July 26, 2015 – First Christian Church of Florissant
Stanley Dubose Addresses the Congregation
Text of the announcement about Wingfield’s sabbatical.
“This morning I am here to report to you that our Sr. Pastor, Steve Wingfield is currently on a sabbatical.”
“During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style.”
“It is important for you to know that this action is in NO way a reflection of a change of direction on the part of the elders regarding our support, trust and belief that Steve Wingfield is a man called of God to be and to serve as senior pastor here at First Christian Church.”
“During Steve’s absence from the pulpit, we are going to be blessed by many of our own ministers currently here on staff. We are also thankful for each of our members that have entrusted us and encouraged us as elders. Please keep Steve and family in your prayers as he seeks to learn and to grow.”
“Perhaps more than ever, now your contributions in the area of serving and giving are needed the most. We also need your continued prayers and trust as we still face attacks and criticisms.”
“I want to conclude with a portion of a message that one of our ministry staff shared with me and with my fellow elders. That message said:”
“I’ve been praying for your ability to concisely craft a statement that both shares love and support for Steve and demonstrates the hardship our congregation has faced and is continuing to face. It communicates openly and transparently the presence of brokenness in our leadership that we are working to heal and grow, and call our congregation to come and continue to seek the Lord together with us.”
“I want to extend that also as an invitation that if any one of you has further questions and you would like to talk to me after the service, I’ll be right here in the foyer to address those concerns you might have.”
There was only 1:37 seconds of information given to church members. The remainder of the time was an introduction and a closing prayer.
The information that was stated in the video does not match the facts.
1. The “victimizer” is now being portrayed as the victim. “During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained…, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style.”
a. Nine families that have had to resign and move their households to get away from the “leadership style” of the senior pastor. Titus Benton, Byron Burns, Chris Nelson, Brantley Ping, Kristi Griffith, Tyler Brown, Robert Gentry, and now Lenny Barber – have families that have been impacted. Some families would probably have left no matter what, but, from what they have told church members, most of these families left because of the “leadership”.
b. Six members of FCCF are still banned from First Christian Church property.
c. The sexual abuse victims have all not received care, but have been offered “assistance” with questionable strings attached.
d. The defamation lawsuit is still active and can be re-filed at will within the statute of limitations. The five defendants have endured over $12,000 in legal fees to protect themselves from the First Christian Church of Florissant lawsuit.
e. Doug Lay resigned from St. Louis Christian College to keep from being silenced about the sexual abuse issues. That’s the result of direct pressure from the Wingfields on SLCC to silence Lay.
f. Leaders at First Christian (presumably the Senior Pastor, based on comments from detectives) told enough lies to the Florissant Police Department that two detectives paid a visit to a church member’s home. During that “visit’ they accused the family of making email and phone threats, stealing church property (email database) and intimidating other church members on church property. The family was concerned enough that they retained legal counsel and under Missouri’s “sunshine laws”, found that the Florissant Police felt there was no merit to the complaints from FCCF. The Police Department provided copies of the paperwork and stated that the case was closed. To date, that family is still banned from church property.
2. Church performance was ignored. Instead, a plea stating “Perhaps more than ever, now your contributions in the area of serving and giving are needed the most. We also need your continued prayers and trust as we still face attacks and criticisms” was issued.
a. Worship attendance has been dropping since 2007. It is down now, and has been declining since Steve Wingfield was named senior pastor.
b. Overall church income is down.
c. Overall volunteerism is down.
These conditions are not the results of “attacks” and criticisms. They are the result of a church disintegrating from the inside out.
When the church loses half of its elders in a three year period and 50% of its staff leaves in the same two year window, the problem isn’t criticism – it is leadership. Five years ago there were 13 elders, now there are four (discounting the senior pastor and executive pastor.)
So …the question becomes, who are the victims?
a. Is it the senior pastor dealing with the results of his past actions?
b. Or is it the staff members and their families who had to move their households to take other positions and get out from under caustic “leadership”?
c. Or, is it the existing church membership who haven’t been aware of the tyrant walking among them and don’t understand why the church is shrinking?
d. Or, is it the loyal, long-term members who are standing on the street and moving to other churches because of issues with how First Christian Church of Florissant has conducted itself over the last five years?
e. Or, is it the real victims, the young men who were groomed, man-handled and abused by an aspiring star, wannabe minister?
If you picked a letter … you are wrong.
In everyone’s haste to circle the wagons and protect reputations, they miss the fact that we all lose.