Dan Sutherland on A Church in Crisis


Picture 1-43
I have seen lots of messages from churches in the midst of crisis.
I have lots of “blog friends” who have been on staff or are currently on staff at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, KS.
They are in Crisis.
Dan Sutherland had to bring the news to the church. You can actually hear the gasp in the room when he let the church know. His message following is one ALL church pastors and members need to hear.
I urge you to listen to the firmness and delicacy in which Dan delivered this message.
I know Dan personally and keep being amazed at the gift God has given him to communicate truth in a way that all can hear it. Even pissed off/devastated/confused people who just found out their senior pastor and business administrator have admitted to an adulteress relationship.

“If all it takes for you to quit following God, is for the man of God to fall, then you’re not really following God are you?”
“We are going to rally to these two families.”
“The mess in the messenger does not negate the message”

Watch the message here.
The pray here

Now go examine your own life.
Mine is a mess.
Thank God for grace.


Author Carlos

More posts by Carlos
  • Those are some heavy and honest words. That is a very loving and clear response to a crisis…thanks for sharing that Los.

  • Definitely will be prayin for this church… That line from Sutherland, “If that’s all it takes for you to stop following God…” is huge! I think we forget that we’re involved in a spiritual batlle against a crazy enemy who means us no good! However he can get us to stumble and turn away from Christ, he will… He’s rougher than any UFC fighter, more tyrannical than the Xerxes character in “300”… he’s out to do us harm, baby… no joke!

  • geektom

    They seem like a really good church.

  • That is incredible. They are SO in my prayers.

    The wild thing is hearing “the mess in the messenger does not negate the message” was incredibly healing for me.

    I’ve been told that “the messenger is the message” for so long… it shamed me…

    …so even some person who doesn’t know these guys has been positively touched by this…

    God does work in mysterious ways.

    I hope churches all over learn from what this church is doing.

  • Peggy Brown

    WOW! Once more you have touched my heart only this time it wasn’t with your music but with your blog. Thank you for sharing this message. God DOES show up in crises!

  • I’m in Kansas City serving at a local church not far from Westside, and have known quite a few folks from there. On the heels of another “expose” of another very large church in the area, there are so very very many hurt people around here. The worst of it is those that will become disillusioned with God, instead of perhaps just sad about a man. Indeed, “If that’s all it takes for you to stop following God…”, but we all also know those baby Christians or maybe even those that are contemplating this “God” and “church” thing that will be absolutely shattered and driven away.

    As Christians, it is up to us to find them and love them and point them to our intimate, personal God. The God that you could have “church” with if you were stranded on an island alone. The one who turns and listens to YOU when you worship Him. We need to pray for these people, and we need to seek these people.

  • sonofray… absolutely.

    thank you to EVERYONE who has emailed and left comments on my blog in support of my church and staff. prayer is the greatest defense we have against the enemy and i pray that you will be praying with us.

    (crystal renaud)

  • thanks for pointing us to this…

  • Los – I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, but don’t know that I’ve ever commented. Thanks for the mention of Westside, and what we are going through right now, and thanks for doing it in such an appropriate manner. I’ve chosen not to make mention of it on my own blog, but thought I’d leave a comment here. I was previously on staff at Westside before moving to CA, now I’m back going to Westside as an attender. The Business Administrator is a good friend of mine, she has discipled me one on one, and held my hand through some of my own crisis, I hope to return the favor. We are fortunate that the message through these messengers was so right on, and biblically based. I am forever different because of their presence in my life, and for that I will be always be grateful. I’m also grateful that they taught me to put my hope in God and not in man, not even in them. My church home could certainly use some prayer. I am however confident that God is 100% in control, and He, as always, has a plan to turn this negative into a positive.

  • Thanks for the sharing that info. That was a message I needed to listen to this morning.

  • Wow! How refreshing it must be to be in a real community like this…able to deal with the issues face first. Thanks for sharing this with us. I am inspired by such honesty and vulnerability from the pulpit.

  • Pingback: Dealing with crisis within the church « Live. Work. Play.()

  • daniel

    hi…my name’s daniel. i wanted you to know that i appreciate the support all of you are giving to these people and their families beyond anything you could even imagine.
    a friend of mine showed me this and wanted to show me that people all over are supporting and praying for the people at my church. i have gone to westside for a long time and have never experienced anything like this at all.
    God will prevail though…God will and already is working his miracles in the midst of this heart ache.
    thank you so much!

  • anyone of us, whose faith gets shaken by this is understandable…….I am going to put Pastor Cox on my prayer list. I hope he finds his way in life outside of ministry. I pray his wife will hold on to God and her family. I pray he doesn’t come back 3 weeks later saying “I’m healed”.

    my life is screwy too…….but I have faith and grace…..as do they.

  • can you expand a bit? The video has been removed.

  • http://www.pinkhairedgirl.net/?p=406

    Aboveis the transcript (for the most part) from the video and should give you context, Dustin.

  • Moo Goo Hoo Cahoo

    Moo Goo Says:

    Looks like Westside took the video down. Probably caught wind that a bunch of outsiders were liking to it & didn’t want to feel like some kind of petri dish with everybody coming to rubberneck and stuff. Makes sense. Not that Los is a rubbernecker-just saying

    One thing that was weird when I saw the video was…They mentioned the person(s) by name. While this may have worked in pre-internet days I think it would be weird to have this online for all to see. It’s the equivalent of a internet scarlett letter-no matter how it appropriately it was handled by Southerland…

  • you’re right Moo Goo… and that is exactly why we took it down. we have nothing to hide. we just want to keep them protected. audio cds are available to our church body.

  • Bonnie

    I was married to the former pastor of Westside, Dave Cox, for 28 years and I have to say I have never been so shocked at the treatment I received by the staff of this church that I loved and considered my best friends for the almost 18 years that we were serving there. Dan Southerland was on staff the entire 5 years that my husband was having sex with another married staff person and Dan enabled Dave to continue in that relationship with no accountability. The senior person on staff (on staff the longest) told me to my face that he knew they were having an affair and didn’t want to lose his job so he chose to look the other way. I was completely abandoned by this church because the staff followed the advise of lawyers and they tried to hide most of the information by only allowing the people to ask questions or talk about the situation for 2 weeks and then refused to talk about it anymore. They called this “handling it”.
    They did not try to hold Dave accountable to repent and reconcile so he went on to divorce me and continued in sexual sin. The staff was instructed by the staff leaders to “stay away” from me and to not talk to me when I was dying and desperately in need. I discovered that the staff of this church, including Dan Southerland, are as much frauds as my x-husband and are only interested in protecting themselves and their paychecks instead of standing for righteousness, integrity, and truth.

    • Wow bonnie.
      If this is truly you, I am sorry.
      How are you now?

      • I love you, Bonnie

        • bonnie muir

          sorry Crystal i hit the wrong reply button i was aiming for the loswhit who i don’t know

      • bonnie muir

        i don’t know who you are but yes this is me. i’m doing great – continuing to walk with God by faith, in the Word and prayer daily, Bible study every week, attending church every week, loving my 5 children whose lives and mine have been destroyed and have been abandoned by the church and nearly everyone we knew and loved.

    • vanessa

      I joined Westside several months after Pastor Cox stepped down. I never knew him, and yet he obviously left a huge shadow on the church. Several times I was a party to discussions (I mostly listened) and I often asked those people. Does the wife still go here? How did the church treat her, the innocent party?

      People said that she (you, if this is really you) didn’t go there anymore, but no one said why, or seemed to know.

      I am sorry that this happened to you, Infidelity is such a shaming thing in the first place, but to have it so public must make it that much harder.

      I hope you are still looking at this blog, if so, how are you? I don’t know you, never met you, but I find I think of you often (if that makes sense)…

      I am no longer attending Westside (other reasons), I hope you have found some peace and a place where people are supporting YOU, and not protecting themselves.

      You can email me if you wish sallahdog@aol.com (I understand if you don’t want to) I really wish you peace and healing, and don’t let anyone tell you, that you don’t have a right to be angry. Its nice to get past that, but you have the right to at least have the emotion, before your told to get “past” it…

  • Big Bob

    It’s one of those “I told you so’s” that I felt in my gut and shared with my family. Dave was just a man…and men fail and fall. It’s about holding each other accountable, and Dave was supposedly surrounded by some of what “should be” the best men to do that; men in leadership positions, overseeing and guiding the flock. Dave failed, but these men failed him too.

    It always made me wonder why the Lead Pastor shared som many stories of “themselves/their lives” and littered it with grey humor and comparisons of “liking women”. Pull the veil off of this and let’s see the real person behind the paper cross.

    • vanessa

      sometimes it makes me wonder if the “charismatic” leader that fills the seats is always a good thing.

      Maybe mr dull as ditch water,has less temptations and doesn’t get too high an opinion of himself, while everyone fawns over him.

  • Steve

    Wow, been away for awhile, I am going to look for a new church at the way you were treated Bonnie, what a shame!

  • isotropic

    ” . . . have admitted to an adulteress relationship.”

    Note the writer’s clever use of rhetorical legerdemain places the blame only on the woman.