Planetshakers Insider

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

Posts Tagged ‘planetshakers city church

Enough is Enough

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I read on Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch blog recently:

Now is not the time to be soft on one another. It certainly is not the time to be soft on ourselves. The heavenly Father chastens those whom he loves (Hebrews 12:1-13). And we are called to encourage each other, warn each other, challenge each other, and seek the best for each other.

It reminded me about the spirit of gentleness that God rebukes us with – with one hand rebuking us, but the other comforting us.

And it also reminded me how we, as Christians, should be treating each other.

There has been a lot of negativity (read: abusiveness) in comments recently – comments that don’t contribute any valuable insights, but exist to belittle other people.

This blog isn’t a place for people to vent anger and hatred to one-another.

It’s a place for people to discuss issues of culture that affect our church in a thoughtful and reflective manner.

Previously, I’ve let all comments pass (assuming they weren’t spam), choosing not to censor any comment – I believed that everyone has something valuable to offer.

But now, I’m going to be ruthless in deleting comments that are just plain abusive.

If you don’t have anything valuable to contribute, if you want to call other commenters names, or if you just want to be abusive – this isn’t the place for you.

To the 90% of people who contribute their valuable information, discussion, debate and insights to this blog – keep up the great work.

I don’t agree with you all the time, but your thoughtful comments are more than welcome here 🙂

Written by Planetshakers Insider

September 9, 2008 at 5:02 am

When is someone ready for leadership?

with 33 comments

“The Doctor” posts an interesting series of ponderings:

A few things I have been pondering on …

Firstly, 1 Timothy contains instruction that would encourage elders (pastors) to be appointed who are not young men – promote not a novice. From what I have read although Timothy is referred to as a yound man, he was probably in his late twenties or early thirties … How old was Michael when he was appointed and annointed for minsitry?
Whilst there may be a case for the appoinment of some young men such as Timothy the clear injunction for the church (and Senior Pastors who seem to have two votes on most eldership boards) is not to appoint too early, take time to observe character – not charisma! And of course the family name seems to open doors that are often closed to other “lesser lights”.

Secondly, it seems to me that bad teaching plays a part in leading to this type of behaviour. After all having to acknowledge sin as a habitual problem in your life is considered amongst those who have it “all together” as a sign of weakness. The magic formula works for us (your peers in ministry), it should work for you. If it doesn’t then the problem is yours – you are not doing it right, not trying hard enough, or let’s maximise the guilt and shame by saying, you just don’t have enough faith brother! After all what place does weakness have in this type modern derivative of Christianity influenced heavily with a KINGDOM NOW Theology. That is, ALL of heaven is mine to enjoy NOW, in this life, right NOW – healing NOW, sinless perfection NOW, financial prosperity NOW, success in all I do NOW.

Thirdly, we as Christians are called to forgive and distribute mercy as freely as we have received it. We are all sinners and can bring the name of Christ into disrepute through our actions. The tragedy in Michaels case is the tremendously damaging effects of such a public fall from grace – it magnifies the reproach to the name of Christ because of the media and internet.

In closing, this is a timely reminder of the days in which we live where in the last days men will fall away because of iniquity. Therefore we should exhort each other to live a life that honours Christ and His holy Name, rather than the modern approach which exalts charismatic men and makes idols of them. Rather than the greatest shall be your servant we now have the servant shall become your master.

Honour and Serve Your King, and keep your “lesser light” shining !!!!

The question “The Doctor” raises about the right age for ministry is interesting. There’s no shortage of young leaders within Planetshakers – Russell Evans, Mike Guglielmucci and many more Planetshakers began working in ministry at reletively young ages.

Yet again, read this post at face value.

I have more questions than answers.

It’s just a shame that the culture of Planetshakers discourages discussion of these sorts of questions…

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Have You Seen This Man: Russell Evans, Planetshakers Senior Pastor

with 18 comments

Russell Evans, Senior Pastor, Planetshakers City Church, Melbourne The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but the question remains… Have you met Pastor Russell Evans?

I was asked today (via email) whether I had met Russell before.

It was a relatively pointed question – the person asked whether he was out amongst his flock, as a shepherd should be – whether he was serving his church.

It made me realize…

No, I hadn’t..

Neither have any of my friends at Planetshakers.

In fact, the only people who I’d met who have met Pastor Russell Evans are in senior leadership positions throughout the church.

I’ve never seen him in the foyer after sermons either… He just, sort-of… disappears…

I realize he’s wanting to build his church through “disciples”, just as Jesus did, but even Jesus walked among his flock.

Is my experience uncommon? Have you met Pastor Russell Evans?

I would be happy if I heard otherwise from hundreds of other Planetshakers members – but it was only that someone brought it up that I came to think how odd it was.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

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

with 2 comments

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.

Is Planetshakers Leadership Responsible for Mike Guglielmucci?

with 20 comments

I read a fantastic comment that I wanted to share with you…

No “What if”……. Mike was certainly not untouchable…. As the Shakers and the Hills have run a mile from this boy! All have claimed that he left their congregation “ages” ago. It really is quite sad. No guilt by “dis-association” is there? See…. the loyalty is there ONLY when it suits. I thank God there are churches that rebuild those in the “u2″ church that do fall. How else is restoration put into place?

Not by severing the relationship! Yes… stand him down…. take away his platform… maybe for life…. but don’t stone him to death. I say again…. these leaders raised him up…. so where is there accountability in this? Where was all this all knowing insight?

The most wonderful thing….. his Dad is standing by his side and holding him accountable. And isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does for all of us?

If I ever saw a real world example of this, it has been on the weekend. I applaud his fathers courage and integrity. Sadly… any one can be duped by sin. Isn’t Satan referred to as the great deceiver? And his family are only human.

Again…. pray for Mike. I believe that he is broken before God and wants repentance and not from being caught out by others. You are right… there is no difference in struggles between all of us.

Sadly… the difference always is …..in regards to leaders … is the height of the fall…..

The most obvious part of Planetshakers’ service on Sunday was Planetshakers City Church’s Senior Pastor, Russell Evans, struggling to work out how to respond amongst his own feelings of hurt and disappointment.

The second most obvious part was Pastor Russell Evans repeating multiple times:

“None of us knew about this”

Planetshakers raised Mike Guglielmucci up.

Through his music alongside the Planetshakers Band, and through his ministry at Planetshakers and Planetshakers Conferences, Mike Guglielmucci achieved his status.

Mike Guglielmucci was under Planetshakers’ covering throughout most of his “miraculous” (now questionable or false) healings, and in the beginning months of his fraud.

So does Planetshakers bare any responsibility for his actions?

Is Planetshakers accountable for the actions of the leaders they raise up?

I thought Planetshakers responded reasonably well on Sunday – but I disappointed about what seemed like an “It’s not my fault”, “I didn’t know”, “He left here long ago” attitude.

No Russell – you DIDN’T know. And you DIDN’T perpetrate the lie… I don’t think anyone accuses you of this…

But you SHOULD have known.

He was accountable to you. You raised him up as a leader. You held him up as a mighty man of God. And his cancer deception started in YOUR CHURCH.

Surely Planetshakers needs to take some responsibility instead of dodging blame, and hiding Mike Guglielmucci’s association with the church.

This is a time when we need brave and strong leaders.

It’s not good enough to forgive, heal and move forward. We need to equip ourselves so this doesn’t happen again.

Contact Planetshakers Insider

with one comment

Just a quick post.

I’m having trouble keeping up with all of the intelligent and well-thought out responses people are leaving on this blog.

Kudos to you all!

Well done for taking the high ground too. We haven’t had any troubles with malicious comments. Everyone has thought before posting, and there are practically zero derogatary remarks and unhelpful comments.

I have bad news though.

Unfortunately, the volume of comments means I can no longer reply to everyone individually.

Reaching Me Privately

I had some people comment that they would like to get in touch with me privately. If you would like to do this, you can email me at: planetshakersinsider [at] gmail.com

I can’t guarantee I will be able to reply to you personally, but I will make an effort wherever possible.

Contributing posts

I would also welcome you to use this email if you had a post that you wanted to contribute to this blog.

Obviously, you will need to be a “Planetshakers Insider” yourself (someone who attends or recently attended Planetshakers), or have something insightful and on-topic to say.

Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 25, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Planetshakers and Mike Guglielmucci – What Happens to the Music Now?

with 55 comments

Ethical question for you…

What would you do if you were Planetshakers?

What happens to the Planetshakers music that Mike Guglielmucci wrote, performed and produced?

Some of these are by-far my favorite Planetshakers were written by Mike Guglielmucci – “Healer”, “Pick it Up” and “Majesty” as well as other popular songs like “Evermore” – powerful songs with biblical messages.

  • Do you keep selling these CD’s and DVD’s, or do you take them off the shelves?
  • Do you offer refunds to people who purchased these albums for Guglielmucci’s song “Healer”?
  • Do you continue to credit Michael Guglielmucci for his pivotal role in writing, performing and producing much of the music? Or do you remove references to Michael Guglielmucci to disassociate from him?

I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers here.

However, I thought the response by Planetshakers has been interesting…

“Savior of the World”, the 2007 recording of Planetshakers conference (on DVD and CD) that includes Mike Guglielmucci’s now infamous performance of “Healer” as well as several other songs written by Michael Guglielmucci has been removed from sale from the Planetshakers store.

All other albums where Michael Guglielmucci contributed his songwriting talent (“Never Stop”, “Pick it Up”, “Arise”, and “Always and Forever” to name a few) are still on sale.

But here’s the interesting bit…

Planetshakers has removed references to Michael Guglielmucci, crediting his role on these albums, from their web-site.

For example, the online blurb for Planetshakers 2004 album “Always and Forever” previously read:

Produced by lead songwriter Henry Seeley, with songwriting credits and lead vocals to Mike Guglielmucci and Sam Evans, Always and Forever is an album not to be missed.

Now, the blurb on the Planetshakers discography page reads:

Produced by lead songwriter Henry Seeley, with songwriting credits and lead vocals to Sam Evans, Always and Forever is an album not to be missed.

And the blurb for the 2007 album “Never Stop” previously read:

“Featuring Henry Seeley, Mike Guglielmucci and Sam Evans, this studio album is signature Planetshakers praise and worship for a new generation. Includes CD and bonus DVD of Planetshakers live worship and inspiring messages.”

Now:

“Featuring Henry Seeley and Sam Evans, this studio album is signature Planetshakers praise and worship for a new generation. Includes CD and bonus DVD of Planetshakers live worship and inspiring messages.”

(All references to Planetshakers live album “Savior of the World” have also been removed entirely from the Planetshakers Discography page.)

These are conspicuous absenses given Mike Guglielmucci wrote 11 out of 13 of the songs on “Never Stop”, and 7 out of the 10 songs on “Always and Forever”.

It makes me think…

  • Should Mike Guglielmucci lose the credit for his hard work?
  • Should ANY of Planetshakers’ stars be getting individual credit for their work?
  • Should Planetshakers learn to focus all credit on Jesus rather than individuals? – particularly given the flawed nature of humans, which has never been more evident at Planetshakers than in the Michael Guglielmucci cancer fraud
  • Should “Always and Forever” be removed from sale, as it was?
  • And, given that Michael Guglielmucci wrote the MOST of Planetshakers music over the past few years, should all albums that feature his songs be removed from sale?

Obviously this final point would significantly impact the church…

In a 2006, Melbourne newspaper The Age interviewed Planetshakers Senior Pastor, Russell Evans, for an article titled “The Idol Edge”. The article revealed:

“Russell Evans says 70,000 Planetshakers albums are sold in Australia each year, with 12 albums released so far.”

Although the albums Mike Guglielmucci was involved with are 2 years old or older (meaning they’re “matured” in their product life-cycle), surely taking these albums off shelves would damage the revenue Planetshakers gains from album sales.

But does keeping them on sale damage Planetshakers’ credibility?

And is Planetshakers right to try and avoid negative publicity, by attempting to hide credit for Michael Guglielmucci’s work on Planetshakers’ albums?

I’m not sure what, ethically, is the best outcome; however the current outcome seems a bit luke-warm… To keep selling most albums featuring Mike Guglielmucci’s work, but hide the fact that he worked on them. To me this seems like a “middle of the road” compromise on a touchy ethical subject.

What are your thoughts? – What was the right outcome?