Statement Regarding This Interview With Matt Chandler / Link To Article
No Eden Elsewhere's
When Matt Chandler announced that Acts29 would be funding church plants - I knew it was nothing new or groundbreaking. This model of church planting has existed for years. I worked for a large multi site church in the DFW area (SBC)that was heavy on church planting. There was actually a ‘Pastor of Church Planting’ on staff! Just like Acts 29, new church plants were promised support for 2 years with a similar amount of monetary support.
While I think it’s a noble cause to plant churches in unreached areas…this was not always the case from what I observed. I saw a lot of ‘poaching’ that took place in the communities where the churches were planted. It was not organic growth.
What concerns me about the Acts29 model of church planting is that they believe they ‘now’ have a more stringent process to vet new pastors. These young pastors will jump at the chance to get $50k in start up $$. The men going through the assessment will do whatever they have to in order to ‘tick the boxes’. It’s not going to weed out the ones with low emotional intelligence & personality disorders. There will be plenty of ‘Steve Timmis’ & ‘Mark Driscoll’s’ who make the cut. That’s how these guys make it in life - fooling everyone around them!
To address specifically what Chandler said in the announcement - what stood out to me is the ‘multiplication factor’. In my opinion it goes back to that TGC blog post from Kevin DeYoung, ‘It’s Time For a New Culture War Strategy’ (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/its-time-for-a-new-culture-war-strategy/), where he stated the war on the culture begins by having more children. By the same token this is what Chandler is saying….lets not address the glaring problems in Acts29 & some Acts29 churches, and instead, lets just get bigger so we can rule over it all.
He also tried to say one bad apple spoils the bunch in terms of pastors. The good ones get a bad rap just because a few high profile abusers get exposed. I think that is incredibly disingenuous on Chandler’s part, because once again he shifts the narrative to not how BAD the abuse was at the hands of those pastors, but rather how it’s impacting other Acts29 pastors in a negative way.
If I had to sum up my biggest issue with what Chandler said, it would be this statement, “I think clarity can be perceived as control. I think accountability can been seen as abuse.” This is extremely troubling, especially in light of the stories coming out of his OWN church. He’s reframing the terms ‘control’ & ‘abuse’ in a way that there are no absolutes in how they are defined. People who have been abused at The Village Church were absolutely abused & controlled, but in the mind of the those doing the abusing, it was done in the spirit of ‘clarity & accountability’. It’s important to point out those distinctions when reading what Chandler said. When he says ‘clarity’ and ‘accountability’ can be used in place of ‘control’ & ‘abuse’, he’s waving a giant red flag. To him, abuse & control are only a matter of perception - not absolutes. But whose perception do you trust? Well if you are in an elder-led church like The Village Church, you are told to obey the leaders & trust their guidance & direction. You agree to that when you sign the church membership covenant. That’s where the abuse comes in - relinquishing control & giving it to the church leaders. You have to ask yourself - is the Acts29 model of church planting led by Matt Chandler going to produce more abusive leaders & churches? I think so.