Without question the leadership of KingsWay Community Church has created a ROYAL mess!
In his first comment on the post, PT makes this candid remark: “And I am here to tell you that as someone who staunchly defended SGM for over two decades (you can ask PD (his wife) on this, and you can ask Kris over at Survivors about how I came in with both barrels onto her blog; I even behaved like a member of SGM’s marketing dept. here on the ‘fuge for awhile…”
To gain an understanding of the SGM hierarchy, we recommend that you check out the organizational chart that PT has constructed. The consistent criticism of Sovereign Grace Ministries is that its polity (church governance) is ALL WRONG. On September 5, 2010, Dave Harvey (who is in charge of church planting and church care) addressed the KingsWay congregation on “church polity”. You can find the link to his message in PT’s post. According to Harvey, SGM has a polity similar to a Presbyterian model, although commenters have strongly disagreed. Those familiar with SGM polity won’t be surprised that Harvey sharply criticized “congregationalism” in his message. It has become clear to us that SGM members have no authority whatsoever. Pastors are “assigned” to congregations, instead of members being allowed to choose their own leaders via a “pastor search committee”.
What has been surprising to us is how mainstream Sovereign Grace Ministries has become, especially over the last decade. As we have explained in previous posts, C.J. Mahaney has gained much recognition and credibility because he has friends in high places, namely Al Mohler, Mark Dever, John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, among other reformed leaders. We have discussed these relationships ad nauseum here at TWW, and we continue to be perplexed by these friendships…
In addition to these connections, C.J. Mahaney and SGM have established relationships with two highly regarded ministries – CCEF and Peacemaker Ministries. Why focus on these organizations, you may ask. Well, the following comment over at SGM Survivors under the KingsWay post explains why. Here it is:
Moving On (August 19, 2010) #18
“I am a former member of KingsWay. Unassimilated, I think that’s a major reason why a “gag” order would be kept in this situation at KW or in other SGM churches…. Also, at KW the congregation was given papers to sign (little contracts) that basically said you would not gossip or listen to gossip, this after Ken Sande’s ministry on “Peacemaking” came to KW. This was many years after the events that happened to SW. I found myself in situations where to be a real friend and truly care for someone I was going to listen. If that was labeled listening to gossip, then I listened to gossip. Everyone needs somebody that they can talk to about anything and feel safe…. Boy, things sure have been made so complicated in SGM churches.”
Before we turn our attention to these “little contracts” that Peacemaker Ministries had the KingsWay members sign preventing “gossip”, let’s connect some dots…
First, let’s take a look at CCEF (aka Restoring Christ to Counseling and Counseling to the Church). Dave Harvey, SGM’s polity guru, serves on the Board of Trustees for CCEF. http://ccef.org/board-trustees The “What Others Are Saying” page http://ccef.org/what-others-are-saying includes accolades from C.J. Mahaney and Ken Sande, who heads Peacemaker Ministries.
What does CCEF do? They provide Biblical counseling, train Biblical counselors, hold conferences, and provide various resources. Check out their website for more info.
C.J. Mahaney interviewed David Powlison, a faculty member at CCEF, in March 2009, which resulted in a four part series on his blog, “A View From the Cheap Seats”. You can read the first installment here.
Five months later, Mahaney posted an article entitled “A Narrated Bibliography with David Powlison” on his blog.
Mahaney begins the post as follows: “No one has taught me more about applying the gospel to my heart in the midst of daily life than my friend David Powlison. I have benefited from dozens of outstanding journal articles he has written, from the books he has authored, and from the courses he has taught.” Then Mahaney lists some of his favorite resources, which include a message Powlison gave at the 2004 SGM Leadership Conference and another he gave at the 2007 SGM Leadership Conference.
Speaking of conferences, CCEF has an upcoming conference this November, and SGM’s Dave Harvey will be one of the guest speakers as this link shows.
As we often discuss here at TWW, conferences are expensive. In case you are interested, the rates for the CCEF National Conference are posted on their website.
Finally, let’s take a look at the lifeline of any organization – its bottom line. The CCEF website includes the following vital information: “Without donations, we could not keep our doors open… Contributions are our largest source of revenue.” Even though they charge for their counseling and resources, they still need donors. Interestingly, they provide a list of supporting churches. Although the giving levels are not listed, we were surprised to discover that among the 47 churches that made contribution in 2009, over one-fourth of them (12 out of 47) were SGM churches. There are 70+ SGM churches, compared to the many Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational churches, etc., out there. Why are a disproportionate number of SGM churches giving to CCEF?
Now let’s take a look at the ministry mentioned in Moving On’s comment about KingsWay –Peacemaker Ministries. According to its website, this organization “was founded in 1982 by a group of pastors, lawyers, and business people who wanted to encourage and assist Christians to respond to conflict biblically.” ATTORNEY Ken Sande is the President of Peacemakers. Tim Challies interviewed Sande earlier this year, and you can read his post here.
Challies asked Sande the following question:
How does Peacemaker work with other Christian ministries?
Sande responded as follows: “Our work doesn’t necessitate a great deal of collaboration, but we have close ties with a few ministries, including the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), Christian Legal Society, and as I mentioned above, the Overseas Council.”
In the interview, Sande was asked about Peacemaker’s budget, to which he responded: “Our 2009 budget was $2.9 million. About 50-60% of our revenue comes from the generous donations of our supporters, while the remaining income comes from our resources, training and conciliation services.”
As with David Powlison, C.J. Mahaney interviewed Ken Sande for his blog in January 2010. You can access the two-part interview here.
A few days after posting the Sande interview, Mahaney featured Peacemaker’s Leadership Opportunity resource kit in his blog post, “Resolving Conflicts – A New Resource for Pastors” (Note: This resource is specifically FOR PASTORS – more on that in the next post.)
In this post Mahaney remarked: “I was so impressed by the content that I had copies of the study purchased and mailed to every senior pastor in Sovereign Grace Ministries.” Here’s the link to the Peacemaker Ministries resource.
As we continue to connect the dots between SGM, CCEF, and Peacemaker Ministries, you might be interested to learn that Dave Harvey was a keynote speaker at the 2009 Peacemaker Ministries conference that took place in Dallas, Texas. This year’s Peacemaker conference begins in just two days. The Conference title is “Forgiveness”, and SGM’s Josh Harris will be speaking. For more information, go to this link.
On the surface Sovereign Grace Ministries appears to have a cozy relationship with Peacemaker Ministries, and we wonder how much of their almost $3 million budget has been supplemented by the SGM “family of churches”.
Tune in next time when we will connect even more dots…