from poor excuses for Christians

Movies like this wouldn't exist if there wasn't the need

Quick quiz: Think of a Christian who has a recent positive contribution to mankind. [Cue Jeopardy music]

No, not that guy. He died for your sins and does heavenly stuff like that everyday. Come on, someone else. Someone more… human. Yeah, that’s seems to be an issue going around.

According to the Denver Post, there’s a new Barna poll out there and the saints aren’t looking too well.

One in four Americans said they couldn’t think of a single positive societal contribution made by Christians in recent years, according to a nationwide survey released Monday. Also, one in 10 adults said they couldn’t think of a recent positive contribution because Christians hadn’t made one, the Barna Group reported.

Think about that: 25 percent of all Americans – many of which are saved – can’t think of one thing a Christian has contributed to society.

Why? That’s because most of the Christians they encounter are just “Christians.”

You know the type: Go to some milquetoast collection of sanctimonious, pretentious tools on Christmas, Mother’s Day and on Sundays after a weekend bender, get a feel good catch phrase the pastor found in a Bartleby’s collection book and go back to work acting like a total heathen all week long.
And those are most of the “Christians” considered in this highly biased poll. Regretfully. How do I know?

Barna researchers asked two open-ended questions: What were Christians’ recent positive contributions and what were the negative ones? “Overall,” researchers noted, “there was a more extensive and diverse list of complaints about Christians and their churches than there was of examples of the benefits they have provided to society.

This is what blows. Forget the amazing Christ followers who are being persecuted overseas. Ignore the missionaries in foreign lands translating the Bible and fulfilling the Great Commission. Avoid thinking about the millions of church volunteers who serve the Lord because there’s a need.

Yeah, give them all the Heisman! Let’s focus our energy on all the D-bags that selfishly fill up the pews of churches across the country and who make us all look bad.

Those folk aren’t doing us any favor, saints. Yet, what are we doing about it?

Maybe I am just speaking to thin air, but this concerns me a lot. What can I do to impact the world around me… and take away attention from the rest of these dolts. They’re not making a Christian life any easier.

The fraudulent televangelists. The pathetic pastors. The deplorable witnesses.

What’s even more upsetting is for every one of the aforementioned, there are a half dozen awe-striking stalwarts for the Gospel. You can find them in the mission field, on the job, at the church and yes, even on TV.

These questions were basic. The answers were terrible. The response? Well, that’s up to the rest of us (because it’s not like we can reach those big-time pastors on Twitter or anything. Just sayin’.)