Planetshakers Insider

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Planetshakers, Mega-Churches: Small Problems Get Amplified into Big Ones?

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I received an interesting comment from someone named “Heimi” today. I don’t agree with everything that Heimi says, but I think Heimi raises some interesting points that deserve consideration:

Hi,

A ‘big thanks!’ for hosting this blog and giving a platform for Christians and non-Christians to critique the mega-church phenomenon called Planetshakers.

Doubtless some comments will fall into the ‘gossip’ and ‘criticizing’ form. The reality is gossip and criticism already exists whether we like it or not. And yes, perpetrated by Christians and Planetshaker members themselves. It happens when churches get too big and doesn’t have time to listen.

The point is it is not always gossip and criticism. In fact, the majority of genuine believers hold fast to the ideal of not gossiping and criticizing. Many (wrongly) stifle hurt and pain in order to keep this commandment. And consequently, this has led to a situation where we play dumb, stay mute, close a blind eye when we should have spoken out about things that are unacceptable, ungodly and plain old wrong but done in the name of Jesus. (see Todd Bentley fiasco)

With megachurches, there is the amplified dimension of human pride. The bigger we get, the more humble we should be. Theoretically. But in the last few years, we’re noticing this ‘anomaly’: certain celebrity pastors getting less and less humble and more and more off-base. The way they carry themselves, the way they live, their outlook on materialism, the way they handle disagreement and dissenting opinion, they way they promote leadership, they way they relate to the ordinary believer on a day to day basis – it doesn’t tally with the Bible.

Within the Pentecostal churches, it is not uncommon to hear tales of pastors saying ’sorry mate, you don’t like the way we do things here, go somewhere else…’ or ‘.. too bad.’ Tragically, such anecdotes aren’t coming from non-believers, the immature in the Lord, or troublemakers just out for a stir-up. They are coming from Christians who have served faithfully, with a proven record of keeping God’s commandments, and are part of a long-term commitment to the fellowship.

We all suspected in mega-churches it’d be more and more difficult for people to go to a senior pastor to talk things out. We just didn’t realize how bad it’d be.

This scenario is now common:

The Senior Pastor is too busy being top cat. His corporate duties, his evangelistic ministry to countries on the other side of the globe, his speaking engagements, his book signings, his concert tours, his obligations to secular politics.

He thinks he can solve the problem by appointing assistants and home group leaders. So he appoints dozens of them.

Problem solved? No way! What happens is in fact the man has now placed himself in a glass bubble. He is surrounded by a massive structure, echelon-upon-echelon of secondary leaders, associates and assistant pastors (quite often aggressive young bucks who mistake ‘aggressiveness’ for ‘passion’).

These secondary leaders, being human, are incapable and untrained to communicate accurately just exactly what a lamb is saying to its shepherd. It is the proverbial pass-the-message-down-the-chain-gang parlour game. Then some assistant leader will have his own agenda, or, out of good intentions, decides it’s better not to convey the message at all. Hence, we have censorship of communication.

A few years down the road, what is essentially a small problem becomes a ridiculously big one. People are hurt, people leave. Or some lamb self-implodes. And kills half a dozen sheep standing nearby. And the Senior Pastor sits in his little study and wonders why. All along, he’s thinking he’s doing a fantastic job: the sheep are well fed, feeding on the right grain, ready to reproduce healthy and robust kids in springtime. Can it be true, he thinks, is half the flock dying, some are being chased by wolves, some are eating grain but purging everything out because it doesn’t agree with their stomach, can it be?

Micheal Guglielmucci isn’t a phenomenon. He is indeed the making of a megachurch who isn’t listening as well as it should be.

I think blogs such as this one are crucial to keep megachurches listening to some frank talk because for a long time, there has been no other way.

This believer supports blogs!

Interesting food for thought.

Amanda Guglielmucci’s Strength in Official Interview

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The Adelaide Advertiser today released an interview with Amanda Guglielmucci.

For the sake of completeness in this story, and because of the tens of thousands of people who are coming here to find out about this sad state of affairs, I’m posting it here.

Speaking exclusively to The Advertiser, Amanda Guglielmucci, 29, defended her husband, who faked a two-year battle with cancer.

She insisted he was a good man, trapped by lies which had spiralled out of control.

“I know he’s not an evil man, there’s not evil in his heart,” she said.

Mrs Guglielmucci, who is staying in their Sydney home while Michael is with his family in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, said she would try to salvage her marriage.

“I know that I love him, I know that much,” she said.

“We’re just not going to rush anything, we’re gonna walk through the process, however slowly it needs to happen, in order for the healing and restoration to be complete and then we’ll go from there.”

She has turned to a counsellor to help cope with her husband’s massive deception, which has shocked not only his family’s church, Edge Church International, but the world-wide Christian movement.

“I’m actually seeking professional counselling myself. I need to be able to unravel a lot of emotion that’s bombarding me at the moment, I owe it to myself to work through that properly, and to him,” she said.

“I had questions after the shock of it all, but my initial thoughts after hearing that were a sense of sorrow for the church and that a lot of people were going to be hurt because of it.”

Just 15 days ago, the world-renowned pastor and songwriter sat his wife of seven years down at their Sydney home and told her the awful truth.

“I was the first one he told, he confessed everything to me,” Mrs Guglielmucci said.

“He just went through it – where it had started, everything in his life as a young kid, the patterns. He was crying, sobbing actually, absolutely sobbing, he just said `I don’t have cancer’.

“He was terrified, I still remember the look on his face . . . it was a very hard moment for him, as it was for me hearing it.”

Despite his elaborate deception and his admission of an addiction to adult pornography, Mrs Guglielmucci said it was feelings of sympathy and shock rather than anger that overwhelmed her.

“I could just see a really broken, unwell man. At that point I found it really quite hard to get angry,” she said.

“Seeing your husband of seven years absolutely sobbing in front of you, risking everything coming forward and telling the truth – in that instance it was really hard to be angry or mad.”

Mrs Guglielmucci said she understood people struggled to believe she could not have known her husband was faking his illness. However, she maintained his real symptoms – vomiting, hair loss and apparent pain – never gave her reason to suspect otherwise.

“I never questioned it, when you love someone you trust them. I had no reason not to trust him,” she said.

“Perhaps I feel a little bit foolish in this, hindsight’s a fabulous thing . . . but I’m trying not to beat myself up.”

Mrs Guglielmucci even quit work to look after her ailing husband. “In the middle of the night he was in so much pain I would put towels in the microwave to try and give him some relief in his back,” she said.

However, she never attended doctors’ appointments with him, a move she now regrets.

“Before I stopped working to care for him, I was busy, he’d have doctor’s appointments when I couldn’t be there and he would say `it’s fine you don’t need to be there’,” she said.

“Or I would just drop him off at the hospital.”

While his initial confession to his wife did include his addiction to porn, Mrs Guglielmucci said she had not even begun to process that element of his deception.

“We’re only talking two weeks (since admitting his lies), there’s a lot of stuff to deal with,” she said.

“That sort of side of things hasn’t really hit me yet, there’s many levels and layers to everything. I can almost talk about it like I’m removed from it. That’s where the professional help will help me work through that – it hasn’t hit me yet.”

Mrs Guglielmucci said her faith in God had remained unmoved throughout the ordeal.

“At times like this, it’s just a stronger resolve,” she said.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – pray for them all – all of the Guglielmucci family. Hold them in your prayers.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Planetshakers Insider Victim of Failed Hacking Attempt

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Received a notification today that someone had attempted to hack into this blog, and the associated email address, using both Gmail’s and WordPress’s password recovery system.

For the record, all of your details are safe and secure – the attempt was very amateurish in its execution.

However, I wanted to share the news of this with you.

Sadly, it would appear on the surface that someone wants to silence the Planetshakers Insider blog, and they’re willing to go to shady and even unlawful lengths to do so.

These are not the actions of honour that some might expect from a Christian – rather, they are clearly sinful actions, and I’m sad that someone would be motivated to those lengths.

I wanted to share the news of this with you to bring the action into the light.

I’m taking pressure from a lot of places, but my resolve stands firm.

It seems ungodly means are being used against us here, and as Alister Cameron said on this blog: “You cannot achieve godly ends by ungodly means.”

Edit: For the sake of clarity, I’m going to say this explicitly: I cannot prove precisely who was behind the attempt made on this blog, and obviously I am not accusing Planetshakers City Church of doing so. I suspect it was a motivated individual working, with intermediate knowledge of computers, working on their own.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Planetshakers Church: Planet Shaken?

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Taken from No Diggety: More on Mike Guglielmucci:

Personally, I went to Planetshakers Sunday night to support a friend who is trying to deal with it all, and was fascinating to see how they responded. You could tell they were quite visibly shaken and shocked, and legitimately hurt and confused about what to make of it all.

They were, quite rightly, at pains to point out that nobody knew. The only bit I was a tad unimpressed by was the fact that they seemed to be trying to wash their hands of him in a sense, going to lengths to point out he hadn’t been in direct ministry with them for 18 months, which was still after all the lying all started.

As another commentor says on the Planetshakersinsider blog, they raised him up, and they should be keeping him to account. But, no human system will ever be perfect at catching those that lie, and unfortunately for them and us, they stuffed up this one. They’re not the first, and won’t be the last.

The Church is just like any other organisation with normal human beings in it, and I for one don’t want to be standing in my glass house throwing stones at them.

It seems that other people saw the Planetshakers response in similar ways.

Obviously Pastor Russell Evans was shaken, but the official line was to wash their hands of Mike Guglielmucci – despite raising him up, and being the place where he began his lie.

It’s not to attack Planetshakers that I being this to light, and no man is above sinfulness, but if we don’t at least learn from our mistakes – how can we prevent them from happening again?

What happened with Mike was a big mistake – it never should have happened – and it’s a prominent reminder by God to keep ourselves and others accountable.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm

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