Josh Howerton and SBC’s Lakepointe Church Appear to Lie About the Time They Tried to Fake Out City Officials.

Rooftop view of Dallas. Photo by Andreas Rasmussen on Unsplash

Some men are just very good at cheating and lying. Coleen Nolan


I am halfway through my annual family vacation on lovely 30A in the Florida Panhandle. I’m in a relatively good mood, so I decided to post a light post about the time a so-called Christian SBC church’s pastors tried to fake out city officials and then appeared to lie about their involvement in the deception. I’m sure, dear readers, you are shocked!

Surely, you remember Josh Howerton of the Lakepointe Church in Rockwall (a suburb of the ever-expanding Dallas metroplex.) Josh, the self-described leading voice on the cultural issues of our day, affected our sensibilities with a demeaning sex joke. I forgot to mention in the last post that Lakepointed is one of those SBCs “hidden because they are embarrassed but still want access to the pastors’ retirement deal” churches.

Religion News Services posted that a Texas megachurch hit the brakes after trying to skew a traffic study. Here’s the skinny, which will be followed up with the proof text: The church wanted a traffic light at one of its entrances. To be fair, Dallas traffic is awful, and every subdivision and business is always fighting for traffic control measures. When I lived there, I, along with my friend, Marlene, spent a year of my life successfully designing a jug handle entrance from our subdivision onto a new road. However, we did it fair and square, which was a pain.

The church supposedly offered to pay to commission a traffic study and, if approved, the new light. It looks like they were flush with donations from the pew sitters. So, instead of getting the faithful out for a prayer meeting to ask God to get them the traffic light, they chose the quick and easy. “Good Christians, let’s fudge the results,” and so they did. However, chaos ensued as FaceBook,Reddit and X became the voicebox for the info. So what mad scheme was employed?

RNS reports:

On Friday (May 10), the church, one of the largest and fastest growing in the country according to Outreach Magazine, sent an email to small-group leaders, urging them to encourage group members to sign up for a driving shift during the five-day study in order to pad the numbers.

“Each shift is a commitment to drive the prescribed route 10 times within that hour shift. It’s great if you make more than 10 laps within the hour, but laps are only counted toward that specific shift,” according to a copy of the email that linked to SignUpGenius.com.

Pay close attention to the following line, which the church spokespeople overlooked, or was it that “told a fib?”

Among the first to sign up were two pastors.

I found the church directive to cheat on Reddit. (Love those Reddit folks.)


The signup sheet was reportedly posted on the local news site “The Rockwallian.” The neighbors were not amused. Here is one of the more pleasant comments from Reddit.


What a witness. And the blame game and denials commenced. The explanations from the pastors were sliced and diced on X.

The Roys Report expanded on this.

Church leaders told media that the sign-up was an “unfortunate decision” made by a staff member.

“That decision was made without knowledge by senior executive leadership at Lakepointe and the sign-up list was immediately taken down as we were made aware of what occurred,” Tim Smith, senior executive pastor, said in an emailed statement. “We immediately apologized to our city leaders who made the decision to postpone the traffic count. We are in the process of reaching out to all the leaders who received the sign up and are apologizing to them as well.”

Smith did not address questions about why church staff, including the pastor of the Rockwall campus and another longtime leader, signed up for shifts. He said the church has the best interests of the community at heart and intends to pay for the stoplight if it is approved.

“We regret how this reflects on the Body of Christ and its impact in our community,” he added. “We love our city and have much respect for our leaders. We will continue to work with the city to make the traffic around Lakepointe as safe as possible.”

City officials said that they’d been made aware of the email about the traffic study and have spoken to church leaders. They also shared more details about the traffic study, which is now canceled.

Yep—they’re really upset about how this will affect the Body of Christ. Until the next time…

  • They blamed a staffer whose name will either never be known or will leak as they show him the door.
  • They claim to trust Jesus but do everything in their power to manipulate things if He doesn’t come through.
  • The SBC is shrinking. I think Lakepointe will contribute to the exodus.
  • I don’t trust any of these guys at Lakepointe and would never recommend the church to anyone.
  • If they cheat on this, they are cheating on something else. What is it?
  • The pastors knew. Two signed up for the driveathon. It appears they outright lied. They will probably lie about other things.

Back to the beach and my family.


Comments

Josh Howerton and SBC’s Lakepointe Church Appear to Lie About the Time They Tried to Fake Out City Officials. — 46 Comments

  1. I flinch every time I see reference to “Life Group.” The New Calvinists coined that term for their small group meetings where members are indoctrinated with reformed theology (not much “life” in that!). The NeoCals were also the first to come up with the title “Lead Pastor.” These were early red flags that you had stumbled into an SBC church or church plant under the stealth and deception of the new reformers. Other religious groups are now using those terms – I guess they are cool or something. Of course, the dead giveaway that you are in a NeoCal church is the preponderance of ESV Bibles; it’s the sword of choice by this bunch (while the regular ESV is harmless enough, the ESV Study Bible is loaded with Calvinist commentary by Piper and assorted other NeoCal idols).

    But to stay on topic … every organization eventually takes on the personality of its leader. So, I’m not surprised that church staff/members would participate in this deception.

    Regarding Lakepointe: “If this teaching or movement is merely human it will collapse of its own accord” (Acts 5:38)

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  2. “ We communicated the study to our leaders at our
    Rockwall campus and encouraged our staff team to
    utilize the patterns that would be measured.”- Chris Barkley.

    (I googled him. He is one of the pastors at Lakepointe.) …. Encouraged our staff team to utilize the patterns that would be measured.” ~was that an ooops? That statement itself is almost telling staff to be ‘misleading’.

    They try to hide the fact that they are Southern Baptists, they make plans to create a fake traffic jam…..
    What else are they fakin’??? (I don’t think 3rd time will be the charm on this one.)

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  3. dee, the very first time I ever flew, I was all alone and had to change planes at the Dallas/Ft. airport.
    That day, I saw all of Dallas I ever want to see. Tripped me out to watch semi trucks doing 80 mph and disappearing underneath the runway!
    (The airport personnel were very friendly, helpful, and on the ball, though!)

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  4. ** “That decision was made without knowledge by senior executive leadership at Lakepointe and the sign-up list was immediately taken down as we were made aware of what occurred,” Tim Smith, senior executive pastor, said in an emailed statement. **

    How puffed-up with vanity is the concept of “senior executive leadership”. Leadership, senior leadership, executive leadership, senior executive leadership … what’s the next step up?

    I wonder if they ever go wash the feet of the toddler-nursery volunteers?

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  5. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): They try to hide the fact that they are Southern Baptists

    There’s been an outbreak of that in SBC ranks! The young reformed “pastors” would really rather be Presbyterians but their leaders want to capture the denomination and all its massive resources for the NeoCal movement. So they hide affiliation with SBC with cute church names (e.g., Lakepointe) which have no reference to SBC-affiliation. Some of the more honest of the bunch will carefully tuck away ties to SBC in a remote corner of their websites, but most members don’t know they are Southern Baptists. Still other church leaders hide SBC-affiliation to avoid being in the camp with all those sex abuse scandals that have been in the press. The whole thing is a mess. SBC is done, it just hasn’t quit yet.

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  6. Max: is done, it just hasn’t quit ye

    This brings to mind the Eric Hoffer quote: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

    Perhaps there really is a “Problem of wineskins.” Of course, fermentation of grape juice, even if it doesn’t burst the container, can lead to vinegar instead of wine.

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  7. Samuel Conner: Eric Hoffer quote: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

    Perhaps there really is a “Problem of wineskins.”

    Putting NeoCal wine into the old SBC bottle will eventually break the whole thing. Movements which have stealth and deception at their core will never be blessed by God, no matter how you spin the wine bottle.

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  8. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): dee, the very first time I ever flew, I was all alone and had to change planes at the Dallas/Ft. airport.
    That day, I saw all of Dallas I ever want to see.

    Same here.
    I had to change planes to a DIFFERENT terminal. In an airport about the size of Greater Los Angeles.

    Saw all of Dallas I ever wanted to see, and I didn’t ever get out of the terminal!
    Never got to see the Rich Guys’ Megachurches who inspired GCB

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  9. Smith did not address questions about why church staff, including the pastor of the Rockwall campus and another longtime leader

    Reminds me of the incident that got Dee to start this blog.

    When a paid intern at the church Dee and I were attending got arrested for sex with boys from the church, suddenly all the interns became volunteers. Paid volunteers with W2s at the end of the year but no longer interns. So all the church communications after the arrest were about a “volunteer”, not an “intern”. Which made it appear he was not on the payroll.

    That little change had a big impact on me and my understanding of a lot of people at that church.

    When hands are discovered in the cookie jar, make sure you word things to hide the associates involved in the cookie theft.

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  10. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): “ We communicated the study to our leaders at our
    Rockwall campus and encouraged our staff team to
    utilize the patterns that would be measured.”- Chris Burkley.

    (I googled him. He is one of the pastors at Lakepointe.)

    “Lead Pastor of Creative” [huh?] is his title.

    His next sentence, ‘creatively’ crafted, is real howler:

    “A zealous team member made the decision to attempt to sign up people to positively impact the count.” — Chris Burkley, Lead Pastor of Creative, Lakepointe Church

    “to positively impact the count”? Oh brother.

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  11. I live in Dallas having moved here from Northen Virginia, just outside the corruption of DCI love it! Finding a good church anywhere is hard, it seems to me. Park Cities Baptist Church is one. Egalitarian, non SBC(Texas Baptist Conference), mainly Arminian, and preaching the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.
    Anyway, some of us love Dallas!

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  12. “Tired of their poor leadership from stage to behind the scenes.” That neighbor sure got it right. If only they had an alter where they could fear God, instead of lying as God hates (Proverbs 6) and where they would not feel the need to be the center of attention, it might be a start. But to have 2 pastors sign up for the cruse to a new stop light, and then just act like that didn’t happen, well I guess the fools are the ones who still go to church there and buy this big bag of BS.

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  13. “Lead Pastor of Creative” [huh?] is his title.

    Jerome,
    Yeah, me too…. Huh, what? LOL! How does that title make sense?
    But, I do think they left a word out. The man’s title should read, “Lead Pastor of Devilishly Creative”.

    “ positively impact” = having tax payers foot the bill will be to OUR benefit!

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  14. JJallday: If only they had an altar where they could fear God … where they would not feel the need to be the center of attention

    IMO, the American church started going South when it felt a need to entertain the masses rather than lead them to the altar … when fools built platforms over altars so “pastors” would have more room to strut their stuff. The Great God Entertainment now sits where folks used to repent of personal sin and intercede for others. Perhaps someday, faithful servants of God will rip those stages out and invite God back into the house. Unfortunately, I don’t think church folks are desperate enough or hungry enough to seek God’s face (yet) … they prefer to do church their own way.

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  15. NC Now: Paid volunteers with W2s at the end of the year but no longer interns. So all the church communications after the arrest were about a “volunteer”, not an “intern”. Which made it appear he was not on the payroll.

    “Is no Slaves in Russia. Here we call it Servitude.”
    — One of the Tsars

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  16. Jerome: “A zealous team member made the decision to attempt to sign up people to positively impact the count.” — Chris Burkley, Lead Pastor of Creative, Lakepointe Church

    “to positively impact the count”?

    In big-city machine politics, it’s called “Knock and Drag”.

    Or when the Rajneeshees were trying to take over Antelope, Oregon (AKA Rajneeshpuram). They were sending buses out as far as Redding, California to pick up homeless, take them back to their cult compound (Rajneeshpuram proper), and sign them up as voters for Election Day.

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  17. Max: IMO, the American church started going South when it felt a need to entertain the masses rather than lead them to the altar … when fools built platforms over altars so “pastors” would have more room to strut their stuff.

    They never had an altar to begin with. No non-liturgical church uses an altar. Too Romish.
    (Weird to have Altar Calls without an actual altar…)
    Instead of an altar, they had a pulpit for preaching which focused a spotlight on the Preacher. Replacing the nonexistent altar with a full stage is just an expansion of that; Pastor’s Pulpit grows to envelop all before the audience pews, what liturgical churches call the Sanctuary. And then come the zip lines and fog machines to add more and more impact..

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  18. I read the article Julie Roys posted about this and made the mistake of scrolling all the way down to the comments. Predictably, there were a couple folks there shouting about how great Lakepointe is, and its rapid growth shows that God is working mightily there, and this incident and the recent criticism of Josh Howerton are attacks of the devil. I don’t get it. Personally, if my church was large enough to need its own stoplight, that would give me pause. Whose glory is that giant performance venue *ahem* sorry, worship center, really for, anyway?

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  19. Chuckp: How about stay home and share your 10 percent or more with the poor and disenfranchised. Sounds better IMHO

    This could mean a binary choice… either church or charity as long as you give 10% but for me, give what you feel led to give to causes that you believe in.

    Most churches are not where I would put any money but hey whatever floats your boat. You earned it.

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  20. Headless Unicorn Guy: They never had an altar to begin with.

    The “altar” in traditional SBC churches are/were the steps leading up from the congregation to the pulpit platform; some churches had benches at the front of the church. Southern Baptists of old used to kneel and pray there – they prayed for lost family/friends, for healing, for God to intervene in desperate situations, etc. I frequented those altars in former years.

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  21. CMT,

    “Predictably, there were a couple folks there shouting about how great Lakepointe is, and its rapid growth shows that God is working mightily there, and this incident and the recent criticism of Josh Howerton are attacks of the devil. ”
    ********************

    To me, this is a reflection of the local culture’s shallow values and mindset.

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  22. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): The more entertaining, the bigger the masses; the bigger the masses, the bigger the tithe and offering totals; the bigger the tithe and offering totals, the bigger the paychecks …

    “There is a great harvest, Jesus told them, but only a few are working in it … Now go on your way. I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Don’t carry a purse or a pair of shoes … Whatever town you go into and the people welcome you, eat the meals they give you … How fortunate you are to see what you are seeing! I tell you that many prophets and kings have wanted to see what you are seeing but they never saw it, and to hear what you are hearing but they never heard it.” (Luke 10)

    21st century church leadership knows little about this level of commitment to preaching the Gospel. Many just don’t get it. They have exchanged the blessing to worship The Great God Entertainment. The limelight is more important than the Light.

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  23. Max,

    Lakepointe wasn’t a new startup with a hidden affiliation. It was previously called Lake Pointe Baptist Church and was originally in nearby Rowlett; it has been affiliated with SBC from its origin. It moved to Rockwall after the pastor of nearby Church on the Rock, Larry Lea, was exposed in an ABC special (along with W.V. Grant and Robert Tilton); when that church started shrinking while Lake Pointe was growing, the churches swapped properties.

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  24. The limelight is more important than the Light.
    Max,

    If people go to church for entertainment……. getting through the “church” doors just to hear some music and see a show is a lot cheaper than getting through the doors of the Ryman Auditorium to see The Grand Ole Opry.

    But, the Opry is probably more moral, honest, and wholesome than some of these churches. Another ‘but’ – most of the church musicians, singers and pastor-comedians could never cut the mustard at the Ryman.

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