The problem with the leadership and culture of Hillsong is they have no fear of behaving in a way that suggests they have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. The evidence is clear when you examine Hillsong leaders like Carl Lentz. They often present a very misleading position, without anyone holding them accountable to what they say – all this done in order to further their movement or ‘ministry’ around the world. In this series of articles, we will be looking at how Carl Lentz presents himself with two different personas, this sort of behaviour reinforced within Hillsong culture.
‘Genuine’/’Authentic’/’Real’ Carl Lentz
‘Cool’ Carl Lentz
WHY THIS SERIES?
This series of articles demonstrate Hillsong is dealing with a high profile leader who demonstrates evidence of narcissism and an obsessive need to exercise control over others and to take command of any situation. Carl Lentz is not afraid to say whatever he wants to influence his followers and to preserve his image. The dangers in being raised in this type of environment should concern everyone since the type of culture Lentz promotes creates an unhealthy and unbiblical form of control.
Carl Lentz, in attempting to ‘pastor’ people like Justin Beiber, does so without having a humble shepherd’s heart. Beiber does not have the pastor he needs, and it appears that this unqualified ‘pastor’ is simply using the rich and famous to further themselves and their movement. And it’s people like Beiber (and his former girlfriend Selena Gomez), who sadly believe these ‘pastors’ have their best interests at heart, these same young men and women who often fall by the wayside because of the lack of solid biblical love and accountablity.
In the Hillsong article below, it’s stated that the thought behind the topic, “was originally shared during a webinar hosted by Carl Lentz titled The Myth of “Cool Church” during ‘Online Open Week’ in September 2016.” You can see a snippet of the webinar in the attached video (transcript below). In this article, we point out how Lentz and Hillsong are misleading their audiences by making the claim that they are not trying to be cool. (However their arts, their worship and their leaders are doing everything within their power to stay relevant, cool and topical to win the world).
“To begin with, there is nothing really cool about the gospel. That’s a fact. The gospel is an invitation to come and die. Die to yourself. Die to your cause. Your dreams. All the stuff that the culture tells you to do. The gospel was the opposite. So the idea that anything about the gospel is, you know, “cool” is funny to me because I don’t see it like that.
I think what’s happening is media right now is paying attention to what our churches are doing for whatever reason. We’re in a season where the spotlight is on churches like ours. And media has never seen this before. Churches have been reaching people for a long time. From all walks of life. Forever. But they come into a church like ours and they’re like, ‘Wooow! I can’t believe someone has jeans on’. Or, ‘There’s four leather jackets’. And, ‘The music’s not horrible’. And so you get this article where it’s like, ‘Man! Churches are now trying to be this and trying to be that’.
I don’t subscribe to any of it. I think it’s cool that there’s publicity about what churches are doing. But we always tell people – um, ‘this is what church can be’. It’s not cool. It’s not anti-cool. I think we can talk a little about what that means. But for me, it’s more of the world taking notice to what we’ve always been doing. And to them it’s big news but we’re not the first church in the world that has reached multiple walks of life in God’s house.
So, um, for me- I think- someone emailed me a thing that said we were voted one of the coolest churches in America. And I was like, ‘Is that a Barna stat? Because you can’t trust any of those’.
You know, like who makes up those stats? Like, how many people were interviewed for that? Like, one journalist who came in and said we were cool, so now we have to wear this for the rest of our lives? I think, you know if my mom is happy with what we’re doing – and Kathy Lentz if you’re watching this somewhere, I love you ma – I think if you are true to who you are, which I can mention as we go along, I think that’s what God’s after. And if the world resonates with it, so be it. But our goal is to do what God’s called us to do.”
Source: Carl Lentz, The Myth of Cool Church | Hillsong Leadership Network TV, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFdlGpp9X88, Published 06/12/2016. (Accessed 07/07/2017.)
The Myth of “Cool Church”
More and more there are churches being labeled as a “cool church”. What does that really mean? For some it is said in a positive light and by others as a criticism. However perhaps there is more substance, depth, authenticity and thoughtfulness than meets the eye at first glance.
The reality is, you can’t build church on what the world says is “cool”.
Trends change all the time. Different styles and different fashions go in and out all the time. And there’s no universal definition of what “cool” actually is – what’s cool in New York City isn’t necessarily cool in rural Australia.
So what is “cool”? And what principles should we be building church on?
1. Being Genuine
More people are attracted to genuine Christians than they are attracted to “cool”Christians. The best pastors are not the “cool” pastors, but the best pastors are the faithful pastors.
Our goal should always be to say: “God, you made me how you made me. Use this broken, average vessel to reach as many people as you can”.
God is going to bless who you are, not someone you are trying to emulate.
The world is finally taking notice of what the Church is doing, so be true to who you are and what you are about. If the world is on board, then so be it – but as the Church, we need to be true to what God called us to do.
2. Being Secure
Many people think that if we don’t understand something, then we need to judge it. If we don’t know why young people are flooding into churches, then there must be something wrong. If we don’t comprehend why such a diverse crowd goes to church, then the church leadership must be preaching a false gospel – but this is such an unhealthy attitude to have.
Although we’re not striving to get people’s approval, to a degree every leader needs to be aware of how they are received and perceived, because we are called to be God’s ambassadors. We have become arrogant when we think that we do not need to consider how those around us see us.
We, as the Church, need to be okay with the world not understanding how we work. And as Christians, we need to be better at giving people the benefit of the doubt.
3. Loving People
Our goal first and foremost is always to love people. It’s to take our eyes off of ourselves and reach people.
Do we love people in our everyday life? We may be known for our awesome Sundays, but the real work of the Church – of loving and serving the people around us – happens outside our auditoriums on Monday to Saturday. We need to love the people God has put right in front of us.
Ultimately, what the world says is “cool” doesn’t change lives. It doesn’t visit people in hospitals. It doesn’t run connect groups. It doesn’t give people hope in the midst of challenge.
Let’s be committed to building church on the Kingdom principles of being genuine, secure, and devoted to loving people.
This thought was originally shared during a webinar hosted by Carl Lentz titled The Myth of “Cool Church”, during ‘Online Open Week’ in September 2016. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.
If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.
Source: By Hillsong Network, The Myth of “Cool Church”, Hillsong, Published 13/11/2016. (Accessed 05/07/2017.)
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