Terrible Leadership, Hypocritical
Average: 1 (1 vote)
I really wanted to like First Christian Church (FCC) of Albany. I attended for almost 5 years and served as co-chair of the board for 2, so I got to lift some stones and see the skin and bones. The 1st thing to be said about this congregation is that many of its people are amazing, kind, compassionate and intelligent individuals who, on a personal level, take Jesus' command seriously that we love others as we love ourselves. Unfortunately, that's where the goodness of this congregation ends. This church is a mess as a corporate entity. The lead pastor is weak & not suited for leadership positions, and the church board is bullied and dominated by a particularly selfish and hateful member (Chet) whom no one has the guts to challenge. The problem starts at the top with the lead pastor, Tim. He is little more than an executive figurehead whose idea of church leadership apparently requires abdicating any responsibility for vision-casting and guiding the congregation, much less offering the board/church any direction at all. Board meeting after board meeting it became clear that this pastor has no intention of speaking unless he was spoken to first. He might as well not even be present for all intents and purposes. It's like he's never figured out that people are looking to him for direction, not primarily because of who he is personally, but because of the position he holds. Regrettably, he is not suited for the position on any level, neither personally nor positionally. I suspect that Tim believes no one will perceive his weakness if he just tries to keep his head down and mouth shut during these meetings, but the fact is that everyone already knows he is ineffectual. The worst of the church board's members merely use his silence as license for their own agenda. I am tempted to say that despite these failings, the pastor is a genuine and nice guy, but even that is a façade. He is a spineless and cowardly pastor who panders to whatever constituency is in front of him at the moment, and then completely flip-flops and says what he thinks the next audience wants to hear, even when it's the complete opposite of what he said to the original patrons. It took me awhile to figure this out, but it became painfully obvious as time went on. Tim doesn't think twice before selling people out, and he has demonstrated utter inability to follow through on what he says to people whenever it means he has to endure even a modicum of discomfort. I don't think he does this because he *wants* to be duplicitous, but rather because he is scared to death of confrontation, being unpopular, and difficult conversations, even when it's at the expense of his own integrity. He is not a leader. But the impoverished quality of this church is not all the lead pastor's fault. During my tenure on this church's board of directors, I heard open and disparaging remarks made against immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community. Even the homeless community that this church "says" they support was consistently sneered at from various members of the church board. Most of this unChristian and hate-filled attitude came from one individual, Chet Houser, who has secured for himself a permanent position on the church board, but he had an entire chorus of complicit enablers. There are only a few possible explanations for this toxic dynamic: Either the rest of the church's board members agree with Chet and his toxic hatred of the aforementioned groups and ideas. The second possibility is that they do not agree with him but are too gutless to say anything that might enrage this unstable individual. This is one of the most unhealthy congregations I have ever witnessed, and I have witnessed many. If you want authentic community that takes Jesus seriously as a healthy congregation and a pastor your can count on, don't waste your energy on FCC, Albany.
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