This is a statement from Stan Dubose to the congregation 7-26-15 (11:00AM Service).
Skipped the lead-in comments at the beginning… statement begins at 00:40.
“This morning I am here to report to you that our Sr. Pastor, Steve Wingfield is currently on a sabbatical.”
“During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style.”
“It is important for you to know that this action is in NO way a reflection of a change of direction on the part of the elders regarding our support, trust and belief that Steve Wingfield is a man called of God to be and to serve as senior pastor here at First Christian Church.”
“During Steve’s absence from the pulpit, we are going to be blessed by many of our own ministers currently here on staff. We are also thankful for each of our members that have entrusted us and encouraged us as elders. Please keep Steve and family in your prayers as he seeks to learn and to grow.”
“Perhaps more than ever, now your contributions in the area of serving and giving are needed the most. We also need your continued prayers and trust as we still face attacks and criticisms.”
“I want to conclude with a portion of a message that one of our ministry staff shared with me and with my fellow elders. That message said:”
“I’ve been praying for your ability to concisely craft a statement that both shares love and support for Steve and demonstrates the hardship our congregation has faced and is continuing to face. It communicates openly and transparently the presence of brokenness in our leadership that we are working to heal and grow, and call our congregation to come and continue to seek the Lord together with us.”
“I want to extend that also as an invitation that if any one of you has further questions and you would like to talk to me after the service, I’ll be right here in the foyer to address those concerns you might have.”
This was exactly 1:37 seconds of information conveyed to the congregation. The balance was an introduction and closing prayer.
The information that was conveyed is not congruent with the facts.
1. The “victimizer” is now being portrayed as the victim.“During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained…, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style.”
a. Let’s not forget the nine families that have had to uproot their households to get out from under the “leadership style” that the senior pastor uses. Titus Benton, Byron Burns, Chris Nelson, Brantley Ping, Kristi Griffith, Tyler Brown, Robert Gentry, and now Lenny Barber – all have families that have been impacted. Granted, one or two of these families would probably have left no matter what, but, from what they have told church members, most of these families left because of the “leadership”.
c. The sexual abuse victims have all not received care, but have been offered “assistance” with questionable strings attached.
d. The defamation lawsuit is still active and can be re-filed at will within the next 20 months. The five defendants must maintain legal counsel until the lawsuit is withdrawn “with prejudice.” So far, the defendants have endured over $12,000 in legal fees to protect themselves from First Christian Church’s lawsuit. Doug Lay resigned from St. Louis Christian College to keep from being silenced about the sexual abuse issues.
e. Leaders at First Christian (presumably the Senior Pastor, based on comments from detectives) told enough lies to the Florissant Police Department that two detectives paid a visit to a church member’s home. During that “visit’ they accused the family of making email and phone threats, stealing church property (email database) and intimidating other church members on church property. The family was concerned enough that they retained legal counsel and under Missouri’s “sunshine laws”, found that the Florissant Police felt there was no merit to the complaints from First Christian Church. The Police Department handed over copies of the paperwork and stated that the case was closed. To date, that family is still banned from church property.
2. Church performance was ignored. Instead, a plea stating “Perhaps more than ever, now your contributions in the area of serving and giving are needed the most. We also need your continued prayers and trust as we still face attacks and criticisms” was issued.
a. Worship attendance has been dropping since 2007. It is down now, and has been declining since Steve Wingfield was named senior pastor.
b. Overall church income is down.
c. Overall volunteerism is down.
These conditions are not the results of “attacks” and criticisms. They are the result of a church disintegrating from the inside out.
When a church loses over half of its elders in a three year period and 50% of its staff leaves in a two year period, the problem isn’t criticism – it is leadership. Five years ago there were 13 elders, now there are four (discounting the senior pastor and executive pastor.)
So …the question becomes, who are the victims?
Is it the senior pastor dealing with the blow back from his past actions?
Or is it the staff members and their families who had to move their households to take other positions and get out from under “leadership”?
Or, is it the existing church membership who haven’t been aware of the tyrant walking among them and don’t understand why the church is shrinking?
Or, is it the loyal, long-term members who are standing on the street and moving to other churches because of issues with how First Christian Church has conducted itself over the last five years?
####################### CLOSING PRAYER #####################
“In closing, I want to close with this prayer, so if you would, bow your heads and join with me. Graced and eternal heavenly Father, you sit in heaven and you look down and see all of us here Father and that there are so many things that we are hurried from, there are so many things that we have done wrong Father, there are so many things that we need to repent and be broken about. We thank you Father that you love us that you guide us that you direct us that you guide us that you move us Father with in your hand. And Father we ask you Lord that you look upon us that you bring the needs that everyone needs to have Father that they come to a fullness of their fulfillment of that need.”
“Father those that are suffering from the hurt here in our church that they receive what they need. Father that those that are suffering in our cities from the killings that have been going on in our cities Father we pray for their needs. We pray Father for the victims of the most recent shooting in Louisiana Father we pray that their needs be met Father.”
“There is so much as you look from heaven down upon us that we have needs Father and we know that you see and that you hear and that you answer our prayers. We thank you so much for your love, we thank you so much for your salvation, we thank you so much for this place we can come Father and call it home, were we can be a family Father.”
“We ask that You would continue to use us, touch us, move us, be a presence in all of our lives Father, through the Holy Spirit, Amen.”