Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Revoked Blessing of the Worship Band Tour

It still baffles me when I hear about the goings on at the former church and their affiliates - more directly the unexceptable behavior that the leadership inflicts upon supporters who choose (as free Americans) to attend there. Who is treated worse than anyone are those who have chosen to go on staff, again supportive people thinking they are there to serve the Lord by serving the church. Happily I am no longer there as a subserviant and stepfordized version of myself. Yet, I can't help shake my head when I hear about how people are still being treated there. Why people stay can only be attributed to timing and how much pain can they stand. Afterall, we finally left when the pain of staying became greater than the pain of leaving (wisely pointed out by my dear friend and fellow ship-jumper).

The latest bizarre, yet typical, behavior of former church is the episode of The Revoked Blessing of the Worship Band Tour. Like everything else associated with this church, it's a bit of a quagmire but hopefully I can explain without getting too muddled.

My former church's current primary worship team has been venturing out into the national Christian Community, one gig at a time, to share their brand of songs with a growing following. Since they have great music and noble hearts it's been exciting to see their youthful passion for worship expanding into new realms across the USA. Their manager is the frontman for another successful and thriving worship band who is sharing with them learned about touring. He also just happens to be the pastor's son of the largest church in our city that we have dubbed the Good Church because of its fruitfulness and effectiveness as a church. It's the best example we have seen so far and it's the church we've been attending to detox from the extreme weird world we were once held captive. So you can imagine our surprise when the boys from former church started hanging out with our pastor's son, even leading worship from time to time at the Good Church!

Pastor son/manager helped them set up Tour #1 and they went out with what they thought was the blessing of the leaders in their church. One of the band members told me that their pastors were actually really excited for them and gave them their blessing. I have to admit I was surprised because it's never been former church's style to let people go very far. But then again, as my friends and I discussed this, we realized former church may have thought they were hitching themselves to a rising star, so of course they'd give the blessing.

But now that has apparently changed. Shortly after The Band announced Tour #2, WacWorld Leadership is revoking their blessing and have kicked them off the worship team schedule. Not only that, the frontman for the band was actually employed on staff as a worship leader and they let him go. They actually said "We can't give you our blessing." (What is it about elite pastors who think they invoke blessing like the pope or someone? Shaking my head at that.) Of course, if you know the history of the former church, you know why this was done. But for those of you that don't know the pattern, I'll try to summarize.

It probably rankles that the band is getting notoriety but it isn't helping the church, or more importantly the leadpastor family. If everything you do is supposed to build up the senior pastor and his family (i.e. it's all about them), then you can't be someone successful in their midst if it doesn't ultimately point to them. In other words, the history has been that they tend to frown on success if it doesn't directly affect the church. Also, it must REALLY rankle that the boys play worship for services at the successful church the manager attends (The Good Church) because it is interpreted as non-loyal. If you are actually helping to build up what is considered a rival church, then you have to be cut off like a bad tree branch or something.

The boys seeming haven't realized until now what's really going on beneathe the surface of the lead family's slick, expensively cultivated exterior. They also may not be aware that there is a long line of people who have similar stories, yet with different details. But whether these young men want to admit they have been treated terribly or not, this is a story I felt compelled to put to pen because it shows us once again what happens when leaders have an elevated sense of their own importance.
Which is more Christ-like? Should we speak up about the lead pastor family's bad behavior or should we remain silent and let their actions go unchecked? Jesus spoke up about how he felt concerning the Pharisees treatment of the people who were bringing sacrificial gifts into the house of God and then keeping the best for themselves. He also had a strong reaction to the 'money changers' selling in the temple and raged through with a whip in hand! Then again, when He was on trial for His life he remained silent. If we are to follow his example, I guess we need to look at the circumstances of the situation, ask for guidance and go from there.

These are questions some of us are wrestling with as word reaches us about the goings on at the Church of Questionable Conduct. Meanwhile, the boys in the band are just playing their songs, loving Jesus, loving people wherever they go and I hope they remain free to do just that. I'm sure they are better off not being under the strict jurisdiction and regiment of former church. This is going to be the best thing that could have happened for them and maybe someday they will see it as such and thank the Lord for his merciful intervention.