This email was sent by a former staff member who was at the church from 1998-2009 and worked on staff most of those years.
From: ML | To: BF | Date: Mon, Apr 6, 2009
Hey there. In our last meeting I mentioned that God has been clarifying some of the growing tensions and personal concerns that influenced by decision to step out of my staff and leadership roles. When I resigned I think these things just combined into one large, somewhat nebulous tension that I couldn’t fully explain but nevertheless knew to be real, significant, and something I didn’t feel I could adequately process in my staff position. Here they are (in condensed fashion)…
- Lack of consistent God-centered, Christ-centered, cross-centered, gospel-saturated teaching.
- Lack of a clear means by which the body can support and hold its leaders accountable which has resulted in what I believe to be an unhealthy concentration of pressure and power upon one person – BF.
- Lack of respect for an individual’s direct responsibility before God for the decisions they make regarding highly personal issues and situations nowhere specifically or clearly addressed by Scripture – combined with an expectation that when opinions differ on these things, God wants the person to do what a select handful of other people think they should do. I find it disrespectful, hurtful, manipulative, and an unbiblical abuse of authority.
- Lack of intentional consistent theological training for the church’s leaders.
- An over extension of staff’s time and energy that makes it all but practically impossible to consistently love and shepherd people in personal and direct ways instead of managing them and using them to accomplish something.
I realize that I have played a large part in leading us to this place and I bear a great deal of responsibility for this list and I really do want to help our church continue to grow into a more faithful and graceful body. I don’t fully understand it, but I feel like the changes that have taken place in my roles and responsibilities are somehow an important part of me actually helping to make things better. I know it could easily look like I’ve just realized that I’ve messed things up and I just want to escape and leave it all behind me, but I really don’t think that’s the case. I don’t know exactly what the future will hold or where I’ll be living a year from now, but I want you to know that I love you, I love this church, and I want to do everything God wants me to in order to help it grow. And I am confident that we have been growing, that we are growing, and that by His grace (and sometimes weird messy situations like this) we will continue to grow. I have great hope for you and me, our leaders and our church. Thank you for your faithful service. I know you just want what God wants. I think it has always been your greatest “strength” if you will.
Let me know if you have any other thoughts or questions, or when you might want to get together again.