“Physics isn’t a religion. If it were, we’d have a much easier time raising money.”
“Businesses may come and go, but religion will last forever, for in no other endeavor does the consumer blame himself for product failure.”
-Harvard Lamphoon Quotes
“It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to infidelity.”
“I enjoyed my 8 years at Mosaic and the time I was able to serve alongside you guys. I cannot imagine how much great ministry will come out of each of you individually and as a group in the future. I have very intentionally steered clear of knowing much about the church but it looks like the way you guys have kept the church on task is just incredible.”
-Dustin Boles, former pastor of Mosaic Church, in an email to Mosaic Church staff.
“Please understand that we are not withholding details to protect Dustin. We are protecting those who were hurt by his sin.
…This news comes as a shock to all of us, and we do not discount the hurt that this has caused the families effected and the congregation as a whole.
…The mission still stands and the vision is still clear. Our faith and hope is founded in Jesus Christ through God’s divine plan.
You are Mosaic Church.”
-Mosaic Church, “A Message From Our Elders.”
“Let this be a lesson to all the church. You cannot keep this sort of stuff a secret nor should you keep this stuff a secret. The community has a right to know what the highly publicized, public figure, Dustin Boles, has been up to. You wanted the public to come to your church, to listen to your teaching, and to realize how much you care for your community. You do not get to hide the bad stuff. If you truly understand the gospel, you’ll be open and honest about the situation.
Also, leaders, there are alleged victims and you need to make sure you convey that in your interactions with the community. Already there has been a major screw up by one of your staff members in this area. We will let you know what that is in the near future. Start protecting the victims and stop protecting the reputation of your church and your ex pastor.”
-The Wartburg Watch, “Mosaic Church and Dustin Boles: Resignation Announcement and a Recent Email,” Sept 14, 2016
Today I am piggy-backing on several posts dealing with a sexual abuse scandal involving the former senior pastor, Dustin Boles, of Mosaic Church of Ocean Springs, MS. Two of these posts can be found at The Wartburg Watch blog, here and here. The other post can be found at Watch Keep. These posts and their accompanying comments do a commendable job of presenting the facts of the scandal, addressing the response of the church and former pastor Dustin Boles and keeping the focus on the victims and their families – where it properly should be. As Doug Murren, a former pastor of mine, has stated:
“The phrase “We shoot our wounded” minimizes the wounding done to victims. In the name of protecting a leader, we pass over the fact that the victims have to be taken seriously too. I think taking care of the victims is the first concern of the Spirit-filled church. Most fallen leaders already suffer from an exaggerated view of themselves and love being the center of attention. We generally think of “restoring” them first. I rarely hear people say let’s reach out to the victims. For me restoring those people is a much higher priority than helping a disgraced leader climb back onto center stage. I think we need a national movement to restore and heal the victims of church abuse. Our lack of concern for these people is killing our ability to reach the lost. ”
“Question Mark: Why the Church Welcomes Bullies and How To Stop It” by Jim Henderson and Doug Murren pages 107, 111-112
The slant I am going to take on this story is that, regrettably, organized religion is a business. Most church members do not want to believe this; nor do I. But time after time I have seen scandals come to light in a church and time after time I have seen church leadership handle the scandal poorly. Boz Tchividjian has said that “the priority of church leadership when learning of an abuse disclosure is the protection of the abused, not the protection of the church.” Boz Tchividjian is right; this type of a response is what reasonable church members expect. But this is not what we see. Why not? Because church leader’s first concern is invariably protecting their abusive colleague and protecting the church business. Admitting to their grievous sins and doing whatever it takes to care for the victims may be bad business. Members will leave, others will cut their donations. Churches may not be able to make their mortgage payments and pastors may have to be terminated. It is never cool for these churches who are attempting to reach “mega-church” status, or for the lead pastor who is attempting to become a member of the “Christian” celebrity club to be leading a church that is losing members.
Listen to this short audio from Mosaic Church. This is taken from the Sunday morning service where elder Doug Molyneaux broke the news to the Mosaic Church that lead pastor Dustin Boles had resigned because of abusive sexual conduct. In the audio, Mr. Molyeneaux defiantly states that “we are going to take this church to the next level, and we owe it to Dustin to do it as well. That’s what he wants, that’s what we all want.”
Yeah, that sounds just like what Christ would want! Take your church to the “next level” because you owe it to the disgraced, sexually abusive, former lead pastor. One also wonders about the euphemistic “all.” When Molyneaux states “that’s what we all want” does the “all” refer to the five elders, or does it refer to the entire church membership? I find it rather difficult to believe that Molyneaux polled the entire membership to determine what they “all” wanted. I bet he didn’t even ask the victims and their families what they wanted. Can you imagine any of the women Dustin Boles sexually abused, when asked what they wanted the church to do, replying with “I want this church to take it to the next level because we owe it to Dustin?” Clearly not.
It should be noted that elder Doug Molyneaux’s wife, Angie, is the Financial Administrator for Mosaic Church. Molyneauxs have been involved with Mosaic Church since its early days and undoubtedly have invested much, both financially and emotionally. The fact that Angie Molyneaux also derives a paycheck from the church creates an additional incentive for the Molyneauxs to keep the “business” of Mosaic Church afloat.
Church leadership wasted no time in moving to find a new, charismatic lead pastor. It is crucial to have as little “down time” as possible. One “amazing” preacher must be replaced by another “amazing” preacher quickly, otherwise, the church will start to bleed members. A church bleeding members is a church with a shrinking income. Mosaic Church is scheduled to move into a beautiful, new building in October. Undoubtedly the leaders are very nervous about the loss of “giving units.” Therefore, prior to even advising the membership that lead pastor Dustin Boles had resigned, they had already hired a company to find a new man-o-gawd; a man who had the call of God on his life to pastor Mosaic Church. One wonders what kind of church polity exists at Mosaic Church, but it’s clear that members have no input. Boles actions and the action of the elders clearly paint a picture of a leadership that is accountable to no one.
This is not novel. I attended three churches that operated in similar fashion. Members are not to question those in authority, just dig deep when the offering plate is passed. Members bold enough, or stupid enough to raise questions are quickly tagged as divisive and will never obtain the inner circle of “servant leadership.” Paint me as one of those divisive individuals; I am a slow learner – I questioned pastors at all three churches. Reactions were all pretty much the same – icy stares followed by shunning.
It’s a funny thing to see how God moves these days. We may have to do away with the doctrine of God’s immutability as he appears to be somewhat emasculated. In less technological days God could be counted on to answer prayer and provide a preacher for a church. These days He seemingly has to rely on businesses such as “Slingshot” who make a handsome profit matching preachers with churches. It’s not unlike a Christian dating service, or perhaps a better example would be the Ashley Madison “dating” service.
So, two weeks after the resignation of Dustin Boles, Todd Clark of Slingshot rides into town to take stock of the Mosaic Church.
Clark, after spending a few days at Mosaic Church, admits most of the members probably didn’t even know he was there, but he knows they are incredible and amazing, he was honored to be with them and he loves them all. Can you really “love” someone you do not even know? Perhaps Clark “loves” them because they are unknowingly paying his salary? Finally, in a statement which sounded eerily familiar to what mega-church pastor wannabe, Davey Blackburn frequently states, Clark said that he believes “the best is yet to come” at Mosaic church. Clark went on to say that he has been in touch with “dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of interested lead pastor candidates.” (By my math that is at least 96 pastors.) Clark will soon narrow the field down to 5 or 6 top candidates and present those portfolios to Mosaic leadership who will then discern who God has called to lead Mosaic church.
Oooh, this is so exciting. It reminds me of the NFL draft day!
Clever manipulation and shallow Christianity is on display, but that is standard fare for American Evangelicalism today. As one of my Twitter friends stated: “This is why I don’t identify as an evangelical. A racket at the top, rotten in the middle, a swamp at the bottom.”
Left unsaid is just how much the “finder’s fee” will cost the faithful, but hey, if you wanna play, you gotta pay! Inquisitive Mosaic members may wish to pose that question at a future members meeting. (They do have those, don’t they?) You can bet it’s not cheap. Slingshot has dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of employees. Todd Clark is one of the senior men in the company and recently quit a job as pastor of a group of churches in a Phoenix suburb with 20,000 members. I do not know what his salary was, but I would guess it was significant. Clark has moved to Huntington Beach, CA. where it appears the majority of his income will be from Slingshot. The cost of living is significantly higher in California than Arizona, you can bet his income is also higher.
Judging by the churches who have enlisted the help of the Slingshot company, you are living in rarified air if you can afford their services. Notice Willow Creek is one of Slingshot’s customers! Just more reason to stress the importance of Mosaic Church leaders “keeping the church on task.” (Translation: keep the giving units tithing!)
Here is the job description for Mosaic Church. As mentioned earlier, according to Todd Clark, there are roughly 96 individuals who are feeling, to one degree or another, the calling of God to apply for the position.
Well, it looks like Mosaic Church is in a good position to take their church to “a whole nutha level.”
I wonder what the victims think of all this?
“Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
I wonder what God thinks?
I wonder when Christians attending corporate churches across the nation will wake up?
“Standing By” -Stefan Van Voorst
Audio of Mosaic church publicly addressing the resignation of Dustin Boles in the worship service July 10, 2016.
Kevin DeYoung’s Gorbachevian Perestruvka Will Fail, Axe to the Root, September 11, 2016
Bully in the Pulpit, Mortification of Spin podcast.