Update on SGM Survivors: Use This Post for New Comments

This is a short update.

As of today, we have not been able to determine what happened with SGM Survivors. We still have some feelers out but we will proceed with setting up a page on the blog for ex SGM flock to communicate news as well as dialog with one another. 

We understand that it is helpful to have a moderator who Has personally experienced SGM. Steve240 has graciously offered to oversee this page. Please give us a couple of weeks to get it set up and running since it will necessitate a few changes to our website.

We will post any updates or news regarding SGM to this post until we have the permanent page set up.


Comments

Update on SGM Survivors: Use This Post for New Comments — 75 Comments

  1. I have absolutely no connection to SGM. Given that, I’ll still say that the DEEBS & Co. are AWESOME!

  2. Love the photo Dee!

    Thanks Steve240 for your tremendous help with this! So glad we got to meet you a few years ago.

  3. Deb

    That was good that we were able to meet a few years ago. I am glad we are going to have something up that people can go to and keep up to date when necessary. This would include being informed of (questionable at best) actions of leaders.

  4. I have no clue about the situation at the SGM survivors site. However, I wonder if the journalist Tiffany Stanley, who wrote an expose on SGM in The Washingtonian (Februrary 14, 2016) had any direct contact with the people who ran the site? Maybe she would have some insight. I don’t know her or have any contact info, but it may be a lead.
    You are doing a great service for victims. The hands and feet of God!

  5. dee wrote:

    @ Nancy2:
    So are you. I have a proposal

    Whaaa? Are you sure you don’t have me confused with someone else?

  6. Sorry this is off topic, but I need some input. A local church in my area (where many people I know go) just hired a new pastor after searching for two years. Their former founding pastor stepped down after admitting to two simultaneous affairs with congregants. My alarm bells were ringing when I read the new pastor’s bio – he was a pastoral intern at The Village Church from 2015-present, Groups Minister at The Village Church Flower Hills Campus, and is pursuing and MDiv at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Any thoughts?

  7. Hey y’all. I was referenced in the former post, re survivors. I’m the refuge Jim.

    I don’t know anything about what happened with Kris and Guy, but I’ve lost domains in the past because renewal emails went to spam. I’m pretty confident that they would want to say goodbye.

    If I know you, you know my last name. My email address is my last name @earthlink.

    If someone wants to keep the flame alive, I’d consider giving the refuge domain away.

  8. Or… I’d be happy to contribute to a gofundme, or something more informal to purchase the survivors domain. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

  9. Jim wrote:

    f I know you, you know my last name. My email address is my last name @earthlink.

    I know we have talked but I forget you last name.Could you shoot me an email?
    I have trouble imagining this situation since they could have been in contact with some readers to let them know they are going to get it back up. No one has heard anything and this has been going on awhile now.

    Jim wrote:

    If someone wants to keep the flame alive, I’d consider giving the refuge domain away.

    If anyone is game, let Jim know.

  10. Dee,

    I would have liked to see them say goodbye, but I don’t believe that they owe us anything. I said goodbye, and some people were still ticked at me. I just hope they’re doing well and have nothing but gratitude in my heart towards Kris & Guy. I agree that my musing above is unlikely after speaking with someone yesterday. Having said that, I think your three options are also unlikely. (http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/03/24/sgm-survivors-temporary-communications-page/#comment-316438). Maybe a little harsh?

    So, the easiest name ever to spell over the phone starts with pap then there’s another pa, then comes the de, ending in as.

  11. Jim

    I am sorry. I thought that Kris and Guy would understand that some people would feel hurt if they suddenly pulled the plug after they said they wouldn’t do that. They said they would leave the site up sans comments. I didn’t think I was being harsh. I was just trying to be logical.

  12. Jim wrote:

    I would have liked to see them say goodbye, but I don’t believe that they owe us anything. I said goodbye, and some people were still ticked at me.

    At least you told the folks it was over.

    Again, they said they would leave the website up sans comments. It is concerning when they suddenly disappeared. I think the folks believed they would do what they said and were very worried for their safety.

    No one owes anything on the Internet. I could leave tomorrow and not say a word. But, is that the best way? Wouldn’t kindness dictate at least a short sentence saying, “It’s done. We’ve changed our minds. Happy trails to you all.”

    Let me say this for anyone who is following this conversation.

    We do not plan in shutting down this blog in the foreseeable future. If we suddenly disappear, you all can be darn sure something is terribly wrong and I would hope you would try to find out. At least you know our names and where we live so you can come looking.

    If we were to become ill, we would try to find someone to take over the blog. In fact, as I write this, I am planning on getting some regulars to help us with new pages we are planning for the blog.

    Perhaps it is a difference in philosophy. We really care for the people who come here. We have visited some of them and developed relationships. I prefer to think of those that comment as friends. There is a valuable person loved by God behind each and every comment. I would not want to hurt them by suddenly deciding to do something I said I wouldn’t do.

    But, we are all different.

  13. Think about it … the fact that the website goes down and there is no word at the same time strongly suggests they were threatened …if they had gotten into say a car accident the website would still be up … they monitored a comment i made just a few days before so they would have seen a pending renewal notice ticking down … if it was money they needed they would have asked .. it might be great if someone actually knows them to find out and just say they are alive … but they prob cant respond themselves

  14. Dee,

    We’re talking inside baseball here. I know a little bit about loving former strangers who comment on a blog, spending hours on the phone with them, and meeting with them personally. I know what constantly receiving threats, some physical, is like as well. I lived as close as a mile away from some sgmers, so even a trip the store could be awkward at best. If you’ll recall, I’m big on reconciliation, as it’s the path to healing for some. This requires speaking with both sides, which led some to think I was sympathetic towards or even a tool for sgm, which is insulting as heck.

    So you and I agree on how we think a blogger should go out if nessesary.

    As you said, we are all different, but I think you stand alone in considering that K&G were possible covert insiders. And after everything they’ve done, it really is mean spirited to state that if they aren’t dead, they either never cared or that they were part of an sgm ruse.

    That’s all-you do you, I’ll do me. I don’t get it, but I’m on the extend grace and gratitude side of the fence with K&G, and K and I were able to coexist, but we were far from bff’s. Maybe your relationship was similar, and that informs your view?

  15. Ifonlyweknew wrote:

    Think about it … the fact that the website goes down and there is no word at the same time strongly suggests they were threatened …if they had gotten into say a car accident the website would still be up … they monitored a comment i made just a few days before so they would have seen a pending renewal notice ticking down … if it was money they needed they would have asked .. it might be great if someone actually knows them to find out and just say they are alive … but they prob cant respond themselves

    Well if something did happen to both of them at the same time that the webpage was about to expire then it expiring is a possibility.

    Another possibility is if they posted they were closing they might get a lot of “pushback” and grief by announcing they are closing their blog. As Jim said there might be people acting as if Guy and Kris “owed” them as in keeping their blog going. Then again they could have just posted an “it is over” post that didn’t allow one to comment where they explained they were done.

    Using an internet “wayback machine”this was their blog post (authored by “Guy”):

    July 16, 2016 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

    Many have asked….

    Kris and I are still here, albeit not as engaged with the SGM (or whatever it calls itself today) mess. If we choose to do away with this little section of the innernet, I plan on archiving all posts and comments in a tidy (huge?) collection and will make it available.

    Until that time comes, feel free to keep talking.

    Guy

    Guy did say that he planned to “archive” the information which we haven’t seen. Note that it said both posts and comments. Maybe we will still see that but wouldn’t bet on that hapening.

  16. Jim wrote:

    I think you stand alone in considering that K&G were possible covert insiders

    I put that idea in the hopper with everything else. I do not know them who. Heck, if knew their real names, most of the speculation could be done with.

    Also, just so you know, that was not my original idea. There have been some exSGM Survivor types who speculated about that possibility a couple of years back.

  17. Jim wrote:

    K and I were able to coexist, but we were far from bff’s. Maybe your relationship was similar,

    There was absolutely no relationship.

  18. Steve240 wrote:

    Guy did say that he planned to “archive” the information which we haven’t seen. Note that it said both posts and comments. Maybe we will still see that but wouldn’t bet on that hapening.

    I wish they had told some of their close readers why. Well, no use crying over spilt milk. Onward. We will get a page up, hopefully this week. I would love to talk with you on the phone before we go live.

  19. @ Jim:
    If you have any suggestions for Steve240 who will be running the page, that would be great. He was a regular so I bet he will do a good job.

  20. Kris and Guy helped many of us survive another day. Kris was both smart and very discerning. And, even though her time in SGM was short, she was a thinker and GOT the SGM issues, putting words to something most of us could not. If someone took the issues off-track, she was quick to discern that, something the majority of the media and blog coverage has failed to do. She didn’t use our tragedy as a way to promote her pet peeves.

    The Survivors are overcoming trauma from a traumatizing narcissist who used cult-like tactics for crowd control. The psychological nuances of that are very complex, particularly when the narcissist is claiming to speak for God.

    I thought one of the last discussions on Survivors involved a little more open discussion about the fictitious nature of much of the lawsuit and the impact on the families of those falsely accused. Maybe the lawsuit people went after Kris & Guy.

    I saw this on Wikipedia the other day. Although there have been almost no statements from SGM or CLC, this would be the most consistent with my memory of the events.

    Maryland State Senate Committee Hearings (March 2016)[edit]
    On March 8, 2016, two individuals testified before the Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee regarding the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit.[53] Charlotte Ennis, a member of the church, testified that the lawsuit was, “an egregious, and even bizarre, $50 million class action suit alleging child sexual abuse and cover up that was undoubtedly false.” According to Ennis, the lawsuit originally asked for $50 million in damages, but as the deposition and discovery process went on, “the plaintiffs tried hard to settle out of court for a much lower sum”. She testified that the defense had refused to settle out of court, requiring that the case be heard in court on its merits. Ennis testified only about the Maryland plaintiffs. (Ennis testified that in addition to her personal involvement with the Palmer situation, she had a professional background as a Research Manager for a news organization).
    1. In the Palmer case, brought by Renee Palmer Gamby, Ennis testified that,
    Documentation was found showing the family of one plaintiff was immediately advised to notify authorities. Witnesses (I was one) were prepared to testify under oath to that fact. That child was abused at age 2 by a babysitter whose case was criminally prosecuted in 1993.
    2. In the case brought by Dara Adams Sutherland, Ennis testified that,
    Another church plaintiff was never abused, (her sister was abused by her father who was prosecuted in 1987), but that plaintiff claimed the church had incarcerated her, ruining her life. Actually, she was charged and imprisoned by state and federal authorities for crimes of fraud, theft, drug possession, drug trafficking, and weapons concerns. Predictably, the judge questioned her very legitimacy as a plaintiff. The actual victim did not participate in that lawsuit.
    (Allegation Number 57 of the lawsuit reads,
    As a result of the Church’s conduct and misrepresentations, Robin Roe (then the pseudonym for Dara Adams Sutherland) was not cared for by loving and responsible adults, but instead was incarcerated in a juvenile half-way house with criminal juveniles.) [54]
    3. Ennis testified that, “A third plaintiff eventually withdrew her allegations, admitting they were false.”
    4. Regarding the alleged pedophile ring at the church’s school Ennis testified that,
    Investigators found that the supposed ringleader teacher was not even at the school for the majority of that year. He was in the hospital because his back was so bad he couldn’t walk. The actual teacher was the accuser’s own mother. The allegations included closets and rooms that did not match those in the school building. To date the police have filed no charges against anyone in that case.
    Ennis went on to testify that an “extensive and undoubtedly expensive” investigation was conducted by the Montgomery County Police Department but no charges were ever filed. A subsequent examination of the case, conducted by an independent investigator, found that the allegations of child sex abuse detailed in the lawsuit “likely never happened at all” (except for the two which had been promptly reported and prosecuted decades earlier).
    At the same Senate hearing another individual, Terry Mayo, also testified. Mayo testified that her husband was one of the accused in the Sovereign Grace lawsuit and that “she and her husband had experienced the nightmare of false accusations.” His accuser apparently was plaintiff Heather Thompson Bryant.
    Mayo testified,
    In 2013, in a lawsuit against our church, a woman accused my husband and three others of molesting her twenty-five years earlier. She didn’t remember the alleged “abuses” before her thirties, and then believed she was recovering lost memories. She also imagined that eighteen people witnessed the abuse, and she listed them by name. However, none of those named supported her stories of abuse. Montgomery County police investigated and filed no charges. After eighteen months, an independent investigator concluded her accusations likely never happened. But that didn’t spare us from a witch hunt. In the initial months, the accused were labeled child sex offenders and the story of the abuse, truth be damned, was aggressively promoted in news, radio and social media.
    1) We received online threats that flyers would go out to our neighbors, “informing” them of the “pedophile” at our address. 2) Anonymous calls were made to business clients, threatening them for doing business with us. 3) Online forums ripped us to shreds. 4) Minor children, suffocated by public reaction, suffered horribly. 5) An un-accused spouse was laid off and later denied another job. 6) People withdrew from us, or fell silent. 7) Questions harassed us: Could we lose everything financing a defense?
    Mayo also testified that her “husband had contemporaneous records from the 1980’s that refuted the allegations.”

    I’m not saying it was a safe place to be coerced and have your parents coerced by a traumatizing narcissist, but I agree with one of the Survivors, in regards to sex abuse, it was probably one of the safest places to be.

    With thousands of children, there is one babysitting incident, one stepfather incident and Nate Morales, an administrator for a nearby Christian school, a prolific pedophile.

  21. A little comment over from the previous page on this subject.
    Yes, we should try to settle with our brother before we get to court. But surely settling requires justice, an acknowledgment of the wrong that was done and a willingness on both parts to come to an agreement. It does not (in my view, given what the rest of the Bible says about justice, caring for the vulnerable, sexual purity etc etc) mean the victim rolling over and giving in involuntarily in order to “forgive” the perpetrator. Particularly as abuse has a significantly different dynamic to normal relationship problems, which many churches do no seem to understand.

    In my own situation, my church have genuinely wanted to help me, but they also want to help and restore the person who has been emotionally abusing me and my children, and I just don’t think they understand how to go about handling the situation. They acknowledge his great wrong, but separation is still a no-no in their minds.

  22. Steve240 wrote:

    Guy did say that he planned to “archive” the information which we haven’t seen. Note that it said both posts and comments. Maybe we will still see that but wouldn’t bet on that hapening.

    I think that this is t he reason why so many are confused. It would be nice if they could just say something to someone who could communicate it to the former readers.

  23. Really wrote:

    Maybe the lawsuit people went after Kris & Guy.

    I have talked to a couple of them. They are as confused as the rest of us. They tried to contact Kris but to no avail.

  24. Really wrote:

    I’m not saying it was a safe place to be coerced and have your parents coerced by a traumatizing narcissist, but I agree with one of the Survivors, in regards to sex abuse, it was probably one of the safest places to be.
    With thousands of children, there is one babysitting incident, one stepfather incident and Nate Morales, an administrator for a nearby Christian school, a prolific pedophile.

    It is too darn bad that this didn’t go to court so that it could be testified to under oath with the threat of perjury and punishment in the background. That was one person (Ennis) testifying and therefore I have issues with her situation. There was no cross examination of her or anyone else.

    I think the saddest part of this whole incident is that CJ and friend friends were never deposed under oath. Therefore, it is one person’s story against those who claimed abuse. I know a couple of them and I believe them.

    I do not believe that SGM, under CJ Mahaney was *safe* for many reason that I will not get into here.

    I am putting Steve 240 in charge of the page that will be posted. I will back him up as he muddles through to create a truly safe place for those who were hurt in anyway by SGM.

    The one thing that I will not allow, after this gets going, is the attacking those who this blog believes were victims. Our blog, our judgment.

    You got in your comment and I will put it on the new page. However, please understand that there will not be any condemning of the alleged victims in this situation.

    CJ lost big time in this mess. He never sued the victims and if it was so easy to prove they were lying, I can assure you that lawsuits would have been flying. This situation is far more complex than you or Ennis describe.

    As states around the Union pass laws allowing statutes of limitation to be extended for victims of child sex abuse ,due to our understanding of how victims take time to process it, I find it disturbing that anyone from SGM’s churches would testify to prevent that from occurring. It looks highly suspicious to me. But I am sure it is pure as the driven snow.

    However, it all just goes to prove that the problem at SGM (SGC) runs very, very deep.

    Welcome to TWW.

  25. If K&G shut down because of lawsuits, why isn’t Brent Detwiler shutting down, commenting, or removing offending material? I don’t think there is anything about SGMSurvivors that Brent didn’t also discuss. So I don’t think that one is the issue.

    It could be that they were harassed or threatened via the SGMSurvivor emails, and it wasn’t worth the hassle.
    That’s the scenario that makes the most sense to me. I suppose they also could have decided to rough it and pull the plug on the internet altogether, in which case, they might think the site is up and running and not be aware that it isn’t.

  26. Archive. Reformat. Repost. Leave capacity in the formatting for future expansion. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just rotate the tire. As has been said, move on. Good to see this!

  27. OutThere wrote:

    If K&G shut down because of lawsuits, why isn’t Brent Detwiler shutting down, commenting, or removing offending material? I don’t think there is anything about SGMSurvivors that Brent didn’t also discuss. So I don’t think that one is the issue.
    It could be that they were harassed or threatened via the SGMSurvivor emails, and it wasn’t worth the hassle.

    Comparing Brent to Kris & Guy in terms of shutting down due to threatened legal action is more like apples vs. oranges IMO. Kris & Guy are anonymous and I understand at least Guy works a “day job” (not sure about Kris) and are anonymous vs. Brent who has a blog that mostly comments on SGM.

    If nothing else someone could have threatened to reveal who Kris & Guy were and information about them. Maybe they didn’t want that hassle and exposure? What could they similarly do to Brent since people know who he is etc. and his name is well associated with SGM? It isn’t like Brent has a “day job” except for his blog which is again associated with SGM.

    There are a realm of possibilities out there.

  28. I would be very sad if I could not comment here and communicate with other victims as I, too am a victim of spiritual abuse.

    But, to not allow the victims who were falsely accused in the lawsuit to have a voice or even an effort to find truth is very troubling.

    Just because there are some terrible true stories about how people were handled, particularly at Fairfax, does not mean we should assume all stories in the lawsuit were true. Remember, there were millions of dollars involved. I know those accused were looking forward to a day in court where all could come to light.

    I’m pretty sure SGM is quite committed to not suing members or former members. They were also committed to not trash-talking them, which is why they left CLC rather than give a defense.

    I’m not saying the true accusations are not terrible and the trauma is not severe. But, some of the false accusations were an injustice to those whose stories were true. And, they destroyed the lives of some very innocent people.

    That should matter here, too.

  29. Really wrote:

    particularly at Fairfax

    Completely and utterly incorrect. Not just Fairfax. SGM was, if nothing else, very consistent across all of their franchises. The Pastor’s College was adept at indoctrinating younger men that they then sent out to continue their brand of corporate control.
    Send the youngin’ to the PC and then kick the older pastor to the curb. “Ungifting” and/or “Shanked”.
    And SGM did indeed “trash talk”. And it was personal. They just used different words. “Pride”, “Arrogant”, “Unteachable”, etc.

  30. SGM Survivors is back up. Now…how do we trust it is really them and nobody else took control while they were gone?

  31. @ ReallyIt appears that all of their website content (including older non-archived comments) is back up. I think that would be difficult to fake. Opinions on that, anyone??

  32. Pam Palmer wrote:

    @ ReallyIt appears that all of their website content (including older non-archived comments) is back up. I think that would be difficult to fake. Opinions on that, anyone??

    I think that this is the real thing. I think it would have been hard to duplicate but then you never know.

  33. I am glad that the site is back up. We are planning on going ahead with an SGM/SGC page. We had planned to do this few months ago prior to the site going down.

  34. Really wrote:

    But, to not allow the victims who were falsely accused in the lawsuit to have a voice or even an effort to find truth is very troubling.

    I allowed your comment. I would allow a comment by Ennis as well.Then, that’s it. In the end, we have always tipped towards those who we believe were abused.

    Our blog, our rules.

    Now, we would be more than happy to let people know if you or Ennis or anyone else set up a blog to support those who who you believe were falsely accused of abusing others. If this situation means so much to you or others, you should do so. It really isn’t that hard.

    In the end, we have to make a judgement call on the goal and emphasis of this blog. You are more than welcome to discuss your story about spiritual abuse but we will not allow any attacks on those we believe have been wounded.

    Also, we have a rule on this blog which we will begin to enforce more heavily. In the end, we get to decide what we allow or do not allow. We really do not have time to deal with those who want it done differently. We are us. Kris and Guy ran things their way and they had a right to do so. So do we.

  35. Really wrote:

    I’m pretty sure SGM is quite committed to not suing members or former members. They were also committed to not trash-talking them, which is why they left CLC rather than give a defense.

    I totally disagree with you.

  36. Really wrote:

    But, some of the false accusations were an injustice to those whose stories were true. And, they destroyed the lives of some very innocent people.
    That should matter here, too.

    So you say. That is your opinion and it has not been proven by a court of law. Once again, I urge you to start a website in which you can defend the stories you believe to your hearts content. You are welcome here but we will not allow you to defend what we believe to be the indefensible.

  37. Dee said:

    “Really wrote: ‘I’m pretty sure SGM is quite committed to not suing members or former members. They were also committed to not trash-talking them, which is why they left CLC rather than give a defense.’ I totally disagree with you.”

    And I totally agree with you! Maybe they don’t trash-talk, but they do de-gift, fire, excommunicate, or insist that someone go somewhere else. And apparently, in the event that doesn’t happen, they move.

    There is a big difference between “rather than give a defense” and secretly moving and cutting off communication.

  38. OutThere wrote:

    There is a big difference between “rather than give a defense” and secretly moving and cutting off communication.

    Wel said. I believe that f Mahaney was pure as the driven snow, he would have attempted to clear his name via legal means. However, that would he he would have been deposed under oath.

  39. dee wrote:

    Kris could have turned over the blog to someone she trusts. Maybe she could give some clarification

    Guy did put up a clarification today indicating he was out of the country and something expired when he was away.

    Also, it was Guy who made the last blog post on 7/16/16. Not sure where Kris is and don’t think she has commented recently.

  40. I began posting on Refuge and Survivors back around 2010. Historically, I have found Kris’ communications clear, effective and she often put discussions back on point. My impression is that Guy has taken care of the technical back end.

    Also from my perspective, Jim (and Carole) worked on the inside as mediators and Jim was willing to call PDI / SGM / SGC out and expose SGM leadership including the release of The Documents which proved to be incredibly effective.

    Since the conversation has somewhat strayed of late, I am not surprised that Kris hasn’t posted in some time. Her focus was always related to the utter craziness of the SGM system.

    Kris, Guy, Jim and Carole. Fine folks all. Glad to know that they are okay and it’s good to see that Jim is still around. I am forever indebted to their work to help get me out and to see what should have been obvious. I spent 20 years in SGM franchises. Never again. Never. Ever. SGM and those like them should never be near a flock. I go into a church now with eyes wide open.

    Don’t believe the best. Believe the evidence.

  41. Roadwork wrote:

    I spent 20 years in SGM franchises. Never again. Never. Ever. SGM and those like them should never be near a flock. I go into a church now with eyes wide open.
    Don’t believe the best. Believe the evidence.

    I love your comment. We are now members of a church. We attended for 2 years before joining. We wanted to be sure that this would be a good fit. It is so nice to enjoy our pastors and be told how much we are loved by Jesus.

  42. @ dee:
    Thanks, Dee.
    I will say that reading here on occasion has also helped me to steer clear of a few other places that have the word “Church” on their buildings but not in their practice.

  43. Roadwork wrote:

    Since the conversation has somewhat strayed of late, I am not surprised that Kris hasn’t posted in some time. Her focus was always related to the utter craziness of the SGM system.

    Either that or they just got tired of it all as in had their season. Kris hasn’t commented or posted in now almost a year.

  44. Roadwork wrote:

    @ Steve240:
    And I’ll cut Kris some slack any day of the week.
    I got my church life back because of her, Guy, Jim and Carole.

    I wasn’t criticizing Kris. Kris put a lot of time in blogging etc. I understand her wanting to take a break or move on. There was a lot involved in actively blogging.

  45. Ifonlyweknew wrote:

    Think about it … the fact that the website goes down and there is no word at the same time strongly suggests they were threatened …if they had gotten into say a car accident the website would still be up … they monitored a comment i made just a few days before so they would have seen a pending renewal notice ticking down … if it was money they needed they would have asked .. it might be great if someone actually knows them to find out and just say they are alive … but they prob cant respond themselves

    What I was thinking too.
    ….I have been forced to abandon a blog, a facebook acc’t & and several other sites (mine & others) because of harassment from people I had considered friends. (When somebody tells you they wish you were dead, etc, etc.& then they call your house when they shouldn’t have my #, its time layy low, IMNSHO).

  46. dee wrote:

    I am glad that the site is back up. We are planning on going ahead with an SGM/SGC page. We had planned to do this few months ago prior to the site going down.

    I think this is a great idea,Dee. That way, folks can know that they have a safe place to reach out.

  47. Roadwork wrote:

    Don’t believe the best. Believe the evidence.

    I also agree.

    I remember when Kris did a blog entry titled something like the strange concept of teaching to believe the best.

    As I think about it you could almost call teaching this kind of a concept “thought control.” It is almost telling people to not question. We can now see the sad result of people not questioning or at least doing little questioning over the years.

    Kris pointed out that sadly SGM leadership would teach members to “believe the best” about leaders but it didn’t appear SGM leaders would many times “believe the best” about members actions.

  48. I am in an SGM church in PA now should I leave? I have been in it almost 5 years now. Haven’t really experienced any of the oppression and abuse others describe. it is a bit conservative for me and my wife but we have made some good friends there.

  49. Greg Alexander wrote:

    I am in an SGM church in PA now should I leave? I have been in it almost 5 years now. Haven’t really experienced any of the oppression and abuse others describe. it is a bit conservative for me and my wife but we have made some good friends there.

    Greg

    Too bad someone didn’t answer this question earlier. I think you need to make that decision yourself. Hopefully you will still get this note.

    One thing you may find is that typically as long as you don’t question etc. you won’t experience what many people have called “abuse” on this blog. But as you start to question things there will be various ways the group will try and force you to conform even if you have valid questions.

    One thing to realize is that the more you have invested in an SGM church especially including time that harder it might be for you to leave (investment can include time and money you give). Membership in an SGM church typically demands a lot of your time and the within SGM then typically become all the friends you have and you lose others. If you choose to leave those “friendships” typically end pretty quickly.

    Thus as time goes on it can get harder to leave. This can make people accept questionable (at best) actions that they might have at one time either pushed for change or left the group.

    Just something to think about. I would also say that even if you have well, sincere meaning pastors at a local SGM church their actions are still limited based on SGM Leadership.

    These are some things to consider.

  50. @ Greg Alexander:
    Sorry about the late reply. I have very little time at the moment so this will be short and might come off as being brutal.

    “Should I leave?” Was that a joke? The SGM Franchise Managers have been well indoctrinated in burying bad news and bad press, especially the younger men that have been through the Pastor’s College. If you haven’t “experienced it” it’s because you haven’t been rocking the boat. You’ve been a good little tithing (and possibly serving) member. You signed the Membership Agreement, you attend caregroup, you’ve read “Why Small Groups”, you confess your sins, etc. You may not realize it, but you’re in passive lockstep. It’s a slow letting go of your personal spiritual responsibility before God alone and replaced by the “church knows what’s best” model that will eventually take over every aspect of your life and family.

    Begin to question. Ask to the church’s complete financial breakdown including breaking out the pastors’ salaries individually. Voice a slight disagreement regrading church policy, doctrine or governmental structure. Ask about being more open to non-SGC worship songs? Discover that their “missions” fund is really their “building” fund. Take a peek behind the curtain. Ask legitimate questions.

    “Don’t you believe the best from us?!?” Your questions will be put back on you. “It’s your sinful heart!” “You don’t have all the information!” They’re right, you’re wrong.

    You’re not part of the “gifted” leadership. Yes, they’ll voice that they desire your input but what you will discover is that you have no voice and no authority in their church as a born-again true believer in God.

    Here are some ideas to get you started (I wrote these out about 4 years ago):

    Try asking these questions of your local SGC pastor:

    To whom exactly are you accountable to? Is it to people in your congregation? In other words, if they abuse their power for whatever reason, can the congregation have them removed?

    If there is a pastoral change, who decides on the new pastor? Will there be a vote (or merely an “affirmation” of one already “chosen”)?

    Who exactly, is on the Board of Directors for this church?

    Exactly what missionaries or missionary organizations does the local church support? What percentage of the church income goes to these missionaries or organizations? What are their names and addresses?

    Additionally, how much of the church income goes to SGC corporate?

    What local outreach programs to the needy are pursued and supported by the church on a regular basis? What is the percentage of income dedicated to those outreach programs?

    Exactly how much is your pastor being compensated? Who sets this compensation?

    What caregroup to you attend? With whom?

    What material does your caregroup study? If it’s only the pastor’s sermon or an SGC or church approved book, are their not other resources that are worthy to study? Why not a systematic bible study?

    Would you let a woman lead worship on a Sunday morning on a regular basis? If not, why?

    Exactly who are the local elders and what authority do they have?

    What pastoral education do you have? If nothing more than the Pastor’s College, what are your immediate plans for further education? If you have no further educational plans, why not?

    Don’t settle for smooth and flowery talk. These are simple questions that allow direct and appropriate answers that should be asked of any church that’s worthy of getting your time and money.

    Don’t believe the best. Believe the evidence.

  51. Greg Alexander wrote:

    I am in an SGM church in PA now should I leave? I have been in it almost 5 years now. Haven’t really experienced any of the oppression and abuse others describe. it is a bit conservative for me and my wife but we have made some good friends there.

    Greg – If you haven’t experienced any oppression or abuse, that’s good. If you decide to stay, just be cautious. Don’t make yourself vulnerable by being too into it. Most spiritual abuse in SGM goes back to the 1980’s and 1990’s. There are plenty of nice guys out there. The music is good.

    If you decide to leave, you can start the apocalypse by confronting them for everything in the blogs. That is dangerous for you and all of your relationships. I wouldn’t tackle these issues if you haven’t experienced them.

    If you want to leave safely, explore other churches quietly. Don’t get word out until you are sure you are leaving and have a plan. Be vague when people question your absences. Still hang with your friends. Don’t talk about your concerns. When you are ready, have it already be a done deal. Don’t ask for counsel or give them opportunity to talk you out of it. Send out a letter to all of the pastors and your friends and others who know you and explain how God has been moving in your lives. Choose some noble reason for leaving. You want to be closer to your brother with cancer, or your aging mother, or lessen the commute for your job. Then talk about something in your new church you feel “called to do” that you can’t do in your old church. Not something great that would be divisive and cause everyone to want to join the new church. Talk about how much you love the baby nursery the soup kitchen or tell them you feel called to labor with your new brother-in-law, the pastor at the new church or something else you feel called to do. Talk about how God has been spurring you on in this direction for a long time and how it is a calling you’ve had for years. Express your joy that he is opening this opportunity for you and how it all seems to be falling together. Talk about how much you love the current church and the members. Thank the leaders and friends for the unspeakable contribution to your life. Thank them for their blessing on this new season in your life. Don’t ask for their blessing – just assume and proclaim it. When they ask if they can meet with you to “care for you in this transition” eagerly agree. Then, do a logistical cancellation at the last minute. Act like you didn’t know you needed their counsel to leave. It is after the fact. You are established in the new location. You’re never able to get back to them for exit interview.

    If you want to be able to visit, be very friendly with everyone as you leave. Run and hug them and share what God is doing in your life.

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