3MN: "The church can go to hell." A response.

3MN: "The church can go to hell." A response.

Happy 3 Minute Thursday!

Let's make it quick! No wasting time, no fluff stuff, and definitely no spam. In three minutes each week, this newsletter will help you think in the best way and be a Christian on purpose.

🌎 Minute 1 - Newest church scandal is center stage again.

Hillsong, the global megachurch known for its hipster culture, famous attendees, and popular worship music, has been marred by scandals in recent years. A four-part documentary series called "The Secrets of Hillsong" premieres on FX, featuring the first interview with former celebrity pastor Carl Lentz since his 2020 firing for "moral failures." Hillsong's success stemmed from its contemporary worship music and drew in young people, including celebrities like Justin Bieber. The documentary explores the church's troubles, including the controversies surrounding Lentz and the subsequent resignation of founder Brian Houston in 2022.

The most shocking thing about this newest church failure is that these aren’t scandals. They aren’t even controversies. They have become church culture.

πŸ’¬ Minute 2 - A quote on the difference between being shaped or entertained.

Kara Bettis Carvalh, who grew up in New York City and attended both Hillsong under Carl Lentz and Redeemer Presbyterian under the leadership of the late Timothy Keller, said this about the experience:

Despite my naivete, it was hard to miss the stark differences between both churches and their leaders: One formed me [Prebyterian, Keller]. The other entertained me [Hillsong, Lentz].

Long gone are the days when Christians could write off scandals as fringe events. They are now front and center. They are as customary in the church as coffee in the foyer, cheesy music on the stage, and passing the donation plate for the umpteenth time (see Mars Hill, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, Kenneth Copeland, Bill Gothard, Dave Reynolds, or over 700 sexual abuse cases in Southern Baptist churches).

So what is the leading difference between leaders like Lentz and leaders like Keller? The church has become more about power like Jesus than the power of Jesus.

[Jesus] triumphed over sin not by taking up power but by serving sacrificially. He β€˜won’ through losing everything. This is a complete reversal of the world’s way of thinking, which values power, recognition, wealth, and status. The gospel, then, creates a new kind of servant community, with people who live out an entirely alternate way of being human. - Timothy Keller in his book Center Church.

πŸ₯¦ Minute 3 - How do we reverse the 'scandal trend' of the local church?

I read a person's reflection about the Hillsong documentary. This person had long left the church and typed out his reflection on the newest church scandal in 6 haunting words: the church can go to hell.

πŸ‘‰ A three-step guide on how average Christians can work to reverse the trend of church scandals.

  • Step 1: Cultivate a Heart for Holiness - Average Christians must urgently cultivate an unyielding pursuit of holiness. We must take ownership of our brokenness, acknowledge our desperate need for God's grace, and refuse to settle for complacency.
  • Step 2: Prioritize Discipleship and Community - Evil thrives in the shadows; church scandals expose a severe deficiency in discipleship and community. We must intentionally cultivate a culture that prioritizes discipleship and fosters authentic community, or else we're doomed to repeat the same destructive patterns.
  • Step 3: Hold Church Leaders Accountable - Holding church leaders accountable requires boldness. I'm a church leader, and I'm begging you to ask tough questions, voice concerns, and demand transparency. Average Christians must oppose leaders who compromise morality or abuse power.
How can we break the cycle of church scandals and restore trust within our local church? I want to hear from you. Send your reflections or thoughts by simply replying to this email.


A T D T T T A T A T F, T T B O B A T P.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. - Acts 2:42

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Until next week,

Payton Minzenmayer

p.s. Explore and Chill Middle Earth