Jason Webb Who Resigned From Elmbrook in Scandal in 2018 is Back in Ministry at Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Evangelicalism is often the story of scandal. Pastor resigns in scandal or disgrace and flees and then pops up in another location. Are we seeing that again with Jason Webb? This blog wrote about Jason Webb when he resigned from Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin in scandal. After two years Jason Webb is back working in a church in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Everybody has a little bit of Watergate in him.”

Billy Graham 

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 NIV

Its the story of scandal. Its the overarching story of evangelicalism. Let me illustrate with some examples. Mark Driscoll led Mars Hill Seattle and had contempt for women. He taught that women were penis homes and gave a sermon about how a blow job brought someone to Jesus over in a church in Edinburgh, Scotland. You can listen to that talk and read about it in, “Reflecting on a Controversial Mark Driscoll Sermon About how a Repentant Woman Gets on Her Knees and Performs Oral Sex.” Amid scandal and abuse of power Driscoll resigned and fled Seattle only to pop up in Scottsdale, Arizona. He hasn’t repented or owned his mess in Seattle. Then you had the story of C.J. Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Mahaney spoke about being a jock and emphasize manhood. His church network emphasized church discipline. When it came out in leaked church documents that he was allegedly involved in covering up child sex abuse and also blackmailing his former ministry partner. He left Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland and eventually fled to Louisville, Kentucky only to restart Sovereign Grace Churches. Mahaney hasn’t owned his mistakes and claimed that he was persecuted. In Chicago, Illinois you had the story of James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel. Allegations of abuse, mismanagement of money, and more. The tipping point for James MacDonald came when while frustrated with Christianity Today he talked on a hot microphone about planting child pornography on the CEO’s computer. You can read about that in, “Mancow Muller Produces an Audiotape of James MacDonald Allegedly Wanting to Plant Child Pornography on a “Critic’s” Computer. Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Board Promptly Fires Him.” As scandal still hemorrhaged out James MacDonald popped up in California and tried to restart his ministry. No remorse, no efforts to own the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal. Those are some prominent examples but it also happens on a smaller scale. A couple of months back I wrote about a shady pastor in Michigan. Gary Peterson who allegedly had an affair with a male intern resigned from a church in Grand Rapids and fled to the community of Grandville, Michigan where he started Rock Springs Church. Like the other situations there is no remorse, shame or admitting error. You can read more about this in, “The Gospel According to Q. Does Senior Pastor Gary Peterson of Rock Urban Church in Grandville, Michigan Believe That Democrats Conspired to Murder George Floyd? Plus Gary Peterson’s Troubled Past.” 

Remembering When Jason Webb Resigned From Elmbrook 

Jason Webb used to be the senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He resigned in the middle of scandal in September of 2018 for allegedly having multiple affairs. It was a media story in Milwaukee and also discussed heavily among the atheist community online. The following posts are what this blog did in covering the Elmbrook scandal. 

  1. Preserving Jason Webb’s and Gary Gregg’s Email to the Elmbrook Congregation Announcing Jason’s Resignation as Senior Pastor.” 
  2. How Elmbrook Church Should Respond to a Painful Situation in a Way that Helps the Brookfield Megachurch, Jason Webb’s Family and the Greater Milwaukee Area.” 
  3. An Open Letter to Jason Webb (Former Senior Pastor of Elmbrook Church)

According to Linkedin two years after his resignation Jason Webb taught social studies in a middle school in west Milwaukee. He did that from January 2020 until June of 2020. 

 

Jason Webb is Back in Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin 

In March 2020 Jason became a consultant for Madison Church in Madison, Wisconsin. Then in June of 2020 he joined Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin and today works as a Team Manager and Groups Director. His online media presence really proliferated over the last couple of months. He is advertising himself through a website where he has laid out some of his spiritual goals and his interests. At Great Lakes Church he has already preached twice on June 21, 2020 and August 30, 2020. In addition he also launched a YouTube channel. One thing I will say is that as I researched Jason Webb I could notice the stress of his resignation on his life. These past two years he aged quite a bit and it looks like he’s about ten years older. 

 

Some Concerns This Blog Has and Lesson in Humility From Smallridge 

In doing research for this post I listened to the two sermons Jason gave and researched his social media. This blog has some concerns over some aspects of Jason Webb’s media. The most sincere message probably was his June 21, 2020 talk in which he talked about his resignation, affairs and more. Yet aside from that while there are references to dealing with shame there is not much about being open about what happened at Elmbrook Church. The writer of this blog is someone who is done with evangelicalism and has moved away from religion. I wrote about it in, “Reflecting on My Decision to Reject Evangelical Christianity. Its Too Corrupt, Political and Intellectually Shallow.” And it leaves this blog with the following question. Is Jason Webb just part of the cycle of evangelicalism? Pastor falls re-starts elsewhere without being open about what happened?  Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney, James MacDonald, and now Jason Webb? 

What would be an example of humility that could communicate otherwise? There is one story this blog wrote about five years ago that still stands out. Its the story of Eric Smallridge and Renee Napier (now Lord) of Florida.  Eric Smallridge was an alcoholic who had a DUI crash that killed two teenagers. Smallridge not only accepted the consequences or what happened but he became a speaker about DUI who traveled around Florida and the Southeast United States. You can read more in the following post, “Renee Napier and Eric Smallridge: An Incredible Story of Grace, Forgiveness and Repentance in Florida.” 

So what will happen with Jason Webb? This blog hopes things work out for him, and yet this blog has no confidence in evangelicalism. Time will tell how this story turns out. And in time this story will be updated. 

5 thoughts on “Jason Webb Who Resigned From Elmbrook in Scandal in 2018 is Back in Ministry at Great Lakes Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin

  1. Lay low until the heat blows over, then IT’S COMEBACK TIME!

    With or without the mystery guy at the gas station in rural Wyoming who lays on hands with a Word of Prophecy to Return To Ministry(TM) before mysteriously Disappearing.

    Like

  2. I’m not familiar with Jason Webb; most of what I know about him I’ve read on this blog. Even though I live near Elmbrook, I barely noticed his departure in 2018 (I heard vague rumors of the pastor leaving due to infidelity but didn’t know his name or story.)

    2-3 years is unlikely to be enough time for a full recovery from sex addiction, so I’m guessing his recovery is still in process. I haven’t listened to his June 21 sermon but I assume it goes into more detail.

    I assume, by virtue of the fact that he became head pastor at Elmbrook, that he is gifted and capable in ministry related areas. Since that’s his primary skillset, it does make sense that he would eventually return to paid ministry. Given that, it makes total sense for him to start with a sermon on the topic of his downfall and recovery. Why should anybody trust him? Presumably it’s in the sermon.

    The question of trust is an interesting one to me. People with a history of sexual sin are experienced at lying (to themselves and others) and there’s basically no way to know for sure that such a person is not returning to their former behavior. We can talk about accountability, but if you’ve deceived your wife for a decade, deceiving your accountability partner/group is easy.

    How to make effective ministry use of such a person? Certainly having good boundaries, explicitly stated, and checked on in a discipleship/oversight/accountability relationship, is key. Requiring the individual to be part of a support group is not only beneficial for the person, but for the group, since someone who has been through the recovery process has a lot to contribute. There needs to be multiple people in relationship with the individual close enough to be able to tell, or suspect, when they start to be less than fully honest.

    There is a lot of overlap between how we should treat past offenders, and how we should treat people in ministry who are not yet discovered to be offenders. Because again, we can’t really tell if someone is telling the truth when they say they have never struggled with sexual sin.

    It is easy to see how the Catholic priest abuse scandals could have developed. Not only is actual oversight incredibly difficult, but some of the people charged with providing oversight were themselves undiscovered offenders, and were more interested in recruiting like-minded co-conspirators than effectively preventing abuse. There’s nothing specifically Catholic about the situation, and this is probably true not only in Protestant denominations right now, but also in secular organizations where contact with victims is possible. We notice it in the church because the church recognizes that small sexual sins lead to big sexual sins; secular organizations don’t care if their people look at porn, not realizing that the slippery slope argument is definitely true in this area.

    I hope that Jason Webb is able to be effective in his new ministry, and that he is able to make a full recovery from the sin that once held him in bondage.

    Like

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