Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Did Teen Mania & Mark Lewandowski Lie?

Over the past couple of days, some very interesting things have been happening over on the Recovering Alumni blog. On Monday, a recording of a phone call between Mark Lewandowski and the author of the Recovering Alumni blog was released. Mark Lewandowski is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Teen Mania Ministries, and he was the man appointed by Teen Mania to reach out to the Recovering Alumni community and solicit stories for the board of directors to read.

The phone call was recorded about a month before Teen Mania launched their website. The RA blogger asked Mark several specific questions about how the Board of Directors' investigation would go, and Mark was pretty forthcoming with his communication. Let's go point-by-point and look at what Mark Lewandowski said compared with what actually happened:

Mark Lewandowski said: "...the decision is that we didn’t get into this situation overnight so we’re not going to try to rush to get out of this situation."

What actually happened: Teen Mania threw together a shoddy website, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, and posted it on the internet late on a Friday afternoon just before Memorial Day weekend. It looks like they didn't look any farther than Dave Hasz' Rolodex to find "experts" for their review panel, and after a single conference call with hundreds of hurting alumni, they were ready to declare the entire situation over and done with.

Mark Lewandowski said: "So I feel very confident that there is going to be real, detailed discovery and that is much better than a cursory, 'Hey we looked into this and everything is going great, we’ve taken care of it, have a good day.'"

What actually happened: Teen Mania Ministries created a website and held a conference call that basically said "All these problems happened in the past, everything's going great now." The leaders at Teen Mania Ministries offered no specific details about what problems they discovered, what steps they were taking to address those problems, or how they were going to change things to prevent those problems going forward. I don't see any evidence whatsoever that the Teen Mania Board of Directors made any attempt at a "real, detailed discovery."

Mark Lewandowski said: "Yeah, we’ve been wanting to use for sure a clinical counselor or clinical psychologist; someone from fitness like a medical professional …people with deep, solid theological experience…..a physician that will be able to speak to the fitness complaints….trying to find the right people to help us assess the situation from a clinical, counseling, physical, spiritual and not just use the Board and not just use inside experts from Teen Mania."

What actually happened: From the information that Teen Mania has posted, it looks like there are only two people that could possibly be considered "experts" that were involved in the investigation, and they both had deep ties to Teen Mania. I didn't see anyone "from fitness" commenting on the physical aspects of the program...I didn't see many actual comments on specific aspects of the program at all. Just a cheerleading session from a couple of people with a definite vested interest in making a potential scandal go away.


There were other lies in the phone call, but you get the gist. So I guess the big question is the one posed in the headline of this post: Why did Teen Mania & Mark Lewandowski tell such bold-faced lies, and why in the world did they think they would get away with it? My guess is that Mark didn't count on having that conversation recorded and published for the entire world to hear.


  1. Props to this Mark Lewandowski for trying. It sounds like they really attemped to reach out.

  2. Props to Mark for....lying and misrepresenting the kind of "investigation" that was going to happen at Teen Mania??? Attempted to reach lying again and demonizing dissenters???

    Yeah, kudos to them. :-/