Planetshakers Insider

Musings on Life, the Christian Journey and being a part of Planetshakers City Church

ACC / AOG focus not on Jesus

with 10 comments

Received an email from someone whose identity I promised I wouldn’t reveal, due to the sensitive nature of their position in the church.

I received permission to publish some parts of the email, and wanted to share it with you in a way this person couldn’t themselves.

When the news started breaking last week, my reaction was total disbelief at first. How could such a situation have slipped under the radar? How could so many of the “best and brightest” lights of the ACC movement have gotten caught up in something so awful and so outrageous?

Well, I agree with your question on the blog … Is Church Culture To Blame? … and the answer to that, after much reflection, is a YES. But its much bigger than being a Planetshakers issue. The ACC itself exhibits some characteristics which are unhealthy, some of which you have already documented, such as:

— a “cult of personality” revolving around leaders of big churches
— a “don’t question the leadership or our direction” attitude
— treating all criticism as negativity, and thereby dismissing it
— focus gradually moving from content to presentation style
— a complete obsession with numbers (i.e. how many people, how many churches)

The “don’t talk” rule which is in operation, which prevents healthy questioning and criticism from coming to the fore, would have prevented anyone with a question or critcism of the Mike G scenario from coming forward. Nobody would have listened, and would have dismissed the questioner as being negative, pulling down God’s annointed leadership, etc etc.

Healthy critical analysis is essential to preventing us from slipping into error, or falling into a trap. Without it, we are accountable to nobody and are therefore prone to error

WHAT TO DO?

Our National Executive need to take a step back from the particulars of this situation and have a look at our culture. In particular, they need to consider whether the pendulum of “leadership” has swung too far and needs some correction. Such change can only come from the top. So I pray that they will have both wisdom and courage enough to confront ACC culture and take corrective action where it is needed.

If we think the problem (Mike G) is the problem, we’re wrong … its a symptom and a warning shot across our bows.

There is one answer, and one answer only: Jesus!

Any time our focus is drawn away from him and on to “the church” or “numbers” or “leadership” or “worship” or “building the kingdom” or whatever, then we’re missing the point. Our focus is Jesus, and everything else stems from that personal relationship we have with him.

For the most part, I’ve left my own personal convictions out of this blog and taken a questioning and soul-searching approach.

However, I have to agree with this email.

It’s my hope too that focus is no longer on leaders, or numbers, or sound and light shows – but on Jesus, and developing deep personal relationships with Him (in the Trinity) through the Holy Spirit.

Final Note: As I’m pressing “Publish” on this, I’m thinking about Planetshakers being the fastest growing AOG church in history. Perhaps God chose Planetshakers to stumble in order to highlight the problem with focussing on the numbers, and not focussing on Jesus.

10 Responses

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  1. biblegateway Mar 9:42
    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea

    roy

    August 26, 2008 at 7:33 pm

  2. That email made a very good articulation of some key points.

    I agree with the line…”If we think the problem (Mike G) is the problem, we’re wrong … its a symptom and a warning”.. because it brings into focus the fact that we have here in this moment the opportunity to LEARN from the present situation, not only that, but to make the changes that can better us and our churches ( I think every church can learn from this, not just AOG/ACC churches. It sure is a warning, and maybe it is a timely one because it can prevent us from falling deeper into our errors.

    It’s a powerful time, we have been stripped of the safety of “knowing” and have been thrown into “questioning” and that is a special thing. We need to encourage the questions, make space for them. Not jump in an answer them to “fix” the current problems but be mindful and search for the answers. Sure, it’s going to hurt, its going to hard and it is going to mean some swallowed pride, but ultimately we are in a place where so much good can come from what we learn now.

    We need to not let this pass without long hard reflection, open hearts and willingness to take a stab at a new path. This won’t be a huge failure if it brings on positive change.

    IB

    August 26, 2008 at 7:43 pm

  3. To believe that that leadership is responsible for mikes situation is ridiculous. I was brought up in the church and my father is a pastor , my brother is a pastor and my other brother is in bible college. However my son was concieved outside of marriage. I have failed seriously in the past now i have an awesome marriage, and 2 kids with my beautiful wife. The bible says that God will not put us in a situation of which we cannot handle. We simply need to seek the required help so that we can come out of the situation victorious. If the leadership of planetshakers is responsible for mikes sins so is the leadership of my church for my sins and that is total rubbish , we as people make decisions of which we and only we are responsible for , we do fail but it is not the fact that we have failed in the past that shows our heart but the way we move on. Do we harden our hearts and walk away or do we accept that we have sinned against God, repent with an honest humble heart and begin the healing process, with Gods help. Mike may have failed. But who has the right to throw stones, not me. I will be praying for Mike , and his family.

    Daniel

    August 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

  4. Hi there…I am a young man who have watched Mike G preach, share the word of God etc since I got saved. And I must admit, his teachings and his passion for Christ have really inspired me. Man, we have seen great amn of God fall all around us, great man in the bible, David fell many many times in his walk with God, but like Mike he came to the light every time he fell, and every time God lifted him up, cos HE promised “though the righteous falls, seven times i will lift him up. Mike is a gift that God has given to the Christian community like you and me, and yes, like you and me he is bound to fall, make mistakes. Who are we to think that we are much better, man we should make we stand,pray and interceed for our beloved brother, for the church as a whole, cos whether we know it or not there is still and assignment on the church from the enermy, there is still an onslaught. I don’t understand Christians who when we go through what we are going through as a church, they start pointing fingers. Stop blaming other churches and other Christian leaders.

    To Mike; We love you and are with you in our prayers. It takes a man to do what you did. Any one burning with so much love for this GOD, this GREAT GOD that we serve will have done the same.

    We love you man. Way to go. God will lift up in due time, for you humble yourself and rid yourself of your pride. I honestly honour you for that.

    Donald

    August 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm

  5. Daniel and Donald make some interesting points… Donald, what you’ve said on some level is true and honourable, but I think we all need to realise that this is a betrayal, not a ‘fall’ – that word seems to diminish our responsibility for our sins, yours, mine, Mike’s – he was entrusted with leadership and he dishonoured that calling, privilege and blessing. He should have asked for help.

    I do understand how hard it must be to see your role model brought low by his own weakness and addictions, I’ve been through hard times with people in leadership myself.

    Mike’s journey to restoration is held up by your prayers, but please don’t let the weight of what he’s done escape you. There are lessons there for all of us, especially about the absolute importance of being honest with others, even when it has great cost.

    Daniel – you go fella! You’ve had a positive experience with ‘falling’ morally – there’s that term again and that’s fantastic. Keep pointing others towards the possibility for good outcomes. You’re blessed. I don’t think it is ‘total rubbish’ though – the church is supposed to be a body (so Paul reckons in the NT) and so when one part hurts, we all suffer. In this respect, we do need to walk closely, truthfully together.

    Here’s to the good that can come from this situation. That we would ALL know that our feet are made of clay and that we would foster relationships where we feel safe to speak our dark truths to each other. Love covers a multiitude of sins…

    Annette

    Annette Hill

    August 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

  6. I think you are right on the spot here. Will the leadership concentrate on dealing with Mike G’s situation as a person or will they deal just with the PR nightmare? Will they take a deep look into the culture that created such situation? Or maybe, just maybe, there is a Pastor right now, somewhere, thinking on “how big it’s gonna be when Mike G comes back in a few months or years with the whole testimony of his “healing” from all emotional and spiritual problems??? He will write books! He will preach in conferences!!! It’s going to be amazing!!! ” And the culture will perpetuate itself…

    PG

    August 26, 2008 at 11:15 pm

  7. Daniel, you’re missing one point. You weren’t in a leadership position! If you were in a leadership position, I would expect you to have some accountability. If you were living a life like Mike’s and you were also pastor, I would expect someone, anyone, with some small amount of discernment to raise a red flag or something. The point of the article is that even if someone raised a concern, nothing would have been heard or considered. That’s a PROBLEM Daniel! Who knows how many times this could have been addressed, but anything said was dismissed as ‘negativity?’ Reread the point the author made: “Healthy critical analysis is essential to preventing us from slipping into error, or falling into a trap. Without it, we are accountable to nobody and are therefore prone to error.” Amen to that.

    Perry

    August 27, 2008 at 1:04 am

  8. I totally aggree with ‘ACC/AOG focus not on Jesus’. I’m glad that God is using Mike’s situation to bring this to light. It is not only in the ACC/AOG churches unfortunately. I have experienced this atitude/culture in most pentecostal churches I’ve ever been in.
    Thank you for your blog. It has been good stuff to chew on.

    Charlie

    August 27, 2008 at 11:54 am

  9. Regretably the Mega or Meta Churches as they are called have built on the emphasis BIG;aNYTHING BIG HAS ITS PLACE ON A PLATFORM; anything small appears to be left out.

    We birth our own monsters and then wonder whats happened; Hillsong is no exception.

    But the lesson of history is that we never learn from history. First it was Pat Meseti, now Mike G. When men are MADE TO BELIEVE THEY ARE BIGGER THAN GOD AND THEY MINISTER TO THE CROWDS PRIDE SETS IN; that is the beginning of the fall.

    It is true that everything big started small; but when the emphasis becomes the BIGNESS THEN WE LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT JESUS SENT US OUT TO ACHIEVE.

    LET US PRAY THAT WE WILL ALL LEARN FROM THIS NOT JUST ONE GROUP OR THE OTHER. THIS IS A LESSON FOR EVERYONE INCLUDING MYSELF. BEWARE.

    rev.david fernandes

    August 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm

  10. If I could add to this a little. I would like to question the passage in which people are annointed to be pastors in the first place. I have seen so many times that a child of the pastor has almost a free ride to becoming a pastor. They don’t have to do as much hard work, as the reputation of the name opens doors for them.
    I have also noted that a lot of pastors are picked due to their popularity. It can sometimes look like some kind of feeble contest and if you are popular you get the chance to lead the flock.
    The bible talks about two types of sin. If you go to the Greek language you will notice there are two words that mean sin, yet when converted to English there is only one. One sin pretty much covers all of us. This is the sin that is in our body that has been cursed since Adam and Eve first tried to deceive God. Our flesh is corrupt from our forefathers. This unperfect flesh allows us to make mistakes in which we come to the Lord for fogiveness (and then the Grace of God allows us to enter the Kingdom of God).
    The other sin is a very interesting one. This is a sin where we purposely know what we are doing and continue to do it anway. The bible stricly states that Murderers, liars, gossipers (yes gossiping in the eyes of God is as bad as Murder), adulterers, fornicators etc will not enter the Kingdom of God. It is pretty harsh, and pretty much straight down the line.
    Paul also states in 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 that “brothers” who sin (now I am talking about the second sin here) should be pretty much banished from the Church.

    One of the biggest problems I have with the Church today is that they make God this fuzzy feeling, and forget to mention his wrath. All throughout the bible God has struck the sinful with his anger. God has not changed yesterday, today or tomorrow. All the way from Genisis to revelations you see what God has installed for sinners.

    At the same time God is also love. He forgives those who repent. Repent means to acknowledge that you are sinner and ask God for help.

    Mike knew it was a lie, Mike knew that he was doing wrong, yet continued to do it for 2 years. One now has to question if he really cared about it until it became too much for him. The reason I state this, is Mike should know the bible. Mike should have gone back to the Church and said, “I am dealing with some issues and am unable to lead the flock at the moment”. He did not do this. He continued to further spread his treachery within the confounds of Gods house. Now who are any of us to judge Mike personnaly about his salvation…..none of us can do this, however we can judge Mike on his actions and the Church needs to take action. This is written in the Bible and if these types of Churches are going to base themselves on the core Bible then they have a responsibility. If they do nothing, than I say beware of these types of Churches. Popularity is one thing, but God’s written law is another.

    Anyway enough of this doom and gloom. Yes it is dark outside and raining, but it is great to be alive. God is love, and he will look after us like no other.

    Bov

    August 31, 2008 at 10:58 am


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