RESOURCES

Spiritual abuse distorts how we see and experience God and the Church. These resources have helped former members sort through their thoughts and feelings from leaving The Network.

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TYPES OF RESOURCES

JUMP TO SECTION:

  1. Get Help
  2. Helpful Websites
  3. Related Podcasts
  4. Recommended Books

GET HELP

Find a licensed therapist using Psychology Today

If you feel that you have experienced spiritual abuse — whether from a person at a one of the churches within The Network or from any other relationship in your life — help is available. You do not need to endure trauma alone. You deserve to feel safe.

Psychology Today has an easy to use, comprehensive tool for finding licensed therapists in your local area. You can search by city and filter by many criteria, including insurance, issues, and more. You can also adjust the filters to find Christian therapists if that is important to you.

National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call or Text 988

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 across the United States.

Crisis Text Line: Text "Hello" to 741741

Crisis Text Line fields messages about suicidal thoughts, abuse, sexual assault, depression, anxiety, bullying and more. What makes it unique is that it's entirely text-based, which makes it easy for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable or safe talking on the phone to use it.

HELPFUL WEBSITES

Theology & Me | theologyandme.com

Blake Hadley is a former small group leader at South Grove Church in Athens, Georgia, and is now an MA student at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has created a website refuting Network theology and helping those who have left The Network differentiate what they learned in Network teachings from what is commonly taught at Christian Seminaries.

Not Overcome | notovercome.org

Jeff Irwin is a former small group leader at Vista Church in San Luis Obispo, California, and Blue Sky Church in Seattle, Washtingon. He left The Network in 2021 and has shared an open letter which tells his story, outlines the abuses he committed and witnessed while a member of these churches, and calls for repentance of the Network's leadership. Jeff blogs about many topics related to The Network and about recovery from spiritual abuse.

Reddit | r/leavingthenetwork

We have been made aware of a relatively unmoderated discussion which has sprung up on Reddit where people are sharing thoughts, impressions, and stories from their time in The Network. This Reddit community has become a place where former members are openly sharing their pain, grief, loneliness, regret, and anger over their time in The Network in raw, uncensored ways along with the context of what happened to them.

This subreddit is in response to but not directly moderated by the contributors of this site. LeavingTheNetwork.org makes no claim on the authenticity of these posts. We offer a link to this Reddit community as a supplement to the stories we have published here.

RELATED PODCASTS

Heaven Bent  from Frequency Podcast Network

Heaven Bent isn't about Steve Morgan's churches specifically, but it does explain the context from which Steve emerged as a church planter. The Network was born out of the Vineyard Fellowship of Churches. Heaven Bent traces the history of the Vineyard to charismatic movements like the Toronto Blessing and beyond to modern churches like Bethel. Along the way host Tara Jean Stevens poses thought-provoking questions about spiritual manipulation and abuse, and the ways church leaders have leveraged mystical experiences and charismatic phenomena to their advantage.

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill  from Christianity Today

The Rise And Fall of Mars Hill shares the inside story of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, from its founding in one of the largest church planting movements in American history to its public demise. Host Mike Cosper speaks with the people who lived and breathed the contradiction of positive, life-changing transformation at Mars Hill as it existed alongside the abusive and toxic leadership of its founding lead pastor, Mark Driscoll.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Broken Trust  by Remy Diederich

For those of us who have suffered spiritual abuse from a toxic church, toxic organization, or toxic leader, our trust has been broken. We entrusted our life to someone we thought would care for us, someone who initially inspired us to know God, only to reject us in the end. Now we are left wounded and disillusioned, wondering if we can ever trust others, ourselves, or even God, again.

Remy Diederich’s book not only helps identify spiritual abuse, it offers a practical plan for recovery. Diederich encourages his readers that because God is the God of resurrection and restoration, spiritual abuse survivors can rebuild their lives from the broken trust and toxic environment of their past.

A Church Called TOV  by Scot McKnight and Laura McKnight Barringer

Tragically, in recent years, Christians have grown accustomed  to shocking revelations of horrendous abuse in many well-known and respected churches and denominations—from Willow Creek to Harvest, from the Southern Baptist Convention to Sovereign Grace, Mars Hill, and Hillsong, just to name a few. Respected author and theologian Scot McKnight and former Willow Creek member Laura Barringer wrote this book to paint a path forward for the church.

In A Church Called TOV, McKnight and Barringer explore the concept of tov (the Hebrew word for “good”)—unpacking its richness and how it can help Christians and churches rise up to fulfill their true calling as imitators of Jesus.

FURTHER READING:

8 SIGNS OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL CHURCH: Characteristics of spiritual abuse within dysfunctional churches and high-control groups