“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― The Four Loves
A few years ago, Mosaic Church, at the time led by Dustin Boles, was a member of the Acts 29 network. Some people think that being an affiliate of this group means something. Like these are real Christians who do things the right way. So, what happens when concerned individuals reach out to this group, hoping for support in difficult times? In the following two situations it would appear that being members of a church in the Acts 29 network means next to nothing.
Recently, The Gospel Coalition posted their ode to Acts 29. How Acts 29 Survived—and Thrived—After the Collapse of Mars Hill. Apparently, they believe that Matt Chandler of The Village Church was the savior of that organization after Mark Driscoll stepped down in 2013. As you will see, he was in charge when some folks from Mosaic contacted Acts 29 and asked for help.
“It was time for us to leave puberty and grow up to the things the Lord has called us to,” Chandler said.
Chandler applied immediate triage, laying out four clear hopes for the future—a renewed focus on churches planting churches, a reputation for holiness and humility, ethnic diversity, and bold evangelism.
“I was trying to wrap my mind around the people factor first,” Chandler said. “We could deal with the systems and finances once I got a good picture of what was going on in the hearts and minds of the people.”
The attitude toward women—which could dip into a harsh patriarchy—also eased.
In fact, Chandler said he wanted to *wrap his mind around the people factor…what was going on in their hearts and minds.” Well, Acts 29 got to know a few people and it appears they weren’t excited to find out what was going on.
I visited their website and it does not appear that the Mosaic Church in Mississippi is still a member of Acts 29. Why is that?
The role of elders in a church
Acts 29 posted Ecclesiology Matters. Especially for Elders. There is no question that this network encourages elder led churches.The elders are supposed to be there not only to protect the pastor but also to shepherd and support that people in their congregation. I have written extensively that many churches whose pastors believe in authoritarian leadership usually pick yes men to be on their elder board. Their job is primarily to give the lead pastor (the one bringing in the sheep with $$$) what he needs to succeed. In some situation, members are looked at as those who cause trouble with the implementation of the pastors’ and elders’ vision.
I was once a member of a church in which their was a dispute over a matter. The pastor was adamant about his way or the highway. So I asked him if the elders agreed with him. His answer sums up my thesis on the matter. “My elders have only disagreed with me twice in 28 years.” I knew then that I was not long for this church since the pastor was the only one with a voice. His elders were his *yes* men.
So what happens when the pastor becomes the problem? Who do the church members or subordinate pastors turn to for help?
Pastor DeWayne contacted Acts 29 about Pastor Dustin in 2014.
This pastor is now the senior pastor of a good sized church in the South. I have chosen not to give the name of his church or his full name even though he gave me permission to do so. Years ago, he refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement so that he would always be free to tell his story. When we spoke, he said he thought no one really cared about what he had to say.
He has known Boles and his (now) wife since they were all in Bible college together. He knew of Boles’ problems because they had been very close to one another and even served in each others weddings. As you will see, during these years, he had great hopes that Dustin would turn his life around. Dustin often said he was trying to do better.
So when Dustin contacted him and asked him to be a pastor at one of the satellite campuses, he agreed to come. He packed up his family, excited to have a chance to lead a satellite campus. By this time, Mosaic was growing and Dustin was rapidly becoming known as a successful church planter. He was also excited that there would be an affiliation with Acts 29.
However, the excitement soon turned to dismay. He began realize that he made a mistake. The good news is the God has now blessed him with a wonderful church which he might not have discovered if he hadn’t made the move.
The following excerpts are from the letter which he mailed to Acts 29 in 2014. He never received a response. In 2016, Dustin was forced to step down, admiting to sexual sin in his resignation. Let me also point out that an intervention by Acts 29 leadership and/or church elders at this time might have prevented much pain and suffering in the lives of the women who were hurt.
Be sure to note Pastor DeWayne’s humility. He often points to himself, stressing that he wished he had done the right thing earlier. I expect that comments to this post will reflect that understanding.
I’m sure Pastor DeWayne would be happy to provide this entire letter to anyone in the Acts 29 leadership. However, why do I think they will not be interested. Prove me wrong, ACTS 29!!
Again, these are excerpts and not the full letter.
Dustin and I were college roommates at Southeastern College, now Southeastern University in Lakeland Florida. At first I was put off by him, but came to like him in short order. We became good friends as we both studied in preparation for full time ministry. We had girlfriends who would become our wives, similar life plans and goals, and we even worked in the same places as we made our way through school.
Back in college in our on campus apartment (G5) with our 5 other roommates (they changed each of the last two years we roomed together) Dustin would go into great detail about his Christless past. His many sexual exploits, the constant pornography supplied to him by his step father, the girls he had raped and abused, and the drug and alcohol abuse that shaped his life right into adulthood.
It troubled me then not only because of the content of these stories but because of the way in which he reveled in them. He wasn’t repentant. He seemed thankful that he wasn’t doing those things anymore, and that his life was changing, but he missed them and even seemed to want just one more day of that sort of life. I never corrected him. I should have. I regret that.
We were real life official youth pastors in the Assemblies of God, he in New Orleans and I in Venice Florida. We stayed in regular contact. Those were great days, weeks, months and years, but the troubles from Dustin’s past always loomed in the background.
He would talk about the money he was making, the car he bought, the house and most disturbingly to me, the girls in his youth group. He would describe their bodies, and how he could be tempted to seduce or be seduced by some of them. He would always frame it in a need for prayer, but that didn’t satisfy my soul. He would always say “Shepherds don’t screw sheep”. That was his mantra. It always came up in every conversation. I didn’t say anything.
In August of 2001 Dustin was the youth pastor of The Met Church in Keller TX, and I was the youth pastor of Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Fort Worth. I loved that we had ended up within 20 miles of each other. We would all get together sometimes, have a meal or just hangout, sometimes with our three kids, sometimes without, and sometimes just he and I.
When it was just we two, the conversations always reverted to our college days topics. We called it “pillow talk” reminiscent of the nights we all stayed awake in G5 late into the night talking and laughing about everything. It always turned dirty. I think that I was as startled and intrigued as I had been ten years earlier. I had never known anyone with his kind of background, and he was so willing to divulge the most graphic content. Sometimes it was too much, and I would steer the conversation in a different direction. My own conscience would not allow for such soul crushing input.
He told the same old stories about the girls he had raped. One story in particular will haunt me forever. He told it laughing and would thank God for protecting him from disease, pregnancy and legal trouble. I struggled with that 20 years ago, 10 years ago and still today.
He had started giving girls in his youth group nicknames. “Milk Mustache” was a favorite girl of his who was by his description especially well endowed, and there were others that were far more descriptive and far worse. At this point I grew weary of only changing the topic and began to correct Dustin. He quickly apologized, blamed his youth and background, would even pray with me and then we would carry on.
That year, 2001, The Met via Dustin, offered me a job as their Middle School youth pastor. I took it without much thought or prayer. I never considered the ramifications of working with my friend, who I knew was broken and not receiving help. I loved the job, but in no time I realized how depraved the atmosphere was behind the scenes at the Met. There was constant talk of wife swapping and all kinds of perverse innuendo.
Dustin developed a strong infatuation for (name of woman), a pastor and regularly talked about having “angry sex” with her. I was disgusted, and told my wife Michelle about all that was going on. She was stunned, as I had mostly kept that part of who Dustin was from her. I thought I was protecting him. Then Pastor (name of pastor) joked about the pornography that he enjoyed, as did Dustin and (name of another pastor) who added he and his then wife’s pre-marital exploits to these discussions.
(ed. note At this point, DeWayne was fired from his job because he got sucked into the joking, etc and it got too much. He left the church and then served another church for 7 years, still maintaining a relationship with Dustin. Eventually, Dustin would start Mosaic Church and ask DeWayne to come and be a satellite pastor.)
Graphic imagery in next couple of paragraphs.
Over those next two weeks all of the old stories had been told anew, and with fresh enthusiasm. He had not left them. He reveled in them and the staff and elders around him made no attempt to correct him. I was baffled, and in no way amused. I did not play along. Sex with many partners, rape, drugs, alcohol and all manner of filth were set in front of me again just like they had been so many years before. All accompanied by laughter. No repentance of any kind. He would now say that he misses those days.
Please forgive the raw nature of this next section. It is sad but necessary.
Dustin regularly talked about how any woman could get whatever she wanted from any man simply by showing him her p—-y. “God gave women an unfair advantage by giving them a vagina.” “I prefer a big black hairy bush. I grew up on ‘70’s porn and just like it that way.” There was more than this; it was awful, sinful and shocking. Every day, every drive, everywhere and occasionally in mixed company if he knew the woman wouldn’t react.
These revelations were constant. This time I told Michelle early on that there was trouble in my old friend. We had made Dustin and Natalie the god parents of our kids a couple of years before. We changed our will and removed their names. That was sad. We did not tell them. I thought that as soon as the new church started I would be able to then encourage Dustin to get some help. That was wrong. I should have strongly confronted him as soon as it all started but I felt alone in my concern, and had a mortgage to pay. I was a coward.
As I mentioned before key staff leaders knew about what was happening but only played along.
The truth is that there is no one to say anything to. The 4 elders are somewhat aware of the problems with which Dustin struggles. He told a partial truth when he told me that they know, but they don’t know the depth of the darkness in which he stumbles around.
After that trip (ed. note: to New Orleans with a wealthy contributor) Dustin told me that he had let, and even encouraged Natalie to dance with (name). He said that (name) enjoyed feeling Natalies big b—bs against him and that he liked “grinding up on and feeling up Nat” which was fine with him (Dustin) as long as (name) kept writing those big checks. I was floored. I wanted to defend Natalie who is Michelle’s good friend, and frankly I had just had enough. Sadly, again I said nothing.
Days later Dustin asked me about going to New Orleans again. In the course of that brief conversation Dustin said. “I just want to get you guys over there, get Michelle drunk and then hey, who knows.”
She and Natalie were good friends, so this was especially difficult on Michelle who had been trying to lead Natalie through some tough days.
Natalie does indeed know about Dustin’s many struggles
In some way Dustin has been my problem for 22 years. He has been a friend who has asked me to quietly help him carry his dark secrets. I have, to my shame, done so. Perhaps to protect him, perhaps because of some faith I’ve had that he would get help on his own, or perhaps he might even be healed through some miracle. Maybe I just didn’t want to bother with the trouble that should follow a letter like this
I did not include the time leading up to DeWayne’s departure. It is very interesting but lengthy.
Pastor DeWayne’s letter to the elders, including Dustin (Graphic warning)
Once again, these are excerpts. A few sentences are graphic.I have left out some repeats from the ACTS 29 letter. Dustin decided to fire DeWayne even though his church was successful, very successful. But he decided to write a letter to see if someone would do something.
Nothing happened. Once again, had the elders acted decisively, they might have prevented much pain for the alleged victims.
I’ve communicated with Bruce Wesley and Mark Carden of Acts 29/Clear Creek Community Church, and am now going to turn to you as the problem must be resolved.
You know that Dustin and I have or rather had been friends for more than two decades. That friendship was broken in the fall of 2013 when Dustin and I were sitting in Coffee Fusion and he suggested that he Natalie, Michelle and I spend and evening and night in New Orleans. He said that he wanted to get Natalie and Michelle drunk and then “let’s see what happens.” That day I left him and began the process of leaving Mosaic.
This terrible day came after years of hearing Dustin talk about his problems with lust, and his particular interest in, (forgive me) “big black hairy bush” because he “grew up on 70’s porn and I just like it that way”, repetitious discussions about different girls and women in the church by name, and others outside of the church. I was so troubled by his constant, filthy and disturbing references and descriptions of women. He often included the statements that “any woman can have sex anytime she wants by simply offering her vagina to any man” and that “God gave women an unfair advantage by giving them a vag.”
Before I moved to Mississippi, Dustin and I had a few talks by which I wanted to be assured that all of the wickedness was behind him and that I wasn’t bringing my family into a partnership that would be broken from the beginning. He assured me that all was well. He told me that his elders and Natalie knew of all of his troubles and were keeping him straight, that those dark days were behind him. He lied.
Dustin, I hope for your own sake you’ll take this for what it is. I’m trying to help you. I’m not mad at you, well mostly. The day in Coffee Fusion is still tough to process, but I’m working through it. I know that you are tormented. I saw a picture and a video of you a couple of days ago. The war in your soul was all over your face and in your voice. It was heartbreaking. You have got to get some help or you are going to lose everything.
The last thing you ever said to me was that you “thought we were more alike.” In many ways we are, but there are other more significant aspects of our characters that could not be more different. You don’t understand this step I’m taking. It’s confrontational and caring. You thought I would just crawl away and pout. I’m not that guy. There is little else that I can do after sending this letter, so I’m sending it with a prayer for you.
I told you 12 years ago that God was going to send you to Mississippi to start something amazing. I told you to trust him and not to be afraid. I told you that it was going to be great. You are now at a critical crossroads. Those things have happened because Jesus is great. Don’t let your pride and fear now creep back in and undermine what God has done. He is not going to let that happen, and that sure can’t be good for you in the short term and perhaps for the long term.
Alright guys. There you go. I’m not trying to pick a fight. My family is great, Coast Life Church is blessed, growing, alive and well and I’m so thankful for all that Jesus has done. It would be easier to just sit back, watch and pray. What kind of a friend would I be if I did that? Dustin and I met all those years ago so that I could step to him and you today and try to prevent the coming train wreck. I’ve done my part for now. What happens next is your call.
There is much to repair and repent of. Dustin has a lot of work to do, and he must do it. From girls he raped 30 years ago to (name) whom he regularly calls a b—-h in your presence today he must truly repent. He is utterly broken and in denial. You can be certain that I won’t be backing down or going away. Dustin attacked my family and broke my heart, but I love that guy and want him to have real God honoring Christ centered success. That will never happen until his past is resolved, his present is made right and he is healed. Jesus is the Pastor of the church. You guys are the overseers of Dustin’s soul. For God’s and his sake be men and do something.
Acts 29 Skype Meeting with Rachel and Jade Oct. 11, 2016
Acts 29 reached out to the victims and asked to speak with them via Skype. This is now two years out from Pastor DeWayne’s letters.It appears that the elders at Mosaic had reached out to them. It looks like they got a response…
Rachel and Jade spoke with the Acts 29 leaders over Skype. Rachel and Jade had a respected witness to this meeting who will come forward if necessary.
The following is proof of this meeting. The Acts 29 guys sounded sympathetic and apologized for the pain that they experienced. They told them they would get back in touch with them.
They never did…ACTS 29 shame on you!!!! You claim to care about women but when it comes right down to it, you don’t. How could you not contact these women again as you promised you would? Are you not men of your word? Maybe you never intended to do so ands just used these women to get information? You tell me.How unfeeling and crass of you.
Jade, Rachel, and an anonymous victim met with the Mosaic elders shortly before Dustin’s resignation. Jade was allegedly accused of having a simple affair and being courted by a married Dustin by a thoughtless elder.
Yes there is a third victim but she is not ready to come forward yet. When I can tell you the full story of what happened this week, you will understand why….Yep-the reason for a couple of difficult days for all of us but all is well now.
The women discussed their alleged molestations by Dustin. It did not go well. One of the elders, D, allegedly told Jade that Dustin didn’t molest her.. He was merely *courting* her. He allegedly claimed she had an affair with Dustin and even appeared to allege that she was to blame.
I have something to say to Elder D. I have listened as Jade sobbed as she discussed this meeting with you. These heartfelt sobs, years later, are not the tears of someone covering up an *affair.* They are the tears of a shattered woman. I cannot express to you how much this angers me. And you considered yourself an elder?
My final words to Acts 29 and the Elders at Mosaic Church in 2016
Once again, I have to strongly state that these are allegations. However, I’ve been writing this blog for over 10 years. I have talked to many victims. There is no question in my mind that these women experienced a serious trauma.Their pain lasts to this day and I believe it will last a lifetime. The pain has been made worse by a bunch of men who talked the talk, enjoyed calling themselves elders and leaders, while doing nothing for these dear women who God entrusted to their care.
Do you sleep well at night? I wouldn’t if I were in your shoes.
And then you heard from Pastor DeWayne. He made a difficult and courageous decision to do what no one else had done to this point. He told the truth even though he knew it would cost him. It appears you decided to ignore him as well. So, you also don’t care for the little pastors, only the rainmaker celebrity. Do you think God is pleased with you? DeWayne has more strength in his little finger than you guys who talk so much about your male leadership and shepherding skills.I was honored to talk with him. He is a decent man and his church is blessed to have a guy like him leading their church. I wish I had time to tell you about everything we discussed.
I would rather spend my time with DeWayne, Jade, Rachel and Anonymous than with the elders of Mosaic Church in 2016.and the leaders of Acts 29. Maybe that’s why Jesus spent time with the lost and let down. He really loved and cared for them. Do you guys do the same?
It is time to repent and to ask forgiveness. Do you have the guts to do it?
Please join in in praying for Rachel, Jade, Anonymous and Pastor DeWayne.