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May 21 2007 at 8:36 AM
ConcernedMembers  (Login Donnie.Cruz)
from IP address

Part XII—Section A

February 2001

Most Madison Church of Christ members were oblivious to this article, “More Holyroller Influence at Madison” in the February "Plumbline Newsletter" which quotes the "Madison Marcher.”
    The third worship service at Madison is to be held at the same time as the 10:30 a.m. worship. The "atmosphere will be more conducive to non-Christians. Many “unchurched” people are intimidated by a more formal atmosphere...." The worship affair will be an effort " make it easier for people with no church background to feel comfortable.... More time will be given to singing and communion... The sermons will not be as long as what we are used to. There is no question that God is working among our church family. He recognized our suppressed capacity to love…. Attendance for this first Sunday was 538 souls." Jim Hinkle said, "We will not be still, we will not be quiet."

February 2001

The elders announced that a "Third Contemporary" service that they had previously formed was going to be melted into the 10:00 a.m. or second service.
    This announcement established a "contemporary service" at 10:00 AM and the 8:00 AM service remained unchanged. While making this announcement, Elder Buck Dozier said the Fire Marshal’s office had said there were too many people in the third service for the size of the auditorium. Since Buck is the past Fire Chief, one has to wonder if this was just a staged excuse to proceed with what was already planned.

February 25, 2001

Tom Haddon is instructing his "Homebuilders" class on how to transition the church members over to the ways of the Saddleback Community Church and that of "Holy Entertainment." He talks about the well laid plans that only a few know about. See the transcript of February 25th class.

March 2001

Praise teams, hand clapping, and raised hands during prayer have been introduced at the second service. Children’s Sunday school has been changed from Bible-based to more entertainment and singing. Young women teaching Sunday school to baptized young men.

April 13, 2001

The elders respond to a NewsChannel5 report about growing controversy at the Madison Church of Christ. They send out a LETTER to 683 Churches of Christ in the Channel 5 viewing area.
    "The controversy seems to be over-reaction to change. The main things we have done in the 10:30 service are introduce more upbeat praise songs, give less time to the sermon, and give greater emphasis to the Lord's Supper. This embraces a more contemporary format, of course, but we don't feel that it departs from scriptural worship."

    See ConcernedMembers’ Letter to the Elders of 683 Churches of Christ.

April 22, 2001

In this meeting on April 22, 2001 the deacons ask the elders, “What is going on?” On May 02,2001 the Elders reply in a letter. Here Are the Questions and the Elders’ Answers

May 2001

Concerned members receive a copy of a rough draft of a "Covenant of Membership" that was supposedly written by Elder Buck Dozier. Mr. Dozier admitted "playing" around with one when contacted.
    The concern about a "Covenant of Membership" is that it's one of the hallmark signs of a "Community Church" like Saddleback. They are generally written in such a way to assure that the membership can't take over the "community church" like they took over your church.

July 2001

According to THIS ARTICLE in the Tennessean, the elders bring in a mediator (Larry Sullivan) to help with the split within the church. We understand that Buck Dozier met Mr. Sullivan while attending a "seminar." Meetings are set up for the elders—we understand they had to swear to secrecy. Meetings are set up for the members to discuss their objections to the split contemporary and traditional services.

It's later shown by the ConcernedMembers that LARRY SULLIVAN is not an unbiased mediator. He has direct ties to the Saddleback organization. He is trained in using the HEGELIAN DIALECTIC techniques to compromise a groups consensus in whatever direction is predetermined.

Mid-August, 2001

By this time many members have left the Church. The unpaid volunteer minister on this particular Sunday abruptly left before giving his sermon at the second service. He was allowed only the last 6 minutes of worship time by the “worship leader.” Sometime during this period, Buck Dozier appeared in Bill Ruhl's adult class to take over. Bill Ruhl's absence was unexplained to the class.

August 29, 2001

Concerned members send out 2500 ballots and a LETTER asking for church members to indicate on the ballot the type of church service format they wanted. All ballots were to be received by September 20, 2001. Threatening phone calls are received by the contractor hired by ConcernedMembers to do the mailing (August 30, 2001). Other notes not full of brotherly love are received by mail. Ballots from ConcernedMembers mailing are tabulated, and totals posted along with a FINAL REPORT (September 15, 2001)

September 23, 2001

The members have been waiting on an announcement from the elders regarding the future format of services at the Madison Church of Christ. Today (09-23-01) that announcement was made.
    EVERYTHING WILL REMAIN AS IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 30, 2001 (Sunday)

Larry Sullivan was Guest Speaker! (The Unbiased Mediator)

October 11, 2001 (Thursday)

Deacons had a special meeting with an attendance of over 100 concerned members and deacons. Petitions were given out to collect signatures—to dismiss “the elders that have split the Madison Church of Christ.” Petitions are due to be turned in by Wednesday the 17th.

October 14, 2001 (Sunday)

Frank Scott delivered his first in a series of talking head animated and canned sermons. Sometime during this period, two elders resigned—J.D. Elliott and Bobby McElhiney.

October 17, 2001 (Wednesday)

A member reported that Wednesday night when she inquired at the help desk as to where she should turn in her petitions, she was told by the lady: "Over there with the trouble makers … they are the mafia." Sometime during this period two more elders talked about resigning! No confirmation of that as of today.

October 21, 2001 (Sunday)

Sermon—Second in a three-part series of Frank Scott being a talking head for a canned and animated sermon on joy and entertainment. The words "corporate worship" and joy and entertainment were used extensively. Interesting!

Deacons—The deacons, headed by Ben Jones, nicely and in a very godly way asked the leaders to step down and let the church elect new leadership. (Complete transcript is available.)

October 24, 2001 (Wednesday)

”Elders and Deacons” meeting tonight! We understand that the 7 or 8 elders that have caused a split at Madison Church of Christ have been formally asked to step down or be disfellowshipped.

October 25, 2001 (Thursday)

”Saddleback Planters” meeting tonight! Talked about rebuking Ben Jones Sunday!
    To rebuke is to criticize or reprove sharply; to reprimand.
    To reprove is to criticize for a fault or misdeed; to scold.
    To rebuke or reprove Ben Jones, then, Ben Jones must have done a misdeed.
    To define that misdeed, those who will rebuke him must find applicable scriptures.
What Ben did was to give each and every Madison Church of Christ member an opportunity to ask for forgiveness or repentance for causing division or for allowing division to occur.

October 26, 2001 (Friday)
    Flash message coming in the next 72 hours from the ConcernedMembers!
October 28, 2001 (Sunday)

T H E...M A D I S O N...C H U R C H...O F...C H R I S T...H A S...B E E N...H I J A C K E D ! !

Today, according to an announcement made by everyone's favorite elder, Russ Kersten, the church has been hijacked by all the concerned members, deacons and I guess that includes the 5 elders that have been holding out against them. … Is “hijack” a chargeable offense in the church?

October 29, 2001 (Monday)

We received a copy of a letter sent to the deacons. And we felt compelled to reply. ConcernedMembers announced future plans (10/30/01). The server for this web page has recorded 22,645 page views since its creation 8 weeks ago (11/1/01).

November 2, 2001

Transcript of Homebuilders Sunday School class—a recording of Tom Haddon on how to transition the congregation to Saddleback and Holy Entertainment in Homebuilders Class (available under Interviews & Transcripts).

November 4, 2001

J.R. Compton and wife, members at Madison Church of Christ for 58 years, came before congregation to ask for forgiveness and ask to have their names removed as members.

November 7, 2001

Interview with Gary McDade of the Getwell Church of Christ in Memphis, TN. Discussion concerning the takeover of churches by the "Community Church" movement and the embracement of this movement by many of the Christian colleges.

November 9, 2001

Two different sources say Bruce White has been hired as a new minister.

November 20, 2001

ConcernedMembers retract a letter sent by the elders to 683 churches of Christ.

November 21, 2001

Email from J.E. Choate—“And also another personal evaluation is that Buck Dozier should be the first to leave the Madison eldership. His qualifications for the work is moot at best. His past shows that he is no stranger to igniting church fires with no solutions."

November 28, 2001
December 02, 2001

Bruce White appears to have been warmly welcomed as new minister at the Madison Church of Christ. First sermon was about the degrees of love. It appears that the “Praise Team” and their microphones have been turned off in the second service for the time being.

December 18, 2001

Fundraising letter sent out by the Church. Student ministry letter to former members (12/19/01).

January 20, 2002 (Sunday)

Rumor says there is a new group forming called "The PeaceMakers." Their training is probably coming from PEPPERDINE.

January 21, 2002 (Monday)

Letter sent by Donnie Cruz to the elders and other people about the crisis at Madison. The Christian Chronicle publishes article about Madison Church of Christ (01/21/02).

February 4, 2002 (Monday)

We understand that Buck has presented the members of “The Peacemakers" with a list of 192 reasons churches split. We wonder if pagan worship practices were on the list?

February 6, 2002 (Wednesday)

Big flare-up at church Wednesday night. We understand 4 or 5 of the good and godly elders have resigned, leaving the church under the control of the clapper and Saddleback crowd.

February 9, 2002 (Saturday)

After the resignation of two elders last year, Madison Church of Christ was left with 13 elders: Bill Bennett, Dale Bishop, John Broadway, Joe Corley, Buck Dozier, Chris Gingles, Howard Henderson, Tommy Hoppes, Russ Kersten, Charles Link, Ken Rice, Norman Slate, Ray Wilson. Five of these elders had been opposed to the "praise teams" and clapping which had permeated the second service since last February 2001. This was when Elder Buck Dozier first announced the decision to turn the new third service loose on the second service. The five elders that were opposed we believe were: Joe Corley, Bill Bennett, Dale Bishop, Norman Slate, and Charles Link.

It's understood Tom Haddon and about 200 of his followers threatened to leave sometime ago when the praise teams were stopped. It's understood that Chris Gingles encouraged them to stay and fight it out. Recently the Haddon followers put the push back on to bring back the praise teams, through the elders they control. It's understood that the elders had become rather hostile toward each other, and when this push came again, then 4 of the 5 elders resigned. Charles Link was out of town, and it is assumed he will resign when he returns.

Quote as told to Bobby M. Johnson by one of the elders: "... told me that there had been a recent meeting of the 10:30 AM crowd including Chris Gingles’ and Tom Haddon's followers and they said they would never leave. So that with the push to return to the praise teams and the microphones was the “last straw."

The 5 elders had already decided to resign if the “winds of change” didn't subside. So that's that! 3 of these elders also announced that they would probably be attending church at other locations sometime in the future. [No one here blames them, and we can only try to imagine the pain they have been put through. We are sure that like many of us they were unable to continue to worship in that building.]

    ConcernedMembers announce statewide newspaper advertising campaign

February 10, 2002 (Sunday)
    Sunday Services reviewed by Donnie Cruz [see earlier “Timeline”]
February 11, 2002 (Monday)

We at ConcernedMembers have been told that when the 4 elders resigned, that they were assured that their letter would be read to the congregation. Well, as you are probably aware ... not only did their letter not get read, there was also no mention of their resignation, other than a little blip in the Marcher. We have been promised a copy of this letter, and we intend to post it on the web as soon as we get it up.
    The Elders’ Resignation Letter Is Here [see earlier “Timeline”]
February 2-17, 2002
    Announcement by the Elders [see earlier “Timeline”]
March 1, 2002

The Trap Has Been Set at the Madison Church of Christ [see earlier “Timeline”]

In the February 20, 2002 Madison Marcher, statement made by the elders February 17, 2002:
    4. "We believe that there can be unity in diversity and will continue to employ two styles of worship services."
March 10, 2002 (Sunday)

Screen presentation of the elders [6 have already resigned] and their length of service helps Donnie Cruz to figure it out:

    (1) John Broadway ...... since 1998
    (2) Buck Dozier ........ since 1996
    (3) Chris Gingles ...... since 1998
    (4) Howard Henderson ... since 1999
    (5) Tommy Hoppes ....... since 1999
    (6) Russ Kersten ....... since 1992
    (7) Charles Link ....... since 1978
    (8) Ken Rice ........... since 1989
    (9) Ray Wilson ......... since 1992

    (Most of the Remaining Elders Are ... That Explains It! [see earlier “Timeline”])
March 24, 2002 (Sunday)

Charismatic Contemporary Style Continues: March 24, 2002 [see earlier “Timeline”]
    I don’t believe it is all right to be singing “It’s All Right” when the church is not united in spirit because of what this worship facilitation program has done to begin with. It is NOT ALL RIGHT when the body of Christ is suffering….
March 31, 2002


    Notes from the “Madison Marcher” (Wednesday, March 27, 2002):

    Bruce White: “We are going to have a great day next Sunday. It is Easter, and we [are] looking for a large crowd. I especially want to see the children in the colorful clothes.” Of the “Great Day in May” (May 5): “… will have a big lunch under the tent at 12:00. One of our choruses will entertain at 1:30.”
May 19-26, 2002; June 2, 2002

    Changes Continue At Madison [see earlier Timeline]

    (1) the present deacons will be interviewed by the elders and new deacons will be named; (2) there will be additional elders to be selected; (3), the "love feast" -- and it's only "fitting" -- is to follow the Lord's Supper; (4) Canaan's Land is moving; (5) the "praise team" will be reinstated in the early part of July.
June 23, 2002 (Sunday)

August 1, 2002

    Is There a Tithing Pledge in Madison's Future? Donnie Cruz reports, there could be!
September 1, 2002 (Sunday)

    Small Groups, Living Stones, or Prayer Circles?
October 27, 2002

    TITHING NT Christians for Services of the OT Levitical Priests

    We are continuing to monitor the progress of the tithing campaign at Madison as taught by Dr. White, based on the tithing manual (“Take God at His Word”) written by Dr. Kregg Hood. Is the truth about tithing (equals 10%) continuing to be perverted as a CARRY-OVER and as a PERPETUAL command from the Old Testament for New Testament Christians? Since Dr. White proclaimed his message in August 2002 that we TITHE to TEST God and to let Him give the increase, we will be referring to the following amounts collected as being “TITHED”:

    Church Budget ----------------- 47,143 (2001) ---- 38,000 (2002)
    Children’s Home ---------------- 5,400 (2001) ----- 4,021 (2002)
    Amazing Grace/CPI -------------- 3,000 (2001) ----- 1,539 (2002)
    TOTAL BUDGET---- -------------- 55,543 (2001) ---- 43,560 (2002)
    ------------- (Sermons on “TITHING” in August 2002) ------------

November 7, 2002

    Transcription of Bruce White's Sermon on Tithing [see earlier Timeline]

    Would you be willing to sign a Tithing Pledge?
    Would you be willing to sign a Church Oath or Covenant?


End of Part XII—Section A


Quoting Phil Sanders:
    “Entertainment settings should not be regarded as periods of worship. … There is no harm in clapping with appreciation for the entertainer, but clapping in worship seems to take the focus off of God and put it on the performer. To be caught up in the skill of a performer and to lose sight of God dilutes and cheapens worship. The rock star status accorded to some entertainers has little place next to the cross. In worship the focus must be on praising God, not the skills of men. Worship put on for show is clearly condemned in Scripture (Matt. 6:1-18; 23:5-12). … The recent blurrings of these distinctions [between entertainment and worship], coupled with the exposure to so many denominational worship services on television, services which feature professional performers, has created the confusion.”


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May 22 2007, 1:44 AM 

Part XII—Section B

January 5, 2003 (Sunday)

DRAMA MINISTRY KICKOFF JANUARY 19 (by Kelley Hughes, Madison Marcher)

    Drama is nothing new at Madison Church of Christ. From the Summer Spectaculars to Canaan’s Land … we have a long and great tradition of using drama to touch the lives of our members and visitors…. So Jesus himself used A TYPE OF THEATRE to help get his point across…. You may know of someone who is “UNCHURCHED” … The Drama Ministry kickoff meeting will be on January 19 at 5 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
April 13, 2003 (Sunday)

EASTER SUNDAY IN “CANAAN’S LAND” (Madison Marcher: April 9, 2003)

    Easter Sunday is very special to all of us. For the last ten years in Canaan’s Land, we’ve used our time together on that Sunday to reenact the last week in the life of Jesus…. Responsibilities will range from … to dressing kids to assisting at the various story “sets” (e.g., HELPING SERVE CHILDREN BREAD AND GRAPE JUICE DURING THE LAST SUPPER [emphasis, d.c.]). All of us will celebrate Communion together as we reenact the LORD sharing it with His apostles and telling them its meaning.
(On May 19, 2003, Chris: “I received a copy of the CD that has the worship service from "Easter" on it. It was given to me by a member of the production crew there. … Was there any preaching? Or just reading?” Jeremy responded: “I do agree with what has been said about the Easter service. It definitely was a show. And most of the people I've talked to about that service say the same thing….”

May 12, 2003 (Monday)

Madison Church of Christ, Incorporated: ONE YEAR LATER

    Annual Membership Meeting (Madison Marcher, Vol. 52, No. 19, May 7, 2003):

    Because Madison Church of Christ is now incorporated, we are required to have an annual membership meeting. This meeting will be on Wednesday, June 4, 2003, at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium for the transaction of such business as may come before the meeting.
June 4, 2003

Madison Marcher (6/4/03) announces: “Broadway Resigns From Eldership.” Ken Rice, May Chairman of the Eldership, said, “It is with great regret that we have received the resignation of John Broadway. Here is his statement:”
    After much prayer and deliberation over the past several weeks, I have decided to submit my resignation from the eldership of the Madison Church of Christ….
June 19, 2003

A comparative analysis of statistics from the 2003 publication of “Churches of Christ in the United States,” compiled by Mac Lynn. The counts, based on the reported numbers in 2002, consist of: (1) membership [assumedly “baptized” believers], (2) average worship attendance, (3) adherents [including children?]. Please notice MCC’s staggering data.
    ------------------------------- Members/Attendance/Adherents
    Goodlettsville Church of Christ ------ 490 --- 685 -- 770
    Hendersonville Church of Christ ----- 1557 -- 1323 - 2105
    Woodmont Hills Church of Christ(*)--- 1660 -- 2300 - 2500
    Madison Church of Christ ------------ 3142 -- 1786 - 4730
    Richland Hills Church of Christ, TX - 4450 -- 3700 - 5240

    (*) Not listed as “Woodmont Hills Family of God” in the directory

July 23, 2003

Madison Marcher: “We are expanding the leadership of this great church.
    Terry Ashley,
    Mark Street,
    Phil Coats
are being added to the eldership today. We are so pleased to see this number grow and expect to be able to service more effectively with these men in place.”

August 6, 2003

Madison Marcher: “The Madison Church of Christ has always had a heart for children and will continue to respond to, assist, and nurture children. We have our camp, youth activities, classes, and other programs for children … Morning Star Sanctuary…. So, we need to support all of these activities through our Sunday School Contribution. The Childcare program … however, will be closed. The State of Tennessee Children’s Services has altered the approach to childcare….”

August 13, 2003

Madison Marcher: “The shepherds are planning a new vision for Madison. They will be listening for awhile and then formulating what the Spirit leads them to envision for this church. Your prayers are earnestly solicited.”

September 3, 2003
    Madison Marcher: “We want to encourage both 8:00 and 10:30 services. You will see the designation “traditional” and “contemporary” on our sign and in publication to inform the community of a choice. We hope that both times will see increase in attendance and involvement.” . . . “CALLING ALL SINGERS! The Worship and Music ministry is looking for additional singers. We are especially in need of male singers….” [also appeared in the next 2 weeks].
September 17, 2003
    Madison Marcher: “Check your Saturday newspaper and find our new advertisement! . . . ||EVERY SUNDAY||--||Traditional Worship 8:00 am||--||Sunday School 9:30 am||--||Contemporary Worship 10:30 am||--||Evening Worship 6:00 pm|| . . . ||Pulpit Minister, Dr. C. Bruce White||--||Worship Minister, Keith Lancaster||”
September 28, 2003

The message on this Sunday was “Worthy of Double Honor.” It had been announced: “We are planning a very special day on September 28. We will be honoring our shepherds that day.” Former elders (J.D. Elliott, Bobby McElhiney, Charles Link, etc., with their wives) were honored first; current elders, with their wives, were also honored.

October 8, 2003
    Madison Marcher: “Please pray for our shepherds. These men are going through some very trying meetings right now. The future of this congregation is weighing heavy on their hearts as they seek the Spirit’s guidance. They need your support and encouragement.”
December 15, 2003
    A special e-mail has been received: “… I am troubled by the innovations, because they seem mostly to lean toward entertainment and behavior that I grew up associating with Pentecostal orgiastic ‘worship services.’ I quit going to Tulsa due to this. ...”
December 17, 2003
    Madison Marcher: “Keith Lancaster will be taking a sabbatical from Madison for the next several months to spend more time with Acappella. We wish him well and look forward to his return!”
February 4, 2004

    Shepherds’ Vision 2004: The shepherds have spent the last several months focusing on prayer and preparation of a course for the church family at Madison. … We will maintain a traditional worship style in our 8:00 service on Sunday morning and a contemporary style of worship at 10:30. We are interested in accommodating a worship style which connects the worshipper with the Creator … The elders have implemented a functional change in their roles as shepherds. An Elders Administrative Committee composed of … and Buck Dozier, in conjunction with the Business Manager, will handle day-to-day administrative details. The remaining elders will give their “attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.” The goal of the elders is to “smell like sheep.” … The Deacons Administrative Committee….

    We will be searching for a pulpit minister, as Dr. White enters partial retirement. He will continue to work on staff in other ministries. We look for a long relationship with him and Judy.

    We will be looking for anew youth minister to lead our program of developing our young people into leaders for tomorrow.
February 18, 2004

“A Little Flavor of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Community Church-ism”—the following was advertised in the Madison Marcher:
    27th Ladies Renewal (April 16th-17th, 2004) in Cadiz, KY—

    Come share the Love of Our Lord and your sisters in Christ.
    ”The Purpose Driven Life”
    We will use the book by Rick Warren as we study God’s Word
March 10, 2004
    Interactive EASTER drama worship—Dr. White announces change in schedule: The drama presentation on “Easter Sunday” will no longer be an event in the “traditional” worship—it will be performed only during the “contemporary” worship.
March 23, 2004
  • Announcement on the Church Sign: WORSHIP WITH US EASTER APRIL 11, 8 & 10:30 A.M. … EASTER PASSION WORSHIP DRAMA AT 10:30 A.M.

  • Easter Worship Drama (Madison Marcher, March 17, 2004). “ . . . Easter Sunday [emphasis here and elsewhere, dc] is always a special time at Madison—but this year, April 11th is going to be unlike any worship experience we’ve ever shared together. During our 10:30 service [wonder why not at 8:00 am, dc], the story of Christ’s last hours—culminating in His Crucifixion and Resurrection—will be presented in the form of an interactive worship drama.

    Everyone is encouraged to attend this special time of worship

April 5, 2004
  • FRONT PAGE re “EASTER SUNDAY PASSION DRAMA”: (MADISON MARCHER, March 31, 2004). “ . . . Experience much of the excitement next week as our Easter Sunday Passion Drama plays out at the 10:30 service [wonder why not at 8:00 am, dc] . . . We’ll join Jesus and His apostles in the upper room where we, as a congregation, will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. … This promises to be a very moving, powerful retelling of the Easter Story….”

    Calendar: April 11 (Sunday—Easter) … Easter Worship Drama … 10:30 a.m.— ”The story of Christ’s last hours culminating in His Crucifixion and Resurrection will be presented in the form of an interactive worship drama.

April 12, 2004

Jim Morris, who began serving as an elder at the same time with Pat Burch and Marty Rothschild in September, 2002, made the following announcement in the Madison Marcher (Vol. 53, No. 13, April 7, 2004), “Statement to Madison Church:” This is not the time for me to serve this body as an elder.

The Preacher Potpourri column in the Madison Marcher has announced the following (4.21.04): “We are adding more elders. We want you to submit names to help in the process. Think through your selections, write his name or names on a piece of paper, and share it with one of our shepherds.”

June 9, 2004
    Russ Kersten retires from eldership (Madison Marcher reports).
June 16, 2004
    Ray Wilson retires from eldership (Madison Marcher reports).

    There were 15 elders at the end of September 2001—10 of whom have resigned since. Is this report . . . troubling?

    J.D. Elliott ----- resigned 10/2001
    Bobby McElhiney -- resigned 10/2001
    Joe Corley ------- resigned 02/2002
    Bill Bennett ----- resigned 02/2002
    Dale Bishop ------ resigned 02/2002
    Norman Slate ----- resigned 02/2002
    Charles Link ----- resigned 06/2002 (… served since ‘78)
    John Broadway ---- resigned 06/2003 (… served since ‘98)
    Ray Wilson ------- resigned 06/2004 (… served since ‘92)
    Russ Kersten ----- resigned 06/2004 (… served since ‘92)

    Ken Rice --------- has served since ---1989
    Buck Dozier ------ has served since ---1996
    Chris Gingles ---- has served since ---1998
    Howard Henderson - has served since ---1999
    Tommy Hoppes ----- has served since ---1999

    Jim Morris ------- resigned 04/2004 (… served since 9/’02)
    Pat Burch -------- has served since 09/2002
    Marty Rothschild - has served since 09/2002
    Terry Ashley ----- has served since 07/2003
    Phil Coats ------- has served since 07/2003
    Mark Street ------ has served since 07/2003

July 7, 2004

    “From the Madison Search Committee” (Madison Marcher)

    “Several months ago … two groups appointed by the elders began praying and working toward the goals of hiring new pulpit and youth ministers. [Both committees included an elder liaison, other men as well as women in each.] … Pray that God … will make His will obvious, and that He will bless Tory’s efforts as he seeks out new opportunities [really?]. …

    “As announced, our new pulpit minister (once hired) will enjoy a period of transition with Bruce and be fully in place by the end of the year. Our new youth minister will join our existing ministry team and assume Tory’s responsibilities—also by year end.” [cf. thread on Tory Tredway]

July 14, 2004

    Madison Marcher’s special report that “Keith Lancaster returns from sabbatical

    “The Madison family would like to welcome back Keith Lancaster as worship leader. Keith has been on sabbatical, producing two new albums for The Acappella Company. … In addition to working on the new albums, Keith attended the Pepperdine Lectureship in California and led worship at events in Texas…. ‘It is so great to be back with everyone at Madison,’ Keith said. ‘I really missed leading worship here.’

    “Keith will teach a number of new songs in the upcoming weeks, primarily in Homebuilders class on Sunday mornings and Prayer & Praise class on Wednesday nights.

    “Madison is very fortunate to have men who are able to lead worship and not just lead songs. …Lipscomb University now offers a worship ministry major, showing the growth of this trend among Churches of Christ

August 11, 2004

    In “Devoted: Come to the Table” (Madison Marcher, August 11, 2004), it is explained that the “last quarter of 2004 will be devoted to communion and table fellowship” … “each family is encouraged to purchase a copy of Come to the Table, by John Mark Hicks….”

    In “Come to the Table” (by Dawn Ferguson) …

      Beginning September 26, Haddon will be sharing the premises behind Hicks’ book with his class as other teachers are also doing throughout the church. To help with the “revisioning” of the Lord’s Supper, … “Janelle is painting two images for the class that will be before us the entire six weeks we’ll be discussing communion,” said Haddon. “One will be the table. The other will be the altar. She’ll be depicting the things we think of when we think of altar – sacrifice, blood, etc. For the table, she’ll be painting Adam and Eve in the garden in the presence of God – before sin separated them from God.”

      Haddon has asked Wells to paint during each class. “Kathy and I are still discussing and praying about what that painting will be,” said Haddon. “Hopefully, it will bring about the overall sense of hope and joy that Hicks believes is symbolized by the table of fellowship.” “… The living host is present at the table eating and drinking with his disciples. … The table on that first Easter, on that first Sunday, was a table of joy and celebration. There was no solemnity, sadness or burdened hearts.” ( Come to the Table, pg. 87)

    [“Come to the Table” (“Revisioning” the Lord’s Supper) authored by John Mark Hicks is taught at Madison.]

August 18, 2004

    “Madison Has Two New Elders” (Madison Marcher). See the June 16, 2004 list, plus:

    John Hagan ------------- appointed August 2004
    Jim Wilson ------------- appointed August 2004

October 6, 2004

    In “Phil Barnes/Pulpit MinisterFrom the Elders (Madison Marcher):

    “Before his start date of November 1 [2004] , we would like to share some of our thoughts regarding Phil [Barnes]. … Phil Barnes is that man. We believe he is a God-lead choice whose strengths closely match the needs of Madison….”

October 27, 2004

    In “Madison’s newest praise team joins active ministry” (Madison Marcher):

    “The praise teams at Madison have been blessed … the Gold Team emerges as Madison’s newest praise team….”

November 17, 2004

    The Madison Marcher declares “White Sock Sunday (a.k.a. ‘Sock It Away Campaign’) Success.” In addition to the “regular” contribution, the financial campaign contribution toward “Debt Retirement” was $304,664.67….

December 1, 2004

    This month was highlighted by “Your Holiday Events” (Madison Marcher, 11.24.2004) with activities as: “Christmas of Hope” (12/2) benefiting the Morning Star Sanctuary; “Breakfast with Santa” (12/4, Sat.) in the Church Mall [$4 for adults, $2 for ages 3-11]; “A S’mores Christmas Party (12/4, Sat.)—“Parents Night Out—Kids Night of Fun”; “Singles’ Christmas Party” (12/2, Sat., 7-9 p.m., $15 per person at…)—‘Bring a wrapped Christmas ornament to play {Dirty Santa}’; “CHRISTMAS SINGING” (12/19, Sunday at 6 p.m., Bixler Chapel)—‘Start your holiday week with this inspiring service

    The new pulpit minister, Phil Barnes, addresses his affinity for Christmas: “‘Merry Christmas’ has been replaced with ‘Happy Holidays.’ … It’s so easy to walk right past the manger with our arms full of gifts, isn’t it? … But … the one God sent to all of us wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger … Jesus Christ is Born!” [on December 25]

    “What Is The Drama Ministry (cf. Madison Marcher, 12.1.2004). “The goal of the drama ministry is to give glory to God through the use of drama declaring, illustrating and clarifying Biblical truth [emph., d.c.]…” using I Corinthians 9:22 [becoming “all things to all men”]; I Peter 4:10-11 [“whatever gift”]; Eph. 6:19-20 [“make known the mystery of the gospel”].

    Sounds like misuse of the scriptures. The other “minister(s)” would have been closer to the truth had they quoted one of their own chief ministering change agents:

      “Drama works because we KNOW that it ISN'T TRUE. IF the word entertainment does mean to DIVERT one’s attention, to cause to be pleasurable, to cause to be interesting, then that is what we're here to do


End of Part XII—Section B

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October 12 2007, 8:32 AM 

Part XII—Section C

January 16, 2005

    Beginning this Sunday and the following, Phil Barnes, as a strong advocate of the Community Church/Change Movement, delivers sermons such as: “Is This All There Is to It?”; “Shattering the Shackles”; “Remove the Chains”; etc. These are favorite agenda among change movers. See “Timeline, Part VIII” for details.

January 26, 2005

    Beginning this issue of the Madison Marcher, Keith Lancaster, the Musical Worship Leader, writes a series of articles on musical worship: (1) “Worship: It’s All About You, God!” [Notice how he “personally” addresses our heavenly Father—a semblance of “Hey, Man!”]; (2) “Worship: Our Great Heritage of Singing” [What heritage?]; (3) “Worship: God-Centered Singing” [What about Worship-Leader-Praise-Team-Centered Holy Entertainment at the Worship Center?]. See “Timeline, Part VIII” for details.

February 16, 2005

    The “INTERACTIVE EASTER WORSHIP DRAMA” all over again!!! “This year on Saturday, March 26th at 7 p.m. and again on Easter Sunday during our 10:30 a.m. worship service, we will be celebrating the Easter Story together in an interactive worship drama … attend these special times of worship … when we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper … no … Canaan’s Land … during the Easter Morning worship service.” [This was brought up in “Timeline, Part VIII” for discussion … but unfortunately diverted into other irrelevant topics.]

March 17, 2005

    A review of an article, “Phil Barnes/Pulpit Minister,” in the Madison Marcher (Vol. 53, No. 39, Oct. 6, 2004) reveals the obvious path that the church leaders are treading. “The elders composed a list of 15 … matching … characteristics necessary [for] … that man … to carry Madison forward….” What qualifications? “… Sensitive to traditional/contemporary services … Relevant to today’s environment … Team oriented—gets along well with others … People person … Motivator/promoter [of change, d.c.]….” One very keen observer noted the list as being “Bible-starved

March 27, 2005

    The contemporary assembly at 10:30 a.m. was entertained with the performance of the “Interactive Easter Worship Drama,” but the 8:00 a.m. assembly was “deprived” of the Easter festival [thank you!!!] Note that some of the elders actually participated in the “Worship Drama.” Was “worship” interactive? There was virtually no congregational participation. All the intervening music during the drama was performed by the “worship leader” [in a “priestly” white robe] and his minstrels. However, the audience participated in the long applause at the conclusion of the worship drama.

April 10, 2005

    There was the “combined worship service” at 10:00 on this “Madison Family Day.” The “worship leader,” and his Praise Team and handclappers were in their best behavior. The atmosphere was reverential; the Praise Team members had to hide their microphones; the other cheerleaders proved that the clapping hands have no vocal cords. Congregational singing was evident on this day.

    Well, unfortunately, all of that was only transient. On the Sunday following, of course, the “charismatic” behavior of some and the concert-like environment did quickly return. (Please read the article in Part IX titled “The Sunday I Was at the ‘Christian’ Rock Concert.”)

May 18, 2005

    Announcement of “New Adult Sunday School Classes Beginning in June” including:

  • (a) HomeBuilders [popular among denominations] now called LifeBuilders with both men and women teachers [
    — …
    — Terry & Susie Ashley
    — Rob Wells and Leanne Shelby (female Youth Minister)
    — …
    — Madison’s Praise Team (male and female choir members)];
  • (b) Single Mothers Class; and
  • (c) Serving Singles.

June 1, 2005

    Again, a repeat in 2005 of Rick Warren’s “church growth” scheme’s special feature—incorporating. Announcement—“NOTICE TO ALL MADISON CHURCH OF CHRIST MEMBERS: We will have our annual corporation meeting on Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at 6 p.m. in the Main Auditorium. Buck Dozier will be conducting the meeting”

June 8, 2005

    Kay Nickell writes in “Remembering Dad” about Russ Kersten, elder, and his illness and death.

June 29 2005

    In the preceding Timeline thread (#10), someone was asking about Keith Hall, the male “Youth Minister”—and Tory Tredway’s replacement. Many people have wondered to this day how and why Tory lost his job. [Hush, Tory wasn’t the singy-clappy charismatic kind of guy. Young … but he did not meet the “contemporary” standards.] There are a few posts in the thread about “Tory Tredway.” Check the Page 1 Index for this thread last-dated March 4, 2005.

August 10, 2005

    “David Billingsley and Steve Smith … were ordained as Elders on August 7, 2005” [Marcher, 8.10.05]. “Marty Rothschild has been assigned to work with Steve as his mentoring Elder” [Marcher, 8.17.05].

August 17, 2005

    In “To the Elders and Members of Madison Church of Christ,” Howard Henderson writes—“I indicated to the Elders at our Spring Rereat that upon the installation of any additional shepherds, I would be bowing out of this role.” [Marcher]

September 7, 2005

    “Madison Welcomes New Lipscomb President, Randy Lowry”—“… will be preaching … on September 25th … founder of the nationally-recognized Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and was a professor of law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.”

September 14, 2005

    Phil Barnes writes re: the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts—“In consultation and agreement with the elders, I committed our congregation to provide a week of relief help for the Red Cross Shelter that is being established at Two Rivers Baptist Church.” [Marcher]

October 26, 2005

    Preparing for the Christmas Drama—“A Christian Carol.” “As Phil announced … we will be doing a full-length Christmas play this year. The dates for the production will be December 17th and 18th (Saturday and Sunday) at 7:00 p.m. each night. The play is an adaptation of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” which we are calling “A Christian Carol.” Why are we doing a Christmas drama? … Using drama, we can break down defenses and are often able to get people to come to a performance [emph. d.c.] who might be intimidated by a regular church service…. If it is God’s purpose to use this drama to reach the unchurched in our community, Satan will try to put obstacles in our path. … Once again, we ask that each of you be praying over this play….”

January 25, 2006

    Financial Report of the Saints’ Collection (cf. Marcher)

    --- Personnel Wages -------- 865,688,66
    --- ------ Benefits -------- 167,308.31
    --- ------ Counseling ------- 42,398.00
    --- ===================================
    --- Wages & Benefits ----- 1,075,394.97 = (36.51% of Receipts)
    --- Benevolence ------------ 124,191.07 = (04.22%)

    2006 Wish List: New Church Sign ----- 55,000.00
    --- Media: Video Projector ----------- 8,000.00
    --- --------- Time Base Corrector –--- 2,000.00
    --- --------- Projection Switcher --- 20,000.00
    --- --------- Pro Tools Software –--- 12,000.00

February 26, 2006

    Keith E. Hall—Youth Minister (cf. Marcher). Tory Tredway’s replacement reports that he “accepted a new position at Lipscomb University as Director of Multicultural Affairs,” that it was not an easy decision—“my wife and I spent many months in prayer, and waited for God’s answer.” [When was Keith Hall employed as the Youth Minister? Please see the June 29, 2005 report above—re: Tory and Keith.]

March 26, 2006

    Job Announcement—“… That growth has led us to a wonderful opportunity that your Shepherds are excited to share with you. It has been decided to add a new position to our Ministry Team, an Associate Minister of Community and Family Development. This crucial role will primarily deal with coordinating our volunteers in our many ministries, coordinating our efforts to assimilate new members, and coordinating our Small Group ministry. … As a family of believers, your Shepherds ask you to agree to pray for this decision and this process, and that God will send us the man He has already chosen.” [Is this a case of “staff infection” within an incorporated church?]

April 16, 2006

    Interactive EASTER WORSHIP DRAMA— Not highly publicized or announced, but the actors and actresses did their performance thing at the contemporary assembly. The “worship drama” consisted of the following acts: (a) Birth of Jesus; (b) Jesus with the Apostles; (c) Trial; (d) Crucifixion; (e) Burial; (f) Resurrection; (g) Communion; (h) Ascension. [Based on the program, the Lord’s Supper was observed as part of the “worship drama.”]

June 4, 2006

    Madison Family Day—Combined Worship at 10:00 a.m.— “Worship Leader” Keith Lancaster led 5 hymns and 7 contemporary praise songs all together. Since the combined assembly was scheduled 15 minutes earlier than but closer to the regular contemporary assembly time [of 10:15 a.m.], the “traditional” folks were treated to a fine congregational singing. Keith’s Praise Team members occupied the front rows and were in their best behavior—no microphones, no clapping, no humming, no unintelligible sounds, no o-o-o-o-o sounds. However, Keith got excited and led the applause after the singing of “How Great Thou Art.” There were empty pews in the balcony—it certainly wasn’t as crowded (considering a combined assembly) as what would normally be the attendance at the 10:30 [second] assembly alone in years past. Attendance was 1770.

July 23, 2006

    Madison Has Four New Shepherds—“… Tommy Cothron, Greg Drennan, Jim Gotto and Jim Overstreet were commissioned as our new Shepherds. Madison now has a total of 17 Shepherds to lead this flock.”

December 16, 2006

    Christmas Drama—“God Moments” performance was on Saturday, December 16, and again on Sunday, December 17. On Dec. 24, Sunday, the following “Christmas” songs were sung [but not the rest of the year]: “Joy to the World,” “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” “Angels We Have Heard on High.” And … “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

January 7, 2007

    The “Worship Leader”—The last time Keith Lancaster would “bring the congregants into God’s presence” … made the announcement of his “resignation,” no longer to be an employee of the Madison church due to commitments to other music ministry and business endeavors. (I believe that his “decision to leave” was a big surprise to many.) But his trained “Praise Team” or the “church choir” concept was left behind. In the ensuing weeks, Kevin Dunnebacke would be assuming the role.

February, 2007

    “Committee seeks Worship Minister”—Quoting the Marcher: Saying that his job as Madison’s Worship Minister was one of his greatest blessings and highest honors, Keith Lancaster resigned in early January to pursue other opportunities—the primary one being to travel and help other congregations worship in a spirit similar to Madison. … “Keith has been a dynamic worship leader [emphasis, d.c.] for our congregation for eight years,” said Phil Barnes, Senior Minister. “But we’ve formed a Search Committee, and we’re getting calls from worship leaders [emphasis, d.c.] all across the country who are interested in this position….” [See Marcher, Feb. 2007 for the rest of the article.]

    The following Madison’s own musical talents were evident as they led singing: John Magnuson (March 25); Jonas Weathers (April 1); Roger Ferguson (April 8); Brent Whitworth (no stranger to the congregation, April 15).

April, 2007

    “Easter worship service includes special drama”—the April 2007 Marcher announces. Quoted: “… Come celebrate this special weekend as we relive the events at the center of our faith on Saturday, April 7, at 7 p.m. and on Easter Sunday, April 8, at 10:15 a.m. By way of an interactive worship drama, we’ll join a group of early Christians meeting in secret…. The Easter story is nearly 2,000 years old, but its message is timeless and its impact eternal. We look forward to experiencing it with you.” [emphases, d.c.]

May 20, 2007

    “Madison Family Day—Combined Worship”—The contemporary assembly had to settle for no rhythmic clapping, no applause, no solo, no humming. Best of all, the Praise Team members [who were seated in the front rows (I think)] were microphone-less—thanks to those “visiting” from the early assembly!

July, 2007

    “Madison welcomes new Worship Leader Brent Whitworth”—From the Marcher: “Brent Whitworth, Madison’s new Worship Leader [emph., d.c.] who begins July 1, is not a total stranger to Madison Church of Christ … actually worked in the basement of Madison several years ago when … [the] camp director of Valley View … was managing Madison’s Media Center … was living in Goodlettsville and attended worship here a few times when he wasn’t leading worship at his home church—Una Church of Christ … had a casual relationship with Madison minister Phil Barnes because he had worked with Barnes’ son Jeremiah and his group—Fourth Watch—which had recorded several of Whitworth’s songs….” [cf. July 2007 Marcher for remainder of the article.]

September, 2007

    [Another] “Family Day Set for October 7th”—Phil Coats, who began serving as an elder in July 2003, has resigned to become the “congregation’s new Business Operations Minister,” replacing Jerry Sherrill who retired from his job as Business Administrator.


End of Part XII—Section C

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Donnie Cruz
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Message from a “Former ‘Worship Leader’”--Revisited

October 14 2007, 11:56 PM 


QUOTED FROM AN E-MAIL: [[[[[… I am troubled by the innovations, because they seem mostly to lean toward entertainment and behavior that I grew up associating with Pentecostal orgiastic "worship services." I quit going to Tulsa due to this. ... ]]]]]


Message from a "former ‘worship leader’"
May 29 2005 at 6:46 AM

I must share this special message from someone who is highly knowledgeable about the CCM Movement. In fact, he has written a book published by Evangelical Press, “Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement,” now on its 13th printing. I have been granted permission to post this personally treasured e-mail from Dan Lucarini:


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Dan Lucarini []
    Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2005 7:29 PM
    Subject: Contemporary Worship Choreography-Made for TV or "the Audience of One"?

    Hey Donnie,

    I see you are still stirring up the 'worship' hornet nest! So am I. As a former worship leader, I knew exactly what the order of service you printed means. I chuckled at the 'VCC' (verse-chorus-repeat chorus). At the same time, seeing it again made me realize afresh how trite and manipulative is the entire exercise of 'planning worship'.

    There's an interesting book out called Worship: The Simple Mystery by Dan McGowan (friend of mine). It should have been titled 'confessions of a current worship leader'. Dan recounts the time a professional worship consultant came to his Evang Pres church and taught the worship team how to fake the sincerity. He also laments the professionalism that has taken over Sunday mornings.

    Our contemporary worship friends are caught in a dilemma of their own making. On one hand they tell us we have to abandon the old, dead, lifeless forms of worship where people do the same thing over and over again, and there is no spontaneity allowed. On the other hand, these same people rigorously program their own worship services with lots of little manipulative entertainment tricks like those in your article.

    Spontaneity always degenerates into ritual, whenever men devise their own ways to worship the gods. But where there is spiritual worship in truth (John 4:24), ritual cannot take control.

    Blessings in Christ, my fellow soldier. Hope to meet someday Lord willing.



    Contemporary Worship Choreography—Made for TV or "the Audience of One"? Donnie Cruz



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Madison’s “Worship” Attendance through October, 2007

October 15 2007, 1:44 AM 

    Combined 8:00AM and Contemporary (10:30AM) Attendance

    ..... Recent stats are taken from the Marcher/worship program
    ..... All figures below include 300+ from the EXT dept.[?]
    ..... Sunday School Drive on October 19, 2003
    ..... “The Passion…” Movie Drive in February-March, 2004
    ..... Interactive Worship Drama (“Easter Sunday”) in April
    ..... Baby Day Celebration around first Sunday in May
    ..... Great Day in May
    ..... Memorial Day Service in last part of May
    ..... Madison Family Day (Combined at 10:00 in May or June)
    ..... Transition: Bruce White out; Phil Barnes in (Oct-Dec, 2004)
    ..... Membership Records for 2002 (Madison Marcher, 01.22.03):
    ..... __________ 1863 Family Units
    ..... __________ 4574 Attenders/Members
    ..... __________ 76 Baptized
    ..... __________ 124 Placed Membership
    ..... Membership Records for 2004 (Madison Marcher, 01.10.05):
    ..... __________ 1633 Family Units
    ..... __________ 3629 Attenders
    ..... Membership Records for 2005 (Madison Marcher, 01.25.06):
    ..... __________ 1675 Family Units
    ..... __________ 3514 Attenders/Members
    ..... __________ 30 Baptized
    ..... __________ 109 Placed Membership
    ..... Membership Records for 2006 (Madison Marcher, Feb. 2007:
    ..... __________ 1648 Family Units
    ..... __________ 3507 Attenders/Members
    ..... __________ 27 Baptized
    ..... __________ 90 Placed Membership


    2001 JANUARY 3000+___3000+___3000+___3000+
    2001 FEB ______ ____________________________
    2001 MAR ______ ____________________________
    2001 APR ______ ________2525____________2303
    2001 MAY ______ 2498____2675____2403____2348
    2001 JUN ______ 2355____2558____2543____2371
    2001 JUL ______ 2531____2508____2428____2306____2386
    2001 AUG ______ 2177____2375____2297____2161
    2001 SEP ______ 2163____2335____2577____2096
    2001 DEC ______ 2148____2008____2039____2134____1985

    2002 __________ [no stats available]
    _______________ [NOTE: 2002 census shows MCC with—
    _______________ 3142 members;
    _______________ 1786 in worship attendance;
    _______________ 4730 adherents]

    2003 JUL ______ ________________1483________
    2003 AUG ______ 1702____1759____1726____1742____1732
    2003 SEP ______ 1782____1722____1629____1498
    2003 OCT ______ 1681____________2028____1643
    2003 NOV ______ 1708____1664____1526____1637____1596
    2003 DEC ______ 1554____1534____________1557

    2004 JAN ______ 1725____1712____1640____1715
    2004 FEB ______ 1746____1606____1608____1647____1816
    2004 MAR ______ 1819____1718____1738____1698
    2004 APR ______ 1630____2697____1628____1733
    2004 MAY ______ 1639____1748____1605____1713____1686
    2004 JUN ______ 1648____1629____1660____1781
    2004 JUL ______ 1691____1633____1797____1639
    2004 AUG ______ 1678____1637____1773____1851____1771
    2004 SEP ______ 1640____1728____1715____1661
    2004 OCT Trans. 1687____1660____1630____1660____1617
    2004 NOV Trans. 1695____1663____1833____1796
    2004 DEC Trans. 1816____1761____________1491

    2005 JAN ______ 1699____1845____1819____1628____1823
    2005 FEB ______ 1893____1844____1917____1953
    2005 MAR ______ 1903____1983____1731____2416
    2005 APR ______ 1736____1822____1750____1731
    2005 MAY ______ ________1900____1757____1800____1652
    2005 JUN ______ ________1685____1728____1717
    2005 JUL ______ ________1785____1745____1769____1683
    2005 AUG ______ 1881____1823____1772____2128
    2005 SEP ______ 2014____1917____1854____1915
    2005 OCT ______ 1637____1784____1811____1773____1794
    2005 NOV ______ 1798____1763____1766____1621
    2005 DEC ______ 1797____1729____1766____

    2006 JAN ______ 1641____1924____1880____1808________
    2006 FEB ______ 1878____1833____1560____1927
    2006 MAR ______ ________1773____1646____1657
    2006 APR ______ 1697____1859____3206____1795____1829
    2006 MAY ______ ________1900____1955____1710
    2006 JUN ______ 1770____1852____1923____1826
    2006 JUL ______ 1921____1794____1785____1850____1971
    2006 AUG ______ 1992____1990____1806____1933
    2006 SEP ______ 1695____1864____________1888
    2006 OCT ______ 1880____1800____1872____1886____1884
    2006 NOV ______ 1984____1856________________
    2006 DEC ______ 2165____2057____1960____2046____1898

    2007 JAN ______ 2148____2086____1944____2008
    2007 FEB ______ 1793____1961____________2017
    2007 MAR ______ 2051____1820____1888____1980
    2007 APR ______ 1942____2733____1920____1962____2008
    2007 MAY ______ 1892____2158____1172____1840
    2007 JUN ______ ________________________1899
    2007 JUL ______ 1927____1892____1879____1786____1884
    2007 AUG ______ 1996____1965____2039________
    2007 SEP ______ 1933____1876____1794____1902____1895
    2007 OCT ______ 1540


    NOTE: I mentioned at the outset that the weekly attendance recorded includes a count of 300+ from the “EXT. dept.”—whatever that means. That note stands unless and until a request for correction is received.

Former “Worship Leader” Keith Lancaster “resigned,” accordingly, in January, 2007. I’m inclined to think that the announcement surprised many members of the congregation. Was the “decision” for the good of the congregation? Time will tell. But one thing to remember is what ultimately occurred in 2001 when one Sunday morning, Mr. Lancaster and his elite “Praise Team” shocked the congregants with those “choir boys” and girls occupying the front rows with their handheld microphones and performing their thingies. The church has never been the same since.

Now that Keith is no longer here, Brent Whitworth is in. Fine! It has been refreshing since Brent came on board, I must admit. Excluding other matters, the only remaining issue that pertains to the assembly for worship—and, indeed, a major one—is that Keith’s Praise Team is still lingering around and has not abandoned its ambition that [as the participants think] the Lord is not going to be satisfied with the unrehearsed, unfeigned lifting of voices of just the “normal” [regular] saints in the assembly.

This past October 7th was “Madison Family Day.” I believe it was the second Family Day this year. Yes, [I just noticed that] on May 20, 2007, it was also “Madison Family Day—Combined Worship.” The recorded “combined” attendance in May was 1172. Was that a mistake if the 300 count from the EXT. dept. was not included? The record “combined” attendance on Oct. 7 was 1540—I would think that the 300 count was included this time. Regardless, though, what would be the reason for the low attendance during both Family days when the intent would be to show and prove that both “traditional” and “contemporary” divisions were united? I think that some analysis or evaluation or explanation is in place here. This observation is worth noting—there were many empty pews during the “combined” assembly up in the balcony where in years prior to 2001, the same area would be crowded during the second assembly at 10:30 alone.

Well, perhaps, blame it on the previously announced catered barbecue pork meal that cost $6 per person ($3 for children; free to children under 3)—unlike the way it was in years gone by when folks brought a variety of home-cooked, home-prepared stuff.

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Donnie Cruz
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Keith Lancaster’s Remnants Must Go: The “Praise Team”

October 30 2007, 2:11 AM 

Madison’s former “Worship Leader” Keith Lancaster has “resigned” according to the Marcher (January, 2007). But his organized “Praise Team” has not. What’s going on? Do those church leaders that succumbed to Rick Warren’s culture-driven “church growth” philosophy to implement whatever it takes to welcome “the un-churched” have short memories? Have they easily forgotten the church upheaval in 2001?

There was an opportunity to dissolve this controversial elite group at the time that Keith’s replacement came on board. But, no, it did not happen.

Brent Whitworth is very capable of handling the task of leading singing without the assistance from the choir. Yes, “the choir” comprised of adult “choir boys” … and “adult choir girls”—all co-leading, but, really unneeded..

There is a dilemma. If the choir WOMEN are not CO-LEADING with the men, what purpose do they serve? I know that the whole team is performing. Why? It is due to the fact that Brent does not even need fellow men leaders, much less WOMEN leaders. I know that the choir is performing. Why? It is due to the fact that the congregation of MEN and women can sing without the WOMEN leading both MEN and women. I know that the choir is performing because of their handheld microphones. Picture this: have you been to a concert or a large gathering in which the performers did not use microphones?

In essence, in the few “progressive” churches that have employed the services of the Praise Team, congregational singing is no longer their strength and “trademark.” “The church of Christ is known for its congregational singing—how ‘beautiful’ is the blend of voices without the use of musical instruments!!!” Wait … that’s what we used to hear from other religious groups making comments such as that! No, not anymore about those congregations with Praise Teams!!!

Should Madison at least try congregational singing again without the Praise Team?

I believe that it would be worth the try. It has outlived its questionable, deceptive purpose—to help teach new songs. Yeah, right! The congregation has been “learning” these contemporary “praise songs” for seven years now. And still hasn’t learned them? Really?!?!? Either the Praise Team thinks, “What a dumb congregation—can’t learn anything” … or the Praise Team thinks, “Well, the congregation likes our ‘worship rehearsals’ as well as our performances.”

Or … the Praise Team thinks, “We know that half of the membership that left because of what we [the Praise Team] caused the church to split is not coming back anymore anyway, so, we might as well continue performing.”

This particular problem is here to stay while the source of the problem remains.

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Keith Lancaster’s “Praise Team” Is Still….

November 19 2007, 7:47 AM 

Today’s “contemporary worship” was all dominated by the “Praise Team” musical idolatry. Mark Spears substituted for Brent Whitworth. Mark might have done an excellent job leading singing … I think so. But I can’t say that with certainty because the other “worship leaders” consisting of both men and WOMEN “leaders” were overpowering him and the congregation. Let’s put the blame on the handheld microphones that the PT members use while they perform—as usual. OK? Even the female soloist—who performed the Communion song [I mean, prior to the point when the other PT performers joined her]—was pretty loud. Who couldn’t help but notice that a distracting female soloist was doing her thing while the others were trying to concentrate on the solemnity of the occasion? Again, let’s put the blame on the handheld microphone she was using. OK?

I seem to recall that there was a poster who recently brought up a question as to why the first assembly was scheduled for an hour (8:00-9:00) whereas the “contemporary praise worship” was scheduled for way over an hour beginning at 10:30.

[Pause—I’ll admit that I haven’t checked out the church’s website in months. Shame on me! Is it just my imagination and my ignorance? Right now, I don’t get the impression that the site is “under construction.” But I was looking for the schedule from 10:30-11:45. I didn’t see 11:45. So, I would think that “1 hour and 15 minutes” is the correct length of time allotted for the “worship hour PLUS].” No, my problem just now was that I was not able to locate the list of the elders immediately—of all things. Maybe, the site is really under construction. But I’ll check again at another time.]

Speaking moreover of the question about assembly time, let me just point out that the contemporary period is usually extended to no less than 1 hour and 15 minutes because the greater emphasis is on the “praise service” that the Praise Team is devoted to. Today there were 11 “praise musical” pieces that the Praise Team performed for the congregants—NONE from the extinction-bound hymns of the past. (Please don’t be misled by the titles of these praise musical pieces. Some of these pieces actually have the programmed “clap-clap” or “clap-clap-clap” embedded in them. By that I mean that a musical piece may specifically indicate WHEN the clapping is to occur. That’s sad and unfortunate. The Praise Team does a good job of leading this useless and annoying, unintelligible noise. Of course, there was one piece whose title is not misleading—“If You Miss Me.”)

Again, while the Praise Team exists, controversy will remain. It is really sad that true congregational singing is vanishing away—and it is very quickly vanishing away as the hymns are. It simply cannot be made up by the performance of the choir members. There’s just no way!!!

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Tom Runyan
(Login Tommy1950)

Response to Email from Dan to Donnie

December 16 2007, 5:27 PM 

Just a quick question.

Dan noted, "At the same time, seeing it again made me realize afresh how trite and manipulative is the entire exercise of 'planning worship'."

My question is this...Whether it is a group of people (praise team) that plan the worship or an individual (i.e. song leader for that particular Sunday) doesn't planning take place in either situation?

The last time I checked, allowing the Holy Spirit to Direct the service without planning has not been done in the history of the churches of Christ.

Tom Runyan

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

re: Response to Email from Dan to Donnie

December 17 2007, 3:52 AM 


Dan’s remark concerning his realization “how trite and manipulative is the entire exercise of ‘planning worship’” was clearly and accurately stated. Did you also note in the second paragraph the time when a “professional worship consultant” came to another author’s church to teach “the worship team how to fake the sincerity”?

I cannot help but agree that feigned worship is an excellent description of what occurs in the assembly when each praise team member holds a personal microphone and the “worship team” is ready to perform its rehearsed worship agenda.

The last time I checked, the assembly of the New Testament saints was simple—consisting of prayer, songs that were to teach and admonish, reading and studying of God’s word, observance of the Lord’s Supper. I do not find by command, by implication or by example that instrumental music or that the “worship leader” [man-designated to “lead the congregants into God’s holy presence”] or that the “worship team” [a.k.a. “praise team”] was ever employed in the assembly or gathering of the first century saints.

Considering the simplicity of the assembly as just described above, what is there to carefully plan and to rehearse and rehearse and then PERFORM the programmed worship? Of course, that’s not to say that we not “let all things be done decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:40). Neither should “worship” be made or programmed for TV, either.

I don’t believe the Scripture teaches that God’s Spirit directs “the service” at all. The holy Spirit of God does not direct or directly influence the individual Christian nor the congregation. The “Spirit is truth,” according to I John 5:6. It is the truth that is our directive.

You are correct and I agree with you in saying, “allowing the Holy Spirit to Direct the service without planning has not been done in the history of the churches of Christ.” The individual Christian is responsible for his/her own worship to God. If the Christian or the congregation does not worship the Father in spirit and in truth, that’s not the fault of God’s Spirit.

Thanks for the question.


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(no login)

RE: Response to Donnie

December 18 2007, 2:45 PM 


I am not familiar with the comment in question, but agree that hiring a professional worship consultant for the purpose of training someone how to fake sincerity is definitely missing the heart and intent of worship…

However, I believe you have taken your objection to an extreme when you state that feigned worship is the result of an individual holding a microphone and singing as part of a so-called praise team… Such a statement indicates your belief in your ability to read the hearts of everyone participating in a praise team and divine right to declare the insincerity of their hearts…

In the church we speak of giving God our best, looking down on those who don’t give as we feel they should… Whether it be the wearing of jeans whenever there are several suits in the close at home, or attending your child’s high school graduation on a Sunday night rather than assembling with the saints, we love to chastise people for not giving their best… Then, whenever someone takes seriously the singing of praises to our God and spends time during the week to sing, practice or rehearse the songs prior to leading the congregation in worship on Sunday, we chastise and call them insincere, and make judgments against their hearts… SHAME ON US!

You write about the assembly of the New Testament church and call it simple, indicating that it consisted of prayer, songs to teach and admonish, reading and studying of God’s word, observance of the Lord’s Supper, but you never supply details of this simple worship except to list the activities performed… Please tell us how they performed these activities, outline the procedure for each, explaining the thought process of those sincere worshippers…

Donnie, have you ever preached a sermon??? If so, did you ever rehearse the thoughts of your lesson??? Ever stand in front of a mirror and practice your delivery, notice your facial expression or hand movements??? If not, what about all of those preachers who have done so, were their hearts insincere, was their rehearsing what should have been a simplistic delivery of a simple message sinful??? Wouldn’t this be called rehearsing, rehearsing and then PERFORMING the programmed worship??? I mean, you do agree that preaching is a form of worship, right???

I don’t think you have thought this out very well… It seems you are too interested in judging the faithfulness of each worshipper more than you are interested in worshipping the Father…

I await your response…

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

To Chris: reading the hearts of the performers’ feigned worship

December 24 2007, 6:00 PM 


First, the comment in question from Tom Runyan came from the first post just below the End of Timeline Part XII—Section C entitled, Message from a “Former ‘Worship Leader’”—Revisited. It was an e-mail sent to me by Dan Lucarini, author of “Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement” (Evangelical Press 2002). Please take time to read that e-mail—you will benefit much from the message coming from one who identifies himself as “a Baptist by the church name.”

I have corresponded with Dan a number of times since he had checked out the link to my post titled “The Paperless Hymnal: Bridging the Gap” (December 22, 2003 at 6:21 A,M.). He wrote in response, “I was a PDC [Purpose-Driven Church] worship leader at one time, and am now eager to expose the unbiblical, anti-historical and unspiritual worship/music teachings of Pastor [Rick] Warren.”

Besides Lucarini’s confession of being a former “Purpose-Driven Church worship leader at one time,” he also brought to my attention another book written by Dan McGowan who made reference to “a professional worship consultant” who taught the “worship team how to fake the sincerity.”

That was the post Tom Runyan was alluding to when he posed “a quick question” for me. And that’s to let you know, Chris, that teaching “the worship team how to fake the sincerity” did not originate with me.

In regard to your other comments, I [or you] do not [have to] have “the ability to read the hearts of everyone participating in a praise team [your words].” It is just apparent. I have mentioned it numerous times that the “praise team” has gone way beyond its original intent of “aiding” the congregants with learning new songs—which process in itself can be accomplished without using the microphone.

Most of the “new contemporary songs” at one time are no longer new. Besides, the “Praise Team” in many cases and in reality has not given the non-praise team members [i.e., the ENTIRE congregation LESS the 8- or 16-member “choir”] to do their singing. How is that? The PT members COMPLETELY DOMINATE the congregational singing, especially when the volume of the microphone is set to high Jezebels [ ].

If you’re unable to discern that congregational singing was/is at its best when there was/is no “praise team” dominating the singing, I don’t know what else to tell you.

As far as “sincerity” is concerned, that is an issue brought on by the “worship team” members themselves. Does the sincerity of the Jehovah’s Witnesses or of the Mormons or of the Christian Scientists or of the Seventh Day Adventists make it right? You decide. Besides, it was Dan McGowan [not Donnie] who brought up what “the professional worship consultant” did—i.e., teaching “the worship team how to fake the sincerity.”

Chris, using the examples (wearing jeans vs. suits, attending a child’s graduation vs. the assembly on a Sunday night, etc.) that you gave to prove your argument is irrelevant. There is no performance issue involved in those examples.

In regard to the simplicity of the assembly of the saints in the first century, what details are there to supply? I could be wrong in making this assumption about the intent of your questions, but I gather that you wanted me to detail the “music” part, correct? For your information, there was no inanimate and lifeless musical instrumentation that participated in the assembly that was patterned after the synagogue worship. I envision you seeing no disagreement there.

There was no “worship leader” in concept or in reality. Would you concur? Otherwise, please do not even attempt to bring up the misapplication of the “law of silence” that has been perverted to death by change agents who would readily say to do or have “because the New Testament does not say ‘NOT TO.’”

There was no “praise team” in concept or in reality in the assembly of the first century Christians. Again, it would be irrational to accept the change agents’ proposition that it is OK for the “worship team” to perform to or for the congregants “because the New Testament does not say ‘NOT TO.’”

I think you should do your own research regarding the simplicity of the assembly of the early New Testament church. For sure you will not find an explanation of “the thought process of those sincere worshippers.” But I know you are capable of making the distinction between what comprised the simplicity of synagogue worship [except for the addition of the observance of the Lord’s Supper—which was practiced by the early Christians] VS. the “worship made for TV or holy entertainment” programmed by the denominational world and copied by a few of the congregations of the church of Christ.

You mentioned “rehearsing” a sermon. And equating that with “rehearsed worship”? No, Chris, that analogy is flawed. You are making sermon delivery “worship” in itself. You are also making “music” [by our audio-visual standards] “worship” in itself.

No, I am not judging “the faithfulness of each worshipper”—I would have the most difficulty in naming EACH among the hundreds of folks in attendance. However, I would question what the leadership has allowed to happen in the assembly of the saints.


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(no login)

RE: To Chris: Reading the hearts of the performers' feigned worship

December 26 2007, 1:39 PM 


I appreciate your response and the spirit in which it was written… I will do my best to respond in like manner, both in content and spirit…

I am aware that the comment in question, regarding the hiring of a professional worship consultant to train people how to fake sincerity, didn’t originate with you… And, as I indicated in my previous post, I believe such to miss the heart and intent of worship, and oppose such for the same reason…

I have attended many congregations that do not utilize “praise teams…” I currently attend one that does... You indicate that “if I am unable to discern that congregational singing was/is at its best when there was/is no praise team dominating the singing, that you don’t know what else to tell me.” My interpretation of your statement is that you struggle more with the volume of the “praise team” than you do with utilization of the “praise team.” Now, I admit, that my interpretation is probably going to be considered incorrect in your eyes… But using words and statements such as dominating and when the volume of the microphone is set to high Jezebels seems to indicate that my thoughts are correct…

As far as the “sincerity” of “praise team” members is concerned, we must limit our speaking of such in negative terms until we are able to witness the fruits each person produces...

For you to claim, with the wave of your fingers over the keyboard, that my examples were irrelevant is absolutely ludicrous… Performance in worship is a just as wrong when it comes to what we wear or how we attend as it does in “praise teams…”

As you, Donnie, I would love to see consistency when it comes to the “law of silence…” Please outline, for me, the common worship service of the first century church, detailing how each service unfolded, the order of the activities, how each was performed and whether or not this service format was consistently followed throughout each province, region or country…

For you to deny my “rehearsing a sermon” illustration and say that such is flawed is also ludicrous… Yes, I would suggest that sermon delivery is worship… I would definitely suggest that my/your delivery of the word in a congregational worship setting is offering worship to God… And, yes, I would make “music” worship, also… Music, offering the fruit of our lips, coming from the heart, singing praises to the Lord is definitely worship. Do you disagree with that???

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: Reading the hearts of the performers' feigned worship

January 21 2008, 6:30 PM 


You said, “My interpretation of your statement is that you struggle more with the volume of the ‘praise team’ than you do with utilization of the ‘praise team ….’” There’s really no need to worry as to how I might interpret that. In fact, you’ve expressed it well for me.

Here’s what I would like to say: I am sure that there are “praise team” members that provide assistance in the congregational singing during the earlier assembly—NOW [but not previously] given the identification of “traditional worship service”; and that’s coming from the eldership’s announcement years ago after the upheaval. [I’m somewhat tempted to expound on the “unity in diversity” issue—but let’s save that for another time].

These PT members in the early assembly do not use the microphones [I think this assumption is correct] and are likely not seated together in the front row(s)—thus avoiding the issue of being identified as “the church of Christ CHOIR.” It also dismisses the notion that there is PERFORMANCE by a group of singers involved.

If the same arrangement were set up in the “contemporary worship service”—a clear designation by the “authority” of the elders for such a division—the presence of the elite “CHOIR” with its PERFORMANCES would not be an issue.

So, you see, a resolution to this “musical” problem is within reach. It is reachable, but the elders have not been convinced and seem unwilling or afraid to attempt to resolve the issue(s) in this manner. One of the initial steps among others would be to discontinue the use of the microphones, or at least lower the noise level in decibels [“Jezebels”] a great deal. This will greatly reduce the elite group’s dominance and the seemingly unrecognized strategy of overpowering the “regular” members.

In spite of all the points described above, the fact remains that the “Praise Team,” whose services were initially implemented and it (the Praise Team) has become a permanent fixture in the assembly, was one of the major factors that contributed to the congregation’s demise—the division and eventual departure of many of its members.

Now, Chris, would you describe a bit more the “Praise Team” and how its services are utilized in your congregation? Perhaps, other congregations might benefit from your congregation.

On the “other” aspects you brought up, I’ll comment briefly: I agree that no one can really know or question the sincerity of the Praise Team members. It would be safe to assume that they are sincere [the Mormons, the Christian Scientists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are sincere]—and leave it at that—but that’s no permission granted to utilize the services and performances of the Praise Team (or The Choir) when it’s almost a certainty that where it is not practiced, the introduction of the unnecessary, culture-driven and divisive scheme will result in the alienation of the brethren.

There is a difference between: (1) rehearsing a sermon for a more effective delivery of the message and (2) rehearsing “musical worship.”

The “law of silence” as a principle in helping determine whether or not a doctrine or teaching or belief is consistent with the doctrine of Christ and the teachings of the apostles is still safe for us today. The “law of silence” is opposite of “the law of permission”—the latter suggesting that “a belief or practice is permissible because the Scripture does NOT say “NOT TO.”

The simplicity of the assembly of the saints in the first century cannot be denied. It was patterned after the “synagogue worship” and based on the fact that the Jews were the first converts to Christ (cf. Acts 1;2). The synagogue assembly was comprised primarily of “prayer services” and giving heed to God’s Word (study and education). The contributions, money or possessions, were for the needy—an example of this is described in I Corinthians 16 when Paul said, “will I send your liberality unto Jerusalem.” For certain, no instrumental music machines participated in the assembly.

Obviously, the scriptural addition of the observance of the Lord’s Supper—to commemorate the suffering, death and burial of Christ—is not to be objected to.

If this should help, you might search online for “synagogue worship” in the first century.


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Ken Sublett
(no login)

The Ekklesia is Synagogue is a School of the Bible: Only.

December 20 2007, 9:30 PM 

If I can butt in: You can look at a collection of notes about the synagogue or ekklesia at this click site:

If you want to understand how the EXTERNAL PSALLO or making music explains why Jesus consigned the pipers, singers and dancers to the Agora or Marketplace you have to understand the NAMES of the different assemblies. Jesus cast out the musical minstrels trying to do their enchantment on the "dead girl." The word CAST OUT means "more or less violently like one casts out dung. He also consigned the pipers, singers and dancers" to the Agora or Marketplace. The similar Hebrew word has the meaning of "playing the flute, pollute and prostitute. As when Lucifer was cast as profane out of heaven." This paragraph has a clickable link to the AGORA which defines the EKKLESIA which absolutely outlaws acting, music or "making up your own sermon texs."

Because of formatting limits the following is a slow-loading image:

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

About the Church’s Website and the Church’s Identity

January 30 2008, 4:32 AM 

It’d been a while since the last time I looked at the Madison church’s website . I didn’t need to as updates were far in between. The other day I decided to look at the site and noticed the new and improved colorful home page, etc.

I was partly disappointed by the new format in that certain pages were no longer available—the Marcher (monthly bulletin) for one.

Of all things, the menu options did not direct me to the elders’ (leadership) page. [The front page consists of these major menu items: Home, Directions, Worship Services, Contact Us.]

Now, I’m assuming that the site is still being developed, although there is no indication that “this site is under construction.” Does anyone know?

The “Senior Minister,” Phil Barnes, I would say, is very much aware that the congregation experienced turmoil, trials and tribulations early in this decade. On that basis, I know that he makes a conscious effort to avoid teaching and preaching controversial doctrinal matters—he thinks.

In his speech one Sunday (Jan. 20th), he emphasized in “Mission Possible” the church’s “mission statement” [a trend] that encompasses: (1) “WORSHIP GOD”; (2) “CONNECT PEOPLE”; (3) “REACH THE WORLD.” How different is that “mission statement” from the ancient way of identifying the major areas of responsibility of the church as: edification, benevolence, evangelism. Religious correctness in the post-modern culture?

Uh-oh! In his delivery he mentioned “Community Church” … “Family of God.” What about it, Phil? Is there a hint that the name may be changing to “Madison Church” as Oak Hills Church (TX) dropped the name “of Christ” so that the community church would be “seeker friendly”? Or, is there a hint that the name may be changing to “Madison Family of God” as the now known “Woodmont Hills Family of God” did some years ago?

O.K., Phil may be trying to educate the members and be accustomed to “the idea” for now by using the expressions in sentences, such as: “We should be an exemplary ‘community church’ in the Madison area”; “we are members of the ‘family of God’ in Madison, TN.”

Let us watch and pray.


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(no login)

Sour Grapes will only Last for a Little While

February 14 2008, 11:04 PM 

A few points about your last post.
"Now, I’m assuming that the site is still being developed, although there is no indication that “this site is under construction.” Does anyone know?"
Donnie, do you not attend Madison? Do you have a problem with going to the editor(s) personally and asking themselves what the problem is? This wouldn't be showboating for your readers, would it?
"The “Senior Minister,” Phil Barnes, I would say, is very much aware that the congregation experienced turmoil, trials and tribulations early in this decade. On that basis, I know that he makes a conscious effort to avoid teaching and preaching controversial doctrinal matters—he thinks.
Uh-oh! In his delivery he mentioned “Community Church” … “Family of God.” What about it, Phil? Is there a hint that the name may be changing to “Madison Church” as Oak Hills Church (TX) dropped the name “of Christ” so that the community church would be “seeker friendly”? Or, is there a hint that the name may be changing to “Madison Family of God” as the now known “Woodmont Hills Family of God” did some years ago?"

Donnie, Senior Minister in quotations is sarcastic, and you know it. So is "Uh-oh" and asking about a hint. Actually Donnie, the question is why do you even attend this church when your actions would wantonly aspirate (ask William what aspirate means) hope from this church instead of building it up?
If you are unhappy, start your own church. Don't TRY (you know I like to say try) to tear down a beautiful congregation like Madison. Madison will continue to stand tall with our Lord, even with you degrading it.
Sour grapes Donnie and didn't get your way so are still slinging snot like a child.
.......and folks here goes Donnie on 'Dave, you're the change agent. You are the VERY problem of the church. You are the DEFINTION of a pure thoroughbred change agent. You would have the LIFELESS INSTRUMENTS dragged into the assembly of your congregation and other churches of Christs everywhere. You would go against what is AUTHORIZED in the Word in the assembly (the same type assembly that the first century church participated in, right?).'
Anyhow, Donnie....I thought I could give you a head start.
You take it from there brother Donnie.
Please feel free to edit any or part or all of this.

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Donnie Cruz
(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Re: Sour Grapes…

March 4 2008, 1:29 AM 


In regard to your comments about Madison’s website, I would not hesitate to say again that the new and improved site is impressive, although it appears to be still “under construction.” At the same time, I’m really not in a position to go to “the editor(s) personally” to ask “what the problem is.” There may not be a problem to them as far as they’re concerned, e.g., the unavailability for viewing of the church’s weekly/monthly publication.

Now, I’ve noticed in some of the other churches’ websites, it’s sometimes very difficult to locate or link to “The Elders’ Page.” Madison may be following that trend. Generally, in these churches there seem to be greater emphases on the congregation’s “social” and other events and on how the New Testament church’s website should resemble the “denominational” images. If one is not reading carefully, he may not notice any differences in what is being taught in churches of Christ vs. the varying sets of beliefs and doctrines held by various religious groups.

Yes, I mentioned the “Senior Minister” just like that. I prefer the “evangelist.” To ascribe the additional title “senior” to a fully employed individual [meaning: someone who has no other means of income] denotes that there are subordinate ministers who are more likely paid as well.

Then, there’s another “full-time” CHURCH EMPLOYEE titled “Worship Leader” who is paid for wagging his arms [plus hand-clapping and/or foot-tapping] for however “long” it takes to do in the: (1) first, (2) second, (3) evening and (4) other gatherings—in those hours of the week.

There are other paid “staff” members. No, I did not invent the expression “staff infection.” But it [staff infection] certainly is happening and a problem in some congregations that now place much less value and significance to evangelization locally and overseas.

Servant, you mentioned “building it [the congregation] up.” That’s a good point. But based on church staffing and responsibilities, I think that the fully paid “Involvement Minister”—oops, it’s another one of those high ranking church officials—should be mainly responsible for that. Wouldn’t you think? Isn’t that what he’s paid for?

No, “getting my way” has never been a personal aspiration.

Perhaps, you meant “the way it was” prior to the implementation of unnecessary and controversial changes that alienated many brethren and caused many to leave?

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(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Did (or Did Not) Have "Interactive Easter Sunday Drama Worship"

April 18 2009, 10:56 PM 

Why "did or did not" in the title? It's because the "traditional" assembly did not have"drama worship" whereas the "contemporary" assembly had an "Easter Sunday Drama Worship"; in fact, it was "interactive."

Phil Barnes must have prepared two sermons for the two divided groups: (1) to remind Christians to commemorate the Lord's sacrifice and death on the cross on every first day of every week throughout the year -- which is ON THE DAY of His resurrection each week; and (2) to watch and participate in the DRAMA-worship-made-interactive.

With the two groups being separate and having their own identities, isn't it apparent that there is division, that we are not "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Cor. 1:10)?

I have observed that "drama" has not been advertised in the last few years as well as in other years. In announcements, spoken or written, the word "drama" is hardly mentioned. Even in last Sunday's event, the drama itself was not as DRAMA-tic as in years past. (Of course, we remember that last year, there was no drama at all.) That's not to say that it no longer exists at Madison, or that it has outlived its original design and excitement. There is still what "they" call "DRAMA MINISTRY." And the question is how much longer can the same staged event go on and on for the next several years? Why not make a one-time purchase of a movie that portrays the resurrection of Christ, and show the same from year to year?

In this year's Easter Drama interactive worship, I believe there were some 20+ participants. There were different "stage acts" surrounding the crucifixion events interspersed with musical performances and Phil's remarks. A couple of songs were displayed on the big screen; otherwise, the PERFORMANCES, in addition to the drama itself, clearly dominated the events of the day -- solo, duet, quartet, and "the choir" on stage; rhythmic clapping; the applause.

Note that these were indeed performances. The auditorium was dark (because of the ongoing drama), too dark to use the hymnbooks. [BTW, hymnbooks and hymns are no longer used in the "contemporary" division. Well, maybe on occasion -- say, once a year?]. The female soloist -- I don't even think or remember that it was a hymn; maybe it was a Christian pop hit, but there was applause at the end, I recall.

Brent Wentworth (Keith Lancaster's replacement), with the male quartet in the background, performed the hymn "Were You There? " with some improvisation:

v. 1: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? [2X]
v. 2: Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? [2X]
v. 3: Were you there when the sun refused to shine? [2X]
v. 4: Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? [2X]

O__________ Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

v. 1: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? [or v/2/3/4 line is repeated.]

Notice the solemnity in those words that describe:"when they crucified my Lord . . . nailed Him to the tree . . . laid Him in the tomb"? I'm not sure about our culture anymore, a culture that is performance-oriented. But applause was initiated and the rest applauded the excellent performance. Wow!!! Im sure that it was the performance that was applauded -- not the solemnity in the message.

If my recollection serves me right and since the "Easter Sunday" celebration was about the resurrection, I was expecting the last verse to be sung: "Were you there when He rose up from the dead?" But I don't think that happened. [Please correct me if I'm wrong about this one.]

Somewhere near the end of the interactive DRAMA, there was another stage act number pertaining to the Last Supper. With the emphasis by the Progressive [Change] Movement on the Lord's Supper being a real meal, instead of a representation, the depiction in the drama was exactly that -- a meal [appeared to be a "loaf of bread" and drink container(s)] to two men and a woman at the table on stage.

So, while "the meal" was being served on stage, now it was time for the crowd to participate in the INTERACTIVE Easter Sunday Drama worship by partaking of the bread -- the Praise Team, of course, did its number by singing for the congregation while the bread was being passed.

I think there was a glitch -- at the time when the congregation was preparing to partake of the cup. Brent led a song about "this is the day" [clap-clap-clap], as if in celebration while yet partaking of the cup symbolizing the blood shed on the cross. So, there was the "clap-clap-clap" and the rhythmical music going on in the middle of the Communion.

There's no question that the dominating "Praise Team" that did the singing for the congregation and the drama actors made the Easter festival a performance-based occasion.

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Jimmy Joe
(no login)

Where did you worship Easter Sunday?

April 18 2009, 11:19 PM 

As I can tell from your post, you definietly paid attention at the Easter Drama Contemporary service. But where did you worship on April 12th? This may be redundant from the March 31st post but I'm still waiting for an answer. Would it be easier if I went to Faithsite and asked for your reply there as there seems to be quite a bit more action there than CM?

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(Login Donnie.Cruz)

Did I Worship Easter Sunday?

April 19 2009, 1:03 AM 

Hello, Jimmy Joe!

I have not forgotten your March 31st post. I promise to respond to your question soon, hopefully. I think it is a fair question, although redundant each time.

I would not necessarily make a comparison between faith-slight and concerned-members. One does not have a visitor counter; the other counts the visitor as one regardless of the number of page views and posts. One approves both good and evil posts; the other reads posts and messages before approval, edit or rejection. One allows automatic and immediate posting; the other does not facilitate such an option. (So, are you a regular viewer or poster at faith-slight?)

So, did you enjoy the performances at the place where YOU worshiped on April 12?

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...........................THE BOOK

What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?

There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least you will recognize the signs early on.

Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't know what happened.
Some never will know! This book is for them as well.

Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.

It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word of Jesus Christ.

At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly realm.

They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.

The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan. Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books, seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....

At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the "Community Church Movement"

Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready, or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the plans very nature, it had to be secret.

The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last 15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.

The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the elders went along unwittingly.

This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill in some of the timeline.

To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the background materials in the first of the book.

This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our web site;

Here is the list of players;

5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten commandments)
Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)

Click Here......The Book is Available Now FREE

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