My Thoughts Lately

[Today I came out of my lurkerdom to post a comment in the previous thread. After I wrote it, I realized that it might make a good stand-alone post. I've been MIA here for the past several months, partly because I lead a very busy life with many responsibilities, and partly because I just haven't felt that interested in the topic of Sovereign Grace Ministries, at least in the way the discussions have been happening here lately. My comment sort of explains why, and it also gives some insight into where I feel things are heading here. Here goes:]

For the record, I utterly hate it when questions of basic Christian doctrine arise here and then it becomes the general consensus among commenters that no doctrine matters since those teachings were upheld by leaders and churches that ended up being abusive.

Yes, it’s true, churches abuse. It’s true that the churches of Sovereign Grace Ministries have mishandled and mistreated many people through their organization’s own peculiar blend of hyper-authoritarian teachings and pastors-as-mediators with little formal training and zero formal accountability to their congregations. That combination was (and in some cases still is) particularly lethal.

But it’s also true, like it or not, that the Bible gives us some pretty straightforward assertions about Jesus and what we need to believe about Him in order to be viewed by God as “on His side” (and not lost, not condemned to an eternity in hell). I find it really troublesome when the conversation moves from calling out SGM’s peculiar twistedness and abuses of various Christian doctrines to trash-talking the doctrines themselves. I don’t really want any part of an environment where it’s suddenly not OK to hold firmly to certain Bible-based beliefs just because others who held firmly to those beliefs mishandled them and used them as a smokescreen to hide their own self-serving agendas.

I’ve actually been thinking over the past several months that it might be time to close comments here. It remains true that SGM as it has been in its various iterations over the past few decades has been a dysfunctional mess craftily masquerading as “doing church right.” I do not believe the dysfunction will ever be fully addressed until the pastors who were raised up in the dysfunctional system repent of how they came to power and change their church governance structures to officially incorporate input from ordinary members. I do think there will continue to be a need for the free discussion of SGM’s issues until this visible repentance happens. (It’s not enough for a church to merely withdraw from the SGM organization, hold some coffee klatches, slap a new label on itself, and think it has charted a new course. The way almost all pastors came into their leadership positions is still rotten at its core, and until that is addressed and until the root issue of lack of accountability to ordinary members is dealt with, the church will still remain SGM. To put it like the familiar saying, you can take the church out of SGM, but it’s not so easy to take the SGM out of the church.)

But this nonsense of wholesale-condemning everything SGM has ever taught just because SGM taught it has got to stop. Likewise, it is not at all healthy or fruitful for people to build an identity upon having been abused, rather than upon having been redeemed by Jesus Christ. Since the past 6 or 8 months have been something of a “slow news cycle” with respect to SGM’s bigger, more public issues, the conversations here have frequently devolved into something that just, well, makes me tired and (for lack of a better way to put it) feels wrong in my spirit.

My heart still breaks for anyone whose walk with God has been damaged or derailed by spiritual abuse…but at some point, it’s time to stop harping on the abuse and start praising God for who He is and for what He has done and continues to do. My heart still beats faster and I still get angry when I hear about the horrible fruit that comes from the abuse of various doctrines of the faith…but some of those same doctrines are the very foundation of what will still save one’s soul to the utmost.

If this site is becoming a place where people just gather to wallow in their victimhood and sneer at the act of really believing in what the Bible says, then I don’t want any part of it. It’s not good for me, and it’s certainly not good for the people doing the wallowing and the sneering.

I am still of the mind that there is a need for forums where spiritual abuse can be analyzed and challenged. But at the same time, it is not profitable for us as believers to make deconstructing every doctrine a priority over celebrating what we have in the Lord Jesus. If something newsworthy about SGM arises, by all means let’s discuss it. But until then, the general conversations about what we don’t believe – well, I just don’t see those as the point of this site.

1,834 comments to My Thoughts Lately

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  1. Oswald
    July 20th, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Just read the most recent post from Brent. Concerning the PC, and the pictures shown…I’m saddened for these men who have gone to the PC, probably quit jobs in order to go, with high expectations of becoming better equipped to serve God. And it’s all a farce. And what is Mahaney doing in the 2014 picture? Does he have some ‘job’ at the PC. He’s no longer the ‘president’, getting into many pictures. Just what is he doing there?
    So glad I’m out!

  2. 28 years gone...
    July 21st, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Is there ANY way to spin the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College any better? And for that matter, if you are still a member of a Sovereign Grace Church (or ex-church) shouldn’t you be outraged at all this.
    -SGM is spending NEARLY 3/4 OF A MILLION OF YOUR DOLLARS to train 9 guys – 9 PEOPLE. That is $82,555 per student. Consider the cost of a college education at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, U of Penn or Columbia U of NY – IVY League schools average cost is just over $60,000. Duke spends $90,000 to educate the average undergraduate student according to NPR’s Planet Money. But that includes their medical and law school students which cost duke much more to educate.
    So when all is said and done, what is more valuable to a student, a year at Yale or Harvard or Duke, or a year at the Pastor’s college. To SGM, there is no question. They are not only the happiest place on earth, they might be the most expensive place on earth! I am glad to see all that will change within the next year or two. With all the churches leaving there won’t be much left to resuscitate by 2017 or so. All the while, the photo of the graduating class of 2014 are all smiles, including the ex-president C.J., who justs can’t stand not being in a photo opp! The sad fact is by the time these guys go out and get their feet wet by “planting” a church, SGM might not be able to help them at all financially, unless any of the men are related to C.J.

  3. Steve240
    July 21st, 2014 at 6:56 am

    28 Years Gone

    Good points above. I don’t think the price of $83K per student that you calculated includes room and board for the pastors college students. Thus if it doesn’t include this then the cost per student is even higher than your $83K figure and thus well into being a 6 figure cost.

    I sure hope they are getting a top education for that kind of cost but really doubt it.

    I imagine it is more a way to keep Riccuci and the other person employed for a few more years till they can afford to retire.

    I sure hope all these families that are making such sacrifices to fund the Pastors’ College feel good knowing how their sacrificial money is being spent.

  4. Dave MacKenzie
    July 21st, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Stunned #1796,

    Although Brent only listed J.T.P. and G.R. as compensation and benefits costs for the Pastors College, they are not the only ones. There is an admin assistant M.G., an academic assistant N.S. who teaches Greek, and a bunch of visiting lecturers who are paid a stipend for the week they teach. When the PC was in Gaithersburg there was also a part-time housing coordinator J.H.

    So, the pie is divided into more pieces, but Brent probably meant that those two men are the biggest pieces, which I’m sure is true. And as clergy, they can benefit from housing allowance tax breaks.

  5. Steve240
    July 21st, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Good additional points Dave MacKenzie. I am sure there are other costs besides personnel and visiting speaker costs but the majority is with these two men.

    As I said before, all these men including Ricucci, Purswell, Mahaney and getting near retirement age. My guess is they are keeping SGMgoing while “milking” SGM for more savings toward their retirement.

    I am sure they would be different and more long term thinking actions if they weren’t so close to retiring. Just my educated guess.

    Supporting my “guess” is the fact that 1 (maybe 2??) of Mahaney’s Son in Laws are getting Seminary degrees rather then just stake their future on being an SGM Pastor.

  6. Houston
    July 21st, 2014 at 8:51 am

    $83K for an UNACCREDITED education.


    I’m sure that God is very happy with this. Prophecy mike said so.

  7. TrustingOnlyInJesus
    July 21st, 2014 at 9:55 am

    RE: Steve240 – Post 1803

    When M.D. and M.H. were sent to the Pastors Colleg from the Pasadena church, it was reported that it costs $50,000 each for the 10 months for their living expenses. Most of this amount was given through monthly or onetime gifts from the congregation. Now, M.H. is totally out of SGM and M.D. is the admin pastor at OC under E.T.

    E.T. is the guy who replaced Mark Lauterbach when Mark was “Shanked”. Later Mark was re-seated as pastor in San Diego to save some money (imagine that!!!)as Mark had other financial means and would be paid less. Then E.T. shows up in OC replacing M.D. as the senior pastor. M.D. was deemed not to have the skills of a senior pastor.

    Note: Mark Lauterbach had over 20 years of ministry when he attended the Pastors College – with no financial assistance. Then, he was placed as senior pastor in San Diego when C.C. went back to Texas. If you ever have a chance to hear Mark speak or just talk with him, you will find he is a loving and caring man and will wonder how he ever got mixed up with SGM. He and the San Diego church left SGM and never looked back.

  8. Dave MacKenzie
    July 21st, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Steve, SGM’s Dean is not close to retirement age. He’s about a decade younger than the others.

  9. 28 years gone...
    July 21st, 2014 at 10:19 am

    This is as funny as it is sad. If you are in SGM let me put this another way. YOUR money to the tune of $14250 per WEEK (Each Sunday when you give to this nonsense) is given so Gary Riccuci and Jeff Purswell can teach 9 people a non-accredited who-knows-what school. Now that CLC, and the other big contributor churches are gone, guess who has to pony up? YOU! If you stay with the program, just don’t come back and say we didn’t warn you. SGM will be bankrupt within the next few years. More churches will leave, all the big dogs will leave.

  10. Dave MacKenzie
    July 21st, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    One of the reasons given for moving SGM and the PC to Louisville in 2012 was the lower cost of living there. Montgomery County, MD has the 11th highest average income in America according to Wikipedia, and the Washington DC area is one of the 10 most expensive metropolitan areas in the U.S. to live in according to multiple web sites. (And living there, I feel the pain!)

    The argument was that moving to Kentucky would make better use of SGM donors’ money and enable churches to send students to the PC who couldn’t have afforded to attend it in Maryland. I don’t recall hearing the cost of maintaining two office spaces (one empty) factored into the calculations, although it might have been. And of course other factors have kept the Louisville PC class sizes so far well below the Maryland average, even if it is more affordable.

  11. just saying...
    July 21st, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I believed he mentioned it was a picture from a previous class. It is in CLC.

  12. Oswald
    July 21st, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    js @1811 — there is another picture in Brent’s post, far below the larger one. It seems as if it’s from 2014.

  13. Stunned
    July 21st, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you, Dave!

  14. 5yearsinPDI
    July 21st, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    You have to put this in perspective.

    Here are a group of men who want to “love God with all your mind” and study great theology and doctrine, and be Reformed so they properly teach God’s grace and sovereignty.

    However, unlike the average historical Calvinist, they believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today, and in the experiential reality of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, and in apostles.

    Finally for the first time since the early church we have a group of men doing it right. Finally for the first time in 2000 years we have church the way church should be.

    Now we here on the evil blogs recognize that they are not really into grace much, at least the younger shaved head crowd. They are into law and their own leadership authority. And those of us who are charismatic don’t recall much of gifts operating at all, except for the approved “prophets”. Certainly an individual walk with the Holy Spirit was not allowed if it contradicted the leader in any way.

    And of course separate from these doctrinal debates is the simple fact that prayer was minimized, and asking God to move in humble dependence on Him in prayer, was often squashed since the mid 90s. ” My fathers house will be called a house of doing it right.”

    Then there is that little secret kept from the broader celebrity world; they have regional leaders and don’t believe in apostles…..but we know they did for years.

    So if you are drinking the koolaid, it is worth all the money to train “Spurgeons” in the best place in 2000 years. Yup, a pastor at my former church compared the young PC students to Spurgeon. Ha. In retrospect I should have torn out my hair and run screaming out of the building but it took a while to get free.

    There are individual Charismatic- Calvinists around; Sam Storms comes to mind, the late Wimber, Piper. But only one family of churches. So is it worth 83 thousand dollars per young starry eyed PC student? Well, yeah, it is worth any amount of money. It is worth a million bucks each just to train these men in the pure stream that flows from CJ.

    I try to remember that I used to be under the spell so I stay merciful in my prayers for these young men and churches. But given the revelations of the last three years I would guess God’s gracious time for them to repent is rapidly coming to an end.

  15. Foot
    July 21st, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    TOIJ #1807

    ML no longer pastor of GCN SD, resigned June, 2014 (and resigned mmbrshp, whatever that means???)!!! The assoc pastor (he used to be at CLC for many many years) stepped down just before ML (but still mmbr, although traveled after resigning), elders quit before assoc pastor (also resigned mmbrshp). Right now, only Temp Deacons that ML set-up (before ML quit) to find elders and pastor. And, I will let others dig out the facts…you can take the church out of $GM, but…you know the rest…hopefully this will not be true of all that are out of $GM. This is no time to shave your head, if you know what I mean.

  16. Cult Watcher
    July 22nd, 2014 at 2:46 am

    WJLA News
    Kevin Lewis reporting
    May 12th, 2014

    ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – The jury has been selected, and opening arguments began around 3 p.m. in the sexual assault case of Nathaniel Morales, accused of sexually abusing boys for decades in Montgomery County.

    A mother broke her silence 26 years after Morales allegedly molested her then-teenage son.

    “To me, he’s a poster child for everything a predator could be,” she said.

    During the late 1980’s, Morales was a respected member at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg. Described in court as “charismatic, affable, and the life of the party,” Morales lived in the basement of this Rockville home – where he reportedly molested the family’s two teenage sons.

    One victim, now 39 years old, testified:

    “I recall a number of times, while I was sleeping in the basement, waking up to him kneeling by my side, touching me…He mentioned he had these urges that he needed to satisfy one way or another.”

    He continued: “It began weighing on me heavily. I began to shut down as a person, I had to decide – do I value my own privacy over another child being victimized? I decided it was worth doing.”

    Another victim’s mother, Ann Cook, said: “Not only do you screw up someone’s mind and sense of self and sense of dignity, but you interfere with their ability to have faith. To me, that just takes the highest form of what is despicable.”

    Nathaniel Morales is claiming he has memory loss and does not remember any of the alleged events.

  17. Cult Watcher
    July 22nd, 2014 at 2:49 am

    WJLA News
    Kevin Lewis reporting
    May 14th, 2014

    ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – A 12-member jury holds the fate of a former spiritual leader, accused of repeatedly molesting three teenage boys, in its hands.

    On Monday, testimony began in the child sex abuse trial of Nathaniel Morales, 56. The self-professed man of God was most recently preaching in Las Vegas. However back in the late 1980s and early 90s, Morales was a well-respected member of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg. Then in his mid-20s, Morales led youth bible studies, directed worship teams, and even attended sleepovers with the male teens he mentored. It’s alleged, Morales’ abuse went undetected for years because he exhumed trustworthiness and charm.

    “He was charismatic, affable, the life of the party,” the father of Victim #1 testified. “Just one of those guys who walked in the room and people were surrounding him.”

    Morales joined Covenant Life Church in the mid-1980s. Although his spiritual life was growing, his professional worth was taking a downward spiral. Morales was soon out-of-work, and terribly low on cash. A fellow parishioner offered-up a room in his home along Sunflower Drive in Rockville. In Oct. 1989, Morales accepted the offer, settling into the basement recreation room. The family’s 15-year-old son also slept in the basement, in an adjacent bedroom.

    “I recall a number of times, while I was sleeping in the basement, when I woke-up to him kneeling by my side touching me,” Victim #1, now 39-years-old, told the court. “I would tell him, ‘What’s going on? Why are you doing this?’”

    Victim #1 claimed Morales would creep into his bedroom in the middle-of-the-night, groping and performing oral sex on the then teenager as he slept.

    “He mentioned to me, he had these urges that he had to satisfy one way or another,” Victim #1 added. “He’d threaten he’d have random acts of sex and get AIDS otherwise.”

    While Victim #1′s overarching memories were clear, the fine details were a bit… hazy. When asked about the number of sexual encounters he had with Morales, Victim #1 said, “about a dozen.” When asked when the abuse began, Victim #1 couldn’t identify a month, or even a season. Morales’ public defender, Alan Drew, used that poor memory recall to try and derail the prosecution’s credibility.

    “The only evidence the state has in this case is their [victims] testimony; their 30-year-old recollections,” Drew stated to the court.

    “Kids don’t carry around calendars when they’re being abused,” Assistant Montgomery County State’s Attorney Amanda Michalski rebutted.

    Prosecutors say Morales became more confident, soon molesting Victim #1′s friends during sleepovers. Jeremy Cook tells ABC7, he was one of those boys.

    “This man was a predator. He found every way to get inside, to be trusted, to be respected, to be in a position of authority. He then used that authority to abuse each of us individually, alone, in the middle-of-the-night, for his own pleasure,” Cook remarked.

    Cook, who now lives in Raleigh, N.C. with his wife and three children, estimates Morales molested him around 50 times. Fearing public shame and scrutiny from church elders, Cook kept silent until Victim #2 reported the abuse to police in 2009.

    “You have to realize, Nate was a powerful man, and I was a young boy. Who were they going to believe,” Cook explained. “There was also a fear if this came out, I would lose all of my friends. I didn’t want the stigma and shame.”

    In 1992, Victim #1 garnered the courage to tell his parents about the abuse. Cook followed-suit in 1994, but by that time, Morales had vanished.

    “I fell to the floor,” Ann Cook recalled. “I was devastated; devastated that he felt he had to keep a secret like that; devastated that it cost him so much during such an important time in his life.”

    The Cooks and Victim #1′s parents reported the allegations to the pastoral team at Covenant Life Church. However, it never contacted law enforcement.

    “Did you have an obligation to report the alleged abuse,” public defender Drew asked former pastor Grant Layman during cross-examination. “I believe so,” Layman replied. “And you didn’t,” Drew followed-up. “No,” Layman added.

    “If you’re not going to be the guy in the van saying, ‘here little girl do you want candy,’ than get into a church that’s an isolated cult where it will never get to the police because it will all be handled in the church,” Cook said.

    On Thursday, the jury, made-up of five men and seven women, will continue its deliberations. Morales, who’s currently incarcerated, faces five felony counts of Sex Abuse Minor and Sex Offense Second Degree.

    “He was a duplicitous monster… Still it’s not about revenge, it’s not even necessarily about justice, it’s about preventing him from ever harming anyone else again,” Cook concluded.

  18. Cult Watcher
    July 22nd, 2014 at 2:52 am

    WJLA News
    Kevin Lewis reporting
    May 15th, 2014

    ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – Nathaniel “Nate” Morales, a former youth group leader at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing three young boys between 1983 and 1991.

    Nathaniel Morales accused of abusing boys for decades in Montgomery Co.
    Nathaniel Morales trial: Victim Jeremy Cook testifies

    A 12-member jury found Morales, 56, guilty on two counts of sexual offense in the second degree and three counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Tears of joy could be heard from victims and their family members as the verdict was read.

    “I started crying. It was just, it was overwhelming to know that the struggle, the fight, the 25 years of trying to bring this forward, was worth it,” victim Jeremy Cook, now a married father of three, said.

    Cook, who Morales abused roughly 50 times during his teenage years, was surprised to see his abuser’s reaction, or lack thereof.

    “He just sat there. There was no emotion, no reaction, nothing, nothing at all,” Cook recollected.

    Among the crowd of victims and their family members was a woman named Pam Palmer.

    “We thought we were the only ones. We thought this was some unique tragedy that had happened to our family, and yet we found out it happened to many, many families,” Palmer stated.

    While Palmer acknowledges Morales’ sadistic behavior, she believes Covenant Life Church is partly to blame. Palmer, who attended the megachurch for 23 years, says her daughter, now 24, was abused by a male teenage member during the 1990s. Only two-years-old at the time, Palmer claims the church’s pastoral team tried to cover-up her daughter’s abuse.

    “One of the pastors told us, ‘don’t go to the police,’” Palmer remarked. “They had a lot to protect. They had money, power and prestige.”

    Palmer, however, contacted investigators who pursued charges against her daughter’s teenage attacker.

    “I just had to do something. I felt like I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t,” Palmer said. “How can you walk away from innocent children being abused and do nothing?”

    Palmer says Covenant Life Church has a longstanding reputation of burying sex abuse allegations. In fact, during Morales’ trial this week, public defender Alan Drew drilled former pastor Grant Layman while on the stand.

    Drew: “Did you have an obligation to report the alleged abuse?”

    Layman: “I believe so.”

    Drew: “And you didn’t?”

    Layman: “No.”

    Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy says his office cannot prosecute anyone unless crimes are reported to police.

    “I think we’ve come to realize that’s not the right way to deal with these matters,” McCarthy stated in response to how Covenant Life staff handled the Morales allegations.

    “Certainly I think there are people in Covenant Life Church that have a bit to answer for. They left this predator on the street when they had knowledge, and ultimately they’ll have to answer to that, whether it be to the courts, or whether it be to God,” Cook concluded.

    Judge Terrance McGann will sentence Morales on Aug. 14 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He faces up to 85 years in Maryland state prison. Morales’ public defender, Alan Drew tells ABC7, he and his client plan to file an appeal following sentencing.

  19. Steve240
    July 22nd, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Dave MacKenzie said (in my response to pointiong out 3 men were near retirement age):

    Steve, SGM’s Dean is not close to retirement age. He’s about a decade younger than the others.

    Thanks for the clarification. Thus of the 3 I mentioned only Gary Ricucci and C.J.Mahaney are near retirement age and may be approaching SGM as what they can “milk” from the group for a few more years till they retire.

    Also, has been shown before, Mahaney appears to be well off financially already. Thus I doubt he is that concerned with the group going down from a financial standpoint like others. Especially after Mahaney’s 2 SILs get their seminary education I doubt he will be even less concerned.

    Not sure how Ricucci stands financially.

  20. Somewhereintime
    July 22nd, 2014 at 7:03 am

    If SGM goes bankrupt (which I believe is where The Lord is bringing this circus to at the end), there won’t be any retirement for any of these clowns. Unless the good people from the state of Kentucky bail them out… Which won’t happen.

    This is why these guys are going down swinging. This has all been about the Benjamin’s from the get go. Never about repentance, Jesus (who is He?) , or what is right.

    Eventually they will all be on the sideline (or in jail) boo-hooing when they have nothing left.

    It’ will be “the end of the SGM saga”, when they HAVE to eat from the pig troth, where repentance can come. Will it? I pray that it will.

  21. Houston
    July 22nd, 2014 at 7:56 am

    “One of the pastors told us, ‘don’t go to the police,’” Palmer remarked. “They had a lot to protect. They had money, power and prestige.”

    Which one of the ‘pastors’ said this?

  22. PB&J
    July 22nd, 2014 at 9:30 am

    There is a lot of secrets to PC as well. SG of Fredericksburg sent a couple who is planning foreign missions. They completed training at a different denomination to go out. But the PC grad running the church in Fredericksburg convinced them to go to PC. (they are not shown on any of the 2014 pics of the class since they want to do missions in dangerous parts are the world) Not sure if the couple funded their living expenses or if the church did. But they are back and I understand that they are seeking further training from outside of SGC/SGM… Even those who are called by God for missions get their minds messed up by the “mission of SGM”. They don’t answer the call of God, but submit to the will of the PC grad running the “show”.
    Same thing happened in CFC when Brian and Jill were convinced to do missions at the “local church” rather than going out as missionaries. The call of SGM sometimes drown out the call of the Lord…

  23. Still Soarin'
    July 22nd, 2014 at 10:38 am

    PB&J or others-

    Do you know who usually does the “convincing? Is it usually the pastor or care group leader (who is prompted by the pastor to do so)- maybe? I knew BVW and JVW when they were seriously thinking of going to Japan.

  24. Steve240
    July 22nd, 2014 at 10:38 am

    SoewhereInTime said:

    If SGM goes bankrupt (which I believe is where The Lord is bringing this circus to at the end), there won’t be any retirement for any of these clowns. Unless the good people from the state of Kentucky bail them out… Which won’t happen.

    I am sure that SGM doesn’t have like a pension play like you get in the military or a police officer etc.

    What I am sure they do have is a 401K like plan where one can save for their retirement. Also as a pastor one can take a significant part of their salary tax free as a housing allowance.

    Thus with Mahaney and Ricucci both being near retirement my guess is that they just need to fund their own personal retirement savings a few more years to comfortably retire. They don’t care as much financially if SGM eventually folds.

    Again just a hunch or possibility.

  25. Dave MacKenzie
    July 22nd, 2014 at 11:03 am

    SGM uses Guidestone Financial Resources to manage its retirement plan. Guidestone is part of the SBC but available to other evangelical organizations.

  26. intheNickoftime
    July 22nd, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Visited the in-laws across the river. Went to the Fairfax Church. Little has changed.

    The head guy was teaching the same legalistic drivel as SGM has always pedaled. I think his facts were correct but as you know, in the SGM world, (or recently left SGM world) the definitions of the terms is always up for grabs. AND its not what you SAY that is important, it is WHAT YOU DO. So the iron grip of control still manipulates that church.

    I WAS surprised to hear that LGallo had resigned. When I asked for the reasoning behind his quitting I was told it was part pressure from Happy Mom, part lack of support from the other pastors, and part lack of confidence in the direction the church was heading. Seems like things never change in a kool-aid (or formerly kool-aid) church.

  27. TrustingOnlyInJesus
    July 22nd, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Foot – Post 1815

    Thanks for the update on ML and the San Diego Church. Any idea what ML is doing?

  28. PB&J
    July 22nd, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Still Soaring 1823: It was the whole group think of the ministry. The pastors were just parroting what the ministry leaders were telling them. The local church (happiest place on earth)is the only way to do missions. Brian and Jill bought into it. Zealous believers looking for support in missions still buy into it. Is it that they look to improve their gifting, rather than trust God with the call in their lives. So many stories above about well grounded pastors giving up their ministries and worshiping at the foot of CJ to be granted a part of his kingdom. Why would someone with advanced theological degrees spend so much and be sidetracked to attend the brainwashing of CJ and his followers at Pastors College. Jesus would not give up his ministry when tempted by Satan after enduring so much in the wilderness, yet his these men give it up for CJ. Others are just looking to satisfy their worldly ambitions and be part of the family business.

  29. Persona
    July 22nd, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    1827 I believe Mark L. is still pastoring, in a non-SGM church in CA. Can anybody here confirm that?

  30. Foot
    July 22nd, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Persona #1829

    Mark L. quit in June 2014, not pastoring presently. Went out on medical leave prior to exiting, DX reason not specified. Leadership implosion…as previously mentioned…

  31. Breeezey
    July 23rd, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Compare the cost and the time commitment of the YWAM-DTS and the SGM-PC. If I had to choose which one would have better fruit and more bang for the buck there is no comparison.

    Youth With A Mission’s Discipleship Train School (YWAM-DTS), is a 5-6 month live-learn Christian Missionary Training School. Youth with a Mission is one of the world’s largest missions organizations with nearly 20,000 full time staff in more than 150 countries in every continent (except Antarctica).

    YWAM is a dynamic and fun group of people who are passionate about knowing God and making him known to all the nations of the earth, and every tribe and tongue across the globe.

    If you’re interested in finding out your purpose in life and drawing near to God then an excellent first step in Christian missions is a YWAM Discipleship Training School. Join others, young and old, who are on fire for Jesus in taking the next step in their lives.

    Each YWAM DTS includes a 3 month lecture phase followed by 2-3 month outreach where what you learn is put into practice. You’ll be stretched and challenged in your relationship with God like never before and you’re guaranteed to have many opportunities to see others come to know God as well.

    This year’s DTS begins 29 September 2014; outreach begins approximately 14 December; course concluding 14 March 2015. The total cost on the DTS at YWAM Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is $6000 USD, this includes the Lecture Phase: $3400 USD, and the Outreach: $2600 USD.

  32. 28 years gone...
    July 23rd, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Breeezey 1831

    I guess the difference is YWAM follows J.C. and SGM follows C.J.

  33. 5yearsinPDI
    July 23rd, 2014 at 8:22 am

    YWAM has its share of horror stories. Control freaks are everywhere. Plenty of stories online. There are the bases that forced women with kids to work full time for YWAM and get a nanny, and various tales of abuse.

    Bottom line- we need to go slow joining up with churches and organizations. Check things out, be in much prayer. Sometimes overall a group is good with a few bad apples. Sometimes the whole thing is rotten to the core.

  34. Houston
    July 23rd, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    This is of course not condemning evidence, but the similarity between this and SGM is striking.

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