My Conga people will find me anywhere I go.-Gloria Estefan
Andy Savage, Jules Woodson’s confessed molester, is doing what every fallen pastor does when they are removed or have resigned from one church… They start another church. They are excellent examples of the problems inherent in the nondenominational system. I have been a member of a couple of wonderful nondenominational churches(Bent Tree Church is one) that carefully set up their system to reflect typical standards. Those good nondenominational churches are NOT the subject of this post.
- One does not need any credentials to start such a church.
- One does not need to have gone to seminary or even to have graduated from college.
- One does not need to be vetted since the problem with starting such a church means that there are no set standards.
- Molesters, substance abusers, etc. can set themselves up as pastors so long as they have resolved any criminal consequences.
- They can attract lots of people who are loosey-goosey in their theology and enjoy a church which is Bible Light since it means that they don’t have to walk the hard walk. Their pastor doesn’t.
- Many are theological lightweights and show it in their poorly constructed sermons and teaching.
- Many of these leaders do not know how to make a living outside of getting a healthy percentage of tithe money. They spend much time contemplating their *giving units.*
- The people they attract are those who actually believe that the outcome of the David and Bathsheba story applies to a molester because they have been taught so poorly.
- Many of these pastors believe in covering up *awkward problems* because they need to protect the church.
- Many of their followers are devoted bootlickers and those people become elders or deacons, especially if they have money or powerful standing in the community.
Most of these churches are started and led by those we might call *fallen pastors.* These fallen pastors join what I call the *conga line of fallen pastors*…laughing and dancing their way to fame and fortune.
Chris Conlee and Andy Savage start their new churches in Memphis.
Today, I had a good conversation with Jules Woodson. We discussed the fact that both Conlee and Savage are starting churches in Memphis…* in your face* startups. These actions are quite painful for Jules as well as for many others who supported her during that terrible time. Why couldn’t they have started their churches in another locale? Don’t say they have friends and family there. They could have easily started a church in surrounding areas and still have seen their family. My guess is that they contacted some of their former church members who will return, checkbooks, or Venmo, at the ready. My guess is that the pastors would want Venmo since it is a quick transaction and these boys need money pronto.
Andy Savage’s new church started in October 2019, just before COVID. I’m guessing that he is cash hungry at the moment.
Here is the initial story that would eventually lead to Savage and Conlee stepping down as pastors of the Highpoint Church. In October 2019, I posted Andy Savage, Who Molested Jules Woodson, Is Starting a New Church. The Church Doesn’t Need Him. #churchtoo #metoo
I believe that Savage is disqualified from preaching. When Jules came forward, Highpoint Church was a member of the SBC. They quickly removed themselves from the SBC.
In my post, I shared a link to a sermon that Savage gave at a gathering for those interested in joining his new church. That link is now broken but here are some of my thoughts on that sermon.
Here are some things that I heard.
- He claims he is a teacher. Was this another prophecy from the IHOP folks?
- He claims he wants to care for people who are struggling. He claims he ignored them in the past.
- He claims he is not out for himself
- He claims this new church is not about him.
- He claims he’s now free from caring about what *you* think. Is this another phrase for sc**w you? Sure sounds like it.
- *Bob on a bike* is holding him accountable.
In this sermon, he showed, once again, why he should not be a pastor.
- He did not rebuke the audience which laughed out loud when he discussed that they could all read about him on Google.
- He also said that we all have gotten our hands on the wrong thing at one time or another. (Stop snickering.) Well, Savage sure did. I bet he didn’t have *Bob on a bike* vet that line.
Savage doesn’t discuss the fact that most youth pastors have never assaulted teens in youth programs.(Although, I’ve recently wonder just how high those stats are.) In fact, few of us have ever assaulted anyone. So don’t try to sin level your molestation onto the backs of the rest of us, Savage.
If one is hoping to find lots of Benjamins in the plate, Collierville is a good choice because it’s a well off community. Here is a description from Wikipedia.
- a suburb located in the Memphis metropolitan area
- Collierville is a town of large houses and considerable retail expansion.
- Collierville was chosen as one of Relocate-America’s Top 100 Places to Live in 2008. In 2014, Collierville’s historic town square was ranked by Parade Magazine as the “Best Main Street” in America.[8
- The racial makeup of the town was 89.87% White
- voters in the town overwhelmingly passed an ordinance establishing a separate school district for the town beginning in the 2013-2014 school year
Looks like he’s found a good place to encourage tithing. However, the COVID thing has prevented his church from meeting. If you go to the church website you will find precious little about the church. It appears you have to fill out a contact form to get the lowdown.
If anyone has filled in the contact form and has received material from the church, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share any information with me. Also, we had planned to have a protest outside of the church one Sunday during the meeting time. That plan is still in the works but we will wait until it is safe to do so.
Chris Conlee, a “visionary leader and gifted communicator” is also starting a new church.
Do not forget that Chris knew of Andy’s molestation of Jules when they started Highpoint together. This means that he has a significant problem with judgment, in my opinion. I wrote a number of posts on Conlee’s interaction with the International House of Prayer. He received prophecies that he was going to do something amazing. I wrote about it in The International House of Prayer: Will Highpoint Church Jump Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire?
He then claimed that he has been led to start a 24/7 prayer room leading me to wonder if he is going to have his church’s prayer ministry become associated with IHOP Memphis.
Then, after he stepped down from Highpoint, he became an executive pastor of Bethel, Cleveland. Chris Conlee, formerly a co-pastor with Andy Savage, is now an Executive Pastor at Bethel Cleveland which has some fascinating beliefs. Bethel has some rather bizarre beliefs which are outlined in my post. How did Conlee, who helped start HIghpoint which was a member of the SBC and The Gospel Coalition, make such an abrupt turn and join some highly questionable, charismatic groups on steroids, is hard for me to fathom. At one point he claimed he was going to start a leadership coaching business which, given the mess at Highpoint, elicited guffaws from a number of wags on TWW and Twitter.
He has a big, fat GIVE button on his website in case you wish to support his *ministry.* Conlee calls himself a *Visionary Leader* and plans to get busy solving the problem of racism. Since he never spent much time on this in the past, will he do so in his new church? Or is this simply another pastor jumping on the bandwagon until the next *important thing* arises.
Chris’s entrepreneurial spirit enabled him to start the Highpoint Leadership Institute, the LeadershipWorks Conference, and the Healing Wounded History Conference. Every vision is ultimately a solution to a problem. One of the problems Chris is most passionate about solving is racism and all of its related injustices; that’s one of the primary reasons Chris was one of the founding members of the Memphis Christian Pastors Network. Chris also enjoys serving as a Trustee for Lead Like Jesus and teaching for Convene and their Christian CEO Peer Advisory Groups.
He also considers himself a gifted communicator. He likes to present such topics as *overcoming adversity* and *leadership.* I often wonder about people who have such high views of themselves. I’m wondering if I should call myself *an adorable blogger* as well as a known *daughter of Stan.*(sic)
Oddly, I could not find Conlee’s name mentioned on the Convene website but he is listed at Lead Like Jesus with no affiliations after his name.
His wife breathlessly published *A Letter to Memphis.* I guess she thinks that the entire city of Memphis has been waiting for this letter.
- Memphis is the complicated combination of the beautiful grit and grind and the pain of our city’s tragic past. The black eye of Dr. King’s assassination in our streets is not what God wants this city to be remembered for. He has a better way.
- God’s writing a new story that we want to be a part of. And as we absorbed the events of 2020 from Cleveland, we longed for the Lord to let us return our little light, and our commitment to be known by love, to the people of this city. We’re so grateful He spoke!
She wants you to know that Satan is going to be spreading half-truths, etc. I assume she means about Chris.
I do have a little apprehension. I think of the way Satan likes to work. Silence, half-truths and division are three of his favorite weapons.
It appears that Chris and Karin are going to start a new church, One City Church as well as launching Race for Reconciliation. Take a look at the size of the *donate button* on Race for Reconciliation (ROR). According to the website, this is more than a race.
Notice that Conlee is attempting to raise dollars for his new *reconciliation* ministry. He can collect an income from the proceeds of this not-for-profit. As for One City Church, this is next to no information. You must fill out a form to get updates on the church. Once again, I would ask that folks send me any information that they receive.
- It always fascinates me when pastors jump from one thing to the next in order to keep them relevant. This is in order to bring in the Benjamins. In Part 2 of this post, I will be discussing what’s going on in the SBC in order to understand why the whole sex abuse thing has been placed on the back-burner. Chris Conlee is merely reflecting the actions of the SBC.
- Conlee has never apologized to Jules and I doubt he will. He is too visionary to waste his time with something that will not return $$$ to his coffers.
- I am concerned about this Race for Reconciliation. Memphis folks better keep an eye on the cash contributions and distributions.
- Conlee and Savage are just part of the long Conga Line of fallen pastors who start again.
- Savage and Conlee have helped me to understand why some non-denominational churches are problematic. They teach light theology and offer cheap grace. However, the SBC is no better and I will be discussing the problems in Part 2 on Wednesday.
Bonheoffer on Cheap Grace
Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?…
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
Dedicated to all of those *conga* dudebros.