Helpful Tidbits for the Disciple's Life                                                                            February 15, 2010
The Dieter Zander Story
My Reflections
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 To learn more of how the BayMarin community loved the Zanders, click here.

During the 90s Dieter Zander was a big deal. One of Christendom's up-and-comers, Dieter had already started an enormously successful church in Southern California and then moved on to become a high-profile staffer at Willow Creek Church in Illinois. Sometime in the late 90s, however, Dieter moved on. At the time, people who cared about such things wondered what happened. Why the move? Politics gone wrong? A call from God?
In the end, it didn't matter. What we do know is this: a talented church guy ended up starting a new work in San Francisco and, for reasons most of us don't know, ended up working for BayMarin Church...that is, until he had a stroke and lost his ability to adequately speak and lead music.

QUESTION/TOPIC IN FOCUS: Consumerism and the ecclesia
Note: This week's photos were taken by Dieter Zander. Visit his website at
The Dieter Zander Story
Excerpted from an essay contest by Darrell (Dieter's friend). For the whole story, click here.
blur_ZanderDieter is an accomplished man, and if measuring is your thing, you better get an industrial sized rolling tape. Dieter has helped change lives as a pastor and worship leader. He's an accomplished musician, singer, and songwriter. He's considered one of the first pastors to target Gen-X as a generation found, not lost. Many credit him as the pastor of the first Gen-X church in America. He's a published author.

What's left for a guy like this? Well, most recently Dieter added the title of survivor to his resume. In 2008, Dieter suffered a stroke as he lay in bed next to his wife. That stroke took much of what gave him the ability to accomplish so much in his life; it took his voice.
As Dieter rehabilitated, he came to the realization that the part of his brain affected by the stroke made it physically impossible to play the piano again. Not only did he lose the movement of his right hand, his mind no longer yearned for music as it once had. Here's a man who had everything to give and actually gave everything he could to other people. He did this with his voice, his music, and his written words - none of which he can share any longer. Dieter's mind still takes in everything crystal clear, but his thoughts are held prisoner by his nervous system.

I encouraged Dieter to start taking pictures again. I told him more or less, "Dieter, you can't talk, but you can see and you can speak with the images from your camera." Dieter didn't have a camera. He was a successful man, but now a disabled pastor with very little money. So, I gave him a [camera] and he got right to work (Emphasis mine).
My Reflections 
sunflowersBefore I begin, I need to tell you that I am making some assumptions. First, I am assuming Dieter no longer works for BayMarin Church. This seems evident from BayMarin's website content. Second, I am assuming that at least part of the reason Dieter has "very little money" is because Dieter is no longer employable as a Bible teacher or worship pastor in the usual sense. Furthermore, it is important to note that I suspect no foul play or lack of love on the part of the kind people or staff at BayMarin Church for the Zander family. That being said, I'm wondering...
If our churches hire men and women based on spiritual depth, why would that working relationship be severed if that individual could no longer speak or play the guitar? The answer, of course, is obvious. Churches don't hire "spiritual depth," they hire talents. And when those talents are gone, there's nothing left to consume.
Can you see the conundrum here? Suppose Yeshua (Jesus) worked at your church and had a stroke mid-ministry. What would happen? Again, I think the answer is obvious; he'd be on the phase-out plan.
Is it just me, or does something seem askew? There are times when I want to shout from my rooftop, "People of God, look at the mess we've created! Look what we've done to the body of Christ! We've turned it into a den of robbers!" In a very real sense, I think, the government-approved caveat we tag on our giving receipts is a lie: "No goods or services were exchanged for donations."
As I reflect this week, my charge is that we simply see what's really going on and ask ourselves the question (and answer honestly), How am I part of the problem and when will I stop?
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty (bio)
The Banqueting Table