This blog post is a write up of the June 30, 2021 McLean Bible congregational meeting. Three elders were up for a vote and new members were added to the church. This meeting was more tense than other ones I attended in the past due to some alleged efforts by some to try and throw an election in the church. This post is a documenting of what took place this evening at McLean Bible.
“As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional – your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency.”
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Acts 19:20 NIV
On June 30, 2021 McLean Bible had their congregation meeting. As this blog writes about evangelicalism and McLean Bible this blog attended and is submitting this summary of the meeting. First let me say that after being stuck at home for 14 months in a pandemic its great to be back visiting and writing about places again in person. I wrote about that in, “Hitting the Road Again With EFCA Churches, and Visiting Community Evangelical Free Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.” Vaccination leads to freedom and if you have not been vaccinated this blog would encourage you to take the vaccine against COVID-19. Please consult your primary care physician.
Overview of the Congregation Meeting
The meeting started at 7:30 with worship which lasted until 7:57. Ashley Kelsey the wife of Mike Kelsey prayed for the congregation meeting. Then Lucius Thompson who is the head of security spoke to those in attendance. Lucius has a biography at Baptist Accountability for his role in the mishandling of the Scott Woods situation at McLean Bible. Lucius said that there were alleged threats made to disrupt the meeting and shout people down. He reminded people that in Virginia it is a crime to disrupt a meeting. People will be asked to leave and if they do not then law enforcement will escort them out. There will be no disruptions of the congregation meeting or yelling at other people. At this time it was also said that all media, online platforms or bloggers were to leave as this was a private event for McLean Bible. In the process they were to stand up and identify themselves. At the meeting there was a heavy police presence as well. Usually McLean Bible has two cops in the lobby, but I counted possibly four with two in the back of the sanctuary.
Larry Cooper who heads the elder board announced that they had a quorum. He asked for a motion to second those in the list to be accepted as members. Tonight McLean Bible added 61 members to the church roll. Brooke from the Loudoun campus prayed for the new members. David Platt got up and spoke at 8:15 and he thanked people and he said that one of the new members had a difficult 24 hours. Whatever the issue, this blog extends its sympathy especially if it is a family emergency.
Platt then continued to speak and said that it was an emotional time for him. It would be tempting to get distracted. He said the church received information that there was a coordinated effort to block all three elders up for a vote to sway the board. Those involved in this effort are upset about McLean Bible joining the Southern Baptist Convention. Before I continue let me add some commentary. The Washington Post has a system called the “Fact Checker” they analyze and look at the facts behind the claim. They will give a Pinocchio rating and have done so to both Republicans and Democrats. Maybe this blog needs to have something similar. Tonight I heard something at McLean Bible that I heard for the first time. An admittance that McLean Bible joined the Southern Baptists. I was at the meeting in September 21, 2017 when Larry Cooper stood before the congregation and blatantly lied and said that McLean Bible did not join the Southern Baptists. This blog wrote about it in, “According to Christianity Today McLean Bible Joined the Southern Baptist Convention in 2016; If True Why did Elder Larry Cooper Lie Before the September 21, 2017 Town Hall Meeting?” So for being one of the worst liars in evangelicalism in the spirit of the Washington Post fact checker this blog gives Larry Cooper 64 Pinocchios. Why did Larry serve in the Army? He certainly did not have the character to do so. Anyhow continuing the original thought after Platt talked about he Southern Baptists he read part of an email that was circulated by people online. The email discussed how Platt was planning on selling the building and giving it over to Muslims. Platt talked about how he prayed and spoke to God. God told him to trust him in the controversy. He also expressed hurt because the people up for eldership were qualified. After this Larry Cooper took over again.
As Larry Cooper started speaking he stopped and asked someone why were they taking pictures with their smartphone. He reminded them that no photos were allowed. Cooper then introduced the first person up for elder – Jim Burris. Jim Burris has a biography that I will preserve in a separate post. Today he is the CEO of Ashley Consulting. He attends McLean Bible Loudoun. Jim gave a shout out to Loudoun and also mentioned that he was an elder at Bible Study Fellowship. He was involved for ten years and he mentioned how God used the pandemic to distribute food and preach the Gospel. The next person up was Ken Tucker. Ken is originally from the Bahamas and leads Ken Tucker and Associates and also KTA Solutions. Ken is currently going to Dallas Theological Seminary and has three kids and four grandkids. He quoted Romans 8:28 and talked about how he once lived a nominal Christian life. This was detrimental to his marriage. Christians are to be radical. He shared a story of someone who was going through a divorce who asked him what to do? He told the person (named Mark) that he needed Jesus. He converted to Jesus and his wife was upset, but shortly afterward he died. Christians should celebrate that Mark is with Jesus. He also explained as an elder he wanted a church where people can know they are loved. The last person to go was Chuck Hollingsworth who went to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He attends the Montgomery County campus and is with Lockheed Martin. He also spent over thirty years in the United States Navy. Chuck spoke and said his wife was the best military spouse that he could have. In his military career they moved 23 times. They met when they were five and have been married for 37 years. He is also a lay pastor at Montgomery County and he loves to put together men’s retreats. He closed by saying that the word of God is sufficient for every aspect of our lives. The candidates ended speaking at 9:01.
Larry Cooper then said they will vote but due to the threats that existed they emphasized only the following.
- Only McLean Bible members can vote.
- Non members can not vote nor can people who moved away.
When asked Larry Cooper said that Chuck Hollingsworth would be elected to a two year term. The counted votes would be overseen by an attorney from the law firm of Holland & Knight. Larry then said that he wanted to recognize two people.
- Stuart Mendelsohn who was retiring from Holland & Knight. He served McLean Bible Church for 22 years and also assisted Focus on the Family. He helped McLean Bible get to its current location on Leesburg Pike. He also served on the original Jill’s House Board and acted as McLean Bible’s general counsel. He attended Florida Institute of Technology and earned a degree in ocean and environmental engineering. Larry Cooper thought that was interesting given his career. Stuart and his wife have retired and moved to Florida.
- Tom McMan who was an elder for 32 years is leaving the elder board. He may have the longest but that is unknown as Jimmy Mitchell could contest that aspect. Larry stated that he considered his fellowship to be a peace if heaven on earth. Tom was given a plaque by David Platt. Tom talked about how they were married for 64 years and how he accepted Christ in a Nazarene church in California in 1959.
McLean Bible Financial Updates to the Congregation
The meeting started the financials at 9:26 in the evening. Larry Cooper said that he wanted to keep the information brief. Below you can see McLean Bible’s financial information.
As Larry Cooper started speaking he said that they tend to run a deficit but that they apply surplus funds to expenses. The surplus is also applied to other budget items as well. Larry said that there were three aspects that McLean Bible could receive outside money.
- The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is widening Route 7 Leesburg Pike which the church sits on. VDOT could have used eminent domain But they will be getting at least $1 million.
- Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) MBC joined to avoid having staff laid off in the pandemic. The first PPP McLean Bible joined the second time they did not. McLean Bible completed all documentation for the bank. It apears they could be getting $1.8 million.
- There was also the possibility of getting FEMA aid for distributing foo during the pandemic but that is not looking so good right now. Larry Cooper wanted to down play expectations.
Overall the financial section was much shorter than usual. I think Larry Cooper kept it to about ten minutes overall.
Election Results and Closing
Mary from the Prince Williams campus closed in prayer. She thanked God for the financial abundance McLean Bible had as a church. She also praised God for being involved in McLean Bible for forty years. When it comes to the election results they were still waiting and Larry Cooper said they have a close vote. They would have to look into the provisional ballots and make sure they were entered legitimately. They would send an email out to the church on the final results of the elder election. I forgot to document when I left by it was shortly after 10:00. And in another feature of how intimate this blog is especially when writing about places I used to be involved, I saw a couple of people I knew from my time at McLean Bible. Again American evangelicalism is a small world or a small insane asylum. You decide what it is.