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Mariners Church seems to have lost their identity as a nurturing local congregation and appears to be changing into a media brand, all the while neglecting its attendees. It wasn't that long ago that the whole weekend volunteer team became disillusioned and walked off. They've had close to a dozen staff leave the preschool over toxic leadership (allegedly). Elders and long term volunteers are leaving. Long standing bible studies and communities of people were kicked off campus. Too many good men and women are getting cancelled, silenced and pushed out of the congregation. This megachurch has become a mega bummer for many people. In its wake, Mariners Church has broken communities of believers and damaged hearts strewn all over the place. Has their pride overwhelmed their ability to love their church family well?

This site is for you to share your voice! You don't have to feel run over by Mariners anymore. If you have experienced behavior that doesn't fall in line with Matt 22:37-40, you are invited to share your story here. Many know how damaging and hurtful this unkind, toxic and abusive behavior can be. Tell Your Story! People Do Care About You!

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Dry docked at Mariners - No Forgiveness, Part #5

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Roger Roger

Dry docked at Mariners - No Forgiveness, Part #5

Post by Roger Roger »

This same volunteer leader had several other interesting incidents with under prepared pastors that lacked the necessary skills and supervision for their position. These stories also illustrate and illuminate the themes of the earlier parts. What's hard about telling these stories is a spiritually and emotionally mature pastor would have navigated right through these little rough spots with ease and confidence. They would have understood that rough spots, uncomfortable conversations, socially awkward encounters and just plain stepping on someone's toes is where the cutting edge of ministry takes place. Showing another person grace, humbling yourself, finding the biblical response, walking with someone in a difficult place and waiting on the Lord together with someone are all in an average day for the working pastor; and always they teach about the love of the father, the grace and forgiveness of Jesus and the leading of the Spirit. They are examples of humility, servanthood and God's grace and forgiveness. But wow, what different response and experience at Mariners Church.

This volunteer leader was a guy who had his own pain as described before (Part #4), but chose to humble himself in service and yield his will in worship to God. Through worship, service and seeking out the presence of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis he was healing and growing in spite of the lack of leadership and relationship in the men's ministry. At that time he led many events successfully for the new youthful men's pastor. His work was recognized at a state level, by industry sponsorship and by the city of Newport Beach. God was giving him favor and doors of outreach were opening, but that men's pastor never took the time to get to know him, disciple him or try to build a good working relationship with him and these opportunities were never allowed to come to Mariners. What did occur was this pastor's minions were out front of him asking others to give the new pastor a wide berth and grace for his inexperience and lack of emotional/spiritual maturity.

Eventually the two butted heads as the new pastor was not proficient at promoting events well or maybe he just didn't want to support this volunteer. Whatever happened, unpleasantries were exchanged. Instead of trying to heal a strained relationship or find the life lesson, this young pastor attempted to cancel this lay leader at Mariners Church, run him out of all ministry and eventually Mariners Church. He chose to be vindictive and to retaliate not to humble himself and love his neighbor, to walk with, encourage and teach a better way. He wanted his pound of flesh and Mariners' other pastors looked the other way while he acted out.

These things can happen in any ministry. It's not so important that they do. In fact, at a church this size they should be expected to happen regularly. It identifies folks coming to the end of their self-control, their emotional facades. Their emotional baggage starts showing up and that is gold for a mature pastor! Again, we find ourselves at the ragged edge of ministry where the Holy Spirit does His awesome work in people's lives. This is where real change can begin to take place as we all self-identify our "stuff". This is where real pastors, those who are "truly called" to be pastors walk in confidence because they are clothed in the full armor of God, know how to worship in Spirit and Truth and have an emotional IQ above that of a high schooler.

Our volunteer leader felt the call to reconcile with the young men's pastor. He knew it was the right thing to do in his heart and spirit. He knew biblically he was called to get along with one another, repent of his sin, humble himself and to offer forgiveness everywhere he could. Interestingly, it wasn't the pastor driving this reconciliation, but the volunteer leader. He tried to offer an olive branch and begin the process, but was rejected. He tried other pastors and staff as mediators or as emissaries to bring the men's pastor into a process of reconciliation to no avail. Fast forward to now; over 5 years later this pastor still holds his position and refuses to reconcile with this lay volunteer. The mens pastor has no forgiveness, no compassion just a longstanding grudges and unresolved conflict in his heart. And truth be known, he continues to work against him trying to cancel him, diminish his effectiveness and push him out of this church. Wow, a pastor who holds a grudge at a "world impacting" church. Right? That's the way God wants us to love one another (wrong)!

Matthew 15:8, These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Matthew 18:34-35 , 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Again, I reiterate, is this the type of pastor and church you want influencing your children, youth, young adults and yourself? Do you really want to give them access to heart and spirit? Do you want to become more like them? I caution you, don't fall for all the "weekend carnival" experiences of this unhealthy church.