By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Richard Norwood, Orange
I attended Newsong since 2003, but I recently decided to leave, not because Dave Gibbons had lost his way, but because I don't know which way Newsong is going [Michelle Woo's "The Misfit," Sept. 9].
"Do away with big, resource- swallowing buildings. Dissolve church brands. Decentralize."
A good portion of the budget has gone toward facilities. There was an announcement that Newsong would move to Santa Ana, but that never did anything. Newsong continues to be flashy worship services and repeated, artsy videos of initiatives such as the Burrito Project and Laundry of Love. Newsong has decentralized to "empower the congregation," but the current church workers offer little support, guidance or training. For example, the lay-counselor program and the small-group connections ministry have completely fallen apart.
I also think there has recently been more of a focus on healing miracles and demon attacks. I am open to thinking that stuff exists, but I also think people use that to trick other people into giving more money. It is especially strange when Gibbons says that stuff is always happening in Asia.
I guess going small is the right decision. I think it's tough to compete, and people need to find smaller markets to survive.
ALim, via ocweekly.com
First off, I don't see how this merits a front-page article. Even though based in Irvine, Newsong has less influence over the community than Saddleback, Harvest, Bethel, etc. Even its international efforts really are just small groups of people that primarily consist of expats.
Second, going small is not intentional. The church is losing members because of Gibbons' mismanagement and inability to execute long-term projects.
Third, initiatives such as Xealot, 3rd Culture, Misfits aren't understood by members themselves and are simply flavor-of-the-week tag lines supported by a graphic-arts campaign. There is no substance, no written mission statement to any of these projects.
Newsong started in Irvine because that's where the money is. Its current expenses are unsustainable, and it seems that the church has focused on developing Gibbons' name brand. This guy loves name-dropping, and he loves bragging about his "influence" over CEOs, pop stars and high-up government officials. This article is only accomplishing three things: feeding his ego, pumping up his speaking fee and marketing his upcoming book. None of which will benefit Newsong.
James Rhee, via ocweekly.com
The problem with us Christians today is that we like to point out what we think is wrong with other Christians while priding ourselves as better followers of Christ—much like the pharisees.
Instead of working together to build one another up as brothers and sisters in Christ in order to spread the gospel to non-believers, we end up fighting among one another over ideology, membership, "my church is better than your church," etc. I've been at Newsong since 2000, and I've seen its ups and downs. Gibbons has always been honest about his struggles as a man in pursuit of Christ. His galvanizing members to get out of their comfort zones, instead of being Sunday Christians, as well as having a focus on reaching non-believers, is why many may have left. They felt they weren't being fed enough, and they wanted a nice message to listen to on Sundays that didn't make them uncomfortable and introspective about their Christian walk. However, trying to model the church after the life of Christ and His love is something I think all churches should strive for.
David Liao, via ocweekly.com