I randomly came across an article today about a(nother) pastor leaving Mars Hill. The author of the article wants to know why. Wants the bigger story. The meat.
I am going to guess that “the real story” will never be told. At least not publicly. Sure, whatever really happened with Tim Gaydos is probably known to a small circle of select friends.
But, this is part of the reason why I see this whole movement as a cult: silence. Most people know that something is seriously wrong. But, they don’t say anything. Even after they leave.
Even after you leave this cult - if you retain your evangelical beliefs - the New Reformed vultures have their claws in every corner of evangelicalism. You simply can’t be an evangelical and avoid them. So, because of your weird beliefs, you will let slide what you really know “for the greater good.” You simply can’t speak out about what is going on right now, behind closed doors.
This brings me to another article I came across about a conference that happened just last week here in Raleigh. It’s about a talk that was given by Pastor Tyler Jones, someone I used to be on staff with and considered a friend. In the article, the author paraphrases Tyler as saying:
…Sometimes church leaders who are versed in pointing out the faults in others ignore deep internal issues in their own lives. The sins of leaders, he said, are often left unnoticed or sometimes even praised.
Citing the example of a church leader who might be considered a strong go-getter but never worries about the people being hurt as they strive for achievement, he said that was a problem. No one looks at the carnage a leader like this leaves behind.
He said just like an avocado rotting at its core, sooner or later those internal issues will eventually spill over into the ministry of leaders with these issues. Many leaders, he said, struggle with a grandiose sense of self-importance.
I’m going to assume that Tyler didn’t specifically mention the person he was using as an example. I know exactly who he is talking about. But, that is not my problem here.
The problem is that I know dozens of people who criticized this “leader” - who met with other elders to call into question this person’s ability to lead. I know more than a few people who left the church because of this leader. And I know more who were personally damaged by this leader.
And, nothing was done about it. This person stayed in leadership well beyond his expiration date. No matter what anyone else said.
Here’s what I thought back then and still think today: leaders who have power and authority over others but who repeatedly allow abuse to occur are just as responsible as the abusive leader. If the other leaders in that church wouldn’t have enabled that leader to do what he did, it wouldn’t have continued.
(Here I must confess that I, too, contributed to this, for awhile. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, and I had to walk way. But, I admit at least some degree of culpability.)
At this point, many may say that they had “no idea” of the depth of what that person was doing. To that I simply say, bullshit. Many of us saw it. And we said it. The problem was that those with the power ignored everyone else. Nothing changed until the problems were considered “extreme” enough to do something about (I guess someone “versed in pointing out the faults in others,” who “never worries about the people being hurt as they strive for achievement,” and who struggles with “a grandiose sense of self-importance” isn’t extreme enough to warrant a change).
In conclusion, sadly misguided cult leaders and members: stop looking for a scapegoat; look in the mirror.