Sovereign Grace Ministries To Pick Mark Prater As Executive Director

From an email sent to Sovereign Grace Ministries elders from Mike Bradshaw on behalf of the SGM Executive Committee:

Dear Brothers,

We are looking forward with faith-filled anticipation to our time together  in Orlando next month. Thanks again to all who participated in the Ratification Vote. The new polity structure will, we believe, be of great help to Sovereign Grace (SG) churches in fulfilling our gospel mission together.

In accordance with the new SG Book of Church Order (BCO), this letter serves as formal notice to all SG elders of our previously announced Special Meeting of the SG Council of Elders (CE). The Council will convene at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, FL, on May 23-25, 2013.

Each SG church eldership has already identified its representative to the Council prior to the Polity Ratification Vote of April 12. Every SG church eldership that gives notice of inclusion to the Director of Church Care by signing the Letter of Intent is welcome to participate in this CE meeting.

Others SG elders are welcome as observers. Also welcome are the elders of those historical SG churches  who have not yet signed the Letter of Intent but who are considering doing so.

This meeting constitutes a “special meeting” since it is not coinciding with our annual Pastors Conference (BCO III.B.2.c). We realize that, as a movement, we are just getting used to functioning with a Book of Church Order and that the language of formality may be a bit foreign to us all.

Please do not let formal language detract from what we believe will be a time of significant blessing and spiritual communion among our elders.

The formal business action required by the CE will be the confirmation of the Executive Director.

“After the Executive Committee has chosen the Executive Director candidate, he must be confirmed by a simple majority of the Council of Elders.” (BCO III.B.3.g)

After careful consideration, including the review of input from our pastors, a detailed interview process, and much discussion and prayer, the Executive Committee has chosen Mark Prater to be the first Executive Director of the SG Leadership Team to be put forth for confirmation. The Committee believes that Mark is most suitably qualified to direct the Leadership Team in the near future. Mark has ably proven himself as the Regional Leader of a strong Region and as the Acting Director of Church Care and Church Planting. The Committee believes Mark is the best choice among several qualified candidates to bring the necessary leadership at this most critical moment in our history and to meet our most pressing needs: the implementation of our new polity, the restoration of trust and unity among the elders of SG, the facilitation of the care of our participating churches, and the coordination of our Regional Assemblies and our movement in the planting of new churches domestically and internationally. The Executive Director’s responsibilities are outlined in the Leadership Team section of the BCO (III.E.4.a).

We will be supplying each Council of Elders delegate with more extensive biographical information and justification of our decision to select Mark Prater. We do this so that each delegate can carefully and prayerfully consider his vote of confirmation. Furthermore, the Council of Elders meeting will include a formal nomination and discussion of Mark’s candidacy before a final vote is taken. A more detailed agenda of the meeting will be forthcoming in the next week or two.

Again, it is with much anticipation that we approach the convening of our first SG Council of Elders  meeting. This meeting will mark a new chapter in the life of our family of churches. We ask that you all approach this time together prayerfully and in faith for what God will do in our midst.

Grace and peace in the name of the Lord Jesus,

Your brothers on the Executive Committee

Mike Bradshaw
Sovereign Grace Ministries
Interim Communications Manager | sovgracemin.org

 

63 comments

  1. Sick with worry says:

    Once again, the best source for SGM news, is this site.

  2. Sick with worry says:

    I guess we should all call that number too, and let the Communications Manager know that we received his email in error.

    What a trip. These guys do not trust each other at all. To think that someone got this and forwarded it. What does that tell us?

  3. Jenn Grover says:

    Yes, the confidentiality disclaimer was amusing. They have had leaks for years, although the leaks are almost all gone now, lol.

    Mark specifically told me he does not agree with the concept of transparency as most of us would define it. At first, he tried to make it seem dangerous, like that would mean pastors would have to reveal the private sins of people. He finally conceded that there was information, like when he knew months in advance he was going back to Philthadelphia, that didn’t “serve” people, to know. CJ will have no difficulty running the show from behind the scenes.

  4. Kris says:

    Something about the way they quote from their oh-so-recently-minted Book of Church Order feels a little…self-important, or redundant, or something. I’m not sure what.

    I mean, first of all, Book of Church Order is a rather ponderous title for the governing guidelines of a mere “family of churches.” It sounds a whole lot more like something…Anglican, like the Book of Common Prayer or something. It’s as though the SGM leaders think that by giving it a formal, traditional-sounding name, it will be more quickly regarded as a longstanding, traditional authority.

    And then the way they keep harkening back to it like it is a longstanding traditional authority, rather than a document thrown together over the past year or two – well, like I said, I can’t quite explain why, but it feels silly.

    I guess part of it is that SGM spent so long pretending to be a mere “family of churches,” a loose association where SGM Corporate has no say over each local church…until SGM Corporate swoops in to fire or reassign pastors or make other decisions for each local church. For them to suddenly tighten up and go all Episcopalian on us, quoting ponderously from their own brand-new governance document, just adds to the silliness.

  5. Jenn Grover says:

    Kris, you are spot on. It is as silly as them paying a PR company to improve their SEO.

  6. Jenn Grover says:

    As a matter of fact, “self-important” is the exact description of SGM since it started ttrying to promote itself hardcore when they began rubbing elbows with their reformed pals.

  7. 5yearsinPDI says:

    My immediate response is to pray for “TrueBlue”/Dave B. Sorry dude :) God will work even this for good for those who love Him.

    After Samuel anointed David, David waited 15 years to become King of Judah, and another seven to be King of all Israel. Saul fought a long time to stay in power, and after his death war with the house of Saul continued for years. 22 years from the time God took the anointing away from Saul, wow, that is a long time.

    Under the new Covenant God is not putting his anointing on just leaders or pastors. 1 John 2:20/27 says we all have an anointing (the Holy Spirit) and we all know the Lord and the Holy Spirit teaches us. Shepherding doctrine, wherever it is found, is King Saul- leaders robbing the body of Christ of their priesthood, and taking for themselves the role of the Holy Spirit. Anybody who thinks the anointing is only on pastors or some subgroup of Christians is in error.

    Saul got deposed and now the house of Saul is still fighting to hold what they had. May God deliver people out. When I look at Mormonism and how they have grown, I am not sure if SGM will grow or die out. We live in a time of great spiritual deception, and many with bad childhoods and bad dads want strong male leaders to control them. Perhaps SGM will flourish and people will never know what they are missing. I don’t know what will happen.

    Anyway, take comfort Trueblue that God will somehow use this for His purposes.

  8. Rick Malament says:

    Okay, just wondering something. Does this formally mean SGM has now declared themselves to be a denomination instead of a “family of churches”? Not saying that’s bad or good, just wondering.

  9. Jenn Grover says:

    Rick – reasonable question and the answer is not entirely clear. It appears to want to be considered a denomination. the website still calls it a family of churches but that might just not have been updated yet.

    I find it interesting that there is only 1 person left from the original church planting team to Pittsburgh, not including Mark’s family. The original church planting team consisted of 5 singles, TrueBlue’s family, Musicman’s family, and a man who had difficulty selling his house so he returned to Philly, so the 12 included Mark and Jill.

    I doubt anyone in SGM works as hard as Mark.

  10. delta dagger says:

    Hi Jenn,
    I will trust SGM when CJ does not have an office in the SGM HQ. One thing that kills me is that CJ still owns SGM CO. I will bet my last dollar CJ can still hire and fire who he likes.

  11. Oswald says:

    Jenn G @9 — “…man who had difficulty selling his house so he returned to Philly”. This guy, (JS) stayed at CovFel for some time but finally left within the past 2 years.

  12. Jenn Grover says:

    Oswald: JS is of the highest character and godliness. If the men who led SGM and CovFel were like him, this blog wouldn’t be necessary.

  13. Oswald says:

    JG — You’re right about JS. I knew him and his wife from another church before they attended CovFel. I lost touch with them around the time he went to Pittsburgh. Later when I went to CovFel, there they were. And soon Prater was there, too, back from Pittsburgh.

  14. Paul says:

    Kris,

    The phrase “Book of Church Order” is presbyterian. That’s exactly the name used for the equivalent document in the PCA, the denomination CJ’s friend Lig Duncan is in.

    I’m hoping someone attending this meeting at the Rosen Shingle Creek will ask the Executive Committee what exactly this “detailed interview process” consisted of and specifically who else was interviewed besides Mark Prater. I bet that question would get asked if this were the PCA and not SGM.

  15. 28 years gone... says:

    I think we will be seeing the phrase used in this announcement alot in the coming years;

    “Please do not let formal language detract from what we believe will be a time of significant blessing and spiritual communion among our elders.”

    They will be making this stuff up as they need to for a long time to come. I am thinking of going to the meeting in Orlando to protest outside, maybe get some media attention, and hold signs up like

    PROTECTING PEDIFILES IS NOT A 1ST AMMENDMENT RIGHT FOR ANYONE
    or
    USE MONEY AND LOVE PEOPLE – STOP DOING IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND

    Anyone want to join me? Any other sign ideas?

  16. KWIM says:

    So Mike basically confirmed that the vote was yet another sham.
    “Each SG church eldership has already identified its representative to the Council prior to the Polity Ratification Vote of April 12. Every SG church eldership that gives notice of inclusion to the Director of Church Care by signing the Letter of Intent is welcome to participate in this CE meeting. Others SG elders are welcome as observers. Also welcome are the elders of those historical SG churches who have not yet signed the Letter of Intent but who are considering doing so.”

  17. James says:

    WELL, didn’t see that coming….oh wait, we did. One of the things that irks me about SGM (and their churches) is their tendency to make decisions first and inform “us little people” later, “we’re doing X, and here is why you should agree”.

  18. Oswald says:

    James @17 — Actually, the ‘little people’ have not been informed even yet. You’ll notice that Mike did not write to us. We are just the recipients of a leak.

  19. Jayson says:

    James #17 you are spot on. SGM loves to make decisions first and then tell us how things are going to happen. SGM removed our pastor and then told us after the fact. Then the “apostle” had the nerve to say everyone wanted him out- what an incredible lie.
    ButI guess that is SOP for SGM.

    Self-important Group of Men perhaps that is what SGM really stands for

  20. Marge Sweigart says:

    Oswald #18 – An edited version was posted on the SGM blog. http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Mark-Prater-to-be-Confirmed-as-Executive-Director.aspx It is dated today, 4/24/2013, so it must’ve been posted after midnight.

  21. PB&J says:

    I agree that Mark has been the choice for a while. A CGL at my former SG church in Virginia- Let’s call him “Jeff” was singing the praises of Mark Prater a few months ago saying there is revival at CFC led by the prophetic word of Mark Prater. Amazing things were happening there. I checked with my friends who were still there, though there has been a strong history of gifts of the Spirit at CFC there was nothing new. They were experiencing the same things other SG churches were experiencing old members disinfranchised and considering leaving. Hard for man to work up what only the Holy Spirit gives.

  22. Marge Sweigart says:

    Maybe it wasn’t edited. It’s hard to tell because it’s formatted differently from what Kris posted. I don’t have the time to try to figure that out.

  23. KWIM says:

    The post on SGM was edited. Notice the confidentiality section was taken out. Everything else is the same. Haha. I guess Mike doesn’t want the world to have his cell phone number. Oh wait too late.

  24. Stunned says:

    PB&J said, “A CGL at my former SG church in Virginia- Let’s call him “Jeff” was singing the praises of Mark Prater a few months ago saying there is revival at CFC led by the prophetic word of Mark Prater. Amazing things were happening there.”

    How can someone be so deceptive? This is not the way to “do church.”

  25. Jenn Grover says:

    The prophecy team at CFC has existed and traveled for years, it isn’t new and I think attributing the charismatic emphasis at CFC to anyone other than Dave is a bit deceptive.

    If there was genuine revival happening it would be accompanied by repentance by Mark and the other pastors who have participated in cover-ups as well there would be rejoicing for reconciliation for broken relationships.

  26. Kris says:

    Now that it’s been semi-announced that leadership of the SGM organization will officially be someone else’s job and not CJ’s, I wonder how that’s going to change both CJ’s and SGM’s places in the larger Christian community.

    What’s interesting is that SGM-the-organization’s identity has always been very enmeshed with CJ’s identity. In fact, the reality is that nobody in the rest of the conservative Evangelical/Reformed world would have cared much about either of the entities alone, without the other.

    Nobody would have taken CJ seriously at all if he hadn’t had the instant credibility that comes with being the revered founder and president of a nationwide group of churches. (Remember, until Larry T’s name came up here and people started tinkering with the Wikipedia page, SGM’s official history had been scrubbed of any mention of the fact that SGM had had two founders. Everything was worded to lead people to believe that CJ started SGM all by himself.) CJ seemed to sort of burst onto the Christian stage almost out of nowhere, but when people asked “Who IS this guy,” they were comforted by the fact that so many seemingly stable, educated, and financially solvent people from quite a few locations around the country were part of his churches.

    And at the same time, nobody would have paid much attention to SGM without – for better or for worse – all of CJ’s machinations to put himself out there and get himself accepted as one of the Reformed Big Dogs. I’d bet that if you were to survey all the people who have joined SGM churches over the past 8 or 10 years, most of them would trace their awareness of the group to their awareness of CJ…or of something written about SGM online that would not have been written without CJ’s acceptance and seeming endorsement by other leaders.

    I guess the question is, what is SGM – and who is its face, its voice – without CJ? I know many of us are convinced that he’s of course still running things. His son-in-law is the one who wrote that notice, after all…and, far more importantly, CJ’s preeminance has been so beaten into the thinking of SGM’s current leaders for such a long time that they will automatically defer to him even if he’s not actually sitting on his official throne. SGM will only go in the direction CJ wants to drive, even if he’s not the one working the pedals or steering wheel.

    BUT, while this may be true for those in SGM churches – that CJ will remain SGM’s de facto leader even if some other guy holds the official title of president – it’s not as meaningful to those on the outside. When they’re writing blurbs for conference speakers, what will they put in CJ’s bio now? That he used to be the president of SGM?

    I predict that CJ is going to need to work a whole lot harder now to keep his name and his identity out there in people’s minds. He’s probably already got his ghost writer lackeys working on his next book or something – because pastors of start-up churches that meet in hotel ballrooms just don’t garner the same amount of respect as denominational presidents and talked-about authors.

    Likewise, SGM is going to have to find ways to forge an identity apart from their Humble Reformed Clown former president. I know many of you know Mark Prater well, but I have no idea what the guy looks or sounds like. I doubt he has exchanged man hugs with Al Mohler or Mark Dever in front of thousands. Yet now he’s SGM’s official mouthpiece. This is a little bit like plucking up some assemblyline supervisor and making him CEO of General Motors. The supervisor may know the business well enough and may even have the support of his co-workers, but he’s not going to excite and inspire shareholders and future investors.

  27. 5yearsinPDI says:

    People don’t learn from history. The PCA has a book of church order, as Paul pointed out. So do the OPC and other Reformed denominations.

    I can only speak for the PCA, but in their case, the Westminster confession of faith is a basic summary of bible doctrine while the BCO is full of all sorts of extra biblical procedures. And it is full of amendments made over the last couple hundred years. It has gotten so bogged down with requirements- this many committee meetings and steps to get a pastor, this procedure for this problem and that procedure for the other problem-that it can mire churches in the rules of man. You must have X elders for Y members and a quorum of Z to vote on A, and 2 committees B to talk about C and vote on D and then a doctrinal subject goes to the courts and the general assembly.

    If a member has a conflict and decides to leave, and his elders are the controlling sort who think he should stay, it can take two years!!! or even longer to go through the hoops to get released from membership, working your way up through the presbytery with appeals.

    There is nothing wrong with some basic “rules of the house”. Members have a right to know how things run and pastors need to decide the local procedure for certain things. That’s OK. Polity statements are OK. But you have to wonder if starting up with a formal detailed book of church order is just failing to look at history and see how quenching all these extra rules can be. I mean, would they really want to quench the Holy Spirit? Really :)

  28. Diego says:

    As the Holy Spirit is quenched at SG churches, they will try to copy a work of the Spirit. They do not understand that when they refused to repent and obey the Lord they were rejected. The ministry of SGM, once fruitful, it is no longer fruitful. It is in decay. The leaders will deceive and say that God is at work, but they have not repented. Obedience is more important to Our Lord than the reputation of man.

    1 Sam 15:17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

    20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

    22 But Samuel replied:

    “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
    To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
    23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
    Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    he has rejected you as king.”

    24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”

    26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”

  29. Jenn Grover says:

    Kris – that was an excellent post and I think it is a good look from 10,000′.

    Mark did not seem to see any need for SGM to reform when I spoke to him about the issues. He only thought that they had not done a good job communicating – spoken like a true marketing professional. So, I expect at CFC and SGM, we will see stepped up measures to make it seem as though things are changing and that they are being responsive but at the end of the day I do not expect to see the sure sign of change: repentance.

  30. intheNickoftime says:

    5Years –

    Is it possible that up until the lawsuit CJ did not know about the cover ups?

    Really?

    After all the bizillion meetings they have and care groups and faculty and office meetings, do you think it is humanly possible to not know?

    Det was in a different place so he would have an excuse. But the way those guys meet together all the time, in the church, in the office, in the coffee shops, etc. There is no way he didnt know!

  31. Foot says:

    ITNOT #30, I agree, CJ’s goose is cooked!

  32. Patrick Henderson says:

    Kris #26 – That brings up a question that may have been raised before. How does the church in Louisville afford the likes of CJ, Bob Kauflin, Jeff Purswell, Gary Ricucci, and Brian Chesemore? 4 of which have been in the ministry a long time, and are making pretty good money, I would assume. None of these guys are on the SGM payroll, with the exception of Purswell, who might still be paid as Dean of the PC. From the looks of the size of the crowd each Sunday, it is hard for me to fathom that they take in enough to pay these guys according to their “tenure”.

  33. 5yearsinPDI says:

    Inthenick……

    I don’t know. If JL and GR behaved the way the lawsuit alleges they did, I can easily picture them keeping all the dirty laundry secret from CJ. You get the impression CJ was aloof and out of touch with the hands on pastoral care at CLC.

    I was a stay at home, in touch with and involved with my (most of the time great) kids. But now and then I’d find out something where they were all in cahoots to not let us know something. Eventually one of them would feel guilty and confess, like say when the little neighbor kid brought a playboy mag over and they looked at it, or one of them stole money out of dad’s wallet and they bought pretzels at 7-11. Not talking pedophile crime here, but just saying that people can be sneaky when they want to hide. Human nature. Especially when there is always the threat that CJ can degift you any time for any reason.

    I am tempted to believe if CJ swears he never heard of this, that JL and GR did hide it from him. It’ll be interesting to watch the lawsuit. You might be right of course. Either way, CLC had major flaws.

  34. Bridget says:

    Does anyone know if Mike Bradshaw has been the “Interim” Communications Manager since he started functioning in that position for SGM? Is he leaving that position in the near future?

    I was under the impression that the move to Louisville by SGM was for economic and centrality reasons. This leaves me wondering why the meetings are in Florida?

    Moving SGM and the pastor’s college to Louisville sure seems like a knee-jerk reaction (by CJ?) in light of the fact that most (all?) of the executives and board members of SGM live elsewhere. What was the real cause of uprooting and moving of families and property, and the money spent? Was it because CJ wanted to move?

    I’m not seeing the reality of the reasons given on paper and blog posts for the move of SGM and the PC being lived out.

  35. Bridget says:

    Patrick @32 –

    Good question. Our church has more people than Louisville (but still small) and we have less than have half of their number of elders and staff. Our elders’ and staff salaries are minimal.

  36. Whirlwind says:

    @Jenn #25 – “The prophecy team at CFC has existed and traveled for years”

    Just curious, is there a record of their prophecies? Can anyone give an example or two of the prophecies they’ve given? Were there any prophetic words concerning SGM in the spring of 2011?

    While I can see some of the Reformed guys giving CJ a pass on the typical prophecy mic where people (in my experience) have basically read Scripture and tried to encourage (with very general exhortations) those who may be discouraged (usually for pretty vague reasons), I’d think they’d have a harder time approving of a travelling prophecy team.

  37. Whirlwind says:

    Anyone wonder why, yet again, SGM is meeting at the resort hotel in Florida instead of meeting somewhere around Louisville? I thought part of the reason for their move was to be more centrally located to churches across the country and to be located where cost of living was less.

    If nothing else, meeting in Louisville would save on the housing and meal expenses for the SGM leaders that already live in Louisville and they could probably house at least some of the other pastors – such as those in small church plants with little money – to help reduce their expenses.

    I guess they’re not feeling too much of a financial pinch at SGM HQ.

  38. Whirlwind says:

    @Kris #26:

    I don’t think it will be too hard for CJ to spin a flattering bio – “After founding SGM and building it into an international denomination, family of churches, okay, denomination, CJ retired from SGM leadership and returned to his church planting roots. He now serves as the senior pastor of SGCL where he helps to actively train the next generation of SGM pastors and leaders.”

    See, he steps down, but still has a role in SGM that makes him attractive on the YRR conference circuit. He’s all about church planting and training leaders. SGM still benefits from his appearing on those conference venues because people are drawn to him and learn about this unique group of churches known as SGM.

    I don’t think Mark Prater needs to be recognized anywhere outside SGM. He might be asked to speak at a conference here or there, but it’s not essential. SGM will still have its music to help promote itself to the uninitiated. If you think about professional sports teams, most fans connect with the star players. People may know who the owner is, but it’s the star quarterback who really gives the team its public identity. Unfortunately, just like sports teams, SGM will probably find its identity in its “star” founder for a long time yet.

  39. Whirlwind says:

    For the question, “Who else was considered to serve as Executive Director?”

    While it’s a perfectly legitimate question (though not quite as legitimate as, “Why didn’t the Council of Elders bring nominations and vote on our first Executive Director?”), I wouldn’t expect an answer beyond, “We wouldn’t want to enter into a public discussion of who was passed over and why. That wouldn’t really serve you.”

  40. Persona says:

    My guess is CJ was aware of virtually any case that involved the men ‘under’ him. I know for a fact that he was aware of fairly ‘minor’ cases that we were involved in because we heard that he was. It was his self-perceived responsibility to ‘look over the pastors’ souls’ as they were fulfilling their self-perceived responsibility to ‘watch over our souls.” CJ would correct the pastors’ attitudes and actions and give advice on what they should do next.

    CJ was very much the puppet-master behind the curtain. Of course, he only heard ONE side of a case and the pastors could skew their story, to their benefit, which I saw happen multiple times. But, the pastors were required to confess their sins to one another on a regular basis. So a lot of their mistakes did come to light.

    The only folks left out of that loop were lowly members who were having heavier and heavier burdens heaped upon their backs by modern-day pharisees. And, serious cases were invariably left unresolved because the primary goal of the pastors was to extinguish the ‘fire’ in the church, at any cost. This created a maddening environment for trying to achieve justice or addressing serious deficiencies of character in the pastors.

  41. Jim says:

    Whirlwind #37- http://thetransfer.org

    Loving how sg goes from “confidential” to posting on their blog after info is leaked. So open and transparent.

  42. Waiting says:

    Reading this news and the posts connected to it, I’m reminded of the fact that SGM is not legally a church, but a corporation, although they were trying to hide behind the 1st Amendment at first. Wonder how that’s going. That it’s a corporation, CJ as back seat driver, as Kris mentioned, MP as the figurehead, the continuation of behind closed doors decisions, all makes sense. Gosh, learn some Christianese, act all pompous and run a super tight ship, use the BCO and the BCP, etc., and you, too, can pull the wool over the flock as you use, abuse and fleece them. And throw a party in sunny FL, instead of Kentuck, to keep appearances up. But, yes, the money must be coming from somewhere to pay these tenured folk, to copy? Rick Warren, who tried to take his brand to Africa, etc.

  43. Waiting says:

    As an aside, I’ve been praying for the Warren family. I’m sure this is very difficult for them. I just don’t agree with a lot of his perspective on church or how to do it.

  44. keepinstep says:

    Kris #26, Waiting #42 – thanks for reminding us that when we discuss SGM, we’re talking about a business concern, not a Christian ministry. The difference is very important, and explains so much.

  45. keepinstep says:

    Just read Brent’s latest: http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/2013/4/21/restoration-of-the-church-are-you-a-pioneer-or-a-settler.html

    Nice he’s saying this now, but Brent’s announcement would have been important around 1998-2000, when the CEO had decided the most important thing the corporation could do was to defend – and make a lot of money from defending – a 500-year-old [pioneering] reform movement.

    Brent’s writing this in 2013 actually lessens my respect for him. If he’s carried this pioneer-vs-settler conflict burning in his heart all these years, why wasn’t he challenging CJ Mahaney – to his face, in public – years ago, for deserting the PDI vision and carrying the entire “movement” off the rails?

  46. keepinstep says:

    I’m sorry, I’m forgetting the paycheck thing again, and the thrill of handing out the kool-aid. Had I been in Brent’s shoes, I might’ve done the same thing. Power does strange things to people.

  47. Jenn Grover says:

    Patrick Henderson – actually, Gary is paid as pastor of the PC students and Bob for his role leading SGM music. I would not be surprised, at all, if CJ is still going to be paid for some type of “president emeritus” role. It is worth asking if your church is staying. Usually the sending church of a church plants provides a lot of support for the first 1-2 years and I am guessing SGM will be providing more than their normal support.

  48. Brent Detwiler says:

    Keep in Step. You have no idea how hard or how often I fought against decline since 1995 both in private and in public nor what it cost me.

  49. Waiting says:

    keepinstep, thanks. Yeah, it’s so weird to realize that this is in all actuality, more about business than it is about Christianity, when you look at the facts, that is. It’s about power and money from the top’s perspective, imo. Do they know and love Christ? Probably so, maybe more than I do, but they’ve also been living high on the hog with this gig in Jesus’ name for a long time now, at others’ expense. Not that there is anything wrong with someone being wealthy if the money was gained honestly. Even if it was a case of the crooked TV evangelist claiming that God would strike him dead if he didn’t raise $100,000 in the next month, that would be one thing, but we’re talking about personal spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, people being told where to work, live and a host of other life changing issues involved. No company should be allowed to get away with such abuse without expecting to be pulled into court someday.

  50. Nickname says:

    When I read the first sentence of this notice, my first thought was, “Well, they’re still talking and writing in that formal, flowery SGM-ese.”. And then, when I got tot the part that said something like ‘please do not let formal language detract from what will be a time of significant blessing….’. I laughed out loud at a table for one in a public place.

    If I had a nickel for every time I heard a SovGrace pastor promise a ‘time of significant blessing’ for all who would attend some meeting or another, I could make a couple of house payments. I used to think they said that because they had some kind of message from God that caused them to have the boldness to make that kind of promise. Now, I know it was pure hype. Even if someone truly believes that there will be a time of significant blessing, it’s terribly presumptuous to promise it to everyone else. Let it happen, then give God the glory.

    Five Years: what you wrote about the PCA BCO is pretty much what I’d have said if I’d logged on earlier. Although the PCA did not exist until 1973, the basic BCO was an historical document in use by the Presbyterian Church, US for years. I believe th PCA tweaked it to fit their continuing affirmation of scripture as the only infallible rule of faith and practice. CJ and Company might have done well to have used it as well, but really, I’m glad they did not. Their new document is another example of their misguided belief that nobody does it better than they do. (Personally, I think the PCA BCO gets a little too legalistic from time to time — as the old folks say, it stops preaching and goes to meddling.

    Although it drives me nuts to hear and read SGM-ese, I’m glad they still use — it makes their stuff easy to identify. Anytime I see something written in their trademark style, a red flag goes up, and I know to read carefully between the lines.