Oh did I type that outloud?
A few years ago, I had the privilege of working with Save the Storks. A ministry that works with crisis pregnancy centers to provide free ultrasounds to women, among a wealth of other fantastic services.
I was given a “Stork Bus” and asked to help them raise awareness for their cause – and I knew exactly how to do it.
It was just about Easter time in Arizona, where churches would be preparing for various celebrations and inviting their communities to participate – So I contacted the largest ones in and around metropolitan Phoenix: North Phoenix Baptist, Scottsdale Bible, and Highlands were among the dozens or so that I contacted.
I made sure that they knew I had no interest in taking the pulpit to talk about my horrific decision to abort my child. I simply asked for a parking space during their service, so we could park the well-marked Mercedes van with the doors open – and just let God do His thing.
#NorthPhoenixBaptist – No response whatsoever.
#ScottsdaleBibleChurch – Nothing.
#HighlandsChurch – I got an email – “Too offensive” was their reply to us.
Too offensive? Educating the Christian public on services offered to help prevent abortions – by parking a beautifully designed van in the parking lot?
The saddest part of the story is that out of the dozens of area churches that I reached out to – only one replied.
One church, who had an average weekly service attendance of about 50. We were lucky if we had 52 since it was Easter.
But their heart was certainly in the right place – so of course, we were there!
Later on down the road, I sent an email to the executive staff of Highlands Church with regard to a victim who had contacted our ministry, after she attended a “Singles” mixer – and was now a victim of a stalker. Seems that the unknown, unvetted, “weird” man that no-one knew, would not leave our victim alone while at the event. She was walked to her car by other women who attended the event – and they both simply left – weird, a little freaky, but they figured it best that they just leave before it got ugly – who knew, maybe he would meet Jesus, and they departed.
The very next day, the victim received a phone call on her cell phone, from the “freaky-weird” guy – that no one knew – the one who attended the event – and she ran away in the night to get away from… that one.
He did not find Jesus.
But he did find her… thanks to the Highland’s church minister who, after her departure, simply gave the unknown, non-member, non-Christian, man – that no one knew…. – the victim’s name, address, phone number, and workplace address.
And the freaky-weirdo hit every-single place.
After assisting the victim with the processes of obtaining a protective order, I contacted Highland’s executive staff to not only report the incident – but to also obtain the freaky-weird, unknown man’s information so that the order of protection could be served…
No reply. Nothing. Nada. Ziltch. Zip.
But, let me say this, there is no longer a single’s pastor, nor is there a singles program listed on their website.
I guess that, solves everything.
Well how about this for offensive – Highlands Church, Scottsdale Bible, and North Phoenix Baptist Church– Another pastor sexually molesting his flock.
And the fact that you, once again, want to simply brush this under the rug and make it all go away- Rather than invoke the demand and command of church discipline – THAT brothers, is offensive!
Les Hughey is just the latest in a long line of shepherds who have been put on “administrative leave” or allowed to simply disappear, following their, “mistakes,” as stated by Larry Cotton, who was permitted to resign his position at The Austin Stone Community Church, following his sexual misconduct coming to light.
Les Hughey seems to believe that because he had “consensual sex” with a minor, all while he was married… and admitting to the “sinning,” that somehow assuages the act… the CRIMINAL act.
And apparently Highlands Church agrees – as they have put the scum-of-the-earth, dirtbag, Hughey on administrative leave and Scottsdale Bible, (where Hughey had an additional few sexual “misconduct” issues before building his multi-million dollar mega-church with their blessing), has jumped in to “launch its own investigation,” says Kory Schuknecht, to the Modesto Bee …
Did I miss the Scripture on “Administrative leave” or the one about “launching an investigation?”
Let me help you out – it’s not in there.
Let me also say, that I am a well-seasoned professional and I am the first one to call out a lying, cheating, conniving, and manipulative “Potiphar’s wife/Delilah” when I see her – if you don’t believe, read some more of my blogs.
But it is only because of my extensive experience and training whereby I have learned how to determine fact from fiction.
Somehow, I don’t believe that ASU teaches sexual molestation in their under-graduate school of business program – do they Mr. Kory Schuknecht? And I know for certain that My husband didn’t hear one, single, detail, about the necessity of “church-led-investigations” throughout his six-years of Seminary….
But church’s like to keep things quietly, “in house,” as in the case of of these dust-bunnies laying under the rug of the American Church:
In January, of this year Pastor Andy Savage (appropriate last name, I would say), was also granted the privilege of “stepping down” after admitting a sexual assault on one of his youth during his tenure as a youth pastor two-decades earlier. The now-former Pastor of Highpoint Church, stated that he “has come to understand Jules’ [Woodson, the victim] vantage point better, and to appreciate the courage it took for her to speak up.” (USA Today, March 20, 2018).
How big of him… It only took 20 years, Savage.
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece on the prominent Missouri state lobbyist, Kerry Messer – who not only had an affair during his tenure as a high-ranking representative of the Church – endorsed (once again by the Southern Baptist Convention) – but more than likely he killed his wife too. But not before abusing her, denying her medical treatment and emotionally and spiritually abusing his children… yet, there has been no church discipline by his church, the ministries in which he serves, nor the Southern Baptist Convention of Missouri – where is a registered lobbyist for Christian issues.
Is this really who we want to serve as our lobbyist for the church?
Willow Creek, the glorified “mother-church” hailed as king of the pulpit, by Jamie Rasmusson of Scottsdale Bible Church – I say that because you can’t sit through one of Jamie’s sermons without listening to him sing the praises of the disgraced Bill Hybels – whose church harassed and humiliated their victims to the point of them having to leave the church…
Note to church: DV/SA 101: Do NOT send your team of defense lawyers to “interview” the victims of the sexual misconduct of your client/megachurch pastor with a million-dollar budget… it might be intimidating to the victims.
Hybels? Oh, he got a standing ovation when he announced his “early retirement.”
My readers know that my husband and I operate Redemption. Restoration. Recovery. (R3) Domestic Violence Services and Training. They also know that it is because of over thirty-years of working in this field that we do what we do – and we do it well. And it all started with my own personal story – where, I too, reached out to my pastor – at Scottsdale Bible Church… hoping for help after a brutal beating by my ex-husband and member of the church…
– But what I got was a lecture on forgiveness and sin.
Seems that my ex-husband had beat me to the phone, and when the Darryl DelHousaye led team of pastors got the call from him (the abuser… from his jail cell, mind you) – the ten-minute “explanation” by the offender served as a “good-enough” sign of repentance by the pastoral staff – and – took the place of any form of required, necessary, church discipline. It was simply swept under the rug –
It was with a broken neck, broken jaw, and a broken right arm that I listened to the pastor-on-call explain to me what I was to do.
“Forgive and move on….” nothing to see hear… was the sentiment. (Darryl DelHousaye is now the President of Phoenix Seminary… Overseeing the grooming and conduct of future church leaders).
Growing up at North Phoenix Baptist church – I watched it all go down. I watched as the CFO was found to be having a long-standing, twenty-year affair with his secretary – and Pastor Richard Jackson simply allowed him to move along… soon to be another church’s problem – Same for one of the associate pastor’s affair(s), the youth pastor’s advice to abort the child one of my high-school youth-group friends – was flatly ignored as we took the issue up the ladder of administrative officers – not to mention his multiple affairs and sexual “indiscretions….” But no worries, Rick Ousley finally left and a couple years ago lost his Chaplaincy position with Alabama and “withdrew” from his Alabama church, because of yet, another “indiscretion…” But, it’s all good, I hear he has started a new church in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Yep – they are ALL, still, to this day, serving at a church or little”c” christian ministry near you….
All without any record of their deeds – Even though they are the definition of being unfit for ministry and are all – supposed to be subject to James 3:1:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (Js 3:1).
Just make it go away – “We don’t have those problems here…”
How ironic is it, that after all these years, it’s the same answer I get from Pastors across the United States today when approaching them about taking our training and using our curriculums and manuals to provide comprehensive, domestic violence/sexual assault services from within their church…
“We don’t have that problem here…”
Sure, you don’t.
As a matter of fact, Medesto, California’s, First Baptist Church, (which has changed its name to CrossPoint Community Church) – could say the same thing… Because, well, they don’t have that problem anymore – No, they sent that problem to another church – and I’m not just talking about Less Hughey… Nope.
The very same church also, quietly dismissed Brad Tebbutt, who sexually abused one of his youth students for 2 1/2 years. The Modesto Bee reports that not only is it blatantly clear that the church knew – but states that when the victim reported the incident to another youth pastor, Marvin Jacobo – Jacobo admitted that the only action he took was to phone Tebbutt and his wife. Even after Tebbutt admitted the molestation – nothing was done!
Both men – left to continue on in ministry – like nothing ever happened…
To Jennifer Lefforge, Les Hughes victim, I say, “Yes. You would be correct, my love… and I am so very sorry.”
Not only did they [First Baptist of Modesto – now CrossPoint Community], send a predator the way of Ms. Lefforge, but they sent him (Les Hughey) off with in all-out splendid departure-party, in full, elaborate, grandeur!
… and yes, they did know all about it.
But, the buck doesn’t stop with the independent churches – who are obviously not doing their jobs – but, like in the case of Kerry Messer – Where are the powerhouse organizations who financially support these degenerates? The Southern Baptist Convention? The American Baptists? Where are you?
Oh, that’s right. When Dr. Frank Page, the most recent of the hundreds – and the President and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’ Executive Committee, – home to over 50,000 churches and ministries across the globe, has had to “step down” because of his “morally inappropriate” conduct – I suppose you have your hands full…
But that’s not really the case is it?
No, as a matter of fact, according to Stephen Rummage, Senior Pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida and SBC committee chair had nothing but accolades for this worthless example of a leader… ““My heart is broken for Dr. Page, his family, and everyone affected,” and he asks that we “pray for everyone involved in a situation like this, and especially for Dr. and Mrs. Paige.”
Mr. Rummage – “Everyone affected?” Well, we don’t exactly know who was affected do we? Since “The exact nature of the “morally inappropriate relationship” is not known,” according to the USA Today Network – Tennessee. And there has been no actual discipline from the church –
The more I read, the more it got worse – in another interview Rummage continued to seek prayer for the SBC and for the duties of the Executive Committee… the leadership… the interim transition… and the search for their new leader.
In keeping with the deep sympathy push for Page, he offered up his own remarks – stating endearing sentiments for his family, the SBC… or and somewhere sandwiched in the middle was the mention of the Lord and the kingdom…
An afterthought, I’m sure.
No mention of the other person(s) needing prayer for their lucky encounter with Dr. Page…. No mention of repentance. No church discipline – as a matter of fact, the only thing Dr. Page stated that he was focused on was rebuilding trust with his wife and daughters.
But it doesn’t end there.
To close out this magnificent display of affection for the sexually immoral, disgraced leader – @EdStetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College had these rebuking words: “[Frank] … is widely loved and appreciated, and seen as a person of great character…”
Wow! That sets an example of how we handle those who disgrace the name of God Almighty, for sure!
You, the leaders of these ministries and churches – Yes – you, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Executive Committees, the lead and associate pastors of these churches, the elders, deacons and congregants – you, hang your head low, and you can even shake it in disgust – but if you, are not going to invoke church discipline, then who is?
What is your message to victims? To society as a whole? Where victims seldom see justice and predators and perverts are allowed to roam free… free to offend – again.
Isn’t it bad enough that we would rather tell stories and sing contemporary, non-Christian songs in our country-club churches – that we chose to invest millions and millions of dollars to put a new coffee house and smoke machine on the campus of churches like – Scottsdale Bible Church – rather than go the humiliating distance with our victims and get them the professional help they really need, by those who actually know the judicial system and how to file paperwork – and police reports – and receive counseling from those who have been specifically trained in sexual and domestic abuse – Leaving you to do your REAL job – that is – step up to the plate, “be courageous, act like men!” And “purge the evil from amongst you,” as opposed to sending your legal team for the defense to intimidate the victims and simply dismiss the egregious behavior of those unfit to serve!
When we have more predators and perverts in the pulpit then preachers who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ – and are the example of what it looks like to follow His commands – even when it gets messy – we have failed in our mission to fulfill the great commission and ALL those who have allowed to happen under their watch need to “step down.”
This is my prayer for you – all – individually:
“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Lk. 12:2-3).
I promise you- I will be the first one on the housetop, in the name of Jesus.
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee:
Scottsdale Bible Church: Current Executive Leadership: (as posted on their church website).
Highlands Executive Staff: I cannot tell you just how offensive it is that Les Hughey is still listed on the Highland’s website, as of today, April 25, 2018 at 11:24am, as the “Senior Pastor.”
Maxey, R. “Memphis megachurch pastor resigns following sexual abuse investigation” (2018, March 20). Retrieved at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/03/20/memphis-megachurch-pastor-resigns-sex-abuse/443671002/
Bailey, S. P. (2018, April, 11). “Megachurch pastor Bill Hybels resigns from Willow Creek after women allege misconduct. Retrieved at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/04/10/bill-hybels-prominent-megachurch-pastor-resigns-from-willow-creek-following-allegations/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0bec914e2c41
Stapley, G. (2018, April 23). Modbee.com/new/article209664229, paragraph 4.
 Toalston, A. (2018, March 27) “Southern Baptist Leader Frank Page Resigns over ‘morally inappropriate relationship’: President and CEO of SBC Executive Committee confesses he “initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation.’” In Christianity Today. Retrieved at https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/frank-page-resigns-southern-baptist-executive-committee-sbc.html