When I became acquainted with them, one could almost say they were at the peak of their ministries. They were respected authors. Even though each had their own respective ministries they were close friends and partners in the ministry. They worked together. They did seminars together, they went to the same church together. They had thousands of people on their mailing lists, buying their books from all over the world. They would hold these week long conferences where almost 1,000 people would come and absorb their mature wisdom on coming out of relational brokenness, codependency, homosexual and lesbian behaviors, sexual and relational addictions, etc. They would each speak several lectures during the conferences. They were the archetypes of mature, seasoned Christian spiritual guides helping those who were struggling with relational brokenness. They had blurbs on the back of their books from respected authors like Os Guinness, Dallas Willard, Paul Vitz, and Andy Comiskey.
At these week long conferences, there were book tables filled with all kinds of books dealing with relational brokenness, addictions, boundaries, codependency and then the author's own books. I had gone to three of the conferences in consecutive years.
The fourth year I went, one of them was missing. He was nowhere to be seen. Furthermore, the book table where hundreds of his books would be waiting for eager buyers during the conference was now filled with other books. In fact, his books were nowhere to be seen at any table. What happened? Where was he?
I have some reflections on the sad story of Leanne Payne and Mario Bergner.