Pastor Jekyll is an active Adventist employee and preacher (though his name has been changed here, obviously).
Before I get any further, let me say this. Pastor Jekyll is a human and Pastor Jekyll is not perfect but Pastor Jekyll is a leader and therefore carries greater responsibilities than non-leaders. Lay members, for instance, aren’t paid by tithe and donations. Pastor Jekyll is. Even Jekyll’s own lower-level employees don’t get up on stage asking people to give money to support their personal ministry. Jekyll does.
So. About this Jekyll. If you’re reading this post there’s a 99% chance you’ve seen one side of him. That’s the side he wants you to see. But there’s another side to Pastor Jekyll. A side he doesn’t want you to see.
Pastor Jekyll doesn’t mind cussing. He cusses regularly. He even told me to call him a curse word. I think that’s odd, coming from a pastor.
Of course when he’s preaching, Pastor Jekyll doesn’t refer to people as @#$es. He saves that for after he hangs up the phone or when he thinks no one is listening or when he lets down his guard and forgets to catch himself. It happens pretty often. Before I met Pastor Jekyll, I never would have imagined these words coming from his mouth based on what I had seen in videos of him.
Pastor Jekyll loves to drink beer. Pastor Jekyll employs at least one employee that drinks beer—not fake beer, but actual alcoholic beer. I think that’s odd, coming from a pastor.
Of course during evangelistic campaigns, Pastor Jekyll doesn’t invite the crowd to a local bar for drinks with his staffer afterward (especially not on the night he preaches the health message).
Pastor Jekyll loves guns. Pastor Jekyll gave a gun to his wife and told her that if an intruder enters she should shoot them, but, “only as much as Jesus would.” Pastor Jekyll trusts in Guns, not God, for his family’s safety. I think that’s odd, coming from a pastor.
Pastor Jekyll likes to hunt. Pastor Jekyll tells people, “I never shot an animal that didn’t deserve it.” I can’t think of a single animal that deserved to be shot just because someone enjoyed shooting them. I think that’s odd, coming from a pastor.
Of course when he gets in front of a crowd to proclaim the good news, Pastor Jekyll doesn’t bring a deer onstage with him to shoot as a demonstration of what he likes to do in his free time. I suppose killing an animal in cold blood (and joking about it) doesn’t fit with the kind pastoral persona Jekyll is cultivating.
I even witnessed Pastor Jekyll spend money—tithe and donation money—quite inappropriately. Pastor Jekyll’s management team approved the expense (perhaps because some of them were set to benefit from the expenditure). I think that’s odd, coming from a pastor (and his staff).
Of course when Pastor Jekyll asks donors for money he doesn’t say, “I’m going to use this to buy items you would never approve of me buying with your money.” He let’s people think that their money will be used for evangelism.
Knowing what you know now, would you donate to Pastor Jekyll? Would you give him money to keep doing what he’s doing—while his audience and donors remain oblivious? If you pay tithe, you already have. A portion of NAD tithe is funneled into his budget. If you make donations to any of the major Adventist ministries, you’ve probably funded Pastor Jekyll.
If Pastor Jekyll’s donors, bosses, audience and a certain subset of his employees (the ones that don’t already know about Pastor Jekyll’s non-public behavior) saw hard proof of what Pastor Jekyll was really like, Pastor Jekyll’s donations and audience would rapidly evaporate.
But would the denomination itself care? Of course, even if photos and recordings of Pastor Jekyll surfaced depicting the behavior described above, it’s hard to tell if the Adventist leadership would do anything (judging by how it has handled the Pipim rape situation) or simply let the mediocrity continue.
Pastor Jekyll is a careerist and an institutionalist. That being said, it’s quite possible he would find a way to survive, despite the evidence. In any case he certainly has a lot to lose, so I think he’d fight it tooth and nail. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say—barring unforeseen circumstances—Pastor Jekyll will wind up retiring 10-15 years down the road with no one the wiser.
You can certainly add Pastor Jekyll to the growing list of things that are not okay within the Adventist church.
I hope Pastor Jekyll changes. For his sake, for the sake of his employees, for the sake of his donors and especially for the sake of his audience.
Is it any wonder that this same Pastor Jekyll loves to make all 5 of the excuses I have already addressed as unacceptable here on this blog?