Resources for family members whose loved one has joined The Network



  1. Causes of Concern ⇣
  2. Ways to Take Action ⇣
  3. Related Personal Stories ⇣
  4. Additional Resources ⇣
  5. Messages from Loved Ones ⇣


We have heard from many parents, siblings, and friends of young people involved with The Network who are worried about their loved ones. Those who have reached out to us have described how increased involvement in a Network church has coincided with rapid changes in their loved ones' lives, such as:

  • Drastic personality changes
  • Sudden loss of interest in long-time hobbies and activities
  • A sharp increase in attendance and involvement in Network programming
  • Committing significant financial assets to The Network
  • Abrupt priority shifts to stay at a Network church rather than continuing after college into a chosen career
  • Prioritizing Network gatherings, conferences, retreats, and trainings over family celebrations and holidays
  • Increased control from Network pastors and other leaders over large and small decisions in their personal lives
    • In some cases, young men have been flown to Austin, Texas to meet with Steve Morgan at his estate

Parents, siblings, and friends describe feeling helpless as they watch their loved ones get drawn deeper and deeper into the group.


It's important to stay calm and develop a plan. The culture of this group creates insular feelings which are resistant to criticism from the outside. Individuals within it are systematically isolated and are convinced that leaving would be unrecoverable.

Avoid being argumentative or judgmental about your loved one's involvement in The Network. Speaking out against leaders within The Network will likely be viewed as "spiritual attack." Trying to help someone leave The Network puts you up against a system that is doing everything it can to convince them that you are wrong.

Instead, focus on keeping lines of communication open with your loved one. Be a patient resource, and give them help in approaching the subject objectively if they ask. It is important to respect their autonomy in making their own decisions.

For more ideas, read the wikiHow article on suggestions for how to help deprogram a friend who is involved with a high-control group (this wikiHow article was co-authored by a clinical psychologist).

Note: The wikiHow article uses the word "cult." Some prefer to use terms like "high-control group," "toxic or unhealthy church," or "religious sect." Linking to this article does not imply that all who worked on this site believe The Network is a cult. We cover this on the Network Churches page under "Are These Churches Cults?"



These resources have helped family members find constructive ways to address their loved ones' involvement in The Network:


The following screenshots from parents and other loved ones on the Leaving The Network subreddit forum reveal grief, anger, and heartbreak over separation caused by family members' involvement in this group. We have preserved these posts to show others similar situations that they aren't alone.

parents power in numbers We are the parents of a member of the network and would like to know how many other parents are on this site with the same worry and concern that we have for our son. Maybe there is something we can do as a group to help our children get out from under this spell that the network as put on our kids. If nothing else just getting advice of what might have worked or not worked in talking to your son/daughter who is part of the church. thank you!  A-parent I'm a parent of a son in the network, and it's a very frustrating position. He has pretty much divorced himself from the rest of the family. Communications between him and his siblings are now non-existent...between him and his parents are minimal. He has stated how his "conscience is clear" several times in the past, and to me that simply means he's doing what his pastor/leader tells him to do...nothing else matters. He states that he loves his siblings, would give his life for them, but refuses to talk to them…gaslighting at its best. In his mind, "the way we do church" is the only way! The directives handed down by his leaders have nothing to do with following Jesus, but EVERYTHING to do with financially propping up this cult to the benefit of SM and his minions. I could go on about how one must disregard basic tenets of Christianity to be completely enmeshed in this network, but that subject has been exposed time and again in this forum. The only way this cult will lose its power is to hinder its financial stream. Informing these young college kids about the abusive nature of this cult BEFORE it can get its tentacles into them...before the love bombing can influence them.. is so important. This forum, with all the comments of past and current abuses, the exposing of the network's tremendous hypocrisy, the ulterior motives behind every relationship, the shallow friendships that are conditionally mission based..all you people who expose the truth are the most powerful tools we parents have. I'm confident God will do His work with this cult in time, and maybe we are His best tools. Thank you all!  Fantasticwander4 Also a parent w zero contact now going on months. Also recently cutoff communication with siblings as well. Dr Josh Coleman discussions have been somewhat helpful, but advice not always applicable bc added layer of complexity to this estrangement due to cult involvement."
Hello. Another parent here. What do we do? How do we get our kids out?They have isolated my daughter to the point I barely hear from her anymore.What went from a happy fun loving relationship where we communicated daily is no longer. Because we let it be known she was In a toxic cult like environment the network church I believe brainwashed her and told her we are bad,to stay away. So they can have the only influence on her. This is the last thing and worst thing I ever imagined happening to our"
Daughter is married and has highly involved spouse who told us they have no obligation to us or our children for relationship. This would not have been a philosophy my daughter would have agreed to prior to marriage. They believe the ppl in their church are their family. So much for our Christian family. They have weaponized the Word against us erroneously. They do not use the Word in context. We suspect emotional/spiritual abuse is happening. Gravely concerned for our daughter."
How do you navigate having family still in the network? This is a tough one. I'm interested to hear other's responses. My family member was in the network before me and remained there after I left. It's tough having them choose the church family over our family. It's hard seeing them immersed in the church culture and unable to see beyond it or function outside of it. It makes me sad. I believe the majority of people in the network have good intentions. I believe most are unaware of the dysfunction they live in and the people they hurt. I know I was unaware until I got out."
Long time listener first time commenter I lost God and a sister in the network. I've been quiet on the other things brought up about the church, but I can't anymore. My sisters are deep in this, and I hope to whatever is holy that the things published aren't true..for so many reasons. Long story short I do Public Relations for a living, and if all of what people are saying is true, I might be able to help."
I can't be too specific because too much is actively going on, but I feel so lost and isolated dealing with this situation that I just need someone else who's there to talk to. I have a family member who is a current active victim of Foundation church. If you can call it that. In the last 9 months we've effectively been cut off from them per the instructions of the cult leader Justin Majors. They need to be formally investigated and dismantled but I know Thats so unlikely. Many many major life efe the and health scares have been missed and ignored. We are seriously concerned for them and anyone else still involved. I just watched the Dancing for our lives tiktok documentary and if you remove the dance company aspect, it is VERBATIM what JUSTIN MAJORS is coaching them to say and do. Any thoughts are welcome I'm just completely at a loss. And afraid we've lost them for good. I don't expect to see them again ever unless they want something but I hope it's because they get wise and try to escape.  Independent-Diver614 Please reach out to me, my story is very similar and we are still going through it as well. My family members are at Foundation as well."
Long time friends told me I couldn't be in their life anymore the day we decided to leave. Family members who were also in the church have not spoken to me at all since the day I told them we had made the decision to leave. That was years ago, and there has still been zero contact, even after I asked if we could please talk. Literally friendships and families torn apart with the approval of their leaders."
In response to a comment under Discussions on the content of, someone mentioned their niece basically has left her family behind and has made her network church her life. My thoughts were way too long for a comment so here they are. Also, I'm writing as if I'm responding to this person directly because it touched me personally and I hope they see it, but I'm also interested hear who else has experienced this. This post has struck me hard, because in a way, I have been your niece for the last several years. I have been really close to the inner circle of a network church and like her have been so wrapped up in its mission. My process has been somewhat slow, but over the last two years I have been realizing the flaws of the network and have seen how it controlled my life in a lot of ways. I am currently in the leaving process. When I recently told my mother (an incredibly strong Christian who raised me to live a Jesus centered life) about my apprehensions with my (network) church, it was as if both a barrier and her heart broke at my words. The barrier now down, she could tell me of the concerns she had had for years with this church, and how she was hurt that I was almost always choosing church over family and was missing special family events. And also, her heart broken as her daughter confirmed all her hesitations about a church she knew wasn't getting God and the Bible right. She said she didn't know how to bring it up because she saw how dedicated I was to it. But she trusted that God would intervene and show me the red flags she was seeing. While it makes me sad that she was seeing these things long before I did (or rather, before I wanted to accept them because I had my own red flags from 1 or 2 months in), I'm glad she let me figure this out on my own. God ultimately did answer her prayers. I needed to see the flaws on my own to really understand the gravity of the situation. I definitely was way too defensive of the church and its dealings for a long time, so l doubt I would have heeded my mom's warnings. Not saying that has to be the way it happens for your niece though, but that is just how God worked it out for me. I'm sorry if I am repeating things that have already been said, but I wanted to provide some insight into my own experience if it helps you understand where your niece might at right now: Starting off with a big one, and one that I foolishly followed, is that the church essentially tells you to leave your family behind in the name of service to Jesus. They use Luke 14:26 as a way to make you feel like your family is dispensable. Unless your parents/family is in a network church, your family becomes one of the lowest priorities on your network totem pole. You have to choose the church over them and you can't make almost any major life decision based off of them. The church convinces you that they are your true family (especially if your family are not made of Christians) and they know what's best for you always. This church network makes you feel like you are sinning if you don't prioritize their events. Everything from a Sunday service to a weekly small group to a once a year event meant to bring in new people, you are expected to be there. And when you don't show up, people ask questions. And when you respond, with a perfectly valid reason mind you, they judge whether or not your reason is good enough. And I don't meant judge, like keep it to yourself judge. They will "call you out" if they decide your other plans were not valid enough for you to miss an event. People 100% keep tabs on how often you miss church events. The more you miss, the more you lack in loyalty and the more spiritually unhealthy you must be. You can imagine how it can be easy to measure your relationship to God according to how much you are doing church activities. You are expected to constantly be serving the church as well. You can't be a member of this network if you aren't giving your time to it. That can include kids program, worship team, small group child care, hospitality team for a special event, etc. A lot of people serve in more than one area too. At one point I was participating in church events at a minimum of three days a week. Plus I was only hanging out with other church members during the other days of the week because there are constantly hangouts being planned, especially when you are in your 20s. Because of this, it was too easy for everything about my life to become about the church. I mean, I literally had to plan my meals and after work attire around church activities pretty regularly because I had no home life and was constantly going from work straight to a church activity, only to get home at 9 or 10 pm to go to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. By doing this, I was praised for my dedication, applauded for how well I served Jesus, and was led to believe this was how my life was supposed to be - all about the church. It could be that your niece's experience is similar to that if she is someone who wants to give her all. I was that person, and the church totally took advantage of it. Maybe she is experiencing the same thing and doesn't realize it yet. I hope that sheds a little more light on what it might be like for her. I agree with the person who said to be praying for her, because there is hope. My mom did it for me, and God came through. It took me half a decade (about how long l've been in this network) to have that conversation with my mother, but it happened. I know she feels so much relief and I do too. Like I said, there is absolutely hope for her. As I'm writing this l'm praying for your niece. I really am. It breaks my heart seeing that another family is going through what mine did. God can absolutely intervene and show her how it's affected her relationship with her mom, you, and your other family members."
Stunning_Bird_7707 Wow. I applaud your mom for trusting that God would intervene. I was just talking to a friend about this concept yesterday- how the network isolates you from family then challenges you if family is "getting in the way" of being on "mission". I joined the church when I was a freshman and my pastor not only applauded me but used my quote at either a team meeting or Sunday service (can't remember which one) when I said something along the lines of "I realized I shouldn't visit my family on the weekends because that's taking me away from being at the church". He was so proud of that realization. It's so sad that loyalty is questioned if you care a lot about your family. It's also sad how leaders basically make you believe that your family, unless in the network, are bad, unsaved people. It's acceptable to publicly bash your family and no one questions it. The amount of times l've heard people joke around saying that their family thinks they're in a cult is scary. I'm interested to hear a family members viewpoint of seeing their child get more involved in the network.  Gbbofan614 Thank you for sharing. I literally felt the same way, like I couldn't spend time with my family because I wouldn't be using my time for Jesus. It is crazy that you get praised for essentially throwing your family to the wayside. My mom also used "cult" when we finally talked about it. She reeeeeally trusts in God, and I'm glad she didn't stop praying for me. I'm interested to hear that point of view too. Thank you again!  canwegrabcoffee Can't tell you how encouraged I am by this post. That in between place can feel so lonely, but as the site and this board can attest, there's a growing community of us who can see parts of our stories in yours. Thank for you for sharing.  Gbbofan614 It really can feel lonely. Reading other people's stories has been so good and so validating of what l've experienced myself. I'm so thankful that l'm not alone."
exmorganite I can't speak to a concerted effort per se, but they will definitely try to position themselves as the absolute authority, especially if parents are wary of the network or don't agree with their methods. They will try to manipulate kids (specifically college students) to always put their Network "family" first over blood family at all costs. Telling them to stay in town during holiday breaks, stay/move only to towns that have network churches, etc.  Technical-Win-1703 I think there is something to be said about the amount of time spent working through "daddy issues" and what effect that has on parent/child relationships long term. Not sure if this was a network wide thing, but it was definitely prevalent at the network church I attended. There were entire retreat sessions devoted to dealing with sin from your dad. And I don't mean to discount those that actually have issues that need worked through. From my perspective, it felt really manipulative in its methods. I remember feeling so uncomfortable with it that I actually waited in my car until the session ended during one retreat. I grew up with a dad that I really respected and was close to. I always felt he loved me, and there were no glaring sin issues that I felt needed to be addressed. Not saying he was perfect, what parent is? At a follow up meeting with my pastor after the retreat, I told him that I felt really uncomfortable talking about my dad in the way he was asking me to. He told me that I would not grow in my relationship with God unless I could confess to him all the ways my dad has sinned against me. "Calling out sin for what it is" I believe is how he phrased it. My pastor told me about some of the ways that his father had sinned against him, and I remember feeling tempted to join in, but mostly for the fact that on some level I wanted to bond with him and, like he said, grow closer to God. I know many of the pastors have issues with their own fathers. Some will say that this makes them more willing to view Steve as a father figure, in turn, handing over their conscious and their will. Now that I am out and have had many months to process my time within the Network, I look back on those moments and can't help but see a connection between how the pastors view Steve and how they want their followers to view them. Coupled with the many teachings of putting your church family before your biological family, it all seems like a slippery slope of control that I am so thankful to be free from."
I remember one time I lead a group under Nick Sellers. I got a last minute phone call from my sister saying my nephew was graduating high school, and of course... on group night. I call Nick and explain to him I'm cancelling group for it and he gets upset. I get the spiel that were on a mission, and sometimes family shouldn't get in the way of that. I call my sister, and she lets me have it. I apologize, but she should understand since were all Christians here. She did not. I call Nick back, and he says he doesn't want to cancel group... so he guesses he will lead it. I apologize, but I let Padre down and I can feel it. I call my sister back, and she's still upset that it wasn't a no brained and she said something that set me off... so I thought I'd go get filled at group. (For the sale of clarification, my group member family was the best! Y'all missed out! Anyways, I show up and Nick is not happy. I'll leave it at he showed Grace to the best of his ability I suppose, and lead group while i sat in my thoughts. I still shake my head with it all. And, now that I'm out from the network, silence. So much for loving God, loving People, and loving it out, right?"
MamaMilly I can't comment to your specific question BUT I can illustrate that the network pastors do want to control members lives including their relationship with their families. I was a grad student in Seattle attending Blue Sky. At the tail end of school my mom became ill (ICU, central line in her neck, sick) and she was my elderly grandmothers caregiver. Suffice to say I pulled my post grad job applications and planned to move home the day after graduation. David Chery was my DC pastor at the time and instead of lifting up and helping me hold my grief he said "ah I saw so many things in your future here at Blue Sky". At the time I didn't think much of it until my SG leader told me years later (after leaving) that David also told him to encourage me not to leave. Wtf. My mother could have died, my grandmother needed a caregiver, and IMO it is my responsibility to care for my family. The more I think about it, the most disgusted I am that they would put growth and productivity above the hardships and needs of their members.  Fantasticwander4 This happened to our family. Child ended up cutting everyone off completely! Started with fewer visits home, and then when a visit happened could only stay one night bc had to be at church Sunday morning, to not being able to visit at all bc always a 'church thing' happening, to no contact at all at about the time that LTN went live! Any parents reading this please contact me."
I am not sure how Reddit works or how to post a topic regarding leavingthenetwork...but, I have a niece that was so very close to her mother until she got heavily involved in one of the networks churches. She has radically changed, spends an enormous amount of time at church, with members, at functions and social events at this church. The sad thing is she is totally different. Her personality has changed and she no longer wants to be with her mother or visit home. She will not do anything out of the command of this church. Relationships are even set up by the church. Can someone shed light for me on this?"
HorrorStrawberry9044 1 am currently in College Station Tx home of Sandor Paul's Christland. My husband (soon to be ex) came under his spell 4-5 years ago. His Father was a Vineyard minister here locally for over 30 years. In the course of this time my husband, Father-in-law,Mother-in-law have all become members of this church. In fact my in laws are now small group leaders and my husband is in children's ministry. This church has destroyed the life that I and my children once had. We are now divorcing and are estranged from his family. Since this church "planted" into the my beautiful home town my life is turned upside down. Christland destroyed the trust, integrity, the very foundation of my marriage. Christland Church and Sandor Paull took a man that was ready, willing and able to serve his Lord and spread the gospel. But instead Sandor Paull took my husband and replaced him with angry, bitter,scared husk of a man.  Network-Leaver This is most horrible and I'm so sorry for what happened to you and your family. This isn't the first instance I've heard of Sandor driving a wedge between spouses and families. It's beyond comprehension and words to express the angst you must be feeling. It makes me angry to know of such destruction meted out in the name of God. You are brave for coming here to share. May you have strength to endure this tragedy and somehow find a way forward where there doesn't seem to be a way.  HorrorStrawberry9044 I appreciate your kind words. As an outsider to non denominational churches, it is so true about hindsight being 20/20. I was raised Episcopal so I did not have any experience in this type of church. But at some point I just wanted to scream THIS IS NOT NORMAL!! Yoga? numchucks?Thrifted clothes? I tried. I tried so hard but in the end I couldn't drink the koolaid. Christland and Sandor Paull would make an excellent documentary on Netflix. I think everyone would watch it and Steve Morgan would finally get the attention that he so lovingly deserves."
How can a child molester infiltrate my family not to molest my child but to rob him of his spirit nonetheless without them ever having met? It seems irrational to believe we ever had a shot at stopping/repairing the damage pastors continue to level against our child when they go out of their way to directly lie, use, and plot against to keep him in & tithing. Despite sharing & discussing all main facts with proof, when confronted his pastors only double down on their lies adding in delay tactics, obfuscation, and endless redirects/distractions. After years of Tony Ranvestal hiding NLT/Steve, his only mention of Steve to Vida's congregation was reading the inaccurate letter he wrote with NLT addressing Steve's crime & only because it was outted a year prior but Tony claimed it had no bearing on Vida. When the bylaws for the Network and Vida are brought to them to explain their initial response is "never seen these, they must be an outdated version, let me research this". Next comes the redirect when the facts/bylaws collided with Tony Ranvestal: "Ok yes there are Network bylaws that give NLT power to appoint our church pastors but I was unaware of any NLT control because we don't see that happening here, we do our own thing, and no we don't use same docs/trainings/retreats or get it all from NLT, we sometimes share notes with other pastors to simplify for workflow, and the understanding is that the Network is moving towards giving autonomy to individual churches". I am losing my everloving mind trying to understand and have compassion for the mental gymnastics our child is going through to choke this bs down. To watch your own child struggle internally like this is pure torture. They are trying to tear our family apart from the inside out, and it relies solely upon us to endure immeasurable pain to keep it in tact. They are trying to tear our child apart, usurping the bright future he had and what TONY can't seem to understand as he is devoid of all morality, is that we will defend him to the end of our lives. There is no "live with this" compromise. We will not live on the edges watching/waiting as TONY swallows him whole. We will not leave him behind in this pergatory. We will not leave his side no matter what. We are only digging in deeper & casting a wider net. Nobody understands this feels like a death, a drug addiction, or a child abduction to a parent. Steve, the child molester/liar & Tony Ranvestal, the liar both deserve the wrath of every parent, every family they've tried to destroy for their own power & wealth. Fuck them both for what they are perpetrating on so many people."
I've commented about it before, but I figure I'll make a post to generate some discussion. Is anyone else here an outsider to the Network that has seen a friend or family member get sucked in? I'm in my late-20s and work as a graduate researcher, and one of my coworkers has gone all-in at Clear River over the past year. I myself am Catholic, after having searched at campus ministries and churches which were not newrly as culty but the same flavor of evangelicalism. I'm not sure if he was genuine or feigning interest, but he tagged along with me to Mass one day and so I went to CRC for service one Shnday to see what it was all about and it definitely felt off. A post on the Purdue subreddit about Clear River got me down the LTN rabbit hole and has explained so much about how he's changed since joining. He only ever hangs out with church people now, forgoing our weekly Saturday bar hangout, and all he seems to do in his free time is play basketball at the campus gym (with church people) like he's 19. As a total outsider, it is really freaky and really depressing seeing a very intelligent man fall hook, line, and sinker for a full-on cult. I'm not sure if there's anything I can or even should do but maybe raise awareness. I had never heard of CRC let alone the Network before he went all-in to it. I remember a recent post here about a college parents' facebook group sounding the alarm on another Network church which gives me some hope. Not sure what the point of this post is, I just wanted to get some of these thoughts off my chest and get more thoughts from you guys who are more familiar with the Network."
I am an outsider. Its frustrating, infuriating, bewildering, confusing and depressing."


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