CALL TO ACTION

Former Network Leaders Petition Current Leaders to Take Action in Light of Serious Abuse Allegations

CALL TO ACTION FROM FORMER NETWORK LEADERS

Date Posted: July 08, 2022

The purpose of this petition is a public attempt to encourage Network leaders to take appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of all Network pastors, staff, members and attenders. The public and current congregants within Network churches need to be made aware about ongoing spiritual abuses, Steve Morgan's arrest for aggravated criminal sodomy against a minor, and the ongoing lack of action by church leaders. 

 


 

The “Network” is a group of 26 churches across the United States, United Kingdom, and Taiwan. This Network was founded by and is led by Pastor Steve Morgan. There are currently five active websites devoted to spiritual abuses occurring in the Network.

  1. LeavingTheNetwork.org - A site sharing victim stories of spiritual abuse, historical background about the Network, and primary source documents and teachings from The Network. 
  2. www.reddit.com/r/LeavingTheNetwork/ - A social media site where people who left the Network are sharing their experiences and discussing related topics. 
  3. NotOvercome.org - A blog maintained by Jeff Irwin, a former church plant team member and small group leader, detailing abuses he experienced and documenting abusive church systems.
  4. Unorthoprax.net - A site from an anonymous writer focusing on theological issues related to the network. 
  5. TheologyandMe.com - A theology blog written by Blake Hadley, an MA student at Westminster Theological Seminary who is a former small group leader at South Grove Church in Athens, Georgia.

ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSES

In addition to the spiritual abuses documented in these websites and stories, Network founder and leader Steve Morgan disclosed to church leaders a prior sexual assault he allegedly committed when he was serving in a leadership capacity as a youth pastor. Court records corroborate that Steve was arrested for aggravated criminal sodomy against a minor. Actions recommended by external experts were not taken by church leaders and the alleged assault was concealed from Network members and leaders. 

Additionally, audio from 2019 strongly suggests that Alex Dieckmann, lead pastor of Rock River Church in San Marcos, Texas, failed in his duty as a mandatory reporter to report child sexual abuse, and failed to implement policies which would have limited an abuser’s access to children. Further, it appears the room of Network leaders who heard Dieckmann's teachings failed to address the sexual abuse that was disclosed in the teaching as well.

These troubling examples raise serious concerns about The Network’s policies and leadership decisions which require further investigation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The undersigned former Network leaders believe that current Network leaders are failing to take appropriate actions in light of recent information. While we are no longer members or leaders in the Network, we formerly had responsibility for leading and oversight of the churches and its members. Therefore, we make the following recommendations and ask for immediate action to be taken by Network Leaders and Pastors:

  1. Initiate the assistance of an external group of experts such as Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) or a similar independent, qualified organization. The Network should pay for any costs incurred in working with the selected organization. 
  2. Agree to an unbiased, unimpeded, external investigation by the above selected organization. The investigation should seek to identify any additional potential victims of abuse and identify any abusive systems or leader behaviors. 
  3. Publicly release a report of the findings of the investigation. 
  4. Publicly acknowledge any wrongdoing noted in the investigation findings, repent, and attempt reconciliation and restitution with any victims. 
  5. Develop a plan of action based on the investigation findings and recommendations of the selected organization.
  6. Implement the plan of action, evaluate the implementation of actions after a period of one year, and publicly report on the evaluation of the effectiveness of the actions. The evaluation should be conducted by an independent organization. 
  7. Develop and implement detailed policies related to how to handle sex offenders in the midst of Network churches.
  8. Develop and implement policies and procedures related to employing sex offenders in leadership positions in the network.

 


 

Signatories

DISCLAIMER STATEMENT:

Agreement with this petition does not constitute agreement or solidarity with all information presented on the Leaving the Network site. The undersigned add their signatures to the following petition because the allegations which have come to light raise concerns which require further investigation.

For the sake of clarity and brevity, we have limited the signatories on this page to those in whom institutional authority within the Network had once been entrusted: former pastors, overseers, and staff of Network churches. We recognize that this limits the current list of signatories almost exclusively to men because a fraction of the Network’s employees are women. We recognize this is difficult for some. Just like our readership, the contributors of Leaving The Network and the signatories on this page have differing opinions and experiences with complementarianism, and the makeup of this list should not be seen as an endorsement of the Network’s leadership model.

If you were once a pastor, overseer, or employee of the Network who would like to be added to this list, we invite you to contact us at [email protected]. For all others, you may sign the following petition at Change.org →

 


Andrew Lumpe

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Blue Sky Church: Elder/Overseer (Vice President of Board), non staff Discipleship Community Pastor, Small Group Leader (deacon)
    • Vista Church: Small Group Leader (deacon)

Aaron Wright

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Vine Church: Elder/Overseer (Board Member) and Small Group Leader (deacon)

Alex Solomon

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Vine Church: Support Staff (Graphic Designer)

Ben Erickson

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Foundation/ClearView Church: Discipleship Community pastor, Kids Director, and small group leader (deacon)
    • Bright Field Church: small group leader (deacon)

Ben Powers

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • City Lights Church: Lead Pastor City Lights Church
    • Vine Church: Associate Pastor

 Brian Waite

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • City Lights Church: Elder/Overseer (Board Member) and Small Group Leader (deacon)

Matt Poppe

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Foundation/ClearView Church: Worship Leader and Small Group Leader (deacon)

Eric Harhausen

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • City Lights Church: Staff Pastor

Jaime Moyers

  • Previous leadership roles:
    • Steve Morgan's former pastor before Steve planted Vineyard Community Church in Carbondale
    • Lead Pastor: Zeigler Vineyard Church (no longer in existence)
    • Vine Church: Weekend attender in 2013

Jeff Miller

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • City Lights Church: Lead Pastor
    • ClearView Church: Lead Pastor

 Katie Weber

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Foundation/ClearView Church: Support Staff (Bookkeeper)

Marie Booth

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Blue Sky Church: Support Staff (Assistant to the Kids Director)

Mike McCully

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Hills Church: Elder/Overseer (Vice President of Board), non staff Discipleship Community Pastor, Small Group Leader (deacon)
    • Blue Sky Church: Small Group Leader (deacon)

Skyler Ray Taylor

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Vine Church: Support Staff (Graphic Designer), Small Group Leader (deacon)

Steve Oros

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • City Lights Church: Worship Leader and Small Group Leader (deacon)

Taylor Nuccitelli

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Hosea Church: Elder/Overseer (Board Member) and Small Group Leader (deacon)
    • Blue Sky Church: Small Group Leader (deacon)

Tim Reeves

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • High Rock Church: Staff Pastor
    • Blue Sky Church: Small Group Leader (deacon)

Tony Fantozzi

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • City Lights: Elder/Overseer (Board Member)

Torrey Lumpe

  • Previous leadership roles in Network:
    • Blue Sky Church: Support Staff (Bookkeeper)
    • Vista Church: Support Staff (Bookkeeper)

 


 

BACK TO SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS OVERVIEW:

SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS: An overview and collection of content related to sexual abuse allegations against Steve Morgan, founder and president of The Network