Prosperity Gospel & Flawed Leaders

This podcast episode takes a how-I-see-it look at the prosperity gospel movement and high-profile pastor scandals. Tune in for a lively discussion on church leadership, accountability, and the makings of a healthy church.


Wow, well I didn’t have my ears on so it was funny the question was and this isn’t necessarily following up the question was this is from Mark Driscoll you know Mark Driscoll it made me think you when you were talking process Oh yeah Mark, Mark you Mark.

You know you know Mark you Mark?


Well well he’s Mars, that way.

Yes, he was.

What do you think?

Is the church for Christians?

This is what Driscoll was asking.

Church is for Christians not for the world.

Why are pastors so worried about world feeling the about the world feeling uncomfortable in a church when Christians have to feel uncomfortable everywhere we go in the world.

It was funny as we the family kicked that one back and forth.

It was funny as far as, you know, no problem.

Understanding what the purpose of the world or the purpose of the church is.

So that’s what made me think of you when you were talking prosperity gospel, that kind of thing.

~ Well, should we talk about the purpose of the church?

~ Oh, wow.

~ Wow.

(laughing) – That’s an option as well.

~ Or should we talk about how much I dislike Mark Durstkel?

~ Yeah, you can do that too.

You have a disdain for him, huh?

~ Well, yeah, maybe.

That feels like a strong word, but maybe.

~ Well, just ’cause, you know.

~ Yeah.

just because you know and no I don’t.

~ Well you were gonna say something about it.

Yeah, well there’s that podcast, it was really good called something I can’t remember what it was called.

~ But it was really good.

Go ahead.

~ I can’t remember what, I’ll Google it if you wanna keep talking.

(laughing) – Well I’m just curious to see what you’re– – Anyway, it was basically a documentary on the whole fall part.

~ Mars Hill.

~ Yeah, Mars Hill.

~ Sure.

~ Mars Hill podcast.

What’s it called?

It’s called the rise and fall of Mars help.

~ Yeah.

(laughing) – Basically what I just said.

Anyway, you just hear the fallout, you hear the damage caused, and you hear the pain of those around it.

And I think the thing that stood out to me the most from then and just still seeing, Okay.

You know, kind of the way he’s operated since is that there was no recognition of his part in any of it.


It was all finger pointing in.



And if, you know, you, if you really want to know, just listen to the podcast, but there’s plenty of evidence to show you that he became all about him and sure, you know, you believe that Mars Hill was Mark’s Hill.

You know, I got you.


to die on Mark Driscoll.





So I, I just don’t have respect for him the way he led it.

Like that’s sure.

That’s not how you treat people that you believe.

You know what I mean?

It’s how I feel.

So, you know, whenever I hear him speak or you know, I see him starting to pop up more media again.

I gotcha.

And it kind of bums me out.





Because you’re because because Bible talks about grace and the humble, you know, and what’s it to the proud?

He is.

Man, I can’t remember anything this morning, but you know, I’m talking about.

There’s a God, God humbles the proud.

Humble the proud gets grace to the those who are humble humble humble.

Humble, he will.

Who walk in the middle.

You can’t talk either.

I feel like you walk in humility.

Excuse me.

You can talk.


I’m sorry.

I said that’s okay.

I feel better.

Um, anyway, yes, I just feel like the right, the repentance work wasn’t done.

The, you know, sure.

I hear where you’re coming from.

The amends work wasn’t done.

And therefore, I, and that’s, that’s not just true of Mark.

I mean, pretty much if that pattern exists in anyone, I have a hard time considering them someone to be respectable or listen to or does that make sense?

Yeah, it makes a lot of sense.

It just kind of moves them in a different category for me.


But I’ve been seeing in here, you know, well, you’re the second thing I’ve seen in the week, last week or heard, you mean you brought it up and then another one I saw, someone repost something on Facebook and I was just like, “Hmm, it just makes me sad.

” That’s how I feel about it.

~ Yeah.

~ Good or bad.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ So I don’t know about disdain.

It’s more like I want him to do what I believe he’s supposed to do.

(laughing) – A disappointment.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ If you will.

~ Yeah.

~ This says, “Hey, if we were to go about it this way, “then I could probably accept your message a little better.

” But the fact that I don’t think there’s a, I’ll call it repentant type or a humility there.

~ Right.

~ Yeah, you’re saying, okay, this could be setting up again for another, just another go around, if you will.

~ Well, that’s his whole, has always been his big thing is that he’s kind of a shock jock.

And so he likes pushing the buttons.

And he, you know, and like, that’s what gets him popularity And fame is basically asking those kind of– – Polarizing.

~ Yeah, polarizing questions.

~ Yeah, exactly.

~ That’s what made me think about that specifically.

You want to talk about, you know– – What’s the church for?

~ Yeah, and talking about comfort, ’cause I don’t think the church is designed just to keep us comfortable.

~ Yeah, but first of all, I think we’ll talk about this.

~ Okay, go for it.

~ But still the mark thing is like, it’s not hard to find something in the current zeitgeist and go and pick it apart and get a lot of people to jump on that bandwagon.

And I feel like that’s kind of, you know, that especially with this thing with the church being who is the church for, whatever.

Again, it just bothers me that this is his approach and it continues to be that way.

And there’s like, people will be, will jump on what he’s saying.

like have you heard what Mark said?

It’s so good.

It’s like yes, but it’s also just easy pickens for him to just and it’s cheap and you know it’s his MO to kind of pick apart things in the current you know culture and get people you know what I mean?

So it just bothers me and as far as like that part of social media what when you stop and think about how easy it is for someone to put something out there.


It doesn’t bother me that He puts it out there bothers me that people listen, but that’s what the thing is and if like again If you listen to podcast They’ll talk a lot about like he has some gifts in terms of Knowing those buttons to push sure knowing which you know platforms to put those things He knows how to get his voice out there and get it like above You know most people like he he has an understanding and how he can go from Where he was to the fall to now where he’s kind of back in this quickly in my opinion It’s just a perfect example of that of that gift that he has that ability that kind of knack that he has Yeah, because I mean it’s not that easy to get You know viral on social media you have to know you have to I mean we haven’t done it yet So are you speaking out of jealousy Justin is this jealousy?

Maybe that’s part of it.

Maybe, maybe, I don’t know.

~ He can fall and he can start it back up again so quickly.

~ And he probably could 10 times in his life.

~ Yeah.

~ The way I see it.

And what I would, what I want is for him to repent and still, and then come back, right?

Like what I want is to see a version of Mark that’s using those gifts in a way that, you know, isn’t gonna hurt people kind of thing.

and also doesn’t build his own little kingdom.

I don’t know, I just, again, real bad taste in my mouth, you know, the way he left things and that’s kind of where it’s at.

~ Yeah, ’cause Marlover– – Doubt that he won’t say good things.

That’s not really what it’s about.

It’s just about the source that I have to struggle with.

~ Yeah, ’cause Marlover was his second placement, right?

~ Mm-mm.

~ No?

I thought he was, we’re, we’re, we’re in geographically speaking, where is the Mars Hills church?




Cause I remember using some of his marriage stuff.



That was one of the, yeah, the big things that they provided.




And it’s just a lot of the stuff that came from our cell was amazing.

So I got you.

Yeah, it’s not about yeah, but my big takeaway from that whole podcast and just living through that You know like the rise and fall like I was listening to podcasts You know from them when they were rising and then you know witness the whole like you know just the whole thing is that It’s it’s humbling to see that God will use us no matter what sure right like that’s like he can he can you he can redeem our qualities, right?


He can redeem our brokenness and still bring good from it, which is beautiful, right?

Like we want that.

And I believe there’s, you know, like the music is another big thing for Mars Hill.

Like they had a pretty big music impact in the world.


And the, you know, Christian music world.

Like Hillsong and then.


Well, they weren’t – No, no, no, I’m saying like other churches.

~ Yeah, they kind of had a more grungy, you know, style to Christian worship, basically.

So they were writing new kinds of songs for worship.

And it just kind of created this whole other way of doing worship, which was cool.

~ Yeah.

~ So they had that, they had, no marriage ministry was a huge thing that he was passionate about.

~ Sure.

~ But yeah.

~ Yeah.

So in a lot of ways, this was a, this you rode the rise and fall.

You were butche on the rollercoaster, so you’re still, there is a feeling that goes along with that for you personally.

Yeah, it wasn’t like say.

~ And it wasn’t dissimilar to some of the church culture that I’ve been around.

~ Sure.

and some of the rise and falls of people in my own life, to where the patterns and the kind of, yeah, the patterns were so similar that it’s almost triggering, right, in the sense.

~ Yeah, I can see it.


~ As the faces come through your mind and the, yeah, the emotions come through your eyes, I can see that in what you– – And it’s just about men being men, their human nature and using the position that God gave them to gain personal gains, you know, to build their personal kingdom.

That’s what it’s about.

And it happens all the time and it’s still happening in different churches.

Whatever this is going to happen.

That’s part of being human, you know, again, this whole thing with Marcel and Mark Driscoll specifically is that it did happen.

It was very clearly a bad implosion, all this stuff.

and yet there is no repentance and we’re back doing it again.

And it just really bummed me out that God lets this happen.

That’s part of this too.

It’s like, why, why?

I understand you can redeem what he’s saying today, but why is that?

Why do you let that?

It’s my sense of justice, you know?

~ Yeah, but is that something we all desire is to be able to have that opportunity to make a mistake and then come back.

~ Yeah, I mean, I think you know what I mean as far as the difference between that and what I perceive is happening there.

~ I gotcha.

~ It’s not a repentance, it’s just a, well they don’t agree with me, I’m just gonna lay low for a minute and start my own thing doing the exact same thing.

Five years later, I’m just gonna wait for the storm to blow over and I’m gonna go right back at it.

~ I gotcha.

~ ‘Cause they’re wrong and I’m right.

~ Gotcha.

~ You know?

~ Yeah, yeah.

No, I hear where you’re coming from.

It’s an interesting, yeah, I almost equate it to the politics.

~ Yeah.

~ There’s strong personalities that come out and it’s like, you know.

~ The difference is in politics, I expect there to be some shady business.

I expect compromise to be the most important tool for a politician, which just so happens to, you know, compromises can be the very slippery slope, right?

And all kinds of craziness and nonsense.


But yeah, coming back to that– Church leadership.

Come on.



So as you think about church leadership, you had some ideas you were also wanting to consider in the process of– Do you have other– Are we talking about the original topic?


Do you have other areas that tend to frustrate or create a certain amount of division as far as you’re concerned?

~ I think if I understand correctly, this is Mark getting his back on track.

(both laughing) Yeah, you know what, prosperity gospel.

~ Yeah.

~ Yes.

Yeah, so, yeah, that’s a, I think by now, that’s a pretty common term to wear.

~ I got you.

if you go ahead and define it though.

~ Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Basically this idea that there’s this theological bent to understand that the Bible, Christianity, Jesus, God, everything is for you as a believer to the degree that if you’re doing life right, you should just be blessed.

Your socks should be blessed off nonstop kind of idea.

And if it’s not, then you have to believe it more.

Like it’s just lack of faith.

It’s lack of claiming the promises.

So try harder, you know, believe better.

And what’s one shift in, I would say in that kind of movement versus some of the similar theological bents from when I was growing up is like, it’s not so much on the sin side.

In other words, well, if you weren’t doing so much bad, you’d be more blessed.

~ Right.

kind of what I grew up in is like do less bad and you’ll get more good, right?

~ So are you saying you kind of grew up in a prosperity gospel type dynamic?

~ No, I wouldn’t define that as prosperity gospel.

I would call that works, you know, work based gospel, right?

So you just work at your salvation kind of thing and do more good than bad.

And you’ll see the benefits now and in the future, you know, kind of thing.

Which, you know, reaping and selling.

I mean, some of that, of course, right?

~ So as you think about prosperity gospel as a continuum or on a continuum, what’s the other end of the spectrum as you see it?

~ Well, I guess the other end off the top of my head would be this, maybe like what the monks used to do where they would self-flagellate.

~ Okay.

idea that you’re not a believer unless you’re just going through really hard stuff all the time.

Self-inflicted even.

Yeah, to the where you would do that just to prove your righteousness is just like, “Okay.

” Yeah.

That self-flagellation is basically whipping themselves with the rope kind of thing.

So that I guess that would be the, I don’t know, I just made that up based on.



That’s fine.

And I guess that’s where I was coming from, for in the discussion, if you will, if there isn’t this prosperity gospel, if we’re thinking this is one end of a polarizing viewpoint, I want to kind of create the other end of that continuum in such a way that says, okay, where is healthy then?

~ Yeah.

~ And what does healthy look like?

~ Yeah.

And kind of that other works-based stuff where it’s just about doing less bad.

I feel like another prong is that like on the continuum?

Is more like another to me.

~ And I would think there is that, there is I guess from my perspective on that, there would be the other end that would say, God is very much removed from my life and therefore has no interest.

And therefore, it’s for me to do it on my own, pull it up by my bootstraps type thing.

But I was.



~ Yeah, it can help those who helped themselves.

~ Yeah, yeah, yeah, that could be it.

And this.



~ And I guess that’s where to kind of qualify it in that process thinking about, okay, where is it that we are to be?

or as believers, as followers, where does the blessing start?

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ As we speak of prosperity gospel, we think of that as God blessing everything I do in such a way that makes me healthy, wealthy, and wise.

~ Mm-hmm.


So, yeah.

I like what you’re saying, where the blessings start.

Because I think that’s the crux, is it’s blessing is only the things that make me feel good, right?

Right, so positive things, you know, inputs in my life.

Where, you know, I think Paul would very much disagree with that, you know, where you would say, you know, I’m content in whatever state I’m in, you know, this kind of idea and that he would say he understands that the shipwreck was meant for God’s glory and ultimately his blessing, you know, like, or, you know, in the case of CR, like we talk about, you know, how God can redeem the broken parts of our life and therefore the blessing was even in the bad stuff.



That’s where when we were when what we talked about at the very beginning at you know I have words that kind of and comfort would be one of those words You know the prosperity gospel would say it would would be to the point of saying okay if I’m not comfortable then something’s wrong and I think you know in that process being able to recognize that that comfort isn’t the the end goal in the aspect of right how we are to live yeah Yeah, prosperity comfort, but it’s almost it’s almost more than comfort.

It’s like More blessed and comfortable.

You know I mean like I’m so blessed.

I’m beyond comfortable is Like what I might think of like Joel Olsteen I guess is kind of a figurehead for prosperity gospel right sure church in Texas.

He’s kind of you know It’s like you’ll be so blessed you you know, it’s just overflowing you can’t name claim it.




So it’s almost like even above a level of what I would think of a comfort-based gospel.


God wants you to be comfortable.

And it’s like, no, God wants you to be blessed, but your socks blessed off.


And you know, just like so that people around can see, wow, there’s something about this person, that kind of thing.

You know what I mean?

Versus just comfortable and hidden away.

It’s like, God wants to bless you because he wants you to stand out kind of thing.

You know what I mean?


So I don’t know.

It’s interesting.


And that all that being said, I don’t think God is anti-briarsparity either.





What do you think?

No, I think I do believe that God blesses us in many ways.

Yeah, and I think you know we are blessed far beyond our ability to comprehend even in most days because I think there’s blessings we don’t even see and I think you know if we’re if we’re just tying that to You know the fact that well, I should have all the money.

I want to do whatever I want to do Otherwise, I’m not blessed.

I think that’s that’s where we’re heading in a definitely in the wrong direction – Yeah.

~ But, and I’ll be honest, it’s for me that I understand the concept of the prospect, but it’s like, it is a, it goes beyond, but I’m not always sure where that goes beyond to, just because I believe we are so blessed.

~ Yeah.

~ To where, yeah, I mean, granted, Joel may have mansions and helicopters and all that stuff, but that’s not who I am, you know, to where it’s like, if somebody has that, wants that, good for them.

~ Yeah.

(laughs) – It’s like, ’cause I just don’t, you know, but I suppose there’s, you know, and I guess my thinking comes back to, and that’s why I wanted to create that continuum, is because I think when we look at someone or when someone promotes a doctrine like that, there’s gonna be people listening who are saying, well, what do I need to do?

‘Cause I don’t have that.

I don’t have my mansion.

I don’t have my helicopter.

What am I doing wrong that God isn’t blessing me with those kind of things?

And that’s, I guess that’s how I look at the prosperity gospel is it’s like, There’s those that have it all put together and God somehow blesses them more and Yeah, there’s others that don’t have it so therefore You know you just you just got it It almost comes back to like you were saying that works based you just you just don’t have enough faith You’re not and that I mean that even reminds me of some of the childhood stuff You know, but more so typically I’ve heard that we’re healing is concerned You know, you know, because a lack of faith can definitely, you know, well, you just don’t you know, you know quoted scripture even to the point of saying, you know, Faith shall heal you, you know, and yeah people will grab that one verse and say well You just not believe in enough and it’s like that that definitely makes me a little bristly.

Yeah, you know that kind of thing Yeah, but yeah, it has that same feel and flavor to me.





Healing gets into some really nitty-gritty emotional things, right, for some of it for a lot of people, right?

Because it’s if you’re going through severe pain or whatever or, you know, like, yeah, and then you tell me I’m not believing it.

Like, yeah, that’s, I think one thing that stands out to me about the prosperity gospel It’s very light.

It kind of stays away from those harder things like healing, right?

It’s more about at least kind of the Joel Steam version.

Yeah, like you say.

It stares away from things like repentance and sin and more towards believe and, you know, good, you know, prosperity, right?


Because, yeah, I think that’s a whole other thing too.

healing ministry is a pretty big thing.

And I think that is a big part of it is faith.

Which I also think it’s true.

The lines get real fuzzy, right?

Because I think we are meant to believe for healing.

We are meant to have that faith.


If I will talk about that.

It also talks about knocking and asking for whatever.

And Good father who if he gives to the sparrow why wouldn’t he give to you and you know like there’s just so many Versus to condone the idea that God wants good things for us.

You know, it’s overflowing.

Yeah, yeah, we’re flowing There’s the prayer of J.


There’s you know And I think that’s where you know, and I think that’s where it can become tricky because we can see These areas where God did specifically bless individuals.

Yeah, and I think you know if we blow that out of proportion, you know, it’s like that’s what God wants for everyone Yeah, and I’m not sure You know, I mean, yes God blesses all of his children.

Don’t get me wrong but I’m not saying that and Here again all I’m not saying all of his children live in such a way that he can trust them with the big things If he can’t trust them with the small things and you know, that’s where it comes back to for me how am I being faithful in just the small things?




So it’s tough because now we’re talking back about, you know, do better and you can get better and kind of thing.

That’s almost what you’re hinting at.

Again, again, what I’m saying is all of that there is truth in it.

It’s like when we grab onto one of those aspects and we run with it, right?


But they’re all true, you know, believe and you’ll be healed, right?

Asking you’ll be given, repent, you know, and reaping and selling like, you know, it’s all in there.


So you can’t argue that none of those things are true, but we also have to be careful about arguing.

Any of that is the only part of the truth, you know, sure.

And being prescriptive and looking at someone’s life and going, well, they’re sitting too much or they’re not believing enough or they don’t have enough faith or whatever it is because every person’s walk is unique and we have to walk with them.

You know, and it can be difficult.

And so I just think about people around me that I want to see blessed.

I want to see just those blessings rained on them, right?

And it’s like, but it doesn’t always happen.

And I don’t know why, you know, I want to see that for them.

And at the same time, some people See they are blessed they did they have but it’s not material.

It’s not whatever, you know, and I think you know What’s the most important thing for me to understand is that?

Prosperity isn’t material only, you know sure I can prosper in so many ways, you know, I can prosper spiritually I can prosper mentally I can prosper physically I can probably you know me And I also think, you know, talking about Paul, like that contentment in the midst of struggles and trials I can prosper.


Which is anti-world, like that doesn’t, that that equation doesn’t work in the world.



Does that make sense?

Yeah, it makes sense.

I was thinking about it while you were talking even.

Would you, and here again, I’ll confess my lack of knowledge on the subject, but would you say the even prosperity gospel is very much a Americanized church perspective.

~ Yeah, I think so, yeah.

I mean, I don’t think only, but I think, yeah, I think– – Predominantly.

~ Yeah, and kind of genesis of it would have come from here, I think.

~ Sure.

Just because of the, yeah, the wealth per capita, if you will, that we have available.

~ Yep.

~ And then it tends to be drawn as a comparison.

spurious correlation mark.

There you go.

I hear where you’re coming.

You remember us talking about that?



Essentially the rise and you know the rise of two things rise.

United States citizens prosperity correlates with you know we’re blessed or whatever and it’s like well are they correlated or you know any right and then and you know per capita of course we are you know richer than you know That’s the other part of it from my perspective that makes our culture and therefore the American church different.

It’s just interesting.

Been to going to other countries or having people’s missionaries and that kind of thing.

You think about it in that context of the contentment, the joy, the peace you see, Whereas, you know, we have this wealth and yet there there is less joy contentment piece than you know The church around the world in some ways from my perspective Yeah, so it’s like this idea that Yeah, the the rich church has it unlocked and you know as far as like they’re the you know We have the best way of doing church or whatever whatever that perception is right – Sure.

~ When the reality is, so many times when we go on a mission trip or missionaries come back and talk about the church they’re involved with, they’re saying like, hey, just see you guys know, they got it right.

We got it wrong, you know what I mean?

~ Sure.

~ They know how to live in through persecution and be faithful and all that kind of stuff where we don’t.

We don’t know how to do that.

And I’m not condemning the American church.

I think it is the church where both are the church, you know, but to say one is better than the other.

I definitely think having faith despite persecution is better than not doing that.



I don’t know.

It’s because it was I was actually listening to Harris Creek.

They were talking about, you know, having, they were talking about people’s favorite Bible verses.


And predominantly or primarily people from third world countries or countries where they had persecution typically had like no doubt like first Peter come to mind as their favorite because of the persecution that the church was undergoing at that time and they were able to identify with that.

And therefore it wasn’t like John 3 16 wasn’t the verses they were pulling on, you know, they were so it was just really interesting to sit here as they were talking with these students how you know those students that had come from other countries outside of the United States in the United States, you know, the there would be different, you know, themes that people would go through, but out of the United States where you know the the students had come from where they had experienced persecution, it was typically first Peter where he’s talking about, you know, that contentment and under the midst of persecution.

And yeah, it was just a, it comes to mind as you were, you know, sharing that.



It’s, I guess all that, you know, to tie into that, like, we perceive the American church is extra blessed because we’re extra rich when truthfully the kingdoms upside down is very Much likely that the churches that are poor and persecuted are more blessed than we are I know and that’s what I Have heard many missionaries say literally like you guys don’t understand how blessed these people are like you think you have a Bless no, they’re blessed and I’m blessed when I go in it like we look at them I was like all poor church whatever no, they they got it figured out sure you get what I’m saying like I do I think that’s because we have this incorrect connection between prosperity, physical prosperity with spiritual prosperity.

And they’re not always connected.

They can be connected, but they’re not directly linked.

And that’s where prosperity gospel really, I would say it really does is connect those two together to say they’re the same.


I can be the richest person in the world and have the worst spiritual condition and we know that’s true the Bible says you know Getting the whole world and lose your soul, right like But we still just hold on to that.

I feel like you know the more blessed I am the better I am spiritually it’s just you know, it’s not true.

It’s not true and So many times it’s almost the opposite where when we hit our rock bottom is when we actually see Jesus for the first time I mean, where we actually see the need for our salvation, you know what I mean?

~ Sure.

~ The need for a spiritual restoration with Jesus, you know, with God that only Jesus can provide, you know?

~ Sure.

~ And that doesn’t happen when I’m sitting high on the horse, I don’t see my need, you know what I mean?

~ Mm-hmm.

~ But, I don’t know.

~ Yeah, I was, when you’re sitting high on your horse, I’m feeling that this is a passionate subject for you, ’cause I think of typically our hobby horse is what came in my eye.

I’m not saying you’re high on your horse, I wanna clarify there.

~ I mean, maybe.

~ But yeah, this can be that hobby horse type thing for you just because of what you’ve experienced, where you’ve come from what Mark Driscoll and Joel Steen, those individuals represent, along with what the people that you have experienced who have had similar journeys, if you will, growing up in that kind of thing.


Yeah, have you not had any of those types of experiences or does it not feel?

I think the closest I could come to identifying with what you’re saying is probably Bill Hybels.


You know, who, you know, he had his, not Saddleback Church.

It was in Chicago either either way.

But yeah, we went we used to go Willow Creek.

There we go.

I just had to think of the conference.

I went to.

You just had to see me reach for my phone to Google.

And he’s like, no, we ain’t doing that.

Keep Google out of here.

We’re using our memories, Justin.

Come on now.

Yes, you are.

Good job.

I applied here.

Well, yeah, because we had done, you know, That was part of my journey in the process, or our journey, I’ll call it with Chris and I, ’cause we would go to these leadership seminars that Bill Hybels would put on, and be telecasted at that time to other locations.

And granted, there’s no doubt in my mind that strong, I mean, when I think of, When I think of Bill Hybels, I think of Trump, I think of these dynamic personalities are out there.

And I can probably think of some people who are in those leadership roles who have that, who haven’t necessarily fallen prey to the pride that can go along with that, then suddenly, okay, I need to change my wife, I need to change my, because what I have isn’t good enough.

I gotta go for more and I think there is that.

So that would probably be the closest for me is the disappointment that I felt, you know, when Bill Hybels had to step down from his leadership at Willow Creek, ’cause it did have such an impact on our lives and that’s where I’m able to identify.

It’s like, I’m not, that impact isn’t wiped away, you know, because of what they did, but you just feel for that individual recognizing that somewhere along the way, they kind of like King David, if you will.

Somewhere along the line, they quit going out to battle with the troops.

And they got to the point where I’ve arrived and I can just hang back and or the rich farmer who basically said, “Hey, I got stuff to go for years.

“I’ll tear these barns down.

” just that legacy that was missed out on, if you will, of finishing strong.

And I guess, that’s what comes to mind for me when I think about it in that context and that would be the closest that I could come.

~ Yeah, and you see someone like Billy Graham, that feels like is, was what you just described.

Finish the race strong and never kind of sat back on us haunches and said, “Look what I built.

I can I can write on the coattails of this or like yeah, I’m meal it in like It just felt like he yeah, his whole life was yeah go.

Yeah No, it’s a great example.

I appreciate that Well, I was the reason I brought up is because I was trying to rack my mind like is it possible?

Oh, I hear you Flippings for 13 all things are possible through Certainly it’s possible.

Yeah, but I just I I guess I’m pretty jaded towards the idea that a Christian can be at that level of a celebrity and still be about God’s kingdom.

And see, that’s.



That flesh is so strong.

But that’s where I would come back to that dynamic.

And I would say there are likely a number, the majority, even if I may say so, who probably do finish well.

But they’re not necessary.

~ Like leaders, pastors, when I think– – Yeah, so I’m not talking about normal leaders and pastors, I’m talking about celebrity level.

Like is that a thing that should be a thing?

That’s a whole other question.

~ No, that’s another question, I agree.

And I think that is a, I would dare say that becomes a harder dynamic to finish well in.

And I think, like I’m saying, there are a number of pastors, leaders who are finishing well, but they may not necessarily be in that category that I would put Bill Eibels, Billy Graham, those kind of people in.

And yet, of those Billy Graham would be the only one that I would, at this point, desire to have my life emulate or model my life after that kind of thing.

The thing is, there’s no doubt at all that these pastors who fall prayed the same prayers as Billy Graham that used my ministry, used my legacy to bring you glory and build your kingdom.

Oh yeah.

I think the prayers may have changed along the way.


Dad, I’m not disagreeing with you, but I’m saying– When you say the same prayers– I’m saying at some point, they all had the same pure desires to build God’s kingdom.

~ I hear you.

~ I believe that.

Not every single one, of course, there’s gonna be some that are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

~ Easy for you to say.

~ And that’s kinda where I feel like Mark Driscoll falls.

That’s part of it too, is it’s like, I know a lot of pastors that have fallen, big names, that kind of thing, Bill Hibles even, but he falls in this category of like, kind of that wolf in sheep’s clothing where it’s like, I don’t know that he’s, I don’t know, it just– – Really?


~ Yeah, see, I don’t, in the grandad, I realize it’s personal for me in that dynamic.

I don’t see him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I see, and it’s funny ’cause I think it makes more sense at times like anyone when we know the story of that person, his heritage, who his father was, what his father did.

~ Where did you hear that story from Mark?

~ It was from him.

~ No, that was from Bill, but– – Oh, Bill, you’re talking about Bill.

~ Bill Hybels.

~ I thought every time Mark, you said you didn’t think he’s a wolf in a season.

~ No, when you said, I think you equated, I think you mentioned the two names at the same time.

And then you said that– – No, I meant to say Mark is– – I gotcha.

~ To me, like that Wolf in Sheep’s clothing work.

~ I heard that you were– – Yeah, sorry, no Bill Hybels, I feel like, became misguided.

Like at one point his prayers were that and along the way it got comfortable and kind of what we were describing.

I don’t think of it as nefarious thing.

I think as a cautionary sad tale where I guarantee you Bill Heibels is sitting somewhere right now saying, “God I wish I wouldn’t have done that.

” I hear you.

You know?

I wish I would have kept that same focus and finished strong.


You know what I mean?


No, I hear you.

I shouldn’t say I guarantee, but I feel like that about Bill, you know, and I think I’m with you in that.

Yeah, I think it’s interesting.

Because I’m right now, and just in my personal reading and so forth, I’m reading a lot about and I think we talked about it maybe even one of the other ones, maybe it was just previous podcast, maybe.

Sparrow, Sparrow’s rest, you know, this aspect of Kingdom.

Yeah, you know, and I think and I think at times, you know, I do and check me on this one because you know, I think we all have kingdoms, if you will, that we are responsible for reigning over under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Don’t give me wrong.

So, you know, I’m not saying it’s a prosperity gospel type thing.

~ Yeah, yeah.

~ Mark says every harp.

~ Paul?

~ Mark says everybody has a kingdom.

(laughing) – No, I think you’re right.

And I think that’s– – I don’t know if kingdom would be, that’s where you could get a little lost in the weeds in terms of knowledge if you want, but like a– – I agree.

~ An area that you are meant to be over, yeah.

~ But there would be that part of me that would say, you know, in this process, in the, in God’s mandate, if you will, to, you know, dominate that kind of thing, I would say that we are all to a degree, kings and queens.

~ Yeah.

~ In this prospect, prospect.

And I think at times, we abdicate, you know, that responsibility, that stewardship, if you will, we abdicate that to something else, or we give it up in exchange for something that we think would be better, you know, than that God-given responsibility, if you will.

And so that’s kind of where it kind of comes back to.

That’s this whole thing for me is like, okay, finishing well, what does that look like?

And I think for me, that means not being distracted from my God-given purpose here for the sake of trinkets.

I think of– – Mud pies.

(laughs) – I don’t think of mud pies, but if you think– – Yes, Lewis, we’re content playing mud pies and we trade a vacation holiday at sea.

That quote.

Yeah, I was thinking more Jonah.

I have exchanged worthless idols for when he’s dropping down, basically exchanged the blessings of God for worthless idols as he’s recognizing himself sinking down into the seaweed-type stuff.

And I think we can do that.

I think as you were describing, Bill Hybels sitting somewhere kind of sad.

You know, I think that he would have a similar, you know, perspective that says, yeah, I exchanged, you know, something that was worthless for, you know, the blessings of God, you know, I exchanged the blessings of God for something that was worthless.

The thing is like the scale at which he did that.

Um, because I don’t think he’s unique in the sense that of trading, right?

No, I hear the purpose for trinkets.

And I feel like we can struggle with that on a daily basis, like at any level, but the impact of making that choice and how long that kind of that happens can can the impact that it makes can be drastically different.

In the cases of one like Bill Hywell, it can devastate a whole ministry or Mark Driscoll, you know what I mean?

And I think that’s where there is such a heavy burden to be a leader of.

that scale.

My big struggle with that, because back to my question, is that a thing that should be a thing?

Is that the church being that big?

No, specifically the leader.

Okay, the leader being that big?


The struggle for me that I have seen in these stories is that the bigger they get, the less accountable they get.

I hear the way that needs to work.

If if it’s supposed to work is the opposite formula.

In my opinion, accountability should double, triple quadroople, you know?

~ Sure, I hear you.

~ The bigger you get, the more you should say, hey, I need people checking in on me.

Hey, I need someone to speak truth to me when I’m going off the rails.

Hey, if I’m getting comfortable and trading for trinkets, I need you to tell me.

And like this honor and respect for those around you who are in the trenches with you, but not at the peak of your leadership in getting, you know what I mean?

They can speak to you.

~ Accountability.

~ But they see it, they’re with you, yes.

~ Sure.

~ And in these stories where there’s these falls, it’s almost always, well, you don’t understand me because you’re not the one called by God or you’re not the one with this heavy burden, this heavy ministry that has to carry it.

So like I can’t listen to you because you don’t understand.

You know, that’s a very common, especially in Mars Hill.

I don’t know the Bill Hybell story around that very well, but I wouldn’t be surprised if accountability lessened and lessened.

And part of that is human nature of those around the leader to go, well, look at him.

He’s clearly got things figured out.

I don’t need, when I questions him, they don’t need to say it.

Which is why I think the leader needs to be double, triple, quadruple saying, You may think I don’t need it, but I need it.

You know who’s a good example of this?

~ No, but tell me.

~ We mentioned Billy Graham.

I don’t know his story about the way he talked to the people around him, but what’s his name?

~ John Maxwell.

~ No.

~ John Maxwell comes to mind.

~ Okay, I don’t know those stories, but I’ve heard the podcast by Craig Grishel.

~ Oh yeah.

~ This is the leadership podcast, and he talks a lot about this subject and about how he puts people around him that he can trust.

But also, I’ve heard him talk about how he’ll bring people into the room in certain discussions that don’t have anything to do with him.

And like they don’t have any reason to not say the truth or whatever.

Or like he’ll bring in other perspectives, you know, like different races, different sex than him, right?

Like instead of sameness wrapping himself around himself with sameness so that he can confirm everything about him, he would do the opposite, right?

~ John’s name, but good, it does the same thing.

~ Cool.

~ Like even when he’s writing a specific sermon, he actually teaches that to the whole staff and accepts influence and to where I think that’s a cool idea ’cause it’s not like I’ve been given this, ’cause as I think about it at times, I think about how the church used to be this dynamic where we’d all come together, we’d all bring him a song, something that God’s teaching us.

And I think as we develop just individual leaders, it can be dangerous to be able to say, okay, I’m just doing off my thing and this is what, so I do value those individuals like you’re talking about, Greg and.



~ To be clear, Greg Rochelle and Bocleda or whatever.

Time will tell if they’re doing what they’re saying, but I like the concept of what they’re saying and it’s kind of my point.

~ Yeah, oh I do.

~ And I think that was lacking in the Mark Driscoll and Bill Hybels and et cetera, et cetera.

I think, again, just keep harping on the Mark Driscoll thing.

There never was an acknowledgement of that.

It’s been held all the way through, like no, those people were crazy there trying to get me to do stuff that was wrong.

I had a mantle by God.

that was given, then they were trying to take it from me.

And they were jealous of it and just all this garbage.

It’s just like, “Why does he get to talk again?

” – And I think there are, in stories like that, I think those people that were with us maybe, and I think about it even from my own experience in a church plant, which we’ve talked about before, I think there is this differing views.

I mean, granted, the church has its viewpoints, like a secret perspective or how individuals, how individual churches do things the way they do them based on a perspective.

You follow me?

And I think it’s easy when I get focused on one perspective versus another, it’s easier for those that were with me at a certain point to kind of fall away over time.

Two, I hear where you’re saying that accountability, but eventually if I’m just saying no, my way’s the right way, other good leaders are saying, okay, there’s no use me being here.

It’s kind of like John Maxwell, he talks about the law of the lid, you know, to where if you have a, you know, an eight, you know, an eight person isn’t gonna follow, you know, a six person.

You follow me?

~ Yeah.

~ Because, and I think, you know, people do bring leaders around them at a healthy point.

And then when those other leaders get, when the initial hierarchy gets a little wonky, you know, those other leaders that provided the accountability along the way, kind of fall off.


And I think that’s a great point you’re bringing up as far as Craig and JP, those kind of people are saying, no, I want that.

I want that now and I want that right on through and I may even need it even more.


And the question is, can they still get it?


Based on what you just said, like is that still an option for them?

Or do you reach a point where the hierarchy is such that, that’s kind of, again, That’s just the the the kind of the polarizing question like is it possible for?

You know Christian leaders to reach that scale and still that scale.

Yeah At what point does that scale become?

problematic to The leader being able to continue to be a leader in God’s kingdom versus his own, you know, I mean and I would say yes it still is available even at that scale because we can know of other churches who have are still Probably have their original leadership, but on you know in our in our in our social media world We know a lot more than we used to you know by far You know, I’m not but just because a pastor stays at his church for his whole life Doesn’t mean there wasn’t a point where he shifted and now he’s in this other version That’s not necessarily the only indicator, right?

Like, or there’s hidden stuff or whatever.

To me, it’s more of a heart thing.

Like, is there a point where the heart can no longer do what it, you know, like be open to it?

Just to answer my own question.

I do think it’s possible.

You know, all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.

I do think it’s possible.

I do think there are people who are called to that level and can and will persist.


But I’m also saying that there’s way fewer of those than we thought was possible.

We thought anyone, any pastor could become that level.

Just keep working at it.

Some day you might have eight books and eight churches and you know Lamborghini or whatever.

Like there’s no reason you shouldn’t have that.

Where it’s like, you know, the actual number of successful stories in that is is the percentage is pretty low.

~ Sure.

~ Right?

~ At that level.

~ At that level.

At that level, I’m specifically talking about that level.

But again, where does that level shift?

I don’t know, that’s also a continuum.

There are people who fall in the same trap as Mark Driscoll with the Church of 2000.

~ Sure.

~ Which, in Mark Driscoll’s world, it’s tiny, but in their world might be, look at my kingdom.

I am Osmondius, near Viroir, or whatever that goes.

Wow, I butchered that.

But you get the point, like they might have been all that they needed to have their kingdom and switch over to that mode.

Or they always were in that mode, I don’t know.

~ And that’s where it comes back to for me.

I think we’re at that point, we’re talking about heart issues.

We’re talking about kingdom issues as far as okay, I’m exchanging my kingdom, the kingdom that I’ve been given by God for the kingdom that I desire.

I think it’s the same thing that Jesus endured when Satan tempted him.

I can give you this in exchange for that.

And I think that can happen to each and every individual on a personal basis every day.

And I think that’s why we’re invited to guard our hearts.

We’re told guard our hearts And I think that’s where it can start is in the process of the heart, where when I think God is holding out on me, and I can think of something better than what God has for me, and I’m gonna go after that.

And I think that’s the fundamental piece, whether you’re a single person or a church leader or whatever, you know, yeah.

~ Or I don’t, I highly doubt any of them had that exact thought, like, well, I know God wants that, but I want this and this is better, right?

~ Yeah, but I think it’s a subtle thing that happens over time.

~ Definitely not disagreeing with you.

What I was gonna say is Jesus has 20, 20 vision.

So when he was offered that, he goes, “I know exactly what that looks like and it’s wrong.

” – Right?

~ Sure.

~ Where often when we’re given the same offer, we hear God offering it.

Like we have, our heart has gotten to a point of denial to where we believe the kingdom we’re building is God’s kingdom.

But they are no different.

I am doing God’s well, this is what he wants.

And that’s, I feel like where we go off the rails.

And that’s not so simple to point at and go, “Here’s where you went off the rails.

” It started way earlier in that case, right?

to where the denial is set into where, I don’t believe it’s worthless trinkets.

I believe it is God’s kingdom.

~ Sure.

~ Right?

Does that make sense by what I’m saying?

~ Yeah, I think we don’t ultimately, what you described with Jesus, I would call, he was able to identify the counterfeit right off the bat.

~ Right.

~ He just saw it as being counterfeit.

I think so often though, what happens in our lives is, the counterfeit isn’t, oh, that could be, that could be, oh, it’s a subtle thing that happens over time.

And I think we see that in a lot of cases and we don’t often realize it until it’s too late.

~ Right, I guess that’s kind of what I’m seeing.

~ And I think each and every person that we’ve talked about, not just talking about them, because I think it can be us.

~ Yeah.

~ In that moment, maybe not at the same scale, but I think it can be us in that midst of, well, that’s okay.

~ Yeah.

~ I can do that, that’s okay, ’cause after all, there might be a benefit.

I can see that there might be an advantage to doing it that way.

And over time, I think it can be a, we come to accept the counterfeit, Whereas like you’re saying, Jesus saw the beginning from the end and said, nope, not for me.

~ Yep.

Yeah, so Holy Spirit, that’s what’s needed.

~ Mm.

~ There’s no ability.

We don’t have the ability to suss out these things, especially if we have maybe some traumas or some things that kind of broke part of us at an earlier phase of our life.

And then something comes around that offers us like a save to that thing.

It’s like, it’s not just, well, this is kind of like the word you were using, this is okay.

It’s more like, this was given to me, right?

It’s like this almost like, this solves my wound, you know?

And it’s like, this is what I’ve deserved all along.

And it’s like way more convinced that it is the right thing because of those wounds or those empty, and again, how do you tell that person, Actually, I know you think this solves that wound, but it doesn’t number one you have to know about the wound Which a lot of times the people in around that leader don’t right and Number two you have to be able to speak to that ultimately Holy spirit we need the whole sure if you if you plan on being a leader of anything at any level Including your own little kingdom as a father as a husband whatever it is like Just get him in your life keep him in your life sure is There’s just no way out of these things.

~ Sure.

~ Without that.

Is the way I’m convinced.

~ Yeah.

~ And if there’s gonna be leaders like Billy Graham or people who can do it, it’s not gonna be them.

It’s gonna be the Holy Spirit.

~ Sure.

~ And them listening and not quenching.

You know?

~ Yeah.

~ And that’s the only answer I see.

~ I hear you.

Yeah, that’s the hard work.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah.

~ And the blessings come.

~ That’s also beautiful, lovely work to.

Yeah, yeah to be inviting him in and listening.

Yeah, I mean it is hard, but it’s also rewarding and that’s Yeah You hear guys like Spurgeon in his reading or you know read his writing and it’s just so like sweet Yeah, you know the understanding he has no doubt Anyway, that is a lot a lot of how I see it Probably a lot of it’s wrong.

That’s okay, you know Either way, that’s how we see it.