The Big Lesson Learned from the Aftermath of the Missouri Men's Conference

  • Shane Idleman Pastor, Westside Christian Fellowship
  • Updated Apr 18, 2024
The Big Lesson Learned from the Aftermath of the Missouri Men's Conference

Let me begin by saying that I know that it’s extremely hard to be a pastor in these times. Toss in the armchair quarterbacks on social media, and the pressure only intensifies. But, at the same time, we are at a very critical turning point for Christian leaders.

What Happened at the Conference?

CBN News posted this explanation: Hours after rebuking what he dubbed the “Jezebel Spirit” at a men’s event over the weekend, Pastor Mark Driscoll was invited back to the platform at the Stronger Men’s Conference in Springfield, Missouri.

In a deviation from his planned sermon, Driscoll called out what he saw as the spiritually problematic kickoff to the two-day convention, which was hosted by James River Church, a megachurch led by Pastor John Lindell. Driscoll took issue with the opening ceremony at the Great Southern Bank Arena, where stuntman Alex Magala performed.

Sashaying with a Sword

The stuntman was previously on “America’s Got Talent,” and for whatever reason or motive, the conference organizers thought it was appropriate to have a bare-chested man on a pole dressed in an all-leather outfit swallowing a sword. 

Confused? So was I!

Driscoll rebuked the conference because they invited the “Jezebel Spirit” in. At that point, Pastor Lindell told him he was “out of line” and removed him from the platform. Lindell then began to reference Matthew 18, stating that Driscoll should have addressed his concerns privately and not on the main platform. 

In my opinion, a gross public display demands a public rebuke. 

After the fiasco, when pastors Lindell and Driscoll were on the platform talking it through, Lindell made a jaw-dropping statement: "Do not criticize the person with the anointing of God on their life. It will lead you to barren unbelief." Yes, you read that right. That’s pretty unbelievable.

How Does This Happen?

In my opinion, it’s often because leaders have drifted spiritually from the pure faith. Instead of hours spent praying, fasting, and repenting, they are too busy for God — and like Samson, “They know not that the Spirit has departed.”

I’m also praying for Alex Magala, the stuntman who performed at the men’s conference; it’s not his fault. I hope he doesn’t get discouraged in his faith journey by the fallout but learns from it. 

So what can we learn from the aftermath?

The BIG Lesson: Pride Must Die

Whether it’s a pastor kicking the Bible as a football, not being able to prove a healing, or leaving “controversial terms” out of marketing material, the amount of pride in the church is astonishing. 

An American Idol mentality exists within our walls as millions crave center-stage attention. The church often reflects the character of Hollywood rather than the character of Christ. “Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you” (Andrew Murray).

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A Return to Life-giving Preaching is a Must

Many want the recognition but not the brokenness; the honor but not the humility; the limelight but not the loneliness. This must change! 

“Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much — death to self, crucifixion to the world, the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching only can give life. Crucified preaching can come only from a crucified man” (E.M. Bounds). Humility is life-changing. 

Where are those with uncompromising power and authority in the pulpits today? The one thing that all of the great revivals in church history had is the one thing we often lack — the genuine power of the Spirit. The very thing we need is the very thing we are quenching and grieving. 

Let Me Be Blunt

If we want revival (which is our only hope at this stage in the depravity game), churches must stop these silly gimmicks to draw a crowd, and instead, be focused on drawing the presence of God.

Whether we have the whole story or not, the display of carnality is a severe lack of discernment by the conference leadership and should be publicly repented of, clarified, and apologized for because the public is confused. 

As one person wrote on social media, “But 100s came to Christ!” On this point, we must remember that God “using” something doesn’t always mean that He “approves” of everything. People are saved in bars and after brawls; the exception never overrides the rule. What I would ask is, “Was the gospel message candy-coated or straight to the heart?” 

Look in the Mirror, God is Waiting

To begin this journey of leading our nation back to God, we must look in the mirror and ask a hard question: “Is my spiritual apathy affecting the dire situations going on in our nation and the churches?” 

As I’ve said before, Costco carts are full but prayer closets are empty ― our border is bursting yet hearts are not breaking. The BIG lesson is a small thing that makes a big difference: We must humble ourselves, repent, and move forward in the strength of the Spirit. 

We are waiting on God, but could it be that God is waiting on us… waiting on us to humble ourselves?

Image credit: Jack Sharp/Unsplash

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at Free downloads of his eBooks can be found at Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the free speech platform Parler.