Monday, September 5, 2011

First Family Church: Caught in Sin

The First Family Church, at one time one of the fastest growing churches in the Kansas City area, has had its building foreclosed on and is having to leave. The church was staggered by the revelation of some questionable stewardship in 2007 and between the reduction of income that was the result of decreased attendance and the economic factors, the church became unable to meet its obligations on its large building and campus in southern Overland Park, KS. FFC was/is a non-denominational church. Its ministry revolved around one Jerry Johnston, its dynamic pastor. Pastor Johnston was a dynamic preacher and he attracted people to the church to hear him.

Accountability for churches and their leaders has to be first rate. Mishandling money is stealing from both God and people. Transparency is the best policy. To me, FFC always was a church that could be at risk for problems. It was a church that centered on one person, it was an independent church, so it was not accountable to a denominational structure, and it practiced both nepotism and opaque accounting, so it was hard for people to see what was going on. I have always gone to churches that are part of a denominational structure, (The Methodist Church calls it a connection--a good name I think.) and I believe it is a good thing for the most part.

A church leadership that plays games with money, whose leaders live a life of luxury, is a leadership and a church that will fall. Such things will be exposed. Sound financial stewardship and integrity are essential to a church's witness. People, being people, will put leaders up onpedestals and instead of worshiping God will worship a leader--essentially making an idol. A charismatic leader without accountability runs the substantial risk of his group drifting from church to cult as the leader begins to feel himself as powerful and important as God Himself.

When churches and leaders fail and fall like FFC has, it hurts the ministry of all Christian churches. A trust is broken. Yet another barrier is erected between non-believers and the story of Jesus Christ and the restoration of Humanity to fellowship with God. Every precaution must be taken to keep the church from straying into risky and possibly sinful practices, and when sin is found, it must be ruthlessly confronted and stopped. This is the only way.

Seriously, it must break God's heart when His church commits sins.

Visit this site, for history of FFC's troubles.

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