March 19, 2012 by
Below is an announcement from the interim Board.
This week a new Board of Directors will be installed to replace the interim Board that has led Sovereign Grace Ministries since July 2011. The interim Board’s purpose was largely restricted to overseeing the adjudication of charges brought by a former leader—a process that we completed in January 2012—as well as initiating a broad review of SGM. This new Board will serve by providing ongoing governance of the ministry.
The membership of the new Board reflects certain structural changes that had been underway from 2010 but were postponed with the installment of the interim Board. These changes are primarily designed to increase the Board’s accountability and the participation of Sovereign Grace pastors while maintaining fidelity to our bylaws. Most notably, a majority of members of the new Board are pastors in Sovereign Grace churches rather than full- or part-time staff of SGM. They also meet other criteria: each has more than five years of pastoral experience; is endorsed by his local team for his character, gifts, and ability to work well in plurality; has a proven ability to reason biblically in various circumstances; has strategic and problem-solving gifts; and is committed to our mission to plant and care for churches.
You can read more about the new Board members, listed below, at the end of this post.
- Ron Boomsma
Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena
- Paul Buckley
King of Grace Church
- Craig Cabaniss
- Mickey Connolly
CrossWay Community Church
- John Loftness
Solid Rock Church
- Ian McConnell
Grace Bible Church
- Ken Mellinger
Living Hope Church
- Al Pino
Palm Vista Community Church
Miami Lakes, FL
- Phil Sasser
Sovereign Grace Church
Each of these men was nominated by the interim Board, approved for service by their local pastoral teams, and then affirmed through a feedback process open to all ordained pastors of Sovereign Grace churches. The interim Board also gave careful consideration to comments pastors sent to us about the process and the timing of the process chosen by the Board. We concluded that implementing changes in our governance, including the process for choosing SGM leaders, should be the responsibility of this new Board.
The new Board begins its work this week. A top priority will be addressing changes in SGM’s governance, which will include participation from a broad spectrum of Sovereign Grace pastors.
Please pray for these men, the ministry, and our future. God has blessed Sovereign Grace churches and used SGM to do much good in our short 30-year history. Our hope and prayer is that God will use this new Board to lead us into a future of even greater fruitfulness as we seek to plant and build local churches through the gospel to the glory and praise of God.
Ron Boomsma moved from the Midwest to California in 1990 to work at The U.S. Center of World Missions, which reflected Ron’s heart to see people reached with the gospel. He became a member of Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena in 1991 and joined the leadership team in 1997, eventually becoming senior pastor in 1999. In keeping with Ron's heart to reach people with the gospel, Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena has planted churches in San Diego, Kansas City, and Orange County. He is currently pursuing ongoing education at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Paul Buckley has a PhD in material science and an M.S. in material engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He has served in pastoral ministry for eleven years. For the last ten years he has served as the founding pastor of King of Grace Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Being in the Boston area Paul has had opportunity to teach at Gordon Conwell Seminary and serve as a pastoral mentor for M.Div. students.
Craig Cabaniss has a B.A. In Religion from Baylor University and an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served in pastoral ministry in SGM for 22 years. He has planted churches in San Diego, California, and Frisco, Texas where he currently serves as the lead pastor. He serves as an SGM regional leader with the churches in Texas. He has taught a Systematic Theology course in the Pastors College since 2004.
Mickey Connolly has served in pastoral ministry for 26 years and has a B.S. from the University of Maryland. He served as senior pastor at Solid Rock Church in Riverdale, Maryland, from 1989-96 and then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to serve CrossWay Community Church. Since 2002 he has served as senior pastor. Mickey serves SGM as their regional representative in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In addition he has taught various courses at the Pastors College since its inception in 1999.
John Loftness received a B.A. from Houghton College in 1978 and has studied extensively at the Masters degree level at Fuller Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He began his career as a pastor in 1981 when he joined the staff at Covenant Life Church. Over the years has served in a variety of roles in local churches and in SGM, primarily as a pastor. From 1990-2007 he served exclusively at Covenant Life. In 2007, John left Covenant Life to become the senior pastor of Solid Rock Church in Riverdale, Maryland.
Ian McConnell has an M.A. in pastoral theology from Bob Jones Seminary and has twelve years of pastoral ministry experience. Ian replanted Grace Bible Church in northeast Philadelphia in 2005 where he continues to serve as lead pastor.
Ken Mellinger has been a part of SGM since its inception and has 20 years of pastoral ministry experience. He has served as senior pastor of Living Hope Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania since 1993.
Al Pino has an M.A. in theology from Reformed Theological Seminary and has served in pastoral ministry for the past 27 years. For the last 15 years he has served as the founding pastor of Palm Vista Church in Miami Lakes, Florida. He had been approved for a PCA church plant in Miami but was then introduced to SGM through Larry Malament in 1994. Al also serves SGM in the Caribbean, currently working in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Phil Sasser has more than 30 years experience in pastoral ministry. He also has a B.S. from Ohio State University and has completed graduate work at Ashland Theological Seminary. Before joining SGM, Phil served as an elder in an independent charismatic church in Ohio from 1976-89. Since 1994 he has served on the pastoral team of Sovereign Grace Church in Apex, North Carolina, where he became senior pastor 2001. Phil has taught apologetics at the Pastors College since 1999 and will teach a course on Christian ethics this coming year.
January 25, 2012 by
From the Board of Directors:
In July 2011, Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) installed an interim Board of Directors. Our primary task was to determine C.J. Mahaney’s fitness to serve SGM as President in light of accusations made against him by a former SGM leader, Brent Detwiler. To accomplish this, we sought to apply the teaching of 1 Timothy 5:19-21 regarding the examination of an elder. As described in our October 28 blog post, we created three panels to review Brent’s allegations and report their findings to us, after which we would determine if C.J. was to continue in his role as President.
After examining the reports of these three review panels, we find nothing in them that would disqualify C.J. from his role as President, nor do they in any way call into question his fitness for gospel ministry. Therefore the Board has decided unanimously to return C.J. to the office of President, effective immediately.
These reports confirm the experience of many people over many years under the ministry of C.J. Mahaney. C.J. is a man and a minister of fundamental integrity who has endeavored to serve SGM with faithfulness and humility since its inception. As with all ministers of the gospel, C.J. is not infallible, and this fact is not lost on him. And so we also affirm that throughout this process of evaluation, C.J. has made genuine confession to the appropriate parties and has demonstrated a desire to grow in areas of weakness. C.J. has demonstrated a commendable trust in the grace and sovereignty of God throughout this entire process.
To put our decision in context, shortly before the interim Board began its work, C.J. took a voluntary leave of absence to avoid even the appearance of influencing his evaluation. To further protect the integrity of the process, the interim Board sought the counsel and affirmation of an outside conciliation ministry, Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AOR).
With C.J. on leave and AOR involved, the review process took the following form: We commissioned three outside ministers to review Brent’s documents in light of C.J.’s confessions and render their judgment on his fitness to serve in ministry. In light of their evaluation, they found him to be completely fit to serve. We then commissioned three panels—each consisting of three SGM pastors—to evaluate C.J.’s involvement in the three central events of Brent’s allegations. The panels had complete autonomy to interview any witness and review any evidence. They conducted their reviews and prepared their reports without any outside influence, save for the oversight of an independent facilitator who was responsible to certify the process. As readers will see in the reports, the panels had broad license to issue any individual or organizational recommendations they deemed appropriate in light of their findings. They did an exceptional job with their unenviable assignment and we’re grateful to them for the many hours they invested in this process.
This has been a trying season for our family of churches and for C.J. and his family in particular. The recommendations made by the panels delineate some of the weaknesses we see in our ministry, and we expect to learn even more when the separate AOR-led Group Reconciliation process is completed this spring. Our hope and prayer is that all of us evaluate these matters humbly, apply the forgiveness that comes through the gospel appropriately, and relate to one another about these matters graciously as we work together to reform what needs reforming, reaffirm the goodness of God in our midst, and continue to plant and build local churches with our chief aim the glory of God through the gospel.
The rest of this announcement, including the panel reports, are available as a PDF.
December 21, 2011 by
Over the last few months, we've been taking a lot of inward looks. What's going on in Sovereign Grace Churches? What issues do we need to address and how can we do that?
Those have been good questions to ask, but I want to close the year and approach Christmas not ignoring a Robert M'Cheyne quote that has served me well over the years: "For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ." And while I don't have ten points to make here, I do have "two looks" at Christ that may be timely.
First, it is impossible when reviewing SGM's past to miss the fact that, despite our weaknesses and individual sins, we are nevertheless part of the very Church for which Christ died. We have been (and remain) far from perfect, and when viewed rightly that illuminates and elevates not us but the forbearing love of Jesus. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards.” We are the objects of Christ's love not only despite our lack of righteousness, but in spite of our many shortcomings. Or as Paul wrote, "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly....God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6,8).
Second, as a result of this season in our ministry I am also compelled to see Jesus' strength working despite our weakness. Even while reviewing our flaws, there are many reminders in our past (and present) that Christ is bearing fruit in and through our churches. Our rich history of church planting, fellowship among pastors, enjoyment of gospel-centered ministry, and many other blessings are all because of Jesus' faithfulness. Again, Paul presents this paradigm vividly: "God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord'" (1 Corinthians 1:28-31). Indeed it is the Lord, not us, in whom we boast (and hope) when looking at all the evidence of God’s grace in our churches.
None of this nullifies the work that lies ahead of us, but it does give us the right perspective in approaching it. Because of the gospel, God loves us. Because of the gospel, God is at work among and through us. Because of the gospel, we have reason to press on in the hard work--our hope and labor are not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
In a few days, we will celebrate Jesus' incarnation--the miracle of his coming to be among us, to live a perfect life, to die on our behalf, and to be raised to bring us new life. It should be a sweet Christmas for us. Seldom have we been more aware of our need for The Savior and the new life he gives. And so too, seldom is the celebration of his birth more meaningful. So may this year's Christmas be merry for us all. We have a great Savior.
P.S. This will be the last post on the blog until January.
December 2, 2011 by
This week Bryce Thomas and the review panels completed the testimony phase of the evaluation for the allegations that Brent Detwiler brought against C.J. I know that this process is important to everyone who cares about C.J. and what happens in and with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Now the three review panels will begin deliberating on the information before them so that they can deliver reports on their findings later in December.
I’d like to invite you to pray with me about this. Here are the things that I’m praying for:
- Pray for clarity to emerge from all the materials (Brent’s documents, testimony from this week, etc.) that are now being sorted through.
- Pray for Bryce Thomas, the independent facilitator who has already served so well this past week. His job continues as he guides the committees of men who haven’t done this before to handle their tasks in a consistent and God-glorifying way.
- Pray for the three committees—men who have accepted a sobering responsibility to address the charges that have been brought against C.J. Pray for "wisdom from above" (James 3:17) in their conversations and deliberations over the next couple of weeks.
- Pray for all who have taken time to participate through their testimony. We are so grateful that many accepted the invitation to come and provide their perspective.
- Pray for CJ and his family, who are humbly cooperating with this extensive review of his actions and decisions. C.J. wants to see what God has for him in this. He has patiently prepared to appear before all three panels and remains eager to hear their findings.
And, if you have some time when you’re done with that, pray for me. There is a lot going on that needs my attention, but I want most of all to live out the passage preached at our local church last week from 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
November 28, 2011 by
That's the big question, isn't it? How is Sovereign Grace's board handling the allegations that Brent Detwiler has brought against C.J. Mahaney? We know that you care about this a lot. We also care about this a lot, and we are taking Brent’s allegations seriously. We don’t want to ignore the many accusations that now sit in the public mind. We want to get this right. Brent's documents require impartial examination and C.J. deserves a fair hearing.
So with the help of Ted Kober from Ambassadors of Reconciliation and under the direction of an independent facilitator named Bryce Thomas, we've set up the following process (I realize that this is a lot of info, but we believe that it's important, so please stay with me).
Three evaluation committees
Three committees have been formed, each one responsible for answering one key question established by the independent facilitator. The first committee will answer the question: Was Larry Tomzak's departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries handled properly? The second committee will answer the question: Did C.J. Mahaney wrongly influence the dismissal of Brent Detwiler from his church in Mooresville, NC? The third committee will answer the question: Was C.J. Mahaney's participation in fellowship in 2003 and 2004, including the giving and receiving of correction, in keeping with the teaching of Scripture?
Each committee has been directed to determine three things:
- What happened?
- What is the significance of what happened?
- What should the Sovereign Grace board do based upon the panel's findings?
In their evaluation, each of the committees is able to look at any evidence and call any witnesses without restrictions. The facilitator will oversee each panel to certify that all evidence was heard and considered in accordance with standard rules of evidence.
Each of the committees will prepare a report that will contain recommendations for the SGM board. We will publish the unedited reports after the board has reviewed them and written its own response to them. Since the committees have until December 13 to produce the reports, the board will likely wait until January to release them.
Composition of the committees
Each committee is made up of two pastors from within SGM and one member of the SGM board. Both AOR and the facilitator recommended a panel of three and affirmed this composition. Under the facilitator's direction, the board established the following qualifications for those serving on the review committees. Each member must:
- Be an ordained pastor in SGM
- Have at least five years of ministry experience
- Have demonstrated wisdom and discernment in the past
- Have a reputation for being trustworthy
- Have no prior involvement in any of the issues at stake
Additionally, the SGM board members serving on the committees were required to have board terms beginning in 2011, and to have not served on the previous SGM board.
Members of each committee were selected by the board in line with those qualifications.
Just a few thoughts. Is this a perfect process? No, of course not. We never could come up with a perfect process. But we believe that this is a fair, impartial process. The fact that it has been endorsed by both the independent facilitator and the team from AOR gives us confidence that the questions before each panel will be answered fairly and judiciously.
Of course, ultimately our hope is not in a process, but in Jesus. He is more committed to truth and righteousness and justice than anyone else. We want the truth to be known. But if our hope is ultimately in a committee or in a process, we're going to be disappointed. That's why our hope is in Christ, who is building the church and will continue to build the church. So please pray with us he will accomplish much good for our family of churches through the work of these panels.
November 23, 2011 by
As you may have noticed, we recently took C.J.'s initial confession of sin to Covenant Life Church (along with the comments) off of our website, as well as the confession on his blog. I know that this could give the impression that Sovereign Grace Ministries is somehow trying to hide information or cover up sin.
I understand those questions. Let me try to explain to you my thinking behind this decision.
After the Pastors Conference, I asked the staff to pull C.J.’s confessions off the blog. Here’s why. Since our meetings with Ambassadors of Reconciliation in July and including their written report to us in August, they have been illustrating to us deficiencies they believe we have in our practice of confession and in how we extend forgiveness to people. One of the main application points of this is that when a Christian asks for forgiveness, it should always be answered with a statement of Christ’s forgiveness and, where possible, the listener’s forgiveness. They hit these points again at our Pastors Conference in both contexts where they taught.
I was convicted on this point by what they shared several months ago, but I’ve also been increasingly bothered by the implication of this on how we published C.J.’s confessions. In short, to leave a statement online where C.J. asks for forgiveness, which is then followed by dozens of comments expressing neither the forgiveness of God or others, well, it began to seem wrong to me.
If God responds to our sins by covering them (Rom 4: 7; 1 John 1: 9) and relating to us like they never happened (Psalm 103: 12; Is 1: 18), who was I to perpetuate a man’s sin online as if it isn’t forgiven? It may be internet protocol to leave things online forever, but I believe we need to be led by the Bible here. And we can’t do that selectively for the sake of appearances. Confessions will not be left up on SGM websites, period. I regret we left them up as long as we did and that’s my bad.
Now, this doesn't mean that we aren't closely examining the charges brought against C.J. or the sins to which he has confessed. In fact, we have created several panels for that sole purpose. We aren't simply dismissing the issues. As AOR said in their report, “While God’s forgiveness assures us that the consequence of eternal death has been paid in full, such proclamation does not necessarily remove earthly consequences.” But even as we examine these charges, we need to let the free forgiveness of the gospel ring. The gospel is what breathes life into us, and I want it to permeate this entire process.
November 17, 2011 by
I wanted to take a minute now that the craziness of our conference is over to talk directly to our friends, including those with critiques for us. Actually, I wanted to ask you a favor. Could you please pray for us?
See, here's the thing. In listening to AOR, our pastors and even hearing Ted Kober’s message at the conference, we’re freshly aware that we're a young movement that's still trying to figure a lot of stuff out. We don't have a long history like the Baptists or the Presbyterians or the Methodists. We've only been around for about 30 years! Relatively speaking, we're still new kids around town (and that’s no “Get out of jail free” card for making mistakes—just a reminder that we should expect to have a lot to learn). But, over those 30 years God has blessed Sovereign Grace with a significant amount of growth. We're really grateful to God for that growth—it’s been thrilling to see the gospel fruit in new churches and new friends in many parts of the world! But we’re learning that our growth has outstripped some of the ways we do things. And it’s not just that. As we've grown we’ve made mistakes. Plenty of mistakes. Some of those mistakes have hurt people. In fact maybe you're one of those people. If so, we still want to hear your story. And if you’ve been hurt by things we’ve done wrong, we want the opportunity to say we’re sorry.
Right now we're in a time of identifying the different areas that Sovereign Grace Ministries needs to change. We’re pursuing as much counsel in this area as possible and we’re doing a lot of diagnosing. We've read your e-mails and heard many of your critiques. We're not ignoring you or trying to shut you out of the conversation. On the contrary, the whole Group Reconciliation process led by AOR is designed so that we can listen to those who have a perspective and learn where we need to grow. We need others to help us during this time. That’s why I want to thank God for the 75+ people that actually came and met with an AOR conciliator during the conference last week. Your investment in helping us understand your experience is really important to us.
Many others were invited to interviews by AOR just to share your many positive experiences in your Sovereign Grace Church. Thanks for adding your voice and providing us encouragement and perspective in this season.
But to both groups, may I make an additional request? Could you please pray that God would help us in this process? These next couple of months are going to be very important as AOR interprets what they are hearing into what we might learn. And we desperately want God to help them….and us! We want to be a ministry that better glorifies Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. We want to care for people even more effectively. We want to plant churches more strategically. We want to avoid the mistakes that we've made in the past. I think your prayers will help make a difference.
Here are some specific ways that you can pray for us:
- Pray for the phone interviews which will now be conducted by AOR for those that could not make the conference. Pray people share information that would serve us in identifying areas where God has already blessed us as well as important areas where we need to change.
- Pray that we may be reconciled to any people who are hurt.
- Pray for the board, that God may help us understand the steps forward that will best serve SGM churches and the Mahaneys in this season.
Again, if you feel that you have something to say that Sovereign Grace Ministries needs to hear, please set up an interview with AOR (the deadline is November 30) so that we can truly address the problem. You can do so via an online form, or just by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And by the way, thanks for your ongoing patience with us.
Yesterday morning, Ted Kober of Ambassadors for Reconciliation gave a message titled “Forget Not All His Benefits” at our Pastors Conference. The audio is below.
Right click to download: Forget Not All His Benefits
At the end of his message, Ted also gave a preliminary overview of what his team is learning about Sovereign Grace Ministries. Those comments, which start at the 49-minute mark of the audio, include these observations from their initial research and interviews:
- SGM has been blessed to grow over the last three decades.
- SGM has been effective in their focus on church planting and witness.
- SGM’s quick growth has not been accompanied by the appropriate development of structure, process, and policy (and he lists several examples).
- A number of people have expressed hurts and anger over the way discipline has been handled within SGM churches.
- When significant charges were brought against the chairman and several board members, SGM had to develop processes in the midst of conflict. This is extremely difficult. Ideally a system is in place so everyone knows what to expect, but this was not the case for those bringing or receiving allegations.
- No matter who assisted SGM during this crisis, they were going to be criticized. Nobody could come into the middle of a crisis and design a system that satisfied everyone, and everyone will be able to find something to criticize. This is to be expected in the middle of a conflict.
For more information on contribution to the Group Reconciliation and evaluation process, see our November 10 blog post.
November 10, 2011 by
On November 8, the team from Ambassadors of Reconciliation led a seminar titled “Getting to the Heart of Conflict” at our Pastors Conference. More than 200 pastors and church members turned out for this time of instruction and application, and by week's end AOR will have interviewed more than 75 people as part of their Group Reconciliation Assistance. We are really grateful for this response from our churches. God is at work in our midst and we anticipate seeing him move through this process.
Below you can find audio and handouts from that seminar. We also now have an online version of the feedback form that AOR gave to seminar attendees. Even if you don’t use the seminar materials, we invite you to send any input you have about Sovereign Grace Ministries to AOR using the feedback form. That form, which will remain open through November 30, also lets you request a telephone interview if you want one.
Thank you in advance for considering this and taking the time to provide AOR with your thoughts. We are eager to learn what we can from all who have feedback to share with us, and trust that God will use this to strengthen our family of churches and equip us for more faithful ministry.
Audio, parts 1-3
Right click to download: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Update: Video added
October 28, 2011 by
Well everyone, it has been a busy month and I’m grateful to have some concrete updates on what the board has been doing. We have some final direction on the adjudication process, so let me fill you in on how we are proceeding.
On October 13 we informed readers here that Brent Detwiler had declined participation in a formal adjudication to try his allegations against C.J. Mahaney. We also said that we would work with Ambassadors of Reconciliation, adjudication facilitator Bryce Thomas, and SGM pastors to develop and launch an alternative process. We’ve done that, and I’ll outline the plan in a moment.
But first, a word on the latest with Brent. Two weeks after declining our offer, Brent wrote us to say that he changed his mind and wanted to participate. Unfortunately, he also said that he considers the process “unjust” and “bogus,” the logical implication being that even if he participated, he would also consider any unfavorable results for him unjust and bogus. Meanwhile, we had been working with those mentioned above to define an alternative to seriously examine the substance of Brent’s allegations. In recent weeks we developed a plan together, and in the last few days we discussed it with our pastoral teams. It’s with their broad support that we are going to move forward with the plan outlined below. It doesn’t involve Brent as a plaintiff, instead relying mostly on SGM pastors to ask the tough questions, prepare reports of their findings for our churches, and issue recommendations to the SGM Board. Given Brent’s consistently strong rejections of our appeals for reconciliation and adjudication, his public statements that our proposal was unjust, and our respect for and confidence in the pastors of Sovereign Grace churches, we think the issues can be more sufficiently and satisfactorily reviewed in this way.
Here’s what we’re going to do.
This component was already in place, but is worth mentioning again. The team from AOR will review all of the documents they receive related to SGM—including Brent’s—and assess those as part of their review of SGM’s practices, teaching, processes, and culture. So even though he has declined any further discussion with AOR (although the option is still available), Brent’s allegations and documentation will factor into the final assessment and recommendations that AOR gives to us, and which we will publish online. While this is not an adjudication—i.e. it doesn’t deliver a verdict on Brent’s specific charges concerning C.J.’s qualification for ministry—it will be an outside assessment of how we should proceed in response to Brent’s allegations in terms of reforming policy, evaluating leaders, and reconciling broken relationships. And since it will also take into account the testimonies of everyone else participating in Group Reconciliation, we hope to learn if and where AOR finds common ground in others’ perspectives.
The board will also commission three panels (1 board member and 2 senior pastors per panel), each guided by Bryce Thomas, for an internal review. Each of these panels will review one of the three major events around which Brent builds his allegations: Larry Tomczak’s departure from SGM in 1998, C.J.’s conflict with other SGM leaders in 2004, and Brent’s removal from ministry by his local church’s leaders in 2009. The panels will interview the key witnesses of these events, evaluate their testimonies for consistency with Brent’s interpretation of events, and determine if and where Brent’s allegations and conclusions have merit. These panels will then issue their findings and recommendations to the board, who in turn will publish them online and make a final determination on C.J.’s future in ministry with SGM.
Pursuit of reconciliation
For more than a year we have made our desire for reconciliation known to Brent. Beyond C.J.’s many appeals for a personal meeting, this included the board sending a representative to his home to meet with him earlier this summer, offering to let him pick a mediator to meet with any or all of us, appealing for him to participate in Group Reconciliation with AOR, and even two appeals this week for Brent to have his pastor contact us so we can take immediate steps towards reconciliation. Our thinking was that perhaps the help of his church’s leadership might result in some much-desired progress. We maintain hope for this and will continue our appeals.
Please pray for each of these efforts. And please remember the upcoming Pastors Conference in your prayers a well. Thanks!