Here is part 2 (If you have not read Part 1, you can follow the link here).
Alleged claim: “The Team Tends to “Peddle” the Gospel.”
Rebuttal: This assessment from Pastor Marriott is also very disappointing to read. If Pastor Marriott would seek facts instead of biased opinions from a misunderstood third party, he would have never come to this conclusion.
First of all, this is a business, and there is nothing wrong with showcasing profit potential to meet people’s needs in the marketplace. The fact that Life Leadership’s materials contain Biblical references just makes common sense, because the source of absolute truth is the Bible! Where else would they get it?? Pastor Marriott should be proud that Life Leadership is not ashamed of the Gospel! In fact, this is vital to marketplace ministry (and where many outreach programs fall short) – if you help a person make a few hundred dollars to relieve some financial strain, you may just earn their trust and an opportunity to share your faith to open ears. Or, in the process of serving lost souls, you have a chance to be a living example of how a Christian should behave (where without the business relationship, the door would be closed).
For additional perspective, I highly recommend reading a few articles from Raymond Abernathy. Raymond is an itinerant Pastor in the St. Louis, MO area who is in high demand, speaking to churches and congregations all over the greater St. Louis area. Raymond has done a great deal of scriptural research and has written a few fantastic articles on this issue. Follow the links below:
Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words. -Francis of Assisi
Pastor Marriott writes, “if the goal is wealth and not people, the goal is wrong”. Where he got the Life Leadership business wrong is that the goal IS to develop people! The wealth produced is a measuring stick of how many people you have served and how many problems you have solved. This is a very common misunderstanding among Pastors – they tend to have a shallow understanding of economics and how money is really made in a free-market economy.
Alleged claim: “The Team Tends to Detract from the Local Church”.
Rebuttal: This one is very sad and borderline laughable! Pastor Marriott implies that church members must choose between being faithful to their church or to the Life business? Um… there is no reason whatsoever that a Christian can’t do both – be highly active in the Life Leadership business AND highly active in one’s local church. Just because Tuesday at 8PM may conflict with some church events does not constitute a breach of faithfulness. Furthermore, Life Leadership hosts 3 weekend conferences per year – and at these conferences the Gospel message is shared on Sunday morning. This is hardly a detraction from local church!
This topic is a very slippery slope for all Pastors. The danger is called “churchianity”, which is when a church places a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions of the church than on a person’s walk and relationship with Jesus Christ (John 6:39).
In some cases, there is also a double standard going on here. For example, if a person was required to travel, work overtime or even take a second shift position for work – the Pastor doesn’t post an article online saying, “Danger: XYZ company puts employees in a position where they must choose between faithfulness to the local church or faithfulness to the XYZ organization”! Or a small business owner is not criticized for being in business every Tuesday evening and one Saturday evening a month! This claim is ridiculous.
The last item in the in this claim mentions that Life Leadership members are encouraged to counsel with the person who signed them up rather than a pastor or elder. This blanket statement is false. The leaders of Life Leadership simply teach Matthew 7:16-17 for all areas of life: ‘Check the fruit on the tree’. In most cases, a person’s pastor or church elder is certainly the best source of biblical counsel. However, when it comes to detailed questions about business ownership or personal finances, many Pastors and elders simply do not have the “fruit on the tree”. Therefore, when it comes to getting answers on how to become successful in business, it is good advice to seek advice from successful people in your industry. Life Leadership is not and never will be a replacement for the type of guidance you should receive from the Bible (including a Pastor or elder who can help you navigate the scriptures).
Alleged claim: “Team Tends to Place Unbiblical Expectations upon Christian Families”.
Rebuttal: This allegation, once again, is derived from opinion and not fact. This is a very shallow assessment and could not be further from the truth. If Pastor Marriott had interviewed any of the leaders in Life Leadership who have attained the levels of success that give the choice to leave a day job, he would have a different opinion.
If you meet any of the “financially independent” leaders, you will find that they do not sit around the house and do nothing. They have a heightened sense of Luke 12:48 “…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more”. Top leaders have replaced jobs that they found unfulfilling and replace those jobs with the joys of service through business ownership. The top leaders that are free from jobs are encouraged to read more, serve more and focus on finding more ways to be a blessing to others. Pastor Marriott’s claims are based upon gross misunderstandings and twisted facts.
That being said, the meetings I have been to simply promote “live the life you have always wanted”. This is vastly different for all people. Many people love their jobs and Life Leadership has always taught that you should be excellent at that job. Then if the job income is not enough to sustain you, then use Life Leadership as a way to close the gap. This does not even address the fact that most Americans, including Christians, are trapped in the Debt Matrix scam and can see no way out. This violates multiple scripture (Luke 14:28, Proverbs 22:7 and Romans 13:8) which very few churches address today. For example, the top selling product that Life Leadership promotes is the Financial Fitness Pack. This pack talks about how to be a better steward of your money by systematically getting out of debt, and then how to store up wealth for times of tribulation (a rainy day). This is the focus of Life Leadership, not getting rich and becoming a sluggard at home as Pastor Marriott has falsely concluded.
Finally, It is OK to dream for more success. After all, isn’t that why God saw fit to tell us about heaven? In the striving for something greater than we have, we force ourselves to get out of our “comfort zone” and improve both personally and professionally. I think Jesus was very clear about this when speaking to his disciples about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.
Alleged claim: “Team Inadvertently functions through the lens of retribution theology”.
Rebuttal: Again, this claim makes it obvious that Pastor Marriott has done no extensive research on the Team/Life Leadership organization. The leadership knows there are no guarantees of physical reward for obedience – this is reinforced an all training CDs and business support material. Life Leaders consistently acknowledge that every person’s journey is different.
Of course God uses suffering to bring about conformity to the image of His Son. I am sure that the leaders of Life agree with Pastor Marriott 100% on this one. The purpose of Life Leadership is not to address God’s trials, only to address consequences of bad decision making. Let me explain the difference (in case you are confused on this one): For example, lets look at somebody that chooses to run up massive credit card debt and then for many years after, endures tremendous emotional strife: this is not the hand of God putting this person through a Job-like trial, this is a consequence for not applying financial truths. Another example would be when a husband or wife consistently treat each other poorly, yelling, arguing and ignoring each other. Eventually, they seek counseling for a bad marriage. This is not some mysterious trial or a test from God, this also is a consequence for years of poor behavior and not applying simple relational truths. These consequences are what Life Leadership is seeking to teach people about, not some attempt to circumvent God’s trials!
In Conclusion, this article by Pastor Marriott is full of rumor, hearsay and founded in data from negative third party experiences. If you are doing research and considering joining the Life Leadership business, you will find that your experience will not be anything like Pastor Marriott describes in his blog. Instead, you will have a tremendous amount of flexibility and support. You will have access to world class leadership information. You will experience a grace filled organization (as opposed to a law filled organization). You will learn fantastic truth principles that will help you live the live you always wanted. You will be challenged but also welcomed no matter what your past is and what your goals are. You will find that the founding group of leaders are all Christian, God fearing men and women that truly want to make a difference by creating a level playing field for success. Unfortunately, because individuals have a lot of freedom, they make mistakes and sometimes do not represent the model Life Leadership example; then you get to read about this poor example from folks like Pastor Marriott. I am sure he means well, but he simply did not seek the facts from the source. That is why I had to write this letter. Life Leadership is a truly incredible organization that is a force for good in this fallen world. I encourage you to go to the next live event and see for yourself.