Dan Connor Comments
Sunday, March 2, 2003
(notes taken by a current member)
After reading the letter Dan spoke said he hadn't planned to make any comments but changed his mind. He said he has been feeling emotionally drained. He said he was sorry for all the problems that are coming out. "No one has been moreguilty of the problems that have been going on than me. This is not spin. I really mean it. I'm responsible." He said that whatever the men under him had done against people were traceable back to him because they learned those things from him. He said I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed that it had to get to this point before I could see it. I dismissed some of you as critical for pointing these problems out. He said I still believe this is God's church and he is working right now in all these events. I didn't see that God was moving when people were trying to tell me these things. Even with HK's letter - when I first learned of it, I wasn't open to the fact that God was moving then.
He said I love you guys and I'm so proud of you for staying faithful even while these things were happening. Your patience and perseverance are proof of your love for God. At this point he started to get choked up. Some people said "come on Dan" and he said "no, don't encourage me. I don't deserve it." He said as part of the top leadership in New York - the group that SJ called 'the four amigos' - I'm responsible for all of this."
He said he wanted to be open about some of his own sins and apologized for reading from a list but he wasn't prepared to talk today. He said the list isn't complete. As he went through the list he apologized to specific people for some of these things, but I didn't write down their names.
Here are the sins he identified:
1. I shut people down when they said things that went against what I thought. I would make jokes and make people feel stupid for bringing things up. Jesus didn't run his ministry like that - people felt safe to disagree with him. I have not fostered that kind of atmosphere - in fact I have taken active steps to prevent it. I've told leaders to remove people from their D-groups who disagree with the leaders because it wasn't their place. It was difficult for people to talk to me.
2. I had a rock star mentality. I wanted people to know my name. It was stupid.
3. I was disrespectful to people. Treated difficult people a certain way - put them in a box they couldn't get out of. They were stuck with a reputation that remained with them a long time.
4. I defended leaders over people who challenged them.
5. I created a controlling atmosphere regarding matters of opinion.
6. I was extremely focused on numbers. I'm sorry to the ministry staff that I pressured for numbers.
7. I was wrongly motivated to share my faith because I was a leader. I wanted to get two people to men's forum because I wanted to show people I was doing it, even though they were my father and my cousin who come every year.
8. I was defensive when people tried to approach me.
9. I had the attitude that people in the ministry were better than other people and that people who didn't do well in the ministry and had to come out had some kind of spiritual problem.
10. I showed favoritism and focused on "sharp" people in a way that went against what is written in James.
11. I was not vulnerable. When I shared my struggles, I always tried to do it from a position of strength because I didn't want people to "struggle"
12. I put people in leadership who were untrained and then I didn't train them. The people under them suffered and they deserved to have leaders who were trained. I'm sorry.
13. I was into position and pride kept me from saying no when I was given more and more responsibility. I wanted to be in charge of a large group because I wanted people to be impressed. I would go to conferences and hope that people asked me how many people I was in charge of because it was a big number.
14. I was competitive.
15. I'm sorry for not apologizing sooner.
16. I believed that who disciples you says something about who you are and I judged people on that.
17. I used the pulpit to put people in their place because I had the mike and they didn't.
18. I have not protected Cinnamon from the pressures of the women's ministry. When it was too much for her to handle I did not stand up for her (got very choked up here)
19. I followed advice when I didn't have a conviction about it and came into one-on-one meetings with an agenda that was not based on my own conviction.
20. Those are the things on my list but I know there is more that I've done. I said before "if you have things to tell me, please talk to me. I take that back - I don't say if - I know there are things you have to tell me - please talk to me."
He finished up by saying he is proud to be part of God's church and that even though he feels drained he believes God is moving now. There will be a lot of changes in the Church and in the ministry. Believes that with these changes, the freedom we are supposed to have in Christ will be more evident. I'm sorry to those of you who haven't been experience that freedom.
End of message - some people clapped, but I didn't. I think people just did it out of habit.
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