"I have a love interest in every one of my films – a gun."- Arnold Schwarzenegger link
screen shot Pastors learning to be authentic™men.
As you know, the two of us hold MBAs. We are often critiqued for our seemingly dogged look at how evangelical organizations do business. We are also big on "following the money" and take a particular interest in how churches and parachurch organization spend their money on salaries and infrastructure.
Approximately two years ago we received an email from a professor at a major university who told us that he found our blog informative about the trends of evangelicalism in the last 3 decades. He used our blog to track down further information for a book he was writing on the recent history of the evangelical faith.
So, besides exposing abusive church practices and warning people about the legalities of church contracts (cleverly called church covenants), we like to explore structure. For example, the Dino Rizzo debacle caused us to look carefully at the ARC which led to some fascinating posts on their beliefs surrounding demonism, etc. Of course, these associations are not pleased when we look more closely since they no longer fly under the radar.
We contend that there is a playbook which members of these tightly ties groups use to answer questions. In some respects, the statement of FBC Brentwood regarding their lawsuit sounded like other such statements that we have heard over the last few years. We looked at their church due to the allegations of alleged mismanagement of the molestation of a 3 year old child at this church.
However, the more we looked, the more we began to realize that there are alliances between this church and other organizations. Thanks to a reader, we discovered that Bill Wellons Sr., the father of the pastor of FBC, Bill Wellons, had spoken at Redeemer Church of Dubai, the church of John Folmar which was a plant from UCCD. and an integral part of 9 Marks.This was the former church home of our poorly treated, official TWW hero, Todd Wilhelm.
This means there are ties to 9 Marks. Who cares? Well, the Deebs do. 9 Marks is a tightly run ship and one can be sure that those who are invited to speak are onboard with the theology of the organization. For example, we call UCCD and Capital Hill Baptist Church *the Hotel California of church discipline* since once you sign their contract,, you cannot leave without following their restrictive guidelines. If you do not follow them to the letter, you are placed in church discipline, which they *winsomely* call *the care list.* (banging head on table.) There is no place for rights of conscience with this crowd.
Why should we care about Bill Wellons Sr. and Fellowship Associates?
Because there are close ties between daddy and son. We discovered that Fellowship Bible Church (of which Bill Wellons JR is pastor) is participating in a larger organization known as Fellowship Associates. What is that?
From their website:
Fellowship Associates exists to call men into Authentic Manhood and to train leaders to plant churches.
1. Who is on their team?
For now we will focus on Bill Wellons Sr.
Bill Wellons is a church planter, consultant and principal of Fellowship Associates. In 1977, Bill and his wife, Carolyn, helped found Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, where he served as a Teaching Pastor and Chairman of the Elder Board for thirty-two years. Bill transitioned to Fellowship Associates in 2005 to oversee the Leadership Residency for church planters, consult with church leaders, and train new Residency Directors.
2. What do they do?
It is one more Gospel™ based church planting group. (How many of these are there?!!)
The Residency Program is decentralized and gathers twice monthly for three days over seven months…September through March. The Residency focuses on Leadership issues such as Self-Awareness, Gospel-centered Ecclesiology, Leadership Development, “best practices” and “how to’s” of local church leadership. Along with the Fellowship Associates partners and staff, the Fellowship Network of 70 + church leaders and other strategic partners share wisdom and invest in our Residents.
Our cohort model allows for mentor and peer learning. We have over fifteen years of experience hosting a Residency Programs and have trained over 70 men. Our partner churches multiply our ability to pass along lessons learned and best practices.
Our thinking toward every Resident we train includes:
- How can we equip and prepare this Resident to plant a church that plants churches?
- How can we build into this Resident so that he catalyzes church planting in whatever city and region he plants?
- How can we prepare this Resident to create a residency in the future and train other church planters?
What excites us? The gospel multiplied through healthy leaders that plant healthy churches that build healthy leaders to plant other healthy churches.
3. Who are the partners?
Here are just a few:
- Acts 29
- The Village Church
- The Austin Stone
4. Who are their alumni?
Here are just a couple. The list is quite long.
- Dave Furman Redeemer Church of Dubai Dubai, UAE (9Marks)
- Bill Wellons, JR. Fellowship Bible Church Brentwood, TN
5. They quote Acts 29 for qualifications for leaders.
This is intentional as you will see.
Acts 29 also listed some helpful characteristics of a church planter in his list of Entrepreneurial Aptitude Micro-Skills:
- Has demonstrated past successes in starting new ventures.
- Is an innovative and strategic visionary.
- Is highly energetic and enthused about starting a new work.
- Shows ability to enlist others in new ventures.
- Evidences being a self-starter.
- Has a willingness to work intensely for an extended period of time.
What is Authentic Manhood?
1. This is a program pushed by Fellowship Associates and linked to on their website.
Authentic Manhood is all about setting men up to live lives of truth, passion and purpose. Our resources offer clear and practical Biblical insights on God’s design for manhood that are both refreshing and inspiring. We point men to a gospel-centered vision of life that sets them up to enjoy God’s grace as they pursue the promises of His Word.
2. Who is involved in the leadership and support of this group?
No surprises here.
Matt Chandler is lead pastor of Teaching at The Village Church, a multi-campus congregation in the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas, and president of Acts 29, a worldwide church-planting organization with more than four hundred churches in the U.S. and networks of churches in multiple countries.
Along with being a Teaching Pastor and Elder at Fellowship Memphis, John serves on the board of Acts29 and as a church planting coach with Fellowship Associates.
Bryan Carter taught the original Men’s Fraternity curriculum to a group of more than 800 men over a three-year period at Concord Church.
You might appreciate the ties that Chandler enunciates on TVC website.
We team up with organizations like Acts 29, where Matt currently sits as president, and Fellowship Associates to help plant churches that plant churches.
What is the Men's Fraternity?
Men's Fraternity Classic is the original curriculum authored by Dr. Robert Lewis that helped launch the Authentic Manhood movement. Men's Fraternity Classic is a series of three one-year-long studies, beginning with The Quest for Authentic Manhood (24 weeks), followed by Authentic Manhood: Winning at Work and Home (16 weeks), and concluding with The Great Adventure series (20 weeks). More than just a rally or a Bible study, Men's Fraternity provides men with an encouraging process that teaches them how to live lives of authentic manhood as modeled by Jesus Christ and directed by the Word of God.
Men's Fraternity was designed to help men come together and strengthen each other through weekly sessions that combine biblical teaching and small group interaction.
These time-tested resources have been used all over the world to equip men to make their pursuit of noble manhood a lifelong priority. Church leaders and lay members are using the series to energize the men of their church and to connect with men in the community. Many men also use the series in their own personal pursuit of authentic manhood.
There is a tie to Bill Wellons SR even in the endorsements. The current leadership of FBC Little Rock, the church Wellons founded, endorse this, naturally.
Paul Chapman, a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, shares about his "faith journey" and how Men's Fraternity played an integral part in bringing him to Christ.
What is the Leadership Collective?
These groups not only benefit the pastor, but also his congregation: Pastors in formal peer groups lead congregations that serve the church, reach out to others, and grow at higher rates than churches with pastors that don’t participate in peer groups.
The Leaders Collective facilitates lead pastor cohorts that spend two years considering the characteristics necessary to promote healthy, sustainable ministry. These cohorts of six pastors—all in similar places of life and ministry— will meet together once a quarter for two years to consider these characteristics together through unique experiences, time with recognized experts in the field, and time building into one another the encouragement we all need to sustain fruitful ministry.
Here are a few that you should find interesting.
- Bill Wellons Sr
- Jamie Munson: Formerly of Mars Hill Church
- Justin Holcomb: Formerly of Mars Hill Church
- Elliott Grudem: Wayne's son
Look carefully at the resume for Munson and Holcomb. Do you see anything about Mars Hill mentioned? Shhhh…
Who is endorsing this collective?
1. A Sovereign Grace Ministry pastor:
Ian McConnell Pastor for Preaching & Vision, Grace City Church / Director of Church Planting & Mission, Sovereign Grace Churches
I’m thankful for the way the Leaders Collective allows me to learn from men in other networks doing the same gospel mission.
2. Acts 29
Brian Lowe Lead Pastor, Exodus Church / Acts 29 Network Director for the U.S. Southeast
It is good to have people speak honestly into your life about areas where you need to grow. I find few people are willing to speak the truth to me. Having men around me who will is invaluable. It is [also] good to be able to laugh. My cohort was not together long before laughing began…and that is good medicine.
Finally, we have already discussed the ties to The Gospel Coalition on the part of Bill Wellons JR.
Even CBMW is getting in on the act
Whoops-almost forgot to tell you that the Council of Biblical™ Manhood and Womanhood really likes some of the material pushed by Authentic Manhood and even links to their site.
So, let's go ahead and review the links:
- Acts 29 (DD, AD -during Driscoll and after Driscoll)
- The Village Church and Matt Chandler
- Jamie Munson and Justin Holcomb, formerly of Mars Hill
- Various Fellowship Bible Churches
- Fellowship Associates
- Authentic Manhood
- Men's Fraternity
- Leadership Collective
- Crossway (the publisher of the ESV)
- The Austin Stone
- and a whole boatload of folks in the Raleigh area which we will get to on another post.
Talk about sharing DNA.!Deb suggested a name for these groups, C4, which stands for Cookie Cutter Calvinista Coalition. It has play.
It appears these some of these groups are supported by the churches which pay to send their pastors to "one more conference." So, do the financiers of these programs, meaning the church tithers, ever question what their money is being used for? And what about the money…who is making what? And why do we need so many groups all doing the same sort of thing?
The picture at the top of the page of men learning to be men
So, a weird thing happened this week. Deb was supposed o do this post on Monday but the Fellowship Associates went down for quite a while. Deb and I took screenshots of this picture of the boys running around with guns. It used to be up on the Leadership Collective (doesn't that name remind you of the old Soviet Union?) Apparently this a picture of a scene from one their "pastors" intensive learning experiences. The Leadership Collective is obviously updating their website as you will see if you click on the link under the picture.
So, enjoy the advanced weapons training, boys. You must really need to keep those church members in line. BTW, your adorable blog queens have concealed weapons permits issues by the state of NC. Does that make us authentic women?