Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feeling Change in the Air

I don't know if you all can feel what I am feeling, but I sense that things are changing for the better. Not much proof, but I just feel it is coming. I very much hope that Quest can come to terms with where they are and head back in the right direction. The very definition of repentance. In the meantime, continue to pray for the leaders of Quest. Keep hope alive.



  1. I'm curious: what signs have you seen to make you think change is in the air? From what I've heard, it's the same-old, same-old at Quest. I haven't heard of any real efforts to reach out to people who've left with any sincerity; I haven't heard of any comments from the pulpit expressing regret or recognition of the hurtful ways the church has operated; I haven't heard of any move to restructure the church's governance to give attendees (remember, Quest does not have "members", and this is deliberate) more say in how the church is operated; I haven't heard of any new openness regarding its budget and finances; I haven't heard of any explanations being offered about why the highly touted "new media director/pastor" left after only one month -- or in fact, any statement from leadership acknowledging that the new media director is gone.

    Granted, pray for the leaders of Quest. But also, pray for the people who attend that tragic place.

  2. Mostly the changes that I sense have just been a feeling in my heart that things are about to change. A friend of mine described how Quest operates very accurately in one word: unsustainable. Because they operate in a way that cannot be sustained, the truth will come out, either nicely through apologies and making ammends or through a rough collapse from the inside. The choice is still up to the leaders at Quest, but God retains his sovereignty over the whole situation. He is still in control.

  3. I don't think you'll get an apology or amends from people who are doing what the Holy Spirit is directly them to. Just the same that I don't think this blog will ever stop due to you doing what the Holy Spirit is directing you to do. As someone on the inside of Quest, my observation and feeling is that the leaders there and people like me are more determined to follow Jesus. The attacks and critiques that are written in this blog and others like it only fuel what we're doing. We're looking forward to The Uprising in April, and all God wants to do in us and through us this year. I'm not happy that people have left Quest. I'm sure our leaders aren't perfect and I know some of their flaws. I also know some of the people who have left Quest very well and also know some of their flaws. As much as you want to criticize Quest in this, no one is blameless and I don't believe one side (for lack of a better word) carries more of the blame.

    You can keep praying and following your heart. That's all God asks us to do. We'll keep praying for you too. One day none of this will matter anymore. That will be a beautiful day.

  4. Thanks for your post. First I wanted to say that I agree with you that one day all of this will fade and this blog and Quest will no longer be needed. I pray for that day to come. Until that day arrives, both Quest and this blog must deal with the ways that both of us fall short of being blameless. The main issue at hand is how Christians deal with criticism. My understanding is that if another Christian comes to me and tells me they see something wrong in my life, I'll hear them out and test it against the Spirit's whispers. The end goal of this process is the betterment of the believer and growing through making mistakes. This is life. I do not understand why this has not been the case at Quest. If anything they seem scared and threatened by attempts to give constructive criticism. If my goal was the ultimate destruction of Quest and the church that might warrant the reaction of fear and threat. However, nowhere have I said that I want Quest to die out. I understand well that Quest and myself both have flaws and no church or individual (save Jesus) is perfect. But does it stop with that? Is that how we live our individual Christian lives, by just saying "Well I'm not perfect and no one is so I won't even try to improve." My final question is, what does Quest have to be afraid of a blog or other Christians trying to better the church and its individuals?


  5. I posted this on a Topix discussion group about a week ago. I think it sums up some of the issues Quest needs to address head-on. The only way to help them focus on these issues is to make sure they understand the issues are recognized and being discussed. You may find this useful.

    Why is Quest afraid of someone asking about facts?
    In any event, the reason I’m raising these issues is because I still love the people who attend Quest. I’m not the only person – who either has left Quest or is still there – who has these questions and understands that these are major issues that reflect on the spiritual integrity of that church.
    So, let’s clarify what the issues are, so Quest’s leadership can understand the issues they need to be addressing:
     The church’s governance: Is it biblical for one person to choose the board of elders and/or the core management team? Does that make for wise decision-making or does it make, potentially, for rubber-stamping? Isn’t there a strong potential for conflict of interest when the church’s treasurer (Paul Clements, a good man) is married to the church’s second-highest officer/pastor? Much of these issues would be corrected if Quest had actual members to whom they would be accountable.
     Leadership’s credibility: Is it, or is it not, hypocritical for Quest’s pastors call for Questers to make sacrifices (sell homes to move into smaller places, sell cars, cash in retirement funds and children’s education accounts) to support the Imagine 2 building campaign, while the pastors themselves are building new, $285K houses and allow Accelerators to pitch in and buy $10K+ entertainment centers and flat-screen TVs? Then there’s the added issue of going on Disney World vacations after the pledge drive that was built on encouraging Questers to make sacrifices.

  6. ... and finally...

     The lack of any formal Bible study opportunity. Quest’s leaders have said offering Bible study would distract from its primary mission: to win people to Christ. But Quest’s mission statement is “transforming unconvinced people into wholehearted followers of Jesus.” They call Quest an “Acts 2 church,” but the passage they cite talks about the teachings that new and existing believers received. While Quest has been effective in bringing people to Jesus, its discipleship has been woefully inadequate. All of Quest’s efforts are directed at bringing new people into volunteer positions and into lifegroups that focus on regurgitating the weekend sermon. The fact is, a lot of the messages that come from the pulpit are based on misrepresenting the verses upon which the messages are built. Jeremiah 29:11 is not a promise to us; if read in context as it should be, it is God speaking to the Jews who are going into decades of exile in Babylonia. Matthew 3:17 is not God speaking to each of us, it is God the Father speaking specifically to Jesus the Son; should we really be encouraged to put ourselves on the same level as Jesus, our Savior and Lord? Perhaps the pastors are concerned that having a congregation that is steeped in Scripture would prevent the pastors from being so free-wheeling in their messages.
     The encouragement of idolatry at Quest: How many times has Pete said from the pulpit, “Don’t you love your church?” The fact is, Quest hasn’t done a thing for anybody. Any good that Quest has done has been a result of the work of the Holy Spirit. It is true that Quest has been blessed by the Holy Spirit, but how long will that last if Quest’s leaders continue to put Quest and Pete Hise on pedestals?
    These are a few issues that have arisen because of the actions and goings-on at Quest, not because disgruntled former Questers are making a stink. By not raising these issues, ex-Questers and active Questers are enabling these issues to continue and, in fact, to grow worse. If Quest truly wants to be a regional influence, Pete and the other leaders need to repent, confess and submit themselves to a new governance structure and theological structure that establishes real accountability. Despite what they may think, this would actually benefit both leadership and Questers alike.

  7. more...

     The financial integrity of the church: In November 2009 – 18 months into Imagine 2 and two months after the new building opened – Quest’s leaders announced to the congregation that the church had obtained the loan it needed. The pastors did not announce the amount of the loan. Fayette County Clerk’s Office records show the loan was for $13.5 million. At that same time, Quest was saying it had collected between 31 to 33 percent of the pledges; that would be about $4.2 million of $12.6 million. If they had paid on the building costs, that would mean there was about $8 million still outstanding. Why was the loan for $5.5 million more? (There may be legitimate answers to these questions, but Quest leaders seem to think there's no need for Questers to ask the questions.)
     The secrecy in the church: Why does Quest’s leadership hold the church’s budget and financial statements so close to their vest? Quest is not a private business, but it conducts itself as though it is. Questers are not permitted to know how much the pastoral staff and regular staff are paid in salaries and bonuses. They are not permitted to know how much money is being disbursed for individual ministries and missions support. Questers have not been told the exact cost of the new building – either the original estimate or the final costs, and how the final cost was influenced by design and construction changes (or how those design and construction changes differed from the original design). They don’t even know the monthly cost of maintaining the building.

    This is important because while Quest’s leaders encourage Questers to trust them, several New Testament passages (that are never mentioned from the pulpit) tell us that believers must hold their leaders accountable. The church’s current structure guarantees there will be no leadership-to-Quester accountability.

  8. I have been told, "We prayed over this and this is where you should serve...

    Sounded good. I was confused about the choice but still excited about my new serving opportunity.

    To quote Pete, "it really sucked!" Nothing like being given a position to "own" and constantly be told you aren't getting it right. My confidence shank by degrees.

    Grace on them though. Was deeply hurt for awhile, seemingly stumbling from one "correction" to another.

    So I quit serving. If your not helping your hindering...that's how I felt. Wanting to feel the love of the team, and not having a formal volunteer shirt on left me in a vacuum.

    In retrospect, I think I was looking for close personal friendships that were not meant to be. It matured me in a way. I prayed with Ben Hayes and don't regret that, but being pressured to tape a statement for baptism nearly undid me. My wife wouldn't let me put it off because she wanted to do it together.

    There are some serious control freaks there, but someone has to do it. How many times we were marching around in some disorganized fashion with yet another staw boss trying to get the ultimate confirmation as to the true prime directive as to what goes where...

    Wonder what the ratio of people who "came to Christ" is to those that are "growing in Christ"? It is hard to imagine not growing, but where are they?

    I have a lot of room for growth and have to find something closer than the next county if I am going to serve, serve, serve!It's not all about me...but it is all about my relationship with Jesus and in turn others around me.

    Praying for something closer to home. Really want to serve closer to my own community. God will provide. Learned some things at Quest. The need for me to be closer to home is one of them.

    Thanks to Dave Griffeth and Ben Hayes among others. My name is Mike Agan and grateful for God's grace through Christ Jesus....