Don’t Be a Circus Monkey

When you use God's gift to seek validation for yourself, or you need to make it the source of your income, something very serious gets twisted, both in the gift and how you'll treat others to get them to respond to you. DaRon Maughon (pictured with wife, Tina, at left) joins Wayne for a discussion about his journey beyond religion into a freer walk with Jesus. As the son of a pastor, a musician, and "worship" leader, DaRon got tired of being the circus monkey on the stage and it launched him on a very different journey. Wayne talks with him about those transitions and the freedom his family is finding in the life of Jesus. They also listen to a disturbing clip promoting a webinar to help people discover the secrets of finding their way into "full-time ministry" and how those tricks of the trade are really about manipulating an audience for their own needs.

Podcast Links:
Infomercial for the secrets of making your gifts a "full time ministry"
Help With Kenya


  1. Thanks guys.

    It was rather easy for me to walk away from the IC at the end, not so much at the beginning of my God journey. I followed a ‘preachertainer’ who made it rather easy to sit through a Church service Sunday after Sunday. I actually left each service with such a good feeling that lasted several hours into the afternoon. For me, at that time, that was the presence of God. I couldn’t even come close to manufacturing those feelings today. I’ve since learned faith has nothing to do with feelings. There’s a part of me that misses those ‘pink cloud’ days, but I certainly don’t want to return to them.

  2. I’m not quite done listening to this, but I sure identify with a lot of what was said. One of the things that started on the journey out of the IC was realizing how many times I was promoting manipulation in order to “create the feeling”.

  3. Wayne,

    In the beginning of this you talked about loving BBQ and chocolate cookies. I’ll go you one better: include in this mix homemade Italian food. That’s my home in NC. I make them all.

    This was the hardest part of the transformation for me from being a pastor/planner/preacher to being an elder/guide/facilitator of a conversation that the Spirit controlled. Not having to plan out anything and trusting that the Spirit will lead. But let me tell you about the “results”.

    Last week our group got together and one of the longest standing members of the group (4 years) said to me, “Wow!! Look at how many people are here (like 25)! We keep needing more tables!” In our conversation we actually talked about how it was the Spirit who had done it all. I do no advertising. I rarely invite people to join us. After hearing about what it is we are doing, people usually ask one of us if they can come, too. We, of course, say yes and we have grown from a group of 4 (I grew it to that number from 55 twelve years ago) to, as I said, about 25. They are families who tell us constantly they don’t know how it is they wound up in the group. They just knew it was right.

    I also remind them that 10 years from now it is my hope that we will no longer be together and that the Lord will have used them to start other groups because a group of people has been drawn to their homes by the Spirit. I hope we will be known in the “new Book of Acts” as “the Church of God in the Piedmont, NC.” I hope all these groups will be drawn out by the Spirit. But I’m doing nothing to make that happen.

    There’s another reason I am writing this. It kinda goes back to a conversation you had with Brad a couple of weeks back. One of the things I had to learn is to let it go when it comes to where people are on their journey. It’s their journey and it’s not my job to bring them up to where I am in my journey. To some this sounds like having no limits on what can be said or believed during our gatherings, and to some degree that is true. But it is not. I like what someone said on one of your podcasts that somehow the Spirit keeps things in line because He is in control. Usually if someone says something that doesn’t fit with the character of Father, someone gently corrects that and the conversation will go in that direction. But it is the Spirit that has to work in the heart of the individual to guide them in that change of heart.

    It’s true that we are all at different points in our journey. I have, for several years, drawn the picture of a whirlpool, often using the image from Greek mythology or the bath tub, take your pick. I liken the whirlpool to the draw of God’s grace with Father himself at the center (John 6:44) Everyone is caught in the pull of the whirlpool. If you are near the surface of the water, the pull is gradual, you can barely tell you are being drawn. But the closer you get to the center, the stronger the pull, and the more violent is the fight against that pull. Eventually you give up fighting the pull and let it pull you in. If it was just water, that would be a bad thing. But since we are actually being pulled and drawn into the Father’s loving embrace, surrender would be the best thing for us.

    By using this imagery I am constantly reminded that in my own life and in the life of the believers (and the not-yet-believers) around me that it is the Father’s love that is moving them, drawing them ever closer to him and I don’t have to worry about where a person is in the journey. Now I am there, in the traditional role of an elder, to help guide that person, to point him or her back toward Jesus, toward the Father, through the Spirit. But I don’t effect the change. He does. In his time. In his way.

    Keep up the good work. If you ever find yourself back in NC, we’d love for you to come hang out with us and share in the mountain of food we usually have at our gatherings. Did I mention that one of the guys in the group is from Milan, Italy and has a pizza oven in his house? Just sayin’.


  4. Am looking forward to listening to the podcast I just downloaded – but somehow I’m unable to watch the clip mentioned as the link points to itself… Hope someone has a moment to fix it 🙂
    Greetings from Switzerland,

  5. Wayne and Brad,
    I have been listening since 2009, and I have been a music pastor for over 15 years. I think I may have resigned the Institutional Church for the last time three weeks ago. Yes, it was a pretty toxic experience this time, but I don’t think I am bitter. It just doesn’t surprise me any more. I have resigned several times from churches but keep perpetuating the problems associated with institutions by keeping my career in church work. I have to say that some of my church experiences have actually been very good, but I think through it all God has been calling me out to this God Journey that doesn’t seem to include the professional Christian career anymore. I see so many parallels with DaRon. My wife and I burst out laughing on the Simon Cowell comment, Monday staff meetings, etc. He described our experience almost identically.

    I do believe I am to be still and it is so HARD! I too am of the mindset – don’t work, don’t eat. I am looking at new career options but really just keep feeling like the “normal right thing” – WORK is probably wrong. It all seems to come down to Faith…and believing deep in my HEART that I am loved by God and that if I really seek Him first, He takes care of the rest, and I must sadly confess, I have probably never really consistently trusted in God alone for absolutely everything in my life…WITHOUT MY HELP, and I am not sure I am there yet. But maybe I am going to get there. I want to. We are so blessed and God is already surprising us with His still small voice of affirmations and provision.

    Alice (my wife) and I started our own conversation this month with a podcast…we called it “Faith Journey”. It is a nice way to journal and share a bit of the painful transition out of this last ministry. Maybe it will help someone else to hear it. If not, it was a great way to detox. I apologize in advance if it would offend anyone from my former church. That is not the intent. Here is the link:

    Thanks again for the example and encouragement you are to so many of us who would otherwise feel so much more alone in this otherwise confusing conflict of pursuing God outside of what most would believe to be His church.

    Johnny Prettyman

  6. Once a worship leader, I soon realized the artificial ‘machine-like’ methodical process, which seemed to repeat itself Sunday after Sunday, especially from a musicians point of view, was not doing it for me. Hours and hours of practicing the songs till perfect (which includes the ‘achieving’ of the goal to attain a certain ‘atmosphere’). Initially when I got irritated with my own reaction to this ‘worship’ I thought I needed some ministry or counseling (and in retrospect I suppose that’s just what I needed but not like I thought). It was only after years of isolation from ever picking up my guitar again and God’s patients did I realize through revelation that this is truly not what God desired from me. Unless God reveals the senselessness of the process to you it would seem that this is actually worship. It is Theodore Austin-Sparks who remarked:’ Until the Lord reveals it with a heavenly light we do not see how big the difference is between self and Christ.’ And that includes the artificial process of what we refer to as worship. Paul mentioned in Acts that God is not worshiped with human hands (Acts 17) and once God opened that reality to me I have become content to not be part of this artificial monster anymore, especially if it’s purpose is to prepare us for a ‘right state of mind’ to worship God, something I believe can not exist outside of God’s inhibiting even our gratefulness. My worship today is His life in me and my gratefulness in journeying on this road of uncertainty together with the Creator of my life on this life He has given me.
    I prefer to refer to the old stuff as nothing more than a nice ‘sing-a-long’ which in essence is not wrong but does not serve the purpose of ‘paving’ the way to God anymore. If you’re still into worship sessions, enjoy them but remember, God is much closer to each of us than just a song away. He is our life through Christ.

    And if you sit down long enough to contemplate His greatness in and around you, you’ve already worshiped Father more than any worship session.

  7. “It’s all about me-eee-eee…” 😉

    On a more serious note, I heard somebody put it this way:

    “We are to be mentors. Not predators.”

  8. I remember when I played the bass on the “worship team” (strange sounding concept to me now). My bass monitor was buzzing for some reason. The “Worship Leader” (another strange concept) was getting frustrated at how the clock was ticking away the time and we were having technical trouble. To cut the tension, I went into Tim Taylor (Home Improvement) humor mode and just kept hitting the low E note, staring like Homer Simpson into the assembling crowd, intentionally making it buzz, hoping everyone would see the humor in it.

    Suddenly, the “leader” turned around with his Gibson strapped around his neck, walked up to me, got right in my face and told me to knock it off and lit into me with every sort of vitriolic insinuation he could come up with in his limited remaining moments. He was pi___ed. But, it was time to start the music so he crushed all of his anger into a tiny little pill, swallowed it, turned around and began the worship set.

    He was so upset, he only made it to the first chorus and could go no farther. We kept playing but he couldn’t sing anymore. I looked out at the church full of shining faces and watched as fully one forth of them teared up “sensing the Spirit” had moved David to tears over the depth of worship he had entered into, when in fact he was so seething angry at me that he could no longer contain himself. Everyone on the stage looked at me like I was the incarnation of Beelzebub, standing on their worship stage.

    No one in the audience picked up on any of this and later several reported that it was one of the most worshipful moments they had had. – God works in mysterious ways-

  9. I truly thought the infomercial was a satire. I was actually laughing! Especially when I heard it mention the million souls that were saved yaddah yaddah yaddah. I was shocked when it finally dawned on me that it was a real infomercial. I am very new to this God Journey but I love Love LOVE it! I “stumbled” across “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore” about 6 weeks ago when…you got it: I just didn’t feel like going to church anymore! I’m now 2/3 of the way through “He Loves Me”. I was raised in a independent, fundamental, Bible believing/preaching/teaching Baptist Church (need I say more?) & it has taken me decades to finally figure out what my “problem” was: I was plucking the daisy known as my Christian life and trying to determine whether He Loves Me or He Loves Me Not. And now I’m starting to get it! He loves me! He LOVES me! HE loves ME! I have never been so excited about God or my walk with him until now. How absolutely sad & pathetic considering I accepted Christ as my Savior as a little girl (& I’m now 48). I had a feeling something strange and different was going to happen to me this year. I kept saying “I believe the 2nd half of my life will be better than the 1st half”, but I had no idea why. Now I do. 🙂 Thank you doesn’t begin to cut it. Thank you Father for bringing these people into my life! More another time…

  10. P.S. To Frank Ancona: Where in NC are you? I’m in SC & love taking little road trips. Maybe I could come visit your group sometime? (And have some great Italian food – haha!) You can find me on Facebook: Aprill Wilson (2 Ls)…still showing Honolulu HI where I moved from last year. 🙁

  11. @Frank- We’re also in the Piedmont… High Point to be exact.

    Have not listened to the podcast as of yet, but will do so tomorrow while driving.

  12. Wow, I also thought this infomercial was a parody. Watched it before listening to the podcast and thought why you would post something like it, as I watched in disbelieve, laughing, then realizing that this was meant for real. Shudder…

  13. I actually haven’t had a chance to listen…but I’ve enjoyed reading all of your comments.
    I was out of church for 4 years due to some very painful experiences. Although this time away was one of the hardest in my life…I was surprised to find an intimacy with Jesus that I had never known. I didn’t have to rush to church…to not “miss one song”…His presence became more real to me in our home…in my day to day life…exactly what many of you experience. But I also laid down my guitar…didn’t know really what to do with the stirring inside…almost too painful to play worship music.

    Fast forward a few years, and God brought me to some amazing women who were gathering to pray. One morning I got a call and my friend asked me to bring my guitar to the group.. I was hesitant…but I brought it along just for kicks. I ended up leading a couple songs…they were rough…but something wonderful began to happen to me. It was like a part of me that I had buried was coming to life again. God was showing me that “outside” was a good place…but that I had turned my “COCOON INTO A COFFIN”. As I continued to play for this little group…God was healing me (Along with all their wonderful prayers).

    We eventually started going to their church…met some lovely people (Enjoy the fellowship and playing with the worship team). But lately I’ve been sensing this is not our home…I don’t want to “push” for revival. i know that revival is here…HE is here…we should ALWAYS have access to HIm. I feel this draw to leaving…not the people…but the organized stuff. But I’m afraid…I still want to grow…to develop more gifts…Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions??
    Appreciate this website sooo much!

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