Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stirring Editorial from Charisma

Lee Grady wrote a deeply stirring editorial in a recent edition of Charisma. It confirms my growing persuasion that our failure to honor the Scriptural guidelines for ministers and ministry has led us down this path (Paul's injunctions against divorce and avarice). We need a renewal/revival back to the Gospel values of Christian marriage and financial simplicity.

Preparing for a Charismatic Meltdown

Three prominent charismatic ministries have suffered huge setbacks this month. What does this mean for our movement?

Foreclosure. Eviction. Bailouts. We’re hearing those terms a lot these days, and not just in the newspaper’s business section. In the last two weeks three charismatic churches that once enjoyed huge popularity have fallen on hard times.

In Tampa, Florida, Without Walls International Church is facing foreclosure. The megachurch, which once attracted 23,000 worshipers and was heralded as one of the nation’s fastest-growing congregations, shrunk drastically after co-pastors Randy and Paula White announced in 2007 that they were divorcing. On Nov. 4 their bank filed foreclosure proceedings and demanded immediate repayment of a $12 million loan on the property.

In Duluth, Georgia—northeast of Atlanta—sheriff’s deputies arrived at Global Destiny Ministries and ordered Bishop Thomas Weeks II to leave the property. According to documents filed in state court, Weeks—who divorced popular preacher Juanita Bynum in June—owed more than $511,000 in back rent to the building’s owners. He was escorted out of the building on Nov. 14 while a church service was in progress.

"The wrecking ball of heaven is swinging. It has come to demolish any work that has not been built on the integrity of His Word."

In another part of the Atlanta area, leaders of the Cathedral at Chapel Hill announced that their church is officially for sale. The massive Gothic building—which at one time housed one of the nation’s most celebrated charismatic churches, with a membership of 10,000—has slipped into disrepair after lurid sex scandals triggered a mass exodus. The church’s founder, Bishop Earl Paulk, has turned the 6,000-seat church (valued at $24.5 million) over to his son, Donnie Earl, who in recent years has abandoned orthodox Christian doctrines and embraced universalism.

In addition, the bank that called the loan on Without Walls also began foreclosure proceedings on its satellite campus in Lakeland, Florida. That massive campus with its 10,000-seat sanctuary was once known as Carpenter’s Home Church. Under the leadership of Assemblies of God pastor Karl Strader it enjoyed huge success, but its membership dwindled in the 1990s, and it was sold to the Whites in 2005.

A crisis hit Without Walls two years later when the Whites announced from their pulpit that they were divorcing. They did not give specific reasons, but Randy said he took “100 percent responsibility” for the breakup. He later told Charisma: “This was a decision of last resort after years of prayer and counseling.”

In the case of the Cathedral at Chapel Hill, many parishioners walked out 16 years ago when it became known that Earl Paulk and other staff members were involved in wife-swapping. Paulk created a bizarre culture of secrecy to cover the immorality, which included his affair with a sister-in-law—and resulted in the birth of Donnie Earl (who thought he was Earl Paulk’s nephew until last year). The church has only had a few hundred members in recent years.

Today, Donnie Earl has embraced the inclusionist doctrines of Oklahoma pastor Carlton Pearson, who left the faith in 2003 and was labeled a heretic by a group of African-American bishops the following year. The younger Paulk now preaches that all people, not just Christians, are saved. He told Charisma last week that the Cathedral “has expanded to include all of God’s creation—Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, gay, straight, etc.” And this distorted message is broadcast from a pulpit that hosted the premier leaders of the charismatic movement during the 1970s and 1980s.

Even before Weeks was charged with assaulting Bynum in a hotel parking lot in August 2007, the pastor of Global Destiny Ministries defiled his pulpit during a “Teach Me to Love You” marriage conference. He told married men they should use profanity during sex to heighten their experience, and he brought couples on stage to play a game in which men were asked to name their favorite female body parts.

Lord, help us.

Was it supposed to end like this? How did a movement that was at one time focused on winning people to Christ and introducing them to the power of the Holy Spirit end in such disgrace?

I hear the sound of bricks and steel beams crashing to the ground. The wrecking ball of heaven is swinging. It has come to demolish any work that has not been built on the integrity of God’s Word.

All of us should be trembling. God requires holiness in His house and truth in the mouths of His servants. He is loving and patient with our mistakes and weaknesses, but eventually, if there is no repentance after continual correction, His discipline is severe. He will not be mocked.

Romans 11:22 says: “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off” (NASB).

God is not married to our buildings. If He allowed foreign armies to burn Jerusalem and its glorious temple, He will also write “Ichabod” on the doors of churches where there is no repentance for compromise.

I pray the fear of God will grip our hearts until we cleanse our defiled pulpits. Let’s examine our hearts and our ministries. Let’s throw out the wood, hay and stubble and build on a sure and tested foundation. It is the only way to survive the meltdown.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Instrument to Measure the Impact of Hope in Strategic Plan Implementation

I had the privilege to work with several colleagues on an instrument to measure hope in organizations. It is published in the inaugural edition of the International Leadership Journal housed at Thomas Edison State College. The article is entitled:

"An Instrument to Measure the Impact of Hope in Strategic Plan Implementation." by Bruce Winston, Corné Bekker, Karen Cerff, Doug Eames, Martha Helland and Delicia Garnes.

This research study presents a 13-item instrument to measure the level of hope in employees relative to their belief in the positive outcome of strategic plans. The singlefactor scale has a Cronbach alpha of .912. The premise of the research is that people may be unwilling to invest time and effort into the implementation of strategic plans if they do not have hope/faith in the success of the plans. Theoretical support comes from Vroom’s expectancy theory, means efficacy theory, Porter’s value chain, and Snyder’s hope theory. The practical application of this study lies in the notion that it may be beneficial for leaders to understand the level of employees’ hope in the success of strategic plans before implementing those plans.

For the full paper see:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Christ Hymn as a Song for Leaders

Mark Hardgrove has an inspiring article in the Winter edition of the Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership:

Through the use of hymn and homology, as well as the rhetorical dramatic use of language, Paul is able to illustrate the appropriate attitude for the believer. He also provides, through the example of Christ, a rubric for Christian leadership: humility, selflessness, and servanthood. This approach stands in contrast to the prevailing cultural context of the recipients of the epistle, and continues to be a powerful statement on a leadership paradigm that challenges many traditional leadership models. A socio-rhetorical examination of the text reveals as many questions as answers. Those questions challenge the exegete to take a broader view that takes into consideration the implications of the text in light of the prevailing culture of Philippi in the first century, as well as that of the twenty-first century. This text, in light of contemporary culture, is a corrective comment for modern human leadership endeavors. download/print article

Monday, November 17, 2008

International Leadership Association Conference

I returned yesterday from the International Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, California. This year's theme was "Global Leadership: Portraits of the Past, Visions for the Future." I had the privilege to present two papers on some of my current research in the recovery of a Biblical and values-based approach to Leadership:

"Towards an Indigenous, Values-based Leadership Approach in Southern Africa": Recent studies have highlighted the desperate need for indigenous, innovative, values-based leadership approaches in Southern Africa. This emerging, post-industrial paradigm of leadership has helped South Africans to start thinking of leadership as something that is done in community instead of the actions--and responsibility--of one privileged individual.

"The Turn to Spirituality and Historic Understandings of Spiritual Leadership."
The presenter will use Kees Waaijman’s matrix for defining spirituality to explore and discuss examples of spiritualities that include leadership as part of their inner values. Two established schools of spirituality, as they relate to spiritual leadership, will be discussed: the asceticism of early Egyptian monasticism and the kenotic mysticism of St. Francis of Assisi.

I was encouraged to see how many researchers and scholars are willing to explore the moral, if not spiritual base for leadership. Many new possibilities arose from these meetings. I remain deeply grateful for the opportunity to work and learn with these fellow-seekers.

Another treat was to work with Jan Spencer on a paper for this conference entitled:
"St. Francis of Assisi and Spiritual Leadership: Integrating Ancient Insights with Contemporary Practice for Greater Leadership Effectiveness."
Spirituality in the workplace is integrated with an historical/practical view of the life of St. Francis of Assisi in order to provide specific examples of how leaders lead an organization that ascribes to Jody Fry’s spiritual leadership theory and model. Each of the traits identified in spiritual leadership theory are defined—transcendent vision, hope/faith, altruistic love, calling, membership, and outcomes—and then discussed in terms of Francis’ example of spiritual leadership. Although 800 years separate Francis from modern research involving workplace spirituality, his inner life transformation and subsequent experiences involving the establishment of the Franciscan Order promote a dialogue about how workplace spirituality should be approached as well as what it will take in the life of the modern-day leader to enable spiritual leadership to function effectively.

Jan's poster presentation was one of the most beautiful and aesthetically moving ones I have seen in years.

Friday, November 07, 2008