Planetshakers Insider

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

Posts Tagged ‘pastoral care

Planetshakers Placing Son On Stage Too Young?

with 16 comments

Received an interesting message via SMS.

Tomorrow’s Father’s Day church service at Planetshakers will feature 3 generations of the Evans family… Including Russell Evans’ eldest child, Jonathan (still primary school aged).

I wonder to myself… Is this appropriate?

Obviously it would be inappropriate to have Jonathan delivering a message, because 1 Timothy speaks against promoting novice pastors.

But is it also inappropriate to be placing the child on a pedestal alongside his revered father and grandfather?

I can’t help but think of Mike Guglielmucci, and the shame and torment that began for him at a slightly older age. Surely some of this was caused by the expectations he felt he had to live up to, as we heard that he bottled his sins up inside, put his best foot forward – while suffering horrible physical and emotional symptoms.

While every good parent (and I don’t doubt Russell Evans is a good parent) wants to build their child’s self esteem, and lift up their son and say “This is my son, in whom I am proud” – it seems unnecessary and potentially harmful…

… And yet again, it takes the focus off Jesus and places it on the Superstars of Planetshakers – in this case, the Evans Family.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 7, 2008 at 3:10 am

Planetshakers: Pastoral Care, The Power of Confession

with 7 comments

“Pillars are Just Crutches” is a former YWAM missionary, current Bible College student who (like many Christian Bloggers) has been watching the Michael Guglielmucci saga.

He blogs on The power of pornography and the power of confession:

There is nothing that will destroy a man more quietly than shame.

There is nothing that a man will avoid more than shame.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the source of Mike Guglielmucci’s fall. It’s an all too common threat, especially since the internet, that has deceived many young Christians. What is the deception? Just one look.

What young men and women don’t understand is that once is never enough, and the enemy of our souls knows and understands this. And in a Christian culture where there is a lot of shame attached to sexual sin, and especially pornography, that shame is more of a stumbling block to healing than the actual sin itself.

There is something particularly powerful that a lot of Christian do not do. Maybe because they think it’s Catholic, maybe because they think that it’s between them and God, maybe because they’re ashamed to do it so they use the other 2 excuses. Christians do not confess things to each other.

I’m not talking about confessing to anyone. It should be someone you completely trust and someone who is godly and mature. It may be a good friend or a pastor, or an elder in your church, ask someone. Nothing will kill shame faster like confessing it to a godly person, asking God for forgiveness and then praying together.

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:1)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)

Can we really blame Mike Guglielmucci for not confessing his addiction to pornography sooner?

Had he confessed – what would have happened to him?

I expect he would have had a lot of fear… That he would lose everything he’d worked so hard for – everything that God had entrusted to him – his own good reputation included.

After all, as Dutch Sheets referred to, in pentecostal churches, “looking on the inside” is rare – so what would have happened if Mike Guglielmucci had have showed his sin?

We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don’t even try to discern. We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts, charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the person’s character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.)

We know how ruthless and unforgiving Christians can be to one another…

But would it have mattered?

Would Mike Guglielmucci’s confession to a smaller sin, even in September 2006 (just prior to the cancer story/myth/deception, but still while he was under Planetshakers’ authority) – would this have ended it all before it got “out of hand”?

My point remains – Planetshakers needs true pastoring, where we might receive a soft shoulder, insightful word, caring teacher, probing question or a firm rebuke…

Delegating authority to one man (Urban Life Group Coordinator, Ben Fewster), who in turn delegates authority to dozens of small group leaders who aren’t trained or skilled in pastoral care – what hope is there for the broken, the misguided, the hurt or those lacking in faith.

Planetshakers – please shepherd your flock!

I’m going to finish on a comment from “Julia”:

It´s sad that Planetshakers reaction is: Mike didn’t work here anymore, we didn’t know about it, etc etc. In other words: “DON’T BLAME US”. It seems like that’s all they care about.

Mike was involved with them for a long time, during his addiction. In those 16 years of his addiction, he didn’t feel safe enough to find ONE person to tell the truth to.

In my opinion, everyone who was involved in Mike’s life, ESPECIALLY church leaders (but also his family & friends-but I’m sure they already do that), should examine right now if they contributed to an environment where Mike was put on a pedestal, where there was no accountability and where there was no safe place for him to admit his addiction.
Planetshakers was a big part of his life, and they shouldn’t be thinking about their reputation, they should very very seriously analyse if they worried enough about their pastoral care and how this could have happened.

That’s the saddest part for me, that he felt like he had to carry this burden alone for 16 years, that just speaks volumes to me.