STORIES

Stories from those who have left The Network

The following stories have been written by those who have first-hand experience within Steve Morgan’s Network of Churches.

The results of the manipulative and abusive leadership practices on the lives of people within The Network have been heartbreaking. We are making this resource available to counter the repeated narrative within these churches that this toxic culture is virtuous, godly, or necessary.

To instead read news articles which reference The Network and are of interest to our community of readers visit our IN THE NEWS PAGE →

 


STORIES BY REGION

NOTE: In order to protect our authors' privacy we have identified them by first name and last initial only, unless otherwise noted.

(Click headline to read a story)

EASTERN UNITED STATES

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NOT ACCEPTED FOR WHO I AM →

The immense anxiety and pressure to conform leaders placed on me as a single mother left me feeling like my salvation was dependent on the church, not God


LAURA G. Left Cedar Heights Church in 2021
FROM ON FIRE FOR GOD TO BURNED OUT AND DEPRESSED →

How I lost myself to living, breathing, and serving a Network church


DANIELLE B. Left Cedar Heights Church in 2021
HOSEA CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Hosea Church in Raleigh, North Carolina

MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES

OBEDIENCE AND LOYALTY →

I gave up my degree to pastor one of the first church plants. Even when the church was too broke to pay me, The Network wouldn't let me leave


ERIC H. Left CityLights Church in 2013
USED UP THEN DISCARDED →

I experienced a culture of manipulation, control, and isolation while planting Brookfield Church


CASEY H. Left Brookfield Church in 2014
MANIPULATION BY DESIGN →

A staff member's inside story of how Network leaders introduced controlling practices to gain loyal followers


SKYLER T. Left Vine Church in 2014
CHEWED UP AND SPIT OUT →

After I shared the details of my abusive marriage I was removed from small group and treated like I was diseased


JESSICA H. Left Vine in 2014
THE CHURCH THAT LEFT TOGETHER →

My story of pushing back against the demotion of women and leaving The Network without leaving City Lights


HOLLY F. Left The Network in 2018
I “MISSED” GOD’S CALLING →

After prophecies that I'd plant a church didn't come to pass, I joined City Lights' board after we left The Network


TONY F. Left The Network in 2018
WHEN A DEMAND FOR COMPLIANCE CROSSED THE LINE →

After years of weathering red flags, the demands for unity in all things at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic opened our eyes


MATTHEW M. Left Foundation Church (ClearView Church) in 2020
CALL IT WHAT IT IS: ABUSE →

I gave 10 years of my life as a loyal member in a Network Church. Obedience, control, and conformity gradually shaded the freedom of the Gospel


ANONYMOUS Left The Network in 2020
CHURCH PLANTING AT ANY COST →

How manipulation and abuse were systematically used to grow and multiply our church


ANONYMOUS Left The Network in 2020
THE GOOD FOLLOWER →

How years of spiritually abusive leadership changed my life


ANONYMOUS Left The Network in 2020
THE BULLY PULPIT →

How the deliberate, repeated, and unrepentant abuse inflicted on us by the pastors of Foundation Church disqualifies them from leadership


DEAN & SARAH F FLETCHER Left Foundation Church (ClearView Church) in 2021
NO EMPATHY →

How I realized High Rock Church was part of a system which willfully neglected those with real needs


K.S. Left High Rock Church in 2021
BROOKFIELD CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Brookfield Church in Athens, Ohio
CLEAR RIVER CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Clear River Church in Lafayette, Indiana
FOUNDATION CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Foundation Church in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
HIGH ROCK CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES High Rock Church in Bloomington, Indiana
VINE CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Vine Church in Carbondale, Illinois

SOUTHERN UNITED STATES

DEATH BY A THOUSAND MICROAGGRESSIONS →

Despite claiming to be a "multi-ethnic community," whiteness was always seen as the default and something that needed to be adopted by those who wanted to be accepted in community at Joshua Church


KELLY P. Left Joshua Church in 2020
LABELED A SINFUL WOMAN →

The constant pressure to conform to The Network's views on femininity left me with more shame than I started with


MORGAN M. Left Joshua Church in 2021
DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR GRACE →

I was excommunicated after my divorce while my ex-husband was forgiven and embraced


WHITNEY J. Left Rock River Church in 2021
JOSHUA CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Joshua Church in Austin, Texas
VIDA SPRINGS CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Vida Springs Church in Gainesville, Florida

WESTERN UNITED STATES

SWORN TO SECRECY →

How I was coerced into keeping Steve Morgan's alleged sexual assault a secret for 12 years


ANDREW L. Left Vista Church in 2020
MISOGYNY AND CONTROL →

Steve Morgan's disregard for women and dominance over men became unmistakeable when I joined the Seattle church plant


JENNA H. Left Blue Sky Church in 2008
KICKED OUT FOR SUGGESTING A WOMEN'S MINISTRY →

Offering to fix a problem got us labeled as a problem to be fixed


AARON M. Left Vista Church in 2021
SPIRITUAL ABUSE AT VISTA CHURCH AND THE NETWORK →

My confession and call to repentance

Note: This story links to notovercome.org


JEFF IRWIN Left Vista Church in 2021
BLUE SKY CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Blue Sky Church in Seattle (Bellevue), Washington
HILLS CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Hills Church in Pullman, Washington
SUMMIT CREEK CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Summit Creek Church in Eugene, Oregon
VISTA CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS →

These reviews corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site


GOOGLE, YELP, & SOCIAL SITES Vista Church in San Luis Obispo, California

WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY?

We will continue to publish stories until we stop receiving them. There is no “final” deadline for submissions.

Sharing your story can be an emotional process, and making it clear for others to read and follow takes time and patience. We've put together some suggestions to help you write it down.

READ THE SUGGESTIONS

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT MY STORY?

Once submitted, we will pair you with someone who can work with you to make your story as clear as possible. Your partner may ask you clarifying questions or suggest grammatical changes. You determine the level of feedback you would like for your story and decide which suggestions to accept or discard.

We will do our utmost to ensure you are comfortable with how your story is published and portrayed. A final preview of your story will be sent to you from a hidden link for you to approve.

SUBMIT YOUR STORY

REDDIT COMMUNITY

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 below to this Reddit community as a supplement to the stories we are publishing here.

Visit reddit.com/r/leavingthenetwork →

 

FURTHER READING:

IN THE NEWS: The following news articles reference The Network and are of interest to our community of readers