Your History

Someone wrote me with an interesting idea for a post – that readers tell about their history with Sovereign Grace Ministries.  The suggestion was that whenever possible, specific church locations and dates would be included, but I realize that in the interest of privacy, some of us won’t want to share that info.  Nonetheless, I do think it’d be highly instructive, especially for SGM pastors and others who might be silently lurking, reading the site for the first time, to get a sense of the scope of the SGM history that is represented by those who comment here.

So – let’s share our stories.

394 comments to Your History

Pages: « 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 » Show All

  1. Kris
    July 27th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Paul and others,

    I do believe that Wallace and Happymom are working on writing out a point-by-point explanation of the significant inaccuracies present in the statements made about their situation by the pastors who talked at the family meeting at the Fairfax church.

    At this point, it’s not so much about “believing the worst” (or cynically TRYING to find “spin”). Unfortunately, for those of us who paid close attention to the details of Wallace and Happymom’s story, it’s obvious that the Fairfax pastors’ expressions of sorrow weren’t…well…let’s just say they portrayed things in a way that was NOT very truthful.

  2. Fried Fish
    July 27th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    @Paul #193 -

    If you look in the archives here, you’ll see I haven’t been here long and have no personal axe to grind with SGM.

    I believe you think you’re doing the right thing, but you’re being awfully overzealous. Many of the folks here went through years, and even decades of abuse which was covered up, as well as being lied to, slandered, blame misdirected at them, were persecuted out the door and beyond… many of them made humble attempts at reconciliation only to be bitten again by their abusers.

    Please give them enough grace to try and understand that while some tears and an apology may be a genuine first step, they may also seem disingenuous coming from someone who is speaking for an organization having a long history of deception and misdirection (or who may have a history of it themself). If the habit of abuse truly transforms into a habit of grace, then they will believe. You keep praying too.

  3. 5yearsin PDI
    July 27th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Paul..I’m with you. Just giving this apology, and the specifics such as being afraid to get professional help, and “unwisely used a Peacemaker model for conflict resolution. This resulted… put them on an equal plane – …. This resulted in the victim’s family being corrected when they should have been gently cared for as sufferers.”

    I think this is huge, as huge as Josh saying the problem is pervasive in SGM and not just CJ.

    Time will tell and I want to hear what happymom and Wallace have to say. But this is a good start seems to me. It might imply some changes in the future if such incidents happen again in SGM churches, and that can only be good for the children.

  4. A Kindred Spirit
    July 27th, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Unfortunately, for those of us who paid close attention to the details of Wallace and Happymom’s story, it’s obvious that the Fairfax pastors’ expressions of sorrow weren’t…well…let’s just say they portrayed things in a way that was NOT very truthful.

    Ahhh…I guess *THAT* is why they didn’t go to Happymom and Wallace first.

  5. Roadwork
    July 27th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    While I’m no Mullery fan and I have only had time to listen to the first 29 minutes of a meeting that goes over an hour, I’m encouraged by the fact that he mentions that he found a couple of Harvey’s first posts not helpful. (Since when have you ever heard dissention within SGM that didn’t lead to a degifting? Here’s someone that may actually be saying what he thinks. Out loud even.) And he also mentions the blogs by name as well as the Detwiler papers, including the number of hits the Papers have received.

    However, as I have read some of the archives, I also note that many posters before me have expressed hope for change after other significant events, yet no positive change followed.

    While encouraged, I am also cautious. Real repentance is followed by significant and lasting change. And they have a lot that needs to be changed. Starting with formal accountability and followed by many things we all listed in a previous thread.

    And I would further say that there is no gloating here. Only sadness that it has required two dedicated blogs, 600 scathing pages that they have no choice but to acknowledge and many, many tears to even get this far. If they had not been caught, I seriously doubt we would have seen any of this at all.

  6. Roadwork
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    A side note – today I witnessed a written exchange of thoughts between Abednigo and FSGP and they were able to express their thoughts in written form to one another in a civil manner even though the overall topic is a difficult one.

    Two blog posters that don’t know each other are able to communicate in written form – something that the lofty SGM leaders cannot accomplish as they must “meet in person”.

    For me, I’ll hang out here with the smart people that learned how to write. Communication in written form is truly the “biblical” way.

  7. A Kindred Spirit
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    And I would further say that there is no gloating here. Only sadness that it has required two dedicated blogs, 600 scathing pages that they have no choice but to acknowledge and many, many tears to even get this far. If they had not been caught, I seriously doubt we would have seen any of this at all.

    Ditto that, Roadwork.

    And I agree with you and the others, there really are a lot of intelligent, thoughtful people on this blog.

  8. Kris
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    There’s absolutely ZERO “gloating” on my part, either. I want the confessions and the new openness to be genuine.

    I can’t help that it feels way too much like a jailhouse conversion to me…

  9. 5yearsin PDI
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Sometimes money talks louder than words. If they offer to make restitution for how they bungled things, by giving a BIG chunk of money towards the hospital, counseling and other expenses the families had to pay themselves, then I think we need to accept that they are trying to make amends and do the right thing. So let’s see how that goes.

    No money and ya’ll can stay suspicious, but complete financial restitution and we’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  10. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I guess I will be brave and put my little blup in about the school……………I was blind to this myself but wanted to mention that it is encouraging that they opened enrollment up to NON MEMBERs(last year i think) . It all makes since to me now . They probably did not want “outsiders” to come in because there was such a legalistic tone in the church and that would mean unless you were a member in CLC there was no way to understand the stuff in CLS!
    I wonder if the school will survive!?

  11. Rom828
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    STILL :new but I’m getting there!

    All this is quite overwhelming to someone new like myself. I entered like most sharing my two cents worth on arrival but really it takes time to absorb all that is said, felt and expressed on this site. Hard to keep up with which testimony is whose. So I am sitting back, listening, reading and learning what I can.

    One thought on Mark Mullery… if I am an SGM pastor (which I was)I would at least call the people I would be talking about in the meeting (hopefully he did but it does not sound like it) expressing that I would be following up with them on this. I would say please take what we will say as a teeny attempt at expressing our horror, sadness and regret for all that transpired. Please let’s get together and talk so that the pastors involved can adequately confess our sin to you and then more clearly and definitively confess our sin before the church. Just my thought… hopefully this happened… we’ll see.

    As someone mentioned… I would not want to hear from friends or mp3 or video what was said about me to a congregation by a pastor without hearing from him first.

  12. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    why are 25 more PC students coming in? Please tell me WHY?????????????
    I mean they just don’t get it!

  13. Not Again
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Well, giving money is sometimes easier than actually doing the hard part. Especially when it is someone else’s money.

    Giving money, if it happens, could be genuine or could be a ploy.
    Tearful public apologies could be genuine or could be a ploy.

    This could be a smart move or a no-other-options strategy, or it could be the beginning of a paradigm shift for some within SGM.
    Time will tell.

    I pray and hope that these things are the beginnings of something genuine, a move of God bring truth and light into dark places.

  14. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I notice it may be unclear (#my post 210) CLS is the k-12 school that is in the church building.

  15. Roadwork
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Believe the best or believe the evidence?

    It took them how long to figure out that they are incompetent? How many years?

    What was required to get them to admit any of this? Two dedicated blogs and the Detwiler Papers.

    You know, if they had a REAL elder board (not their twisted definition of elders) then maybe they would have had some wise counsel available to them that might have kept things from getting worse.

    Honestly, I would suggest their credibility in ALL things is completely shot.

  16. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I was thinking back to the sunday meeting (last sunday)) when someone challenged the pastors to bring this question to the board:

    basically it went like this……….

    So if you took CJs name out of the picture and just looked at the sin would this be so confusing ? In other words for anyone else that would do this they would have to “throw in the towel” but not for CJ! we have to pay a TON of $$$$$$$$$ so we can just make sure of it!

  17. Sidney
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    here we go again! …..

    Good question someone asked about CJ being another person and the effect on them. AND good ?????? about the HUGE pastors college class.

    I believe you can choose to NOT have any of your tithe go to SGM if you prefer it that way. Just ask your pastor or Corby.

    So….CLS is still the same ole same ole???


  18. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Sidney 217

    yes CLS is another bubble…………I have heard they are a nice school BUT I also heard that there are people that are “top dogs”(parents of students) and at times this means that if there are issues(picking on each other and etc sin) that depending on whose kid they are may depend on how the one being picked on will have to endure. In other words I know that there were some leaders kids in the school and that when caught doing a certain sin the one who was not a leaders kid was blamed. Finally the others confessed but it was several weeks later and i was just not good.

  19. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    @ sydney
    I over heard someone asking Jeff Purswell about the big class coming and they told me that he just did not get it? of why there may be a concern about them coming. I really do not think (as intelligent as one may be) it is a reality yet. I mean are they sitting on a bunch of$$$$$$$$$$ and do they really think that people do not know what is going on and what is not resolved yet?

  20. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    it almost seems like many of the SGM churches do not see the whole picture of what is going on!??????? they are not affected ? We need to take a stand and tithe in other ways for a season until this is over!

  21. not important
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    A Kindred Spirit
    July 27th, 2011 at 9:38 pm
    I’m confused. When was this meeting, Sunday night? This past Sunday night?

    So these guys confessed and apologized to the members rather than directly to Noel and Wallace’s families? Is this the first time Noel, Grizzley, Wallace, and Happymom are hearing some of this stuff – via a recording of a family meeting? They didn’t first go to Noel, Grizzley, Wallace, and Happymom and *THEN* say all this to the members?

    How long ago was it that the sexual abuses took place?

    How much time has passed since Noel and Happymom first shared about the sexual abuse on the blogs?

    If you listen to the recording, according to them, they have tried on numerous occasions to communicate with Noel & Wallace, have attempted to own their wrongs, and desire to be reconciled. At one point, Happymom and Wallace actually emailed everyone involved that they accepted the apologies, and extended forgiveness – a wonderful reunion took place, and then three weeks later Happymom and Wallace suddenly and inexplicably reversed course.

    (That’s their side of the story – I’m sure Happymom will give you the other side.)

  22. A Kindred Spirit
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I don’t see how they can ever gain their credibility back. They would have to change their polity and clean house of all the major offenders and replace them with a new bunch. (Hey, maybe that’s why there’s such a large class going into the PC this fall. :wink: )

    Seriously, what’s a person supposed to think when there’s SUDDENLY all these confessions by pastors popping up after Brent shares his documents and they then leak out into cyberspace?

  23. paperbagprincess
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I am not from the US, and attended a SGM church in my country. Although people in the church dismiss or are not aware of the the connections/roots with the Shepherding Movement and SGM authoritarian doctrine . . . it is there. Unfortunately, I know several families, including mine who have been negatively affected by the SGM trained leadership desire to control information, lifestyles, behaviors and ideas.

  24. here we go again!
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    A kindred spirit

    I agree with you

    my question though is DO THESE NEW STUDENTS KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON ?

  25. Sidney
    July 28th, 2011 at 12:12 am

    And now for a little trivia….

    I just grabbed a sleeping t-shirt out of my dresser. It’s a Celebration shirt. Does anyone remember what PDI meant after it was People of Destiny???? (Celebration shirts make great sleeping shirts, by the way!)

    Sid needs to go to sleep.

  26. Luna Moth
    July 28th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    You mean those phrases? P was Proclaiming the Gospel. I was Impacting something, I think. D was…don’t know! :scratch :P

  27. Luna Moth
    July 28th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    G’nite, Sid. And everyone.

  28. Sidney
    July 28th, 2011 at 12:20 am

    One more thing….

    Roadwork you said: “Only sadness that it has required two dedicated blogs, 600 scathing pages that they have no choice but to acknowledge and many, many tears to even get this far.”

    I beg to differ….it will l take hundreds of thousands of dollars, a very long time and an ” independent” investigation to get them to admit….and that is IF the “independent” investigation actually decides there is anything to admit.

  29. WaitingPatiently
    July 28th, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Hah, Sidney – I’m wearing a 2004 celebration shirt as we speak. They are quite comfy as night shirts.

    Let’s see if memory serves. I believe they explained the change in one of the PDI magazines and they created some long explanation for each letter when it became PDI, Inc. I can’t remember what it all was. I just remember thinking how wordy it was and I would never be able to repeat it to someone who asked. And look, I was right!

  30. WaitingPatiently
    July 28th, 2011 at 12:26 am

    D = Dwelling on sin? ;) This focus is something I’m praying and hoping will change.

  31. Joe
    July 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Interesting that SGM still owns the domain name for the old pdi website –

    Not sure whether there is any significance to that, but just thought I’d mention it.

  32. Joe
    July 28th, 2011 at 1:04 am

    They no longer own any of the branding for People of Destiny, though. So, should anybody here want to start a ministry with that name for ex-SGMers, they could buy the trademarks for People of Destiny at:

  33. Joe
    July 28th, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Unless I misunderstood that last one. Have a look at it for yourselves.

  34. Joe
    July 28th, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Also, does anybody know anything about “Gathering Unto Him Inc.” ?
    It’s a company which seems to have CJ as its director:

  35. katie
    July 28th, 2011 at 1:31 am


    another name that popped up under the Gathering Unto Him, Inc was “Kent Kramer”… some googling pulled up this:

    Kent William Kramer, 43, of 285 Cherokee Ridge died Tuesday, Oct. 15, 1996.
    A native of Ludlow, Mass., Mr. Kramer was a son of Gwendolyn Chamberlain, Light House Point, Fla. He was preceded in death by a brother, John Thomas Kramer. He coached track and cross country at Athens Christian Academy. He was a member of the Institute of Financial Planners. He was the former pastor at Gathering Unto Him Church, Bradenton, Fla., and Promise Keepers.

  36. Lucy
    July 28th, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Can I say something in a general way to the steady stream of people who traipse onto the blog suggesting we’re all on a slow train to Bitter Town or already living there in our giant scowling mansions, building more rooms every day?

    It’s always fascinating to me how these people presume to know the invisible condition of strangers’ hearts. (Or is that the “charismatic” part of SGM at work then?)

    Since one assumes, based on how massively irritating it all is, that these people aren’t Jesus, they can’t possibly know if we’re “bitter” or “unable to let it go” or whatever dismissive lingo they choose to use. Still, they presume to know what they cannot know, all the while dismissing what’s empirically in front of them, especially now: years and years of SGM’s abuse and dysfunction and unrepentance.

    Here’s the thing, though: We “bitter” souls wounded by SGM are closer to finding freedom and healing than the unrepentant souls who wounded us. We can – and do – find those things in Christ even if/when our wounders never say “boo” to us. We can work through forgiveness APART from any healing actions or redemptive words from them. That’s just how good God is.

    We don’t necessarily NEED them in order to be free. We ultimately need only him.

    But ….. and here’s the problem for them …….. they need us in order to be free. They can go to God all they want saying, “Uh, sorry, God, sorry. Sorry about that thing with that person,” but that doesn’t truly free them because they haven’t sought forgiveness from the person they’ve wronged. I mean, I can extend forgiveness in my heart all the livelong day – and I do, I swear I do, haha – but forgiveness isn’t received UNLESS IT’S SOUGHT. A gift that sits unwrapped isn’t a gift received. And that’s the job of the unrepentant where forgiveness is concerned. To seek it and receive it. Until they do, there’s no true freedom for them.

    WE can find freedom without them. They can’t find freedom without US. They need us for their own healing.

    I’d worry less about the people presumably living in bitterness and more about the people imprisoned by their own stubbornness. One group is much closer to true freedom than the other.

  37. Yellow is a Happy Color
    July 28th, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I was talking with some non-Christians about CLC the other night after my gym class. They have this mocking tone, talking about the church, what they’ve heard, etc. I’m a newer CLC member, and I had nothing much to say to defend the church. In fact, these folks don’t know how much damage CLC/SGM has done.
    How sad to be ashamed of my church…. The only thing I could offer was that Josh seems to be stepping out in a bold new direction.
    On another note, I can’t get over the whole Pastors College concept. The idea that I have men in authority over me who may not have anything more than a 10 month piece of paper–that’s scary to me! That’s an awful lot of power and an awful little education!
    On yet another note, I was the one who expressed concern about my tithe money funding this mediation thing with CJ. Rather than give my money to CLC with a note on it, it just makes more sense to put my money right in the hands of missionaries overseas. :scratch
    About someone’s comments about looking forward, I totally feel a tone of kindness here. No endless ranting. This is an awesome group of people that care and support each other. I enjoy reading and learing.

  38. Patti
    July 28th, 2011 at 3:07 am

    Here we go again!,
    Thanks for the school blurb, so are you saying like if a family decided to leave SGM/CLC and say…switch to the local Baptist,AG,Presbyterian church then they would also have had to switch their children’s school ??? Not that SGM membership requirement isn’t weird enough so that’s new news to me, I never would have guessed that was a rule. But before I move the bar up again I would like a confirmation from anyone on my first sentence? Thanks

  39. seeking truth
    July 28th, 2011 at 4:31 am

    AKS- thanks for your encouragement in #162.It helps to hear that!

  40. happymom
    July 28th, 2011 at 5:23 am

    We had no knowledge of this Family meeting until Monday, the day AFTER.
    Working on our response.

  41. Another Joe
    July 28th, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Huge Brain fart!!!!

    Havent been on for a while so when i saw the whole fairfax confessional thing i had to say something. So somebody correct me if im wrong on any of this.

    If i had brought those stories to them in person without anyone knowing about it do you think they would have confessed? NO in fact i do not think i would have made it out of there without a lawyer present.

    This is sick and very twisted in a horrible way.

    They get caught in sin, they cover up there sin with another sin, and then keep sinning to cover up the previous sins.

    And these are the people leading us.

    Wake up those pastors would have never confessed to anything nor did they even think about those poor people.

    I think that along with C.j. these pastors should be put before board hearings and the findings made public.

    Show the churches DAVE!!!!! that this behavior will not go unpunished in your churches by men seeking to protect there own selfish interest and putting there lives before the Gospel.

  42. happymom
    July 28th, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Anonymouse said:

    “Happy Mom – I don’t think you’re really fair to accuse Fairfax of hiding their family meeting message. This has been online at least since this morning (church offices are closed on Monday”)

    WHAT I SAID WAS: “If Fairfax has nothing to hide then they will post Sunday’s family meeting online for all to hear.”

    Pretty sure I started that sentence with “If” – I didn’t accuse anyone in that statement.

  43. Breeezey
    July 28th, 2011 at 6:11 am

    @fsgp & Rom828 and the other “formers” out there
    If I remember correctly scripture says: The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. And: Your gifts will make room for you.

    You both are former pastors within SGM. I have a few questions.
    1. Was being a pastor your livelihood?
    2. Are you still in full time ministry?
    3. If so, can you tell your story of how God bought you back to your true calling after being “degifted”?

    God is a God of resurrection andd restoration. Miracle stories are always a great read. History is still His Story in each of our lives. :clap :clap

  44. old timer
    July 28th, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Lucy, #233…You are a very wise woman. Why can’t these leaders just go to the people they have hurt and apologize? Why is it so difficult if they are so humble?

    Clinging, way back in # 180 or so, said that we need to cling to Jesus. I know I have been clinging to Jesus for years and I thank HIM for it because I would be dead otherwise. HE has gotten me through my life as I’m sure HE’s done the same with everyone on these sites. We love HIM or we wouldn’t be here.

    We are still working through the emotions of the hurtful situations that we experienced at the hands of these leaders.(includes wives) Until the emotions are dealt with and talked out then no one can move on…..healing can’t take place. I think people forget that HE is near to the brokenhearted, Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit Isa 42;3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

    We have overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, loving not our lives unto death.

    We didn’t love our lives enough so that we were unwilling to die to self. We didn’t cower when threatened with death, spiritual death since we haven’t been faced with physical death yet– but remained resistant to the externally applied pressure of pdi/sgm–and held on to our emotional connection to Jesus.

    Regardless of the experiences we had in an organized church..we have clung to Jesus. We have been led of the Holy Spirit into the promised land. Our very lives point to Jesus WHO is the author of the faith we have and the ONLY ONE who perfects it. Our lives point to HIM and HIM alone. That is the word of our testimony-that no matter what happens we point to Jesus. If that is not the focus of any believer’s life then “Houston there’s a problem.”

  45. happymom
    July 28th, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Something I find interesting.

    Fairfax posted their response to the SGM issues on their Facebook account.
    July 10, 2011, Mark refers to us as “voices on the internet..speaking to the issues and OUR CHURCH IN PARTICULAR.” If not Noel, Grizzly, Wallace and myself, who else could he be referencing, since we have been the ones seeking to expose how they handle abuse?
    So how did he transition from labeling us as “voices” to the group of people he is now tearful over in front of his church?

    Why were we not informed of this sudden acknowledgment of wrongdoing?

    Their final summary letter to us dated September 30, 2010, clearly lays out that we were wrong and pastor lg is right.
    Are they now willing to hear our questions and allow pastor lg to answer them? This is not a family issue if the staff continues to ignore our challenges to lg’s apologies and cover him. I am appalled that pastor lg mentioned child b’s name when the behavior and abandonment of him and his family have caused as much emotional pain and suffering as the incident itself.

  46. Phoenix
    July 28th, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Can someone please bring me up to speed on the Fairfax family meeting? I find references to it but I can’t find (am probably missing) any details. It is definitely not available on the SGM Fairfax website. As I am a Fairfax survivor (I’ve posted my real name and e-mail before) I’m very, very interested. Thank you!

  47. WaitingPatiently
    July 28th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Here you go Phoenix. It’s the first one on the list. It’s on their website. You probably just missed the family meetings link on the right.

  48. Steve240
    July 28th, 2011 at 7:35 am

    One question I have is on how various SGM Leaders are indicating that they were ALREADY starting to make changes or look into making changes in SGM before Brent’s documents were posted.

    One example in the change in polity such as having lay elders or other accountability. Josh Harris made it sound like this was already being looked at. I am just wondering how true this is? Was this really true or is this something the leaders are saying or exaggerating to try and appease concerned members?

    I am curious to hear what people know on this.

  49. A Kindred Spirit
    July 28th, 2011 at 8:11 am


    You really do have a gift for words, my dear.

    (Click on Lucy’s name and it will take you to her blog.)

  50. Bethany
    July 28th, 2011 at 8:14 am

    post 236 :goodpost

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