Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Sunday, November 05, 2006


It's been a while since I've had time to update this blog: News around New Life Church has kept me hoppin'. It's been a difficult story to follow: Regardless of what you think of Haggard's politics, leadership style or apparent indiscretions, he was the spiritual leader of 14,000 people who have been left leaderless and hurting.

I spent two services with these folks Sunday morning, and it's hard not to feel their anguish. Some walked into the service already crying, and they didn't stop until after they left -- if they stopped at all. One can't overestimate the influence Haggard had on many of these people. Some would say he saved their lives -- and they'd mean it. I'd imagine some wish he could stay, even with the scandal. Others, I bet, are so hurt they'd rather never mention his name again.

That said, there was definitely a sense of spiritual gumption at New Life -- particularly at the first service. Haggard's not the church, they said; Jesus is. Ross Parsley, New Life's acting senior pastor, said New Life has a "divine destiny" that is still to be fulfilled.

We'll see how it all shakes out. The reality is that megachurches often struggle when their charismatic leader leaves the church, much less under a cloud of scandal. But Parsley promised New Lifers a "miracle." In the coming months and years, we'll have an opportunity to see whether that miracle comes about.


Blogger my_take said...

It seems to me that when there is a scandal in the church, it's almost always a 'charismatic' (doctrinally speaking) leader with emotionally driven followers....

5:31 PM  

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