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 |


63 comments to Sovereign Grace Ministries To Pick Mark Prater As Executive Director

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  1. Jenn Grover
    April 24th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Nickname – your post made me chuckle.

    Tolling Bell points out something significant that is again, evidence that nothing has changed. The SGM title is, “Mark Prater to be Confirmed as Executive Director.” It is obvious that the assumption is that Mark will be confirmed and I would classify it as typical sales speech to “assume the sale.” SGM pastors don’t get to vote – they still have no significant say.

    Mark’s pick as executive director puts the heat on the Pittsburgh church. If they don’t go SGM, it is a vote of no confidence in Mark.

    We are now just a couple of weeks away from the deadline for the letter of intent. Pray for pastors to hear directly from God and to be filled with faith in courage. SGM has peddled fear to the degree that many members and pastors cannot fathom life outside of SGM, even though they don’t like what they see.

  2. Eva
    April 24th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    This request is out-of-time I realize; but what is the name of the podcast addressing SGM issues? It’s been mentioned on this site from time to time…would like to check it out…thanks

  3. Jenn Grover
    April 24th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Eva, it’s SGM Detox:

  4. Persona
    April 24th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I am wondering if Prater will take up a similar role as Pres. Ford after Nixon’s fall-from-grace after Watergate..not that CJ needs another pardon.

    But, the one confered by Loftness was given before the lawsuit and the revelations about the sex crimes by Nate Morales.

    Ford restored the honor of the presidency and it seems like SGM is hoping for the same.

  5. Jenn Grover
    April 24th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Persona – I am not sure I would over-think this one. Who else is left?

  6. 5yearsinPDI
    April 24th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Sex abuse, here we come.

    When the government forces school girls to dress and undress with boys (one can hope there are some toilet stalls for privacy), you create shame and resignation and a whole complex of things that make a girl an easier target later on. Once that line of nudity is crossed, it is not long until they give in to worse without fighting back.

    We need to pray for revival in this nation, and for our kids. I don’t see how anybody in CA can decide to leave their kids in public school. I am not against public school, but this goes too far.

  7. Wizer
    April 24th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Whirlwind #36, up until our departure in 2012 the prophecy team was still traveling. I still maintain respect for these people, though over a 10 year period, we witnessed their effectiveness wither under the edits at the mic and the de-emphasis on the gifts. The “prophecies” began to sound almost pre-recorded they were so general and repeated and most always to the effect that if you’re feeling like the vilest sinner here today, look to the One who bore your sin. Nothing wrong with hearing it but after awhile it became rather commonplace and uninspiring.

    To have been a part of CFC as long as we were and to see that Mark Prater is now going to be president is just surreal to me. While he is extremely hard-working he is not a very good speaker but he is well-versed in the lock-step march that is SGM. But maybe as has been stated, he will work largely behind the scenes. I just have to wonder how Dave Harvey feels about it, given that apparently he and Mark aren’t exactly best friends anymore. There was a time that Mark defended everything said against Dave to a fault. It’s just so weird to me.

    To share a view I had of Mark in action, in one of our final church services and the Sunday following the announcement about Dave’s hardships with his family, it was as though the whole building had a dark cloud over it. Worship was difficult for many that day, and I watched as Mark left his seat and walked over to Joe Stigora (music pastor but not leading worship that day) and whisper something into his ear. I thought it a bit strange but even stranger when Joe began yelling out just moments later during the song and jumping up and down and then I witnessed a number of pastors begin to do the same thing, in an attempt to bring life into the room. They had become an organized, suddenly charismatic movement on the spot. I had never seen so many do that at once. In that moment my blood ran cold with the machinations of men to bring about the Spirit of God where He had been quenched. I lost respect for Mark that day for trying to manipulate the worship of not only the pastors, but also God’s people. I stood there and thought, oh my goodness, I’m in the twilight zone and all the things I never wanted to believe about these men and my church is really true after all. I was heart sick and I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore.

    So, I do not expect much of any difference from Mark as he is of the old guard, unless of course, we see true repentance. I did find one phrase from the announcement revealing, however:
    “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…” This is the closest thing I’ve ever read in an official SGM missive to admitting publicly that they had ever lost trust. Yes, I would say restoration of trust is one of their biggest needs, so why aren’t they addressing how they lost it in the first place? Why won’t they just state the obvious?

  8. TR
    April 24th, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Wizer #57 “In that moment my blood ran cold with the machinations of men to bring about the Spirit of God where He had been quenched.”

    That comment says so much about SGM on SO MANY levels.

  9. Jenn Grover
    April 24th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Wizer – that is an interesting account and not all that surprising.

    RE: restoration of trust – Mark thinks his listening tours will bear fruit in that area. It has worked for him before and to some degree still works for him. It did not work or him in Indiana, PA or Cleveland, however, which is fairly telling. People’s patience have run out. Still no repentance and plenty more spin. Mark is very good at making people “feel heard” but not very good at genuine listening. Almost any legalism that the Pittsburgh church experience can be traced back t Mark and Jill. They were big into Ezzo and we did whatever Philadelphia did.

    Mark is a genuinely a nice guy but not a great leader and has played a major role in SGM over the last two years.

  10. Waiting
    April 24th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    5years, thanks for sharing that. We’re back in Greco and Roman Empire days. I don’t see how our society can hold up much longer.

    Wizer, that would have made my blood run cold, too. Machinations-going through the motions.

  11. MAK
    April 24th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    CLC announced at the recent members meeting that they will no longer be renting the SGM space on their lower level. Even less income now for SGM. It would be kind of awkward if SGM decided to sublet the space.

  12. Steve240
    April 24th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    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?

    It sure was “knee-jerk reaction.” Despite what SGM Leaders claim, C.J. had the headquarters moved due to him not liking the leadership at CLC (where SGM was located) on his sin and hypocrisy. Everyone knows that but leadership will try and claim otherwise.

    This move was abruptly announced as a decision vs. a proposal to member churches. Brent has a blog post questioning just how much money it would save CLC.

    It was really sad that when C.J. was caught in his sin and leaders of his local church were calling him on his sin SGM Leadership allowed him to flee CLC. Before this C.J. use to teach on submission to local leaders and even “leaving well.” C.J. Mahaney did neither.

  13. Mr Stretch
    April 24th, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I pray Mark will begin his tenure by making a public apology for all those hurt by SGM.

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