Following The Leadership Network John Macarthur Forms a Leadership Community
What does the future hold for John Macarthur's worldwide The Master's Academy International Centers (TMAI) centers? I have reason to believe the centers are now being formed into a Leadership Community. The formation of Leadership Communities is part of the global transformation process promoted by the Leadership Network, a primary organization manipulating the churches into the communitarian partnership (Drucker’s 3-legged stool). What is a Leadership Community? According to the Leadership Network, under the heading, “What is a Leadership Community,” it states, “The Leadership Community employs a process where peers work interactively through a series of gatherings, conference calls, web dialogues and planning tools to accomplish a significant leap in their personal and organizational performance.” Is there evidence that the TMAI centers have employed a process where peers work interactively to enhance their organizational performance? There is. Does this process involve a series of gatherings or conference calls? Yes, it does.
The Leadership Network (LN) is encouraging churches that have a common area of ministry to form what they call a “Leadership Community.” According to the LN, they prefer that this initial Leadership Community be comprised of about 15 churches that share a common area of ministry. For example, 15 churches that are focused on church planting may form a Church Planting Leadership Community, but a church whose focus is in the area of “healthcare ministry” wouldn’t be allowed in that community and would have to join a community of other churches focused on healthcare.
The LN states that part of the process of forming Leadership Communities involves bringing leaders from each of the churches that constitute a particular Leadership Community together for “gatherings.” The LN website states, in one particular instance (for the Church Planting Leadership Community), that the process involves 3 church leaders from each of 15 churches “gathering” 4 times over what they call an 18-month learning cycle. It looks like the number of gatherings and the length of the learning cycle may vary depending on the type of Leadership Community formed.
By the way, it may be of interest that the LN website highlights the fact that Tim Dammon, a researcher for the LN in the area of healthcare ministry, came to the LN from the Seed Company, “a collaborative partnership of several mission agencies.” It would appear, therefore, that TMAI and the Leadership Network have common ground in Len Crowley’s Counsel & Capital. Both TMAI and the LN approved Seed Company are client ministries of Counsel & Capital. Len Crowley, who was once a pastor at Grace Church and who, I recall reading, considers John Macarthur to be his pastor, and who teaches at TMAI training centers, as Managing Director of Counsel & Capital, advises both TMAI and The SEED Company, a ministry that seems to have earned the approval of the LN and whose former employee now works for the LN. Do you think there is a chance Len Crowley opposes the agenda of the LN? Do you think John Macarthur opposes the agenda of the LN?
In the jargon of the Leadership Network, TMAI might be called Training Church Leaders Leadership Community comprised of 16 participating centers. Is there evidence that leaders from each of the TMAI centers are in a process of working interactively through periodic gatherings to enhance organizational performance? There is solid proof for this.
The church growth movement wants to transform individual thinking into collective thinking and to build within all a sense of interdependence, oneness and community. By having leaders from all the TMAI centers come together periodically, these church growth goals are furthered as diversity unifies and as a collective group mind is created.
Based on the TMAI literature (newsletters going back to 2005), it looks like at least one or more leaders from each of the worldwide TMAI centers gather at least twice a year. A gathering takes place in October in New York and a gathering takes place around March of each year at the GCC Pastor’s Conference. These twice a year gatherings give the leaders of each of the TMAI centers a chance to work interactively to enhance performance.
Let me give some examples from the TMAI literature that describe these gatherings. From the 8/05 newsletter regarding the NY gathering: “This October in New York, the Academy will pursue that mission [equipping churches with godly leaders] in a unique way, by holding a special conference that will bring together one representative from all 15 of its training centers around the globe for 5 days of teaching and fellowship.” The article goes on to say, “The men will spend most of their time in small groups...becoming more dynamic instructors and learning to raise up even more effective church leaders. ‘We’re creating a network of friends,’ says Academic Director David Deuel.” Leaders gathering in small groups being formed into networks of dynamic instructors sounds like the church growth agenda. “Dynamic” is a word frequently used in church growth because it means change. Regarding this October 2005 conference in New York, Jay Letey commenting in the 11/05 newsletter about the center’s leaders stated, “How encouraging it was for everyone to see themselves as part of a larger whole.” This is General Systems Theory (GST), the theory behind Total Quality Management. According to GST, one only has meaning as part of the collective, as just a cog in a machine. Man is complete only when part of an organization. It’s not what you know, but how you relate that matters in community building. The TMAI March 2006 newsletter has a brief article regarding the TMAI Leadership Community’s meeting at Grace Church. The article states, “All day long, Feb. 27th, men representing the 15 Academy supported training centers gathered in one room for a unique event.” The article goes on to say, “For those 10-plus hours, more than 50 men from different hemispheres and varied cultures, found the common ground that makes TMAI so special.” Men from different hemispheres and varied cultures found common ground. This means diversity finding common ground or diversity in unity. This is the synthesis phase of the dialectic process. TMAI is using transformational language in this newsletter to describe this ministry. We also learn from this newsletter that if more than 50 men were present representing the centers, then perhaps 3 or more men from each center participated in the gathering. Clearly, these centers aren’t independent entities serving God. They must all together experience community.
Regarding this particular gathering at Grace Church, Jay Letey, employing more church growth language, said that it “provided us with a platform to share our vision…” He also said regarding this gathering, “I saw church leaders catch the Master’s Academy Vision.” As stated earlier, it was also at this Feb. 2006 gathering that John Macarthur displayed his use of transformational language.
In October 2007, the TMAI center’s leaders met again in NY (I believe they meet at an upstate NY retreat house). Regarding this meeting: “For several days, the faithful men who labor so diligently throughout the year to equip church leaders across 5 continents put their collective heads together.” “Each training center is separate, but joined through TMAI and through a common purpose.” The leaders, joined in common purpose, put their heads together in a collective manner. This implies they shared and dialogued to consensus. Submission to God seems to be out; dialogue, finding common ground within a small group, and networking seems to be in.
In October 2006, the TMAI center’s leaders met at Grace Church. Regarding this gathering Jay Letey said, “Whenever we can bring teachers from all over the world together, it becomes a melting pot of ideas. This is what we want to foster. A sense of community is one of the things that helps TMAI work so well.” Why foster (facilitate?) a melting pot of ideas or a sense of community? Why not foster faith in and dependence on God? Because to foster dependence on God would break up relationships and a sense of community?
The first headline of the first TMAI newsletter, April 2005, was “The Right Vision.” The article under the subtitle, “Historic Gathering,” states, “For the first time in the young history of TMAI, this past month there were representatives from all the training centers gathered together for 2 days of meetings. Exciting reports were given by each training center as they shared their approach to fulfilling the common vision of training church leaders to effectively and passionately teach the Word of God.”
It must be very costly for TMAI to fly their center’s leaders from around the world to NY or to Grace Church for special gatherings. How do they justify the expense? Why are they gathering? If the TMAI leadership wanted to impart teaching or knowledge to these center’s leaders (traditional teaching), then couldn’t they easily be instructed by mail or by phone? The fact that TMAI is willing to bear the expense of flying these leaders in for special gatherings where they will spend time in small groups, putting collective heads together, finding common ground, fulfilling the common vision, and building community tells me these leaders are receiving transformational teaching meant to destroy individuality and ultimately their faith in God.