Germantown Baptist Church Response to Jules Woodson Request to Revoke Andy Savage’s Ordination: “No Comment.”

A bleak day at Germantown Baptist Church link

“To keep a warm heart in winter is the real victory.” ― Marty Rubin

This response by the *leadership* (I wonder what the term really means these days) of Germantown Baptist Church,  TN,  reinforces for me that the Southern Baptist Convention is made up of many churches which will continue to act coldly, shamefully and autonomously, especially when it come to sex abuse. There are way too many pastors who’ve indulged in such behavior, successfully covering it up for themselves and who are quite comfortable in letting their similarly affected brethren off the hook.

Sadly, I think some are getting their cues from leaders in the SBC, like this response from SBC’s Credential Committee. I am not saying all of them are like this. But sadly, there are far too many.

Do these leaders even have a bit of caring in their souls for those who have been abused by pastors? Does this church even care that their homeboy, Andy Savage, went on to molest Jules Woodson AFTER he was ordained by this church? Or is there something else at play here? I have heard from reliable sources that Andy Savage’s family are (or have been) members of this church. Can anyone confirm this? Does that make things awkward? And does avoiding *awkward * trump doing the right and caring thing?

Here is the letter that Jules sent to Germantown Baptist Church, explaining why she was requesting that Savage’s ordination should be revoked. We have it on good authority that, from time to time, ordinations have been revoked. She carefully outlines the pain that she suffered at the hands of Savage’s hands when he was her youth pastor AFTER he was ordained by Germantown Baptist Church.

If you want to go directly to their stunningly blind response, skip this section. However, it is a wonderful letter from a woman crying out of justice.

Dear Pastor John Longworth,

I would like to thank you again for speaking with me last week, regarding my request that Germantown Baptist Church formally revoke the ordination of Andy Savage.

As you take the time to carefully and prayerfully consider this solemn request, I would like to draw your attention to a few facts regarding this request and Andy’s disqualifying behavior.

This sex crime did not just occur on one spring night in 1998.  Andy’s grooming of me in the youth group began three years earlier when I was just 14 years old. Andy WAS our full-time, ordained Youth Pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church (WPBC).

I beg that you and your wife Sandra please take some time to look at a few pictures of your precious daughter Katie, back when she was 14 years old.  Does she look worldly and sexually sophisticated enough to discern what sexual grooming from a grown man with spiritual authority over her would look like?  Was she precocious and wise in the ways of the world at that age?  At 14, was she able to make adult decisions and to put up battle hardened adult defenses from years of adult men making passes at her?  Or was she like me at 14, goofy, giggly, with braces?  This crime was just NEVER about one night in the dark woods; it was about a three-year long pattern of deceptive behavior and manipulation that led to a crime.

During those same three years, Andy was warned to stop luring girls to be alone with him, such as the time he took me into his bedroom, was tickling me and touched my breast. These types of behaviors are designed to break down physical barriers between a predator and a child.  Andy would single me out and pay me special attention during those years. He knew my deepest secrets, as I saw him like a father figure and a counselor…Such as how I was struggling with my parents divorce and also how I had been raped my junior year of high school. He KNEW that I was extra vulnerable.

Andy teaching ‘True Love Waits’ and promoting purity during youth services followed by him unexpectedly exposing his genitals to me, left me reeling.  It was the opposite of everything I had been taught in church or had expected. I have since learned that this technique is used to inflict alarm and distress in the victims which causes a sort of paralysis to this trauma. It’s playing out a stimulating fantasy.

I do not wish to relive any graphic details of the crimes, as they can trigger my PTSD. However, if you have not watched this video carefully prepared by Sheila Gregoire, an author and head of a marriage and family ministry which specializes in sexual relations inside Christian marriage, I respectfully ask that you prayerfully consider watching this with your wife before making your decision on the withdrawal of Andy’s ordination.  Sheila does an excellent job of explaining the long-term trauma caused by predators who act as Andy did.

In addition to my sexual assault at WPBC, Andy has behaved in other ways which further demonstrate that this issue was not the result of a limited, one-time lapse in judgment back in 1998. Andy has continued to act deceptively and to the detriment of his flocks at both GBC and Highpoint and even now at Grace Valley Church.  I will only be reviewing the clergy misconduct that relates to my situation:

  1. At WPBC, Andy minimized and mislead the flock into believing that the only bad thing he had done was stolen a kiss from me. He specifically told this to his supervisor, Pastor Larry Cotton, thereby making me look like a liar. This was a bald-faced lie and Andy is not disputing that now.  However, at the time it caused me irreparable harm. The students in my youth group were angry at ME, for causing Andy to be fired over what Andy portrayed as a minor issue. When I needed my church family most for support, I was gossiped about, lied about, slandered, shamed and shunned. This has had a lasting impact on my relationship with God, the church, my friends and family. This, in turn, has been passed down, to some degree, to my children. This breaks my heart every day of my life.
  2. Andy lied to GBC and dishonored your church, by accepting the commission to go to WPBC then concealing his sexual assault from the leaders upon his unexpected return.  Andy put the church at risk in doing so. Had he gone on to sexually assault more students, GBC may have faced harsher legal judgments for hiring a predator.
  3. Andy knew all this time that he had dishonored God, his home church of GBC, and his next congregation at Highpoint by keeping his sexual assault history a secret. Andy dishonored the sanctity of his ordination, which is a sacred commission.  Andy betrayed the trust that was endowed to him through this ordination that GBC bestowed upon him.  Therefore, Andy is no longer deserving of this honor.
  4. Andy is a manipulator. He manipulated GBC into granting him his ordination when he clearly lacked physical and spiritual maturity. He manipulated WPBC into trusting him with their children, then getting them to help him conceal his crime. He then manipulated his way back to Memphis, concealing the truth behind his abrupt departure from The Woodlands.  Andy deceived both the executive staff leadership and the flock at GBC, which dishonors God and makes all flock members question the integrity of the American church.
  5. Andy, while being an ordained GBC pastor, refused to be honest and explain why he had been fired from WPBC. Because of his secrecy and the secrecy of the pastors at WPBC that concealed the assault, Andy did not undergo ANY restoration process, whatsoever. For that reason alone he should be immediately stripped of his preaching credentials. Andy Savage has never been restored.
  6. Andy refused to heed the cries of a wounded lamb when I reached out to him in December 2017. I initially had no intention of going public with my story.  However, after re-living the pain of being ignored and shunned while Andy was once again elevated and celebrated, it felt wrong for me to maintain my silence, while Andy was publicly criticizing secular celebrities who had sexually harassed their staff.

Andy immediately turned to what he referred to as ‘wise counsel’ for advice so that he could protect his “brand” which included protecting his marriage ministry and parenting ministry (7000 Days), his cash generating marriage conferences and his new upcoming book deal for The Ridiculously Good Marriage. Chris Conlee supported him in this decision as Chris was also protecting his brand which included his Leadership Works business conferences and his upcoming book Love Works. This was their top priority. This ‘wise counsel’ advised Andy to not acknowledge my existence at all, despite the years that he had been my pastor and the damage that his actions caused.

  1. Once I went public, Andy and Chris went into manipulation mode.  The song leading up to Andy’s announcement about the assault was a protracted, emotional rendition of Bethel Redding’s Reckless Love, where the worship leader started screaming “You are worthy Andy! You are worthy!”  Head worship pastor, Josh Maze, talked about how the TRUTH was going to be told that day at Highpoint because the flock “needed some truth right now,” yet Andy got on stage and completely minimized his assault of me.

All of this was manipulating the flock to believe that Andy’s lies were the “truth” that the flock “needed right now”.  Later Chris Conlee would deliver an excessively dramatic sermon about how only those without sin should be casting stones, as though spiritual and clerical abuse are everyday common sins in the House of Highpoint.

Chris brought a large jagged stone on stage which he dramatically kept throwing down to the ground.  It is no small wonder that Highpoint leadership was able to coax out the standing ovation heard around the world. The piercing of that ovation, through my soul, will never be assuaged in this lifetime. There are no words to adequately describe the devastation wrought by the man GBC unwittingly ordained so many years ago.

  1. Andy would characterize the assault as consensual to his flock, but that was not enough. In his capacity as an ordained pastor he then called upon his childhood friend, and former church attendee, Ben Ferguson (Ben and Andy attended GBC youth group together).  Ben invited Andy onto his syndicated radio show recorded in Rockwall, TX, broadcast on I Heart Radio. Chris Conlee and at least one other Highpoint official flew to DFW to be with Andy for the talk show interview and to meet with teams of lawyers and crisis management experts. Andy and Chris concealed this from their flock. It was only discovered because somebody recognized the three men at DFW sitting in the airport eating candy bars. Highpoint would end up spending over $938K in severance and legal consulting fees

Almost one million dollars in tithes and offerings were spent to spin and lie about what happened.

  1. On the radio show, for the entire world to hear, Andy took one more swipe at me.  It was a blow that would pulverize me in a way I could not have expected. Andy and Ben discussed the assault in a familiar and friendly way, including chuckles punctuated by careful wording. When it came time for Andy to catalog the details for his fan base, as a shepherd he hit an all-time low.

In this interview Andy LIED over and over. He starts by calling the assault a consensual act and describes it as a flirtatious hormone filled organic moment. Andy had been crafting statements with the Dallas attorneys and crisis managers. Instead of owning his role in this spiritual/sexual abuse and, frankly, his bizarre and unsettling act of driving into the woods then exposing himself, he completely flipped the script.

On a national radio program, Andy referred to my version of the events as a shocking accusation. He claims that is not what took place. The following are untruths stated by Andy:

  1. a) “I” was the one who told him to NOT drive me home. “I” was the one who told him to keep driving.
  2. b) “WE” mutually flirted during this drive
  3.  c) “WE” together “found” this side-road next to the new school in an area that “I” was not familiar with, but Andy had inside info about the construction under way.


1. d) “WE” chose to stop the car and “PARK” as though his vehicle had dual controls.

1. e) “WE” started consensually “MAKING OUT” along with “HEAVY PETTING”.

  1. f) In Andy’s “version” there was no unilateral unzipping of his pants and unexpectedly exposing himself to me


  1. g) “I” performed oral sex on Andy, unsolicited.


  1. h) Although he states that it was “wrong” he quickly adds the words “it was very mutual” again.  It was not.


  1. i) He chuckles lightheartedly as he described the act. I was having a panic attack and sobbing while listening to this, while he and Ben Ferguson sound casually flippant.


  1. j) The one non-hemming and hawing statement Andy makes is when he states declaratively, “She performed oral sex” implying this was my idea. He doesn’t leave any doubt later in the convo.


  1. k) When he describes his sense of panic, he states, “the number one sense of, ya know, responsibility I felt was, I had crossed a line in a standard of sexual purity that I said I wouldn’t do. I had, I had, nev-nothing like this had ever happened before. It was the first and last (pause) incident, of its kind, until marriage. I- I was panicking”.


Andy shows ZERO amount of concern for me, the student in his care, whom he just assaulted. The only thing Andy cares about is that his outside “Purity” ministry, where he and his friend Clayton King were getting large speaking gigs to speak on purity, was now blown. At 23, Andy was more concerned about his “brand” than the shocked and stunned kid feeling sick inside his truck. It’s not surprising that as a pastor he chose Marketing as his undergrad major, considering how important his brand is to him.

  1. l) Here is the final kicker and I pray that as you read this you consider how you would feel if Andy had said this lie about your daughter, after having done the same to her.  Andy said, in a voice filled with rehearsed conviction (the kind that comes when your lawyer coach is in the room with you): “I do want to say this Ben.  I did not, uh, ask for, I did not force, I did not direct her to do anything, in this moment”.

Within those five minutes on this radio show, Andy had painted me out to be the one who instigated the riding around instead of going home, picking out the secluded parking spot, parking the car, engaging in a steamy make-out sesh with heavy petting, followed by ME STEALING ANDY SAVAGE’S PURITY, as he describes me as the one who initiated the sex act  without a request, direction or other provocation, meaning it was ME WHO ASSAULTED ANDY that dark night in the woods!

The world heard Andy’s false version. My family, once again, heard Andy’s false version. His flock, since he was still a legally ordained pastor at Highpoint, heard Andy’s version.  I have every reason to believe that Andy did this on purpose so that he could relaunch his career as the victim, after a “season” of reflection.  Although why would he need the reflection since this man who towers over me by over a foot and outweighed me by 60 pounds is pretending to be the poor victim.

Andy later admitted to a few of his previous LIES in his resignation letter, although not enough. And he did not go on a national radio broadcast to correct the record. Just Highpoint. Not even GBC.

I’m not sure how many sex abuse victims you have come into contact with over the years, but there is literally nothing worse a predator can do after the assault is over, than what Andy did to me and my family from his church stage and on that radio show, while he was still working as a pastor with the power of the GBC ordination.

Below is the transcript and link to the original radio show for you to confirm all of this.

4:10 “When I received the email to be honest… I was Shocked by the accusation that was in there (Jules’ email from early December 2017).”…

4:15 “I did not agree with her description of the account…(5:00) yes, I do think I remember the events very differently. The, the- during this time, this event, that took place, um, I remember giving Jules a ride home from the youth group, uh, that night….I offered to give Jules a ride home. Um, we got in the car, we were driving she, uh, said, she did not want to go home, so quickly, so we drove around. There was um, quite a bit of flirtation in hehe the car. The atmosphere was very flirtatious. Um, we found a side-road next to the new high school in the Woodlands, um, where we parked.  Um, that flirtatious environment, uh, continued to, uh, move forward, um, which led to, um, uh, us making out. Some heavy petting. Uh, it was a very, uh, mutual (chuckles), spontaneous, physical, uh, moment. And our hormones were obviously, uh, very much in that moment. And uh, she performed oral sex …It was wrong, it was uh, it was very mutual… So when the, hehe, the when  when we finished- when things we-were complete, um, I did jump out of the car.  I was panicking… the number one sense of, ya know, responsibility I felt was, I had crossed a line in a standard of sexual purity that I said I wouldn’t do. I had, I had, nev-nothing like this had ever happened before. It was the first and last (pause) incident of its kind, until marriage. I- I was panicking.  I did tell her, we can’t tell anybody. Um, I was begging God for forgiveness. I was telling her I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry God, I’m sorry, sorry, sorry. Um, it was a moment of panic.  I do want to say this Ben.   I did not, uh, ask for, I did not force, I did not direct her to do anything, in this moment”.

As you further consider the potential withdrawing of Andy Savage’s ordination, could you please consider watching this video, made by the NYT. In your opinion, when you listen to Andy tell his version, on stage at Highpoint minimizing what happened and chuckling and having an easy discussion with his buddy Ben, then compare it to the version where I describe the same night, does it honestly sound like I am the dominant one? The one initiating sex? The ABUSER?

Does it sound like I, in any way, consented to, let alone initiated, this act?  Is it normal for a person to display such signs of trauma 20 years after having a mutual “organic” fully consensual sexual encounter that was instigated by that person?  Have you ever seen this kind of PTSD reaction when a person recalls a “flirtatious” “organic” make-out session where they were the ones making the first move and volunteering to perform the sex act out of the blue?

Do you realize that this event and the way my home church of WPBC treated me afterwards because of the lies Andy told about this being “just a kiss” (as he confirms in that Ben F interview) was so traumatic that after I graduated from high school, I moved 250 miles away to college so that I wouldn’t have to be reminded of the assault.

Could you further consider the following manipulations?

–        Andy and Chris, continued to conceal/mischaracterize the assault even after its existence was confirmed

–           They concealed that Andy had never undergone a restoration process. He STILL has not.

–           They concealed the final reports that were issued by Ministry Safe and attorney Scott Fredricks from their flock.

–           They continued to conceal that a registered sex offender (Tim Heinz) continued to work at their Collierville Campus for months after I went public.

–           They concealed that they squandered nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS on severance packages and consulting fees to handle the fall-out from Andy’s abuse.

–           They concealed from their flock that they voluntarily left the SBC shortly after news of this scandal hit.  This was not their first major sex scandal in just a few years.  When a church decides to leave their lifelong denomination, the flock has a right to know. This singular act helps call into question whether an ongoing ordination from an SBC church in good standing is still appropriate.

Andy is establishing his new church as one where no one will be “judged” for anything. Please listen to Andy’s closing statements from his recent service at Grace Valley.

Please keep in mind that Grace Valley is currently holding their services on Sunday nights only 6.8 Miles from GBC.  Andy is currently sheep stealing from Highpoint, and with the close proximity it is possible he may start wooing some of your sheep as well.  Please look out for their souls.

Andy is focusing his new church on justification and is setting up a sin affirming church where sanctification won’t be promoted since no one is allowed to judge anyone else. Please also notice the casual and comedic tone Andy takes regarding the assault.

26:48 “Sometime we get so frustrated and maybe even judgmental over the things people do that are wrong. The ways that people are broken and dealing with their brokenness. And here’s the reality, on our way looking for God, we all got our hands on the wrong thing. Cause we were feeling. Trying to find out way onto God. And we got our hands on the wrong thing… This is why we don’t have to judge everyone around us. I hope you can see that. That’s why you will get no judgment from me. I mean it’s not hard to find out what I’ve done wrong, just Google my name (hehehe) it’s out there. It’s not hard to figure it out. And here’s the thing, we all have our story. Mine just got (pause) national news coverage. (muffled laughter). But here’s the reality, guys, and I’m not trying to make light of it, I, I got my hands on the wrong things. In my life. For all the right reasons. Looking for hope. Looking for fulfillment. Looking for a way to make my life better. Trying to stay out of the valley. That’s what we do. This is the human condition, which is why we don’t have to judge other people.”

33:08 “This is a place where you can come and be honest. You can start to learn to live a life of transparency with people that you trust. That you can be vulnerable. Knowing that we’re no different. We’re all people who got our hands on the wrong thing at one time or another and probably to a degree right now.”

I believe that you are a good and righteous man, Pastor Longworth. I understand that as a man of God you must try to walk the line between grace/forgiveness and appropriate consequences for disqualifying actions. I pray that as you try to balance these two, that you consider how far reaching your final decision will be.

Young adults and teens are leaving the Church in record numbers. How churches handle issues like sensitivity to sexual abuse victims may go a long way, especially when it is believed that as many as 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 6 men of our population have endured some form of sexual abuse. This could be an excellent way for Germantown Baptist to set themselves apart from the other churches who ignore or coverup sex abuse.

I would request that you ask yourself a few questions while considering this vitally important issue:

–           Pastor, do you believe that God would be more pleased with granting grace to Andy or protecting his future flock from more lies and manipulation?

–           Do you believe that there is such a shortage of pastors that God cannot build his church without allowing Andy Savage to manipulate more people so that he can rebuild his brand and create an even larger empire than he had before?

–           How much should be risked to allow Andy to keep his ordination?  Andy has ready income available to him right now. His father owns a construction company and his brother owns a large PR media company. Andy can work at either one of those places using his skills to provide for his family.  Keeping Andy out of ministry does not place any undue hardship on his family; only on his ego.

Thank you kindly for giving this decision the appropriate amount of care and consideration it deserves.

Kindest regards,

Jules Woodson

The Response of the Leaders of Germantown Baptist Church to Jules’ letter: No Comment.

She heard nothing after sending this letter by certified mail. So she sent followup inquiries.

Finally she received this email.

From: Matt White <>
Date: 11/25/19 8:11 AM (GMT-07:00)
Subject: Response

Mrs. Woodson,

My name is Matt White. I am the current Chairman of Deacons at Germantown Baptist Church.

We are in receipt of all your emails and phone calls. Church Leadership has met and our response is that we have no comment.

Thank you,
Matt White

Jules then immediately asked for clarification.

And received this cold, graceless reply.

——– Original message ——–
From: Matt White <>
Date: 11/25/19 8:40 AM (GMT-07:00)
To: Jules Woodson
Subject: Re: Response

It has been handed to Church Leadership and there is no comment.

So she tried one more time but received no reply-not even an Ice cold one.

Mr. White,
Forgive me but I still am not understanding your response. Are you saying that after church leadership recieved my request to revoke Andy’s ordination, that their only response is to have no comment, therefore they will take no action. Or, does this mean your church leadership is now in discussion and are following protocol to decide whether or not to revoke Andy Savage’s ordination.
Your Sister in Christ,
Jules Woodson

Did you catch it? These important leaders couldn’t even find it in their hearts to offer a compassionate response or even a bit of kindness. What is wrong with these men?

So what does Jules do now? I believe we were told that the Credentials Committee was supposed to be of help in these matters, along with racism, homosexuality and all sorts of other things. But we have recently found out that they are dead silent. Just keeps those card, letters and narratives coming, folks. In fact, send them two or three times. JD Greear promised that things would change and this stuff would get better. But that is not the case. He will be gone in a little over 7 months.Then, it’s be Al Mohler’s turn.

Silence is now the spiritual norm in the SBC. But, hey, they did put out the Caring Well stuff. Churches will not be forced to use it and I suspect that many will not. The SBC continues to  prove that their leadership is filled with all sorts of good ideas, promises and crocodile tears but the male leadership of the SBC ends up looking rather impotent. Germantown Baptist Church merely mimics their betters and does it quite well.


Germantown Baptist Church Response to Jules Woodson Request to Revoke Andy Savage’s Ordination: “No Comment.” — 59 Comments

  1. It’s not surprising.

    Dee, any idea when you will get back to the UPC articles? I emailed you back a ways when you asked on another article.

  2. Isn’t Germantown just following Matthew 5:37?

    But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No Comment,’ ‘No Comment.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.*

    *I’m not sure if I got every word right in that verse.

  3. What was shared about the crisis-management teams and lawyers reportedly sent to war game when things when into crisis mode was remarkable, as well as the hundreds of millions in severance (as she noted, likely straight from offerings).

  4. No comment huh?
    And just what is there to comment on?
    What’s the most prudent statement the big-whigs of Germantown Baptist can issue?

    Well, it ain’t all that hard.
    Look at the size of that mutha! That’s a lotta’ seats that hafta’ have lotsa’ butts parked in em’, and more importantly, forkin’ over them hard earned greenbacks.

    The arithmetic is simple, how do you (generic you) craft a statement that won’t adversely affect business?

  5. Youth pastors that use their youth group kids for power play sexual assault are not pastors, they are youth predators.

    1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4 list the 18 Gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to believers for the Body of Christ, including pastor.

    Predation is from a completely different place. The youth pastor’s assault down a dirt road of a youth group girl thinking about ice cream, self-identified what this man was all about. “Ordained” by misguided men, apparently, but not by God, obviously. Nothing about what this man did was of God. God never gifts a man with the pastor title to take an unsuspecting girl down an abandoned road in the dark to sexually assault her. Evil does that.

    Pastoring is caring for others in the Body of Christ.

    Predation is destroying others for the sick benefit of self.

  6. “We are in receipt of all your emails and phone calls. Church Leadership has met and our response is that we have no comment.”-Matt White, the current Chairman of Deacons at Germantown Baptist Church
    what snotty little response. the condescending overtones are reverberating off the walls, here.

    amazed, yet totally unamazed, by the lack of awareness. i’ve come to expect male christian leaders to be oblivious to the obvious when it diverts from the party line.

  7. Ken P.,

    Ken P, that was certainly clever of you to take an excerpt from scripture and add to it in order to promote your own ideas. But, that is not what the verse says. “No comment” is neither “yes” nor “no”. It is a refusal to take a stand in either direction. It is the coward’s way out. It is what you do when your conscience tells you what the right thing to do is, but you are too afraid of what the repercussions might be to take a godly stand.

  8. elastigirl: what snotty little response. the condescending overtones are reverberating off the walls, here.

    Ah, the arrogance of God’s Anointed.

  9. Place a healthy layer of pot holders on your counter stat to avoid concussions, Dee.

    This is from their current — yes, CURRENT — Children’s Minstry webpage:

    Under “Parent Resources”:


    Giant Love. Andy Savage (2011; Make Sense Media; 1ST edition)

    * Please know that each listed resource is intended to help gain insight and begin navigating conversations of faith with your children and families. Every statement in these resources must be weighed against Scripture.

  10. Refusing to respond is one of the most dehumanizing, controlling, contemptuous responses that can be given in such situations. It is actually a powerful response as the SBC demonstrated so well while they ignored Jules and Christa outside as they held their convention addressing sexual abuse in the church.

    One more gracious appeal to yet another group of men who respond nothing like the Jesus they claim to represent. I want nothing to do with the likes of such cold hearted jerks.

    I listened tonight to Wade Mullen’s talk at the Restore Conference. It is heartbreaking to see the pattern of spiritual abuse repeated time after time toward Jules, Christa, Tiffany and so many others.

  11. What I find really creepy and disturbing is Andy’s repeated iterations of: “I got my hands on the wrong things”. It sounds almost like he is appealing to guys who have abused women, encouraging them that they will be ‘safe’ in his ‘church’. Even worse is when he says: “We’re all people who got our hands on the wrong thing at one time or another and probably to a degree right now.” This sounds eerily like a clever narcissist admitting his crimes while appearing to not do so. Is he admitting he is still up to this sort of thing, or just what is he implying?

    Why not just name his new church ‘The Abusers’ Place’, where no one will condemn you for a little friendly grooming and sexual abuse? It truly turns my stomach.

  12. When a demon is caught in a lie, it will go silent and, if pushed, say “no comment.” There is no doubt in my mind that this whole affair is completely demonic. From the aptly named “Savage” who lives truly down to his namesake to all of the other players playing hot potato not wanting to admit both fault and sheer embarrassment in how they have and are still acting. Lets call a spade a spade. This is as demonic as things get.

    They love hypocritical religious settings. They lie, steal and kill. I find too many who call themselves Christians do not believe in them. And no, this does not give anyone an excuse for their evil actions. I think CS Lewis got it right in the Screwtape letters. They have increasing or decreasing influence based on how much a person listens to them or refuses to. We are told to be shrewd and to not be ignorant of any of the enemies schemes, and so we should. It is impossible to fight an enemy that you do not recognize.

  13. After reading Jules’ letter and the curt “no comment” response, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the two religious leaders who passed by the robbed and wounded Jewish man in the Good Samaritan Parable.
    In the same way the leadership of Germantown Baptist Church has decided to tune out Jules, a robbed and wounded sheep.
    The reporters at The NY Times showed themselves to be supportive and kind to Jules although they worked for a “worldly” organization.

  14. There’s this:

    “Why Employment Background Checks are Essential By Todd Rhoades of

    “Sexual misconduct is one of the main areas that you’ll want to guard your church against. If you are the person at your church in charge of hiring staff or training volunteer workers, you’ll want to do everything in your power to be sure that your leaders and volunteers will not intentionally harm anyone at your church. If there is criminal activity, it can dramatically impact the life of the child, the church and its leaders.”

    (Wow, kinda thought that saying that it would dramatically impact the life of the child would be sufficient reason for action, yet “the church and its leaders” is tacked on…)

    “Dr. James Cobble, Jr. from identifies six key problems that an incident of sexual misconduct can bring upon churches and ministries” (The site now redirects to Church Law and Tax, which is part of Christianity Today and provides “information on legal, tax, financial, and risk management matters”):

    1. TRAUMA TO THE VICTIMS: The trauma is not limited to the person (usually a child or teenage minor) who is the victim. There is also trauma to the family of the victims. This deep violation is the kind of heartache and mental and emotional anguish that can literally last a lifetime.

    (But wait, there’s more:)

    2. SPIRITUAL IMPACT ON THE CONGREGATION. The first reaction is one of sincere disbelief. Dr. Cobble says that “About one-fifth of the time, when the sexual misconduct involves children, multiple victims are present. Not only does this significantly increase the likelihood of litigation, but other parents within the church become concerned that their own children may be victims. Congregations become divided. Some members cannot believe the allegation. Some insist on forgiveness and restoration of the offender. Others seek justice, accountability and protection. Intense discord can surface lasting for months and even years. Some congregations never fully recover.”

    (Wow, litigation and division might happen, in case victim trauma didn’t register. What else could there be?)

    3. NEGATIVE NEWS COVERAGE. It is a certainty that your local press will pick up on a sensational story of this type. Local newspapers and radio/television stations will bring a nightmare of publicity to your church and ministry.

    (And ‘no comment’ might not be enough to make it go away. Any more “key problems, Doc?)

    4. THE STRESS OF LITIGATION AND INVESTIGATION. In most cases, sexual molestation cases are investigated at the local AND state levels. You’ll need to deal with social workers, police detectives, legal representatives, depositions and more.

    (What might emerge in a local java joint: ‘Dude, no one told us we’d have to stop live chatting at the coffee shop and “deal with” social workers! How’m I gonna deal with that level of stress?!? Say it ain’t so, Doc!’)

    5. THE BOTTOM LINE FINANCIAL COST. If there is a legal decision against your pastor or church staff member, the settlement cost to your church could be very large. There may also be an added effect of decreased giving by your local congregation during a time unprecedented conflict.

    (From the same place: ‘DECREASED GIVING?!?!?!?!? This is getting too real, man. The church rec center/fields/gym equipment will not pay for themselves!’ [More later, hopefully…])

    6. THE PERSONAL IMPACT ON YOUR CHURCH. Finally, you cannot discount the stress emotionally on your church leaders who need to bring you through this time of turmoil.

    (Don’t be stressing the shepherds emotionally, man. Standing ovations and affirmations of worthiness only go so far.)

”These high-cost items demand that each church come up with a strategy to guard against possible sexual or criminal activity among one of your staff or volunteer leaders. One key part of your strategy should be to run a screening or background check on any individual that is either a paid staff member of your church; or who works with minors. If your church currently has no screening policy, it is imperative that your leadership moves quickly to protect your church’s reputation and the lives and innocence of your children.”

    (High co$t items demand strategies, and leadership needs to protect the church’s rep — and kids’ lives and innocence too? Note this particular suggestion:)

    “Pastoral Staff Members
    “For ordained and/or pastoral staff, you should screen for Social Security Number identification, Nationwide, State, and County criminal record, and MVR (Motor Vehicle Records).You’ll also want to check with their previous church employment record, their ordination or denominational credentials, check their personal references, and, in some instances, perform a drug screening.”

    (So this church’s website contains a link suggesting essential background checks that directly involve ordination credentials, something which churches like this figure to bear responsibility on affirming and maintaining so the checks will have merit! How about that.)

  15. They have an “Ordination Questionnaire”

    “These are the questions the candidates for Ordination will answer for us in writing first. After we have had time to look over their answers in detail, we will meet as a council to discuss the candidates. After we meet as a council, we will schedule a meeting with the candidates, at which time we will schedule a third meeting to discuss them further and, if necessary, determine a date for the service.

    “Ordination Questionnaire
I. Answer in detail: For what purpose do you wish to be ordained?
    II. Answer the following questions and be prepared to discuss your answers at the Ordination Council:

    “1. Tell us of your conversion experience.
    2. Tell us of your wife’s conversion experience.
    3. Discuss your call to the ministry.

    “Please back up your answers to questions 4-25 with scripture.
    4. Explain your biblical responsibilities to your family.
    5. Give your view of what it takes to be saved from the wages of sin.
    6. Give us your belief concerning the doctrine of the security of the believer.
    7. Give us your understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.
    8. Give us your view on the inspiration of the Bible.
    9. Give us your understanding of creation.

    10. Explain the condition of mankind without Christ?
    11. Discuss the deity of Christ.
    12. Discuss the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
    13. Discuss the requirements for church membership.
    14. Explain your views on biblical stewardship.

    15. Explain the function of the church.
    16. Discuss the ordinances of the church.
    17. Explain the differences between the pastor and the deacon.
    18. Do you believe the supernatural events recorded in Scripture, such as: the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, parting of the Red Sea, etc.

    19. Do you believe in the virgin birth?
    20. Do you believe in a literal resurrection?
21. Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus?
    22. Do you believe in a literal hell?

    23. Do you believe in a literal heaven?
24. Do you believe that homosexuality is a sin?

    25. Do you believe in the ordination of women?

  16. Note that the baptism process for both adults and children involves a video recording as well as a written testimony apparently subject to staff member review:

”Your recording and baptism will be scheduled after review by a staff member of your written testimony. At the time of your baptism, a recording of your testimony may be played for the congregation.”

    The written testimony has a place for both adults and children to sign and date it. Additionally, it has a place for someone to put their name and the date by a section at the end that says “Approved By”.

    Approved By: _________________________________________________ Date: ____/____/_______ Date for Audio Recording:______________________________ Time: _______________________ Date for Baptism: ____/____/_______
To be Baptized by: ___________________________________________________________________

    Some thoughts after the matter of ordination surfaced:

    What might be some of the reasoning for the protocols which seem to involve a deep level of documentation and approvals related to baptism in this particular church?

    Are the signatures, approvals, and documentation for the benefit of the one being baptized? E.g. “Sure I’ve been baptized, just look at my signed paperwork (if they give them a copy)!”

    If they perchance the measures are primarily for church reasons (best practices, etc.), might one of them be to provide a paper trail for future issues that might arise?

    If they document such things for such purposes and have a link on their site to a background check suggestion document which includes examining ordination credentials, is it not fit and proper for them to sufficiently address relevant ordination inquiries like Jules’ and do so in a prompt and forthright manner? If not, shouldn’t they disclose why not, as they are the ones who evidently ordained the person in question?

  17. This page on the church website has some interesting links:

    Here’s one on Sexual Harassment Policy:


    “It is the policy of XYZ CHURCH that all employees, regardless of sex, must be allowed to work in an environment free from the negative influence of sexual harassment. It is the policy of XYZ CHURCH that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a physical nature are strictly prohibited. In addition, XYZ CHURCH strongly disapproves of offensive racial, religious, age-related or ethnic remarks, jokes or other conduct which may be offensive to other employees.

    “Any employee who is subjected to such conduct or who observes such conduct must report it immediately. Such report should be made either to the employee’s immediate supervisor or if the employee is uncomfortable reporting to that supervisor, to the Pastor or to the chairman of the Personnel Committee.

    “XYZ CHURCH will investigate immediately all reports of alleged harassment and take appropriate corrective action, including disciplinary measures when justified, to remedy all violations of this policy.”

    Ah, disciplinary actions. Might the church in question have any material related to church discipline? (And will it include the shepherds or just the winsome sheep?)

  18. Sandra,

    “After reading Jules’ letter and the curt “no comment” response, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the two religious leaders who passed by the robbed and wounded Jewish man in the Good Samaritan Parable.”

    yes, that’s exactly what was running through my mind, too.

    (i had a children’s book about that parable — i bet some other commenters who grew up in the 70s had this book, too. it was a series of books of bible stories, a flappy cover [I think they were called Arch books].

    anyway, i remember the one about the Good Samaritan parable. i remember the illustrations. i remember what the priest looked like, who passed by the injured man:

    tip-toeing along the edge of the path as far from the injured man as he could get, hoiking up his robe close around his legs so it wouldn’t touch the man and all his wounds

    a look on his face of ick, inconvenience, and outrage that he should be subjected to such a person.)

    does anyone else here remember that book? that picture?

    the picture of the vilain of the story, who was clueless about what it meant to love his neighbor and couldn’t care less.

    the picture of Matt White, John Longworth, and all the deacons at Germantown Baptist Church.

  19. Another ordination-related link:

    3. Special Tax Benefits for Ministers

    “Before reviewing the special tax benefits they enjoy, it is important to understand who may be considered a “minister” for tax purposes (from Church, p. 78): A minister must be ordained, commissioned or licensed.”

    Given how some in the field have reacted litigiously (reportedly including some discussed here recently), should that be considered as potentially part of the equation when some are not moving quickly to disavow the previous laying of hands/ordination for cause (cf. 1 Timothy 3, 5:22, Titus 1)?

  20. JDV,

    ““Dr. James Cobble, Jr. from identifies six key problems that an incident of sexual misconduct can bring upon churches and ministries” (The site now redirects to Church Law and Tax, which is part of Christianity Today and provides “information on legal, tax, financial, and risk management matters”)

    good grief, it sounds just like the british monarchy and its handlers.

    my word, themes are coalescing around the globe. the commonality: protect the institution because that’s what really matters.

    thankfully, a collective growing righteous indignation is also a commonality.

    at some point intolerance for such things will subsume the institutions. i wish it for yesterday.

    (and speaking of intolerance for self-serving institutional shenanigans, i nominate Marie Yovanovich, Fiona Hill, Michael Holmes, and Alexander Vindman. My, they were impressive. beyond heartening that people like that exist in spheres of influence.

    David Brooks, NY Times columnist, wistfully commented that watching them was like being in the past, when leaders were honest and had integrity. or something to that effect.

    certainly applies to evangeliworld. the Matt Whites, John Longworths, Wes Feltners [oh, i could keep going naming names] of the world look so silly in comparison.)

  21. JDV,

    “Special Tax Benefits for Ministers”

    in my view, this is part of no equation. (for many reasons, aside from making me nauseous)

    (my string of comments: i’m a night person, on the west coast = my window of opportunity)

  22. JDV,

    2. Tell us of your wife’s conversion experience.

    oh, how i love existing only in relationship to a man.


    i see they’re not interested in honesty and integrity. nah. just check the party line boxes and all will be well.

    reminds me of filling out applications at temp agencies. (switchboard? wordprocessing? autocad?…)

    (back when i did such things. thankfully, i’m self-employed now)

  23. TS00,

    “What I find really creepy and disturbing is Andy’s repeated iterations of: “I got my — on the wrong things”

    strikes me as malicious passive aggression directed at one person in particular. sexual assault by way of words, in front of a world audience. a vengeful power play. couched in plausible deniability, of course.

  24. Muff Potter,

    “Look at the size of that mutha! That’s a lotta’ seats that hafta’ have lotsa’ butts parked in em’, and more importantly, forkin’ over them hard earned greenbacks.

    The arithmetic is simple, how do you (generic you) craft a statement that won’t adversely affect business?”

    if ever one of my fantasy conversations comes to pass, where former pastors come to me and say, “elastigirl, why don’t we see you in church anymore? tell us! tells us everything!”,

    ….i could keep things fairly simple by explaining, “there’s too much money and power invested in church. in the final analysis, all will be sacrificed to protect them. this is unwittingly your mission. whether you realize it or not.”

    (but that’s not my fantasy. much too tidy.)

  25. A thought that recurs when thinking of this pattern in the churches is that if it is true that God is sovereign, then the fact that God has sovereignly placed this kind of person in positions of high influence cannot be a kindly intentioned thing toward the people who are being influenced. It looks to me more like a manifestation of wrath — letting people have what they want, darkening their understanding, and finally bad outcomes; in this case, for the self-described institutional churches.

    Perhaps one should run away from, or at least be exceedingly skeptical of, anything that claims to be “christian” but has the term “Incorporated” at the end of its name in its founding legal documents.

  26. JDV,

    So a single man is never called? Not only no women, but no SINGLE men! I am starting to think my parent’s small Mennonite congregation got it right. Ordination was for a period of time and not assumed to be lifetime.

  27. Wow, I’m so honoured that Jules shared my video! Thank you.

    Thank you, also, Dee, for publishing this.

    I’ve been involved in some protracted email exchanges with big organizations lately, trying to get the to do the right thing. Often I agonize over the emails, and they end up quite long and quite good, really. That’s what Jules did here–the email is excellent.

    But I also know that I am not writing the email for the first recipient, because I am quite aware that they will ignore it. I am writing it for the purpose of future publication. I am writing it because I know that, when they ignore it, I will be able to publish this email, and it will raise awareness.

    So even though Jules got an atrocious non-response, she did well to write this email, simply so that the rest of the world could so readily judge the case, see what Jules has experienced, but also be alerted to the cowardice of this church.

  28. Jules:

    What is your next step? Do you plan on taking a break until someone else approaches you about Andy Savage?

  29. It’s nonsense like this which makes it a surety I’m not going to darken the door of a church again. If you’re care so little for children and teens that you’d blow off a request from an abused womanbto deal with your ordained pastor, I’m not interested in whatever you’re preaching.

  30. Sarah:

    So a single man is never called? Not only no women, but no SINGLE men!I am starting to think my parent’s small Mennonite congregation got it right. Ordination was for a period of time and not assumed to be lifetime.

    If that’s the case, then neither Jesus Christ nor the apostle Paul would have been considered qualified for ministry. Nor would my church’s current senior pastor, who has never been married. Although he isn’t a young kid fresh out of college; he’s well into his 30’s and earned a Ph.D.

  31. So a “no comment” was the only response Germantown Baptist Church was willing to give Jules Woodson? That’s simply not acceptable. I sincerely hope the leadership reconsiders, but at this point I would counsel the church’s membership to vote with their feet and their wallets.

  32. IMO, any pastor who resigns a church (leaving under a cloud) should hand in his ordination papers.

  33. I find the “ordination questionnaire” fascinating in a very negative way. Nothing is mentioned about the work or person of a minister, ie, a shepherd of others. Nothing about how one understands themselves as a minister in relating to others. Purely a doctrinal checklist. When I was ordained, the most memorable question I was asked was, “How will you carry the love of God to someone who doesn’t want or care about it?” What an insightful question from an old and loving deacon that understood the worth and meaning of grace as reflected in a genuine relationship that the minister SHOULD embody. In other words, doctrine is one thing, but who you are as a person and who you are as a person of faith is something else.

  34. singleman,

    If I may ask, is your church nondenominational? If not what is the denomination? I’m curious being a single, never married man. I’ve just started doing the meeter/greeter position at my church during their evening service. I enjoy it immensely.

  35. Max,

    I’m unable to find it on Wade Burelson’s website, I remember he did a post on making ordination applicable to the specific church, not the entire SBC.

  36. https:/

    (Paraphrase): About 750 churches are participating in the Caring Well Challenge, less than 2% of all SBC churches.

  37. Brian:

    If I may ask, is your church nondenominational? If not what is the denomination? I’m curious being a single, never married man. I’ve just started doing the meeter/greeter position at my church during their evening service. I enjoy it immensely.

    My church is Anglican, not nondenominational. While the new rector (senior pastor) is single, I would classify my congregation as anything but singles-friendly. I’m hoping that will change in the future, but for many years prior to this spring our congregation was led by a devoted family man who had more than 20 grandchildren at the time of his retirement.

  38. Sòpwith: Stop giving money.

    The average church goer doesn’t realize that ‘not’ giving money to a dead work is more God-honoring than sowing into it.

  39. Brian: I’m unable to find it on Wade Burelson’s website, I remember he did a post on making ordination applicable to the specific church, not the entire SBC.

    That makes too much sense. Therefore, the SBC probably won’t do it.

  40. An interesting Review of GBC on Yelp, dated 4/10/2016-
    “This review has nothing to do with the church itself. This review is about Germantown Baptist’s preschool program. When my son turned 2, my husband and I decided to enroll him in a preschool program mainly because we were concerned that he wasn’t talking much and thought, perhaps, being around other children his age who were talking would help kickstart his verbal communication.

    Long story short, after two days in that classroom, his “teacher” told me not to bring him back. She said he cried & cried and there was nothing she could do with him. I asked if maybe I could stay with him in the classroom for awhile the next time to help him get adjusted. I was flatly told “no” and not to bring him back.

    Also, unlike other preschools, Germantown Baptist really doesn’t like for you to come by to check on your child after drop off. While they will let you in, you have to be escorted by the reluctant director to your child’s classroom.

    The teacher & director of GB’s preschool program were cold, callous, & dismissive of my two year old son. They were unwilling to work with me or him. There are a great many wonderful preschool programs in the greater Memphis area (and thankfully we have found them!). This program is certainly not one of them. Especially if you have a small child who is not accustomed to being away from you and needs a little extra patience & love.“

  41. The willingness to engage in conversation is how we extend value to others; the no comment is a loud shout regarding the value of Jules to GBC leadership. Very sad.

  42. Raswhiting: Germantown Baptist really doesn’t like for you to come by to check on your child after drop off. While they will let you in, you have to be escorted by the reluctant director to your child’s classroom.

    THAT sounds like They’re Hiding Something.
    (Whether they are or not, that’s the WRONG impression to give.)

  43. Luckyforward: I find the “ordination questionnaire” fascinating in a very negative way. Nothing is mentioned about the work or person of a minister, ie, a shepherd of others. Nothing about how one understands themselves as a minister in relating to others. Purely a doctrinal checklist.

    Purity of Ideology, Comrades.
    Purity of Ideology.

  44. Roger Bombast,


    I dispute the idea that my fellow-Wartburgers are “rubbish”. Nevertheless, if I’m being described in the same reference as Wartburgers generally, then I consider that an honour.

  45. Nick Bulbeck: … sometimes I wish I weren’t existentially rubbish. But we are what we are.

    Makes me think of Rod Steiger’s line in Doctor Zhivago when Zhivago and Lara threw him out of their place:
    “We’re all made of the same CLAY!…

  46. Dee,
    In answer to your question, Andy Savage’s family attended Germantown Baptist while Andy was growing up and at least up until he planted Highpoint Memphis with Chris Conlee. Andy went to GBC Youth Group with unethical radio provocateur and host, Ben Ferguson Later, Ben F transferred to Highpoint, where he was a member under Andy Savage, but sure, that interview was independent.

    As for Germantown Baptist, anyone not familiar with them should go look at this chart on WatchKeep’s site. GBC has a long history of covering up sex scandals and helping to pass the trash to keep predators in ministry. Dee, please consider posting this diagram on this post. People need to understand who and what Germantown Baptist really are. They are filth who helped plant multiple sexual predators.

    BTW, not on this chart is Youth Pastor Sammy Nuckolls, who is serving a ten year sentence for sexually abusing his own flock members. Sammy filled in for Andy at GBC’s Young Adult ministry, The Metro, after Andy left to plant Highpoint. There are also others, whose victims are not yet ready to go public. I can update the chart for you Dee, with Sammy on it, if you plan on posting it.

    Finally, folks need to understand that GBC has no Elders. They are a congregation led church, meaning any issues of substance must be voted on by the congregation.

    The question here is, did Longworth even bother to ask the congregation to vote on this? The response of “no comment” makes it sound like he didn’t. If Longworth did alert the congregation to this request, did they vote? If yes, what was the final vote tally? Are the members even aware there was a request? I would be ashamed to be affiliated with any church who responded this way.

    It seems I am not alone. Germantown Baptist has been around since 1838. They were one of the largest churches in the area at one point in time, but they haven’t had enough members to even qualify as a megachurch, for some time now. They currently don’t even have a head pastor, after Dr Fowler resigned this past summer after 10 years of leadership. Dr Fowler, btw, was on the Board of Trustees for the SBC’s International Missions Board (IMB) and more recently was an exalted member of the SBC’s Leadership Council for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

    Dee, perhaps you could appeal to Philip Bethancourt directly, to ask him to have Dr Fowler speak to the leadership of his former church GBC and have them reconsider this issue? If the ERLC wants to demonstrate their willingness to engage in #caringwell for SBC victims, this would be the perfect opportunity for them to show us that they care. Dr Fowler is still extremely well loved and respected at GBC. He could no doubt get this done, IF he wanted to.

    Perhaps you could appeal to Dr Fowler directly? He is now the new President of Carson Newman University He was the head pastor of GBC during the entire Highpoint debacle, so he is more than familiar with the topic. Having been on the Leadership Council of the ERLC he should want to help. Or does President and First Lady Fowler approve of empowering sexual predators?

    Could you please also write to ERLC Exec VP Bethancourt and report back to us his response on this issue? While he cannot in any way compel GBC to fulfill this request, he certainly could use his sway with Dr Fowler, to ask him to ask the members of GBC to carefully consider this request and put it to a prayerful vote. Bethancourt seems to realize that failure for the SBC to finally address the SBC’s sexual abuse epidemic is throwing the SBC into an existential crisis. This should be a fine litmus test to find out if he meant what he said at the Caring Well Conference last month.

    Mr Rubber, please meet Mr Road…

    Can’t wait to see the results, although I am cautiously expecting at least two more “no comments”.

  47. JDV,

    AH, good catch. No longer listed, but I believe you. I’m guessing someone from the church saw your comment…

  48. Pebble:

    AH, good catch. No longer listed, but I believe you. I’m guessing someone from the church saw your comment…

    Yes, and its presence until mentioned is undoubtedly archived in different ways via multiple parties, as with other items. Interesting that the wheels of change moved so slowly on some things, yet this one evidently zoomed through whatever levels of bureaucracy and tech exist…