Various documents used as primary sources for the information presented on this site


Many of the documents we reference throughout this website are presented here. Please use these documents to arrive at your own conclusions. If you find anything on this site which runs contrary to the information contained within these documents, please bring it to our attention and we will address it.

We are interested in surfacing a growing list of documents for the purpose of transparency and critical thinking. If you have documents you think will be of interest to people who have left The Network, please send them to [email protected]


  1. Training materials ⇣
  3. Bylaws and membership forms ⇣
  4. Leadership policies and staff documents ⇣
  5. Miscellaneous documents ⇣
  6. Teachings and Sermons ⇣
    • Court documents from Steve Morgan's arrest
    • Call to action
    • Network responses to allegations
    • Statements from former Vineyard leaders
    • Dr. Steve Tracy affirms call to action
    • 2016/2017 Vista Church Series
    • 2015 Learning to Pray for Others
    • 2020 Membership Bible Training by Luke Williams
    • 2013-2015 Small Group Discussion Topics (24 month cycle) by Nelson Liu and Luke Williams

Diagram from "Small Group Leader Training Week 4 - Relational Leadership" (pg 1) - loyalty is listed as the highest level on the relationship progression pyramid





This training at the 2008 summer conference occurred shortly after Steve Morgan formed The Network. The audience consisted of "overseers" from all Network churches (pastors and church board members).

In this training Steve redefines "accountability", asserting that overseers should create an environment of "protection and safety" for the lead pastor and insulate him from the members of the church. This corroborates the lack of meaningful accountability and the conflicts of interest present in the leadership structure of The Network. A reference and link to this recording has been added to our article No Accountability: How The Network’s leadership structure undermines local churches and creates conflicts of interest for board members.




STEVE MORGAN, Planting Healthy Churches 2012

This document outlines Steve Morgan's methodologies for church growth. It was given to all church planters as an operating manual. Compare these methods to the "8 signs" presented in the article "8 Signs of a Dysfunctional Church"

Note: Names of people who were not pastors, staff members, or board members, as well as sensitive information, have been redacted from these documents





This training outlines the manipulative small group growth methodologies required of group leaders. We have confirmed from multiple sources that all churches within The Network were required to use this curriculum and were not permitted to edit or deviate from it. Metadata from the files indicate the files were written by Scott Joseph and Nelson Liu in 2015.

These documents make clear that the primary function of small groups is to create a pipeline which will multiply the group and thus grow a church large enough to plant additional churches. Any caretaking or pastoral functions of Small Groups are secondary or used as a method for gathering people to grow the church. Compare these methods to the "8 signs" presented in the article "8 Signs of a Dysfunctional Church."


NICK SELLERS - Developing Your Inner Circle of Leaders

In this February, 2022, Small Group Leader training, Nick Sellers, lead pastor of North Pines Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, expands on the manipulative methods prescribed in Network Small Group Leader Training documents. This training was hosted by Vida Springs Church in Gainesville, Florida where Tony Ranvestel is the lead pastor.

Nick describes the pyramidal structure of Network churches and the tactics by which small group leaders are encouraged to gain influence over those who they determine to be “next leaders” (44m40s). He covers a host of topics, including his experience performing exorcisms on many people in his church (52m00s), how to avoid developing friendships with followers because “proximity blinds discernment” (59m27s), and the mystical foreknowledge Network leaders have about the lives and futures of their followers (58m56s).

Steve Morgan in 2016 from Vine Church's twentieth anniversary video



STEVE MORGAN, How My Story Shapes Our Network 2020

In the following 2020 small group core training, while summarizing his religious journey, Steve Morgan claimed he was “unchurched” prior to his experiences at Ziegler Vineyard in 1993 (19m 20s, lines 156 & 200), and that his outsider status made him uniquely qualified to judge a church’s effectiveness (14m 40s, line 158). Morgan makes no reference to his family’s ties to the RLDS church, his undergraduate degree at a church-sponsored college, nor his previous involvement as a church leader; he instead claimed he was a “typical American pagan.” (5m 50s, line 58)

We invite our readers to compare Morgan’s version of events as described in his 2020 talk (audio and transcript linked below) to the historical record we have uncovered from contemporary newspaper articles and first person interviews. We believe this evidence reveals that Morgan's contemporary framing demonstrates an unequivocal and intentional pattern of deception and rewriting of his own history.

Read more in our article "Who is Steve Morgan?" → 


STEVE MORGAN, Our Story and How We Do Church 2011

This document is Steve Morgan's version of how The Network developed. Some see in his account a deeply spiritual man who was propelled by special revelations from God, though others see in his hyper-spirituality a willful attempt at obfuscating the truth and offering spiritual explanations for manipulative and abusive behavior (described in the article 8 Signs of a Dysfunctional Church)

Note: There were two versions of the "Our Story" document, one which was available to all staff members and one which was for pastors and church planters

Note II: Names of people who were not pastors, staff members, or board members, as well as sensitive information, have been redacted from these documents




STEVE MORGAN, Doctoral Dissertation on Family Communication in the Context of Dying 1995

Steve Morgan wrote this dissertation in 1995 while a Speech Communications doctoral student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The dissertation contains Steve’s impressions of a family’s “relational” communication as he observed them during the final ten days of a woman’s life. Steve includes graphic descriptions of his own father’s death along with his personal ruminations as the ten days unfold. When Karen dies, he remarks, “I’m really glad it’s over; I’m glad Karen is dead. I wish she would have never had the cancer, but since she did have it, I’m glad she’s dead” (pg 160). 

Steve writes in his findings that the family’s “individual” coping with death came at the expense of the “family system” because they failed to cope “relationally” (pg 167). The primacy of “relational” systems over "individual" ones would be a founding principle of The Network, and Steve would write extensively on “relational leadership” in “Our Story and How We Do Church” and “Planting Healthy Churches .”

This file was obtained and shared by an anonymous user on Reddit.


STEVE MORGAN, Master's Thesis on Young Adults' Boundary Permeability 1991

Steve Morgan wrote this Interpersonal Communication Master’s Thesis in 1991 while a graduate student at Central Michigan University. The topic of Steve’s research was “the relationship between boundary permeability in the family and boundary permeability in the behavior of young adults who are no longer living with the family.” Steve describes young adults’ boundaries as being either “rigid and impermeable” (meaning “clearly defined and difficult to penetrate”) or “diffuse and permeable” (meaning “boundaries that fluctuate freely and are easily permeated”).

Steve’s preoccupation with studying young adults who have “permeable” boundaries is unsettling given his arrest for sexual assault of a minor boy and the numerous claims of spiritual abuse made against the organization he founded and leads.

This file was obtained and shared by an anonymous user on Reddit.


STEVE MORGAN, RLDS Youth Camp—Prescription for Troubled Teens 1986

In this 1986 article, Steve Morgan, founder of The Network, urged parents to send troubled teens to the RLDS youth camps he was involved with. He assured parents their children would meet people "they can trust" and highlighted how a high-school student who had spent significant time with him at the camp had been "filled with spiritual power." This article was written when Morgan was 22, six months before court records allege he committed Aggravated Criminal Sodomy against a teen in his youth group. Morgan mentioned his involvement in "more than thirty youth camps and retreats," raising troubling concerns addressed elsewhere.

Morgan's statements, which credit Jesus Christ for giving his life meaning, conflict with his later claims that he was an "unchurched, American pagan." For more information about Steve Morgan's history of religious leadership before founding The Network, visit our "Who is Steve Morgan?" article.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels





These bylaws mark the formal transition of The Network from a loose confederacy of related churches to a centrally governed organization. We list the members of the Network Leadership Team and explain how the Network operates in practice in our article "How are Network Leaders Held Accountable?"

Created in 2018 after City Lights Church exited The Network, these bylaws establish the Network Leadership Team as the governing body of The Network (Article III, General) and cement the power of the Network Leader (Steve Morgan) by granting him sole authority to appoint people to the Network Leadership Team (Article V, Officers and Leadership). This document endows broad powers to the Network Leadership Team, including the ability to amend local church bylaws at will (Article V, Officers and Leadership).



The following bylaws and member forms (which are used by all Network churches) represent the contract between church members and their Network Churches. As The Network developed, these bylaws became increasingly strict, mandating:

  • Weekly attendance at small groups and weekend services
  • A minimum 10% tithe per member
  • Free labor be provided at no cost to the organization
  • 20 hours of non-public classes
  • Allegiance to church leaders.
  • 5% local church tithes be sent monthly to The Network


2018 BYLAWS EXAMPLES | Include amendments to allow Network Leadership Team to remove a lead pastor without local board consensus




These documents from High Rock Church from 2008 to 2019 are a case study in how Network bylaws have evolved over time. Tap the "expand to read more" button to see a summary of prominent changes between the versions of these bylaws.


Church membership forms evolved over time in much the same way local church bylaws did. The examples below demonstrate the growing demands placed on members of Network churches. The included 2017 reaffirmation of membership letter was sent to all members when Bible Training classes became mandated and when prohibitions against same-sex marriage were introduced to the bylaws.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels




This checklist was used as part of the process for lead pastors to apply for Network Church Planting Funds to pay the salary of future church planters[1]. Pastors were not to inform the candidates that they were being considered; this document was evaluated by Network Leadership without the candidate's knowledge. The document places heavy emphasis on loyalty to Network leaders and processes, and it prescribes that a candidate must "respond well" when told "no" or asked to change his lifestyle. Steve Morgan is listed as the author in the metadata of the document.


[1] See (Blue Sky Church. "Network Church Planting Fund Brochure", BSC, [circa 2011-2012]) for more information on the Network Church Planting Fund.





Potential pastors, small group leaders, service team leaders, and worship team members were expected to answer these questions with a pastor or small group leader before being released into an area of service in most Network churches. The questions require the recipient to disclose their sexual history, divulge personal secrets, and reveal their tithing habits. Aaron Kuhnert is listed as the author in the metadata of the original document[1].


[1] Former Network leaders report iterations of this document were used throughout Network churches from as early as 2005 until present day. These "Questions of Character and Integrity" appear to have evolved into Appendix A of Small Group Leader Training Week 1 2015. We have therefore included this appendix alongside the original document.





This manual was required to be signed by pastoral and other full-time staff of Vine Church. The manual prohibits church employees from holding part-time employment outside the church, includes preferential vacation policies for pastors vs other employees, and forbids all employees from being alone with individuals of the opposite gender.




These documents from Foundation Church (then named ClearView Church) were forwarded after the 2016 Men's Retreat, led by lead pastor Justin Major. The email and attached documents reveal how the "complementarian" theological shift, which began in 2008, had given way to patriarchal and misogynistic attitudes within The Network. Men were instructed to behave in stereotypically masculine ways and to ask their wives infantilizing questions while keeping these documents secret.



These documents outline the 2013 $1 million and 2021 $1.65 million projects for new Network facilities in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Using manipulative language these brochures request members (who are already mandated by their membership agreements to give 10% of their income to Network churches) to obey God by giving significant portions of their income to building Network facilities.



This brochure outlines The Network's mission to replicate their organizational model in as many cities as possible. The Network Church Planting Fund as defined in this document was to be used to pay the salaries of pastors who were being trained to lead a group of followers to begin new churches once the sending church reached an attendance of 500.




SÁNDOR PAULL - Followers Should Obey Their Leaders in All Matters 2018

This teaching from Sándor Paull (vice president of the Network Leadership Team) represents the culmination of two decades of increasingly invasive and authoritarian leadership practices within The Network. Sándor argues that every follower in every Network church is required to share a common mind and be one in unity on all matters, great or small, with their leader. He states that any subject on which a leader and follower disagree is of major importance because the issue is important to the leader, regardless of whether the issue is technically important or not, or whether the leader is correct or not. The implication of this teaching is that, because each leader is led by a leader who is eventually led by Steve Morgan, every person who attends a Network Church should conform absolutely to fit Steve's preferences.

See Jeff Miller's article on Biblical Leadership for a thorough refutation of these teachings and for further analysis.


STEVE MORGAN - Followers Must Trust and Obey Their Leaders - May 19, 2011

Steve Morgan (founder and leader of The Network) delivered this teaching in May, 2011, at Blue Sky Church in Seattle during the same time period that he was organizing The Network’s history, systems, and leadership model in his writings.

In this teaching Steve assures his followers they will not be held personally responsible if they obey him when he is wrong, and warns them that they will face divine judgement if they refuse to obey and he is right (22m 30s). Steve compares his relationship with his followers to a father’s toward children who are “idiots” (12m) or a “teenager who will not listen” (30m) and claims his own daughter praised him for his strict parenting (12m 15s). He later threatens his children, saying that he loves them so much that if they rejected him they would “hope to live” (13m20s).

Steve finishes the talk by describing how “delightful” Network churches are when “leaders are leading and followers are following” (35m 50s), and warns followers that disobedience to leaders, characterized by Steve as “conflict” and “trouble,” causes Jesus to “groan” and be disappointed in the congregation (34m 45s).


TONY RANVESTEL - Removal of Women from Leadership, River Vineyard Church Team Vision Meeting August 2008

In 2008 Tony Ranvestel delivered this teaching at an internal team meeting at River Vineyard in Layfayette, IN on why he was removing women from leadership in his church. This marked a dramatic shift in theology for the church, which was still part of The Vineyard Association at the time of this announcement. Steve Morgan's document Our Story and How We Do Church (posted elsewhere on this page) reveals Steve had leaned on Tony to consider these actions. Tony would pull his church out of Vineyard in 2009 to join Steve Morgan's Network of churches and change the name of the church from River Vineyard Church to Clear River Church.

The points Tony makes in this teaching would become precedent and would be cited as the official position for why women were disqualified for leadership in every church within The Network. Former members claim that the pattern of behavior they experienced from male leaders was not supported by "complementarian" theology and was misogynistic in nature.

More information on this topic is available in the following article: Suppression and Control of Women within The Network →


BRIAN SCHNEIDER - Paper Calling for the Discontinuation of Help to the Poor 2012

This paper by Brian Schneider (now lead pastor of Stoneway Church in Reading, England) is cited by Network leaders as containing the definitive reasoning for why their churches do not help the poor and was influential in dismantling such programs. In it Schnieder takes a suspicious and insular view toward the larger world while arguing that churches should not help those who are outside their own walls. He disregards the thoughts of leading theologians (including Wayne Grudem) and uses as an example the stance that controversial pastor Mark Driscoll and the now defunct Mars Hill Church took in restricting aid to the poor.

Jeff Irwin has written an article on his blog Not Overcome on the origin of this paper, the way it was used within The Network, and an analysis of the logic within it. Below you will find Brian Schneider's paper along with an example of the kind of ministry which was discontinued because of its influence.

Read more about this paper on →



Project Compassion at Vine Church was discontinued sometime after Brian Schneider's paper was published in 2012.


DAN DIGMAN - God Speaks to Us Through Our Leaders, Cedar Heights Church June 2021

In this sermon Dan Digman teaches Cedar Heights Church in State College, PA about how leaders are to be chosen and obeyed in The Network.  Similar in substance to the Small Group Leader Training materials posted elsewhere on this page, this teaching has at its core the theological position that leaders within The Network are divinely appointed directly by Jesus and that they therefore "hear" divine guidance which church members must obey.

This position on leadership and authority, held throughout The Network, gives further context to the stories of authoritarian control in which followers are asked to obey the divine (mystical) guidance of their leaders, to their own detriment.


DAVID CHERY - Fiery Furnace (The Faithful Obey the Laws of God, not the Laws of Man) 2021

The following "Fiery Furnace" teaching was preached by David Chery, lead pastor of Summit Creek Church, in Eugene, Oregon on January 17, 2021.  In it David prepares those attending Summit Creek to disobey laws which are against the commandments of God, such as government safety precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 which prohibited public singing in certain situations during the height of the pandemic. This talk was given eleven days after the January 6th, 2021 storming of the United States' Capitol building.


SCOTT JOSEPH - Followers Are Subject to Church Leaders 2022

In this teaching Scott Joseph, lead pastor of High Rock Church in Bloomington, Indiana, explains to members that they are to be subject to him and the other overseers.

While he claims that his followers are free to pursue their own decisions, Scott is adamant that ignoring his "strong suggestions" exposes them to serious consequences (20m:37s). In one notable example, Scott exhorts members of the church to refuse to read online forums where former members are critical of High Rock Church and The Network, or else experience anger, depression, and the feeling of being drained of life from drinking from a “toxic cesspool filled with leeches” (21m:50s).


HISTORY OF THE NETWORK: Key milestones in the development of Steve Morgan's Network of churches