The following is a message from the board of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
By now you may have read C.J.’s letter about recent developments in his life and in Sovereign Grace Ministries. We want to take a moment to communicate to you as well concerning these events and inform you of the steps the SGM board is taking in response.
We understand that this news may strike some as sudden and surprising. However, a process has been unfolding over a number of months in which the board has sought to evaluate charges against C.J., assist him in examining his heart and pursuing reconciliation, and bring accountability and guidance to him in this process. Because some of the charges move beyond C.J. to SGM, we also wanted to examine ourselves and our practices both past and current. To that end, we are in the process of securing help from an outside organization that can conduct a thorough and objective review of the charges being brought against C.J. and SGM. We are seeking to identify an organization that has no prior history with us and that has wide respect in Christian circles, and we will keep you posted on that search process as we make progress. We have by no means guided this process flawlessly, but we are learning and growing through this long and difficult process. And we are encouraged by how God appears to be leading us.
It is also important for us to be clear that we are supportive of C.J.’s letter and the decisive actions he has taken. The charges against C.J. are serious, but his response has been one of self-examination and, when possible, specific confession to those sinned against. However, given the numerous events, people, and perspectives involved, the work of an independent panel will be vital to fully examining these charges and arriving at an objective conclusion, especially on those charges with which the board does not agree. We therefore believe the leave of absence is appropriate in the present circumstances to afford C.J. the time to reflect upon his heart and to allow an independent panel space to conduct its review. Like C.J., we are committed to facilitate as thorough and objective a process as possible by an independent panel.
In addition to our search for an independent panel, we have taken other steps in response to these circumstances. In order to secure a broader source of accountability and benefit from a deeper pool of wisdom, we have expanded the board to lead SGM in this season. The current regional leadership team members, all pastors in SGM churches, constitute the additional board members: Craig Cabaniss, Mickey Connelly, Rick Gamache, Pete Greasley, John Loftness, Aron Osborne, Mark Prater, and Steve Shank. We are grateful for the wisdom and experience these men bring to this board and for their willingness to serve in this capacity. To facilitate continuity in our day-to-day operations, the new board has appointed Dave Harvey to act as the interim president during C.J.’s leave of absence.
As for C.J., his primary focus during the leave of absence will be to continue to examine his heart and consider the various charges and offenses, as well as to fully cooperate with an independent panel, once chosen by the board. Any pursuit of reconciliation with aggrieved parties will be guided by the counsel of the board and the independent panel. C.J. has also fully submitted himself to the board’s direction regarding his ministry activities and external commitments during this time.
All of us carry concern for the Mahaneys personally, and the board is working to ensure that a clear and helpful plan is in place to provide adequate care for C.J. and his family during this season. This plan will integrate the local care C.J. receives with other lines of counsel he receives from those outside of SGM.
We realize there is much to process here, and much of it is disconcerting. Our theology serves us well in times like this: God is clearly at work in C.J., in our own lives, and in SGM. Our desire is to embrace all that he has for us in this season, knowing he is working for our good, however difficult that may be. To those in the SGM family of churches, our commitment is that we will, by God’s grace, seek to walk as humbly, wisely, and transparently as possible during this season, and to seek to serve and care for Sovereign Grace churches in whatever way we can. We covet your prayers, and we cherish our partnership with you now more than ever.
Dave, on behalf of the Sovereign Grace Ministries board