NETWORK LEADERSHIP TEAM AND LEAD PASTORS RESPOND TO ALLEGATIONS
Sándor Paull, lead pastor and Vice President of the Network Leadership Team, distributed the following letter on behalf of Network leadership after court documents of Steve Morgan's arrest were made public
LETTER FROM NETWORK LEADERSHIP TEAM AND LEAD PASTORS
After court documents of Steve Morgan's arrest were made public on July 8th, 2022, Network Vice President Sándor Paull circulated a written response to church members from the Network Leadership Team and Lead Pastors at a Team Meeting at Joshua Church on July 10th, 2022.
We have received multiple copies of this letter, and have verified it is authentic. Sources confirmed that the letter was distributed at Joshua Church's July 10th Team Meeting by Sándor Paull. We have also received reports that this letter was read aloud to congregations by their pastors at meetings at other Network churches such as High Rock Church in Bloomington, Indiana and Blue Sky Church in Bellevue (Seattle), Washington. Other reports suggest the letter was presented by pastors at private meetings with long-time members.
The letter is addressed from the Network Leadership Team and Lead Pastors. It claims that online platforms distorted Steve Morgan's criminal charges for aggravated sodomy of a minor (read the court documents from the case), and that releasing this information publicly is cruel and evil. The letter categorically denies all spiritual abuse allegations published on our site and elsewhere, and asserts their belief that the Bible forbids them from responding to specific allegations because the allegations were made in an unbiblical manner. While the letter makes a general concession that Network leaders do not lead perfectly and have fallen short, it also maintains that their words, actions, and intentions have been misunderstood, not that they are guilty of wrongdoing.
READ THE NETWORK RESPONSE LETTER
FULL TEXT OF NETWORK RESPONSE LETTER
To members of the local churches in our church network:
We, the Network Leadership Team and Lead Pastors, are aware of the criticisms and accusations being made on various online platforms against us, other leaders in our group of churches and our church network as a whole. We are deeply grieved and saddened by the approach that our accusers have taken in their attempt to publicly harm the reputation of individual leaders, churches and our church network. Our goal of this letter is to communicate with our members as we face this season and seek to continue to move forward together.
1. We will not reply in detail to the many issues and accusations that have been raised against us. The Bible lays out specific guidelines for handling conflict with other Christians and church leaders in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:19. By using an anonymous, public forum, our accusers are handling their grievances in a way that is unbiblical, unproductive and harmful to Jesus' church.
2. We strive to be humble and loving leaders who "shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2-3). We deny the allegations that have been leveled against us of spiritual abuse and of attempting to control people for our own power and gain. We do not lead perfectly and we ask for grace from God's people where we have fallen short. We welcome honest, grace-filled conversations with those who have misunderstood our words, actions and intentions in leadership and are truly seeking help and reconciliation.
3. As soon as we became aware of the accusations, we sought outside counsel with someone who is familiar with the culture and structure of our group of churches. We have been advised to be kind and loving to all, to pray for those who are against us, and to stay focused on the mission to which Jesus has called us.
4. We will bless any that would like to leave our churches and feel called to another church family. They will always be our brothers and sisters in Christ and we are thankful for the sacrifices that they have made for Jesus' mission in our local churches. We want them to follow Jesus in whatever way that they feel he is leading and find a church family where they can flourish as disciples and help fulfill the Great Commission.
5. The Network Leadership Team is thankful for Steve Morgan's strong yet humble leadership, depth of love for all and Christ-honoring character from the beginning of this network of churches. We believe that he is called, gifted and qualified to continue to lead this network and we reaffirm our commitment to serve alongside him in this work.
6. We are aware of the publishing of a distorted version of Steve Morgan's sin from before he was a follower of Jesus over 30 years ago. While we do not condone the sin, we affirm that Steve dealt with it properly before he was a Christian. After becoming a Christian, Steve also confessed all of his past sin to several fellow overseers and friends. Sadly, a former overseer has taken his confession and weaponized it in an attempt to discredit and shame him. We believe all of Steve's sin has been forgiven and forgotten by God (Isaiah 38:17 & 43:25, Micah 7:19. Furthermore, he has continued to walk in character, integrity and purity since he became a follower of Jesus and a leader in the church. Steve has been faithfully married for 27 years to his wife Shu-hui and they have raised four healthy children together who are all actively following Jesus. Sadly, we are aware of others in the anonymous group behind the accusations that are now exposing the previous sins of other leaders in our network as well. We believe it is cruel, evil and the antithesis of the gospel message to dig up and disclose a person's sin that has already been dealt with in a biblical manner. This is a great offense against the cross of Jesus Christ.
7. While many Christians, churches and church leaders around the globe are facing a season of persecution, we trust that the Lord is allowing this to ultimately refine and purify us, our churches and our faith for what he has planned for our future. We will continue to seek and trust him for the strength, guidance, provision and protection that we need to follow him in this life and fulfill his purposes in this world.