FOUNDATION CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS

A collection of online reviews gathered from Google, Yelp, and other social media sites

Lead Pastor Justing Major teaching at Foundation Church in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois

ONLINE REVIEWS FOR FOUNDATION CHURCH IN BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, ILLINOIS

BACKGROUND

Network churches heavily control their public image, going to great lengths to control information about their methods and practices. Leaders encourage church members to flood sites like Google Reviews with positive reviews for Network Churches (and, in some cases, for churches other than the one the reviewer attends). This practice of having members leave positive reviews on social media has had the effect of burying legitimate public criticism.

For an in-depth analysis and specific examples of how Network churches encourage leaders and members to flood review sites with positive reviews, read this article on NotOvercome.org.

WHY DO THESE REVIEWS MATTER?

These reviews matter because they corroborate the manipulative, abusive, and harmful practices which are documented throughout this site. We have chosen to surface these reviews because they give further voice to victims and provide additional reassurance to anyone who has experienced abuse within these high control groups that they are not alone.

NOTE: We are not surfacing all negative reviews which have been posted to crowdsourced review sites. Rather, we have selected entries which bear witness to a pattern of the behaviors outlined in our article "8 Signs of a Dysfunctional Church".

WHO WAS THE LEAD PASTOR OF FOUNDATION CHURCH WHEN THESE REVIEWS WERE WRITTEN?

  • Justin Major: lead pastor from 2013 - present

CHURCH DETAILS:

NOTE: Jeff Miller was the original lead pastor of Foundation Church when it was called ClearView church. All reviews currently represented on this page address Justin Major's tenure as lead pastor.

Check the 2013 section of our Network History page for more information on the transfer of the lead pastor position of ClearView to Justin Major and the 2018 section for the background on the church's name change from ClearView to Foundation.

 


 

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A CHURCH THAT WILL SLOWLY DEMAND MORE AND MORE LOYALTY FROM YOU THE LONGER YOU STAY — THIS CHURCH IS PERFECT

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, July 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of full review):

If you are looking for a church that will make you feel loved and welcomed when you first show up only to slowly demand more and more loyalty from you the longer you stay- this is perfect. If you’re looking for a place where your pastor, overseers, and small group leaders believe they’ve been given authority by God to tell you “what’s next” for your life- such as who you should and shouldn’t date, where your kids should go to school, whether you should take that job out of town, etc. and believe it would be a sin to disobey since they have to give an account to God for you and your disobedience “grieves” them- this is probably the best choice in town. If you love listening to the same rotation of sermons on tithing, hospitality, leadership, and “life together” while being discouraged from any outside Bible studies- look no further! Want a community that seems like an independent church governed by a local board of elders but is actually part of a 26-church Network led by Steve Morgan who lied about his criminal past in regards to the abuse of a boy while he was a youth leader with the RLDS church and set up a “puppet” church government which believes it is a sin to disagree with him, boy are you in luck! This is the perfect time to visit because lots of folks are leaving or being kicked out so they will be super anxious for new visitors. You will be required to tithe 10% to be a member. They will not be transparent with you about where that money goes. Great coffee.

 


 

THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE OF THIS CHURCH AND NETWORK ARE SET UP TO PROTECT ABUSERS AND DISPARAGE ANYONE WHO QUESTIONS THEIR TEACHINGS, VIEWS, OR POLICIES

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, July 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of full review):

I attended this church from 2008-2019, when they changed their name from Clear View Church to Foundation Church. I worked and served in many aspects of this church but most notably served in the kids program from 2009-2019. I dedicated years of my life to this church and church network. I have hesitated leaving this review for years however I cannot in good faith ever recommend this church or any other church involved in this network that was created and is still run by Steve Morgan.

I watched as this church moved from loving God and loving others to loving God and only loving other members. There was a marked shift in the teachings and attitudes of the leaders and the members.

While this church is filled with good, genuine, gospel loving people, the leadership structure of this church and network are set up to protect abusers and disparage anyone who questions their teachings, views, or policies. Even if you are asking out of pure curiosity to understand. You either fall in line with everything they tell you, trust your leaders, or you are asked to leave. Or possibly told "maybe this church isn't the church for you, and that's ok". Note that many of the reviews you see under this church are from people who I know attend this church as members, as they also attended while I was a member.

To serve and be a member at Foundation Church, you must commit to tithe 10% of your income, commit to attend every sunday, attend team meetings once a month, attend small groups each week, sign a "contract" stating you agree with all their views on the bible after taking the required Membership Bible Training classes. The list of requirements to 'belong' seemingly are never ending. You can find all the information you would need to know about this church, and the network they belong to, online. Search for 'Leaving the Network'.

There are countless stories from people who have attended these churches and this specific church. Stories of leadership spiritually abusing anyone they deem has a "rebellious spirit" aka anyone who may question them or their views. These stories are not one-off experiences. These stories are not outliers. These stories and this church's action follow an eerily similar structure.

Protect yourself and your family from this place.

 


 

THERE WAS PRESSURE TO CONFORM TO A CERTAIN UNIFORM LIFESTYLE

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, July 2022

We called this church our home for almost 11 years. Over time, there was more pressure to conform to a certain uniform lifestyle. I was told I could not be on mission with the church, and it was confusing to other members that I live outside the immediate area of Bloomington - Normal, I was told this church was no longer for me or my family unless I move to town.

 


 

TOXIC CULTURE OF ABUSIVE AND DOMINEERING LEADERSHIP AT FOUNDATION CHURCH AND "THE NETWORK" TO WHICH IS BELONGS

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, July 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of full review):

My wife and I attended Foundation for 3.5 years, and I whole heartedly encourage you to visit a different church instead of coming here. There is a widely known but seldom discussed toxic culture of abusive and domineering leadership at Foundation church and "The Network" to which it belongs.

Ask yourself, why would over 50 adults (and counting) of a church with less than 200 members leave Foundation over the past 18 months? Why is there a website for victims of the abuse inflicted upon them by Foundation's leaders and other Network churches' leaders? Why is there a growing reddit community discussing these topics of abuse at "The Network"?
Normal healthy Churches, ones full of Grace, Truth, and Love, don't have sites and victims' stories like Foundation.

If you want to review these facts yourself, please read my story and the witness of many others (details below). I'd happily change this review if/when the pastors at Foundation repent of their sins, seek reconcilation with the hundreds of victims they have harmed, and walk the humble path of gospel transformation.

Since Google reviews doesn't allow links, please Google search for: "leaving the network" "dean & sarah".

 


 

THIS CHURCH TRIED TO CONTROL THE THINGS WE FELT LED TO DO

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, July 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of full review):

I attended this church for 11 years from 2010 until 2021. Over the past few years of my attendance there was a stark change in culture. Justin Major took over leading, changed the church name, the leadership became very domineering and less scripture was being taught but rather that leadership staffs personal beliefs.

Things were taught to the members such as only having 3 kids, not homeschooling children, and not doing anything contrary to church planting. For example my family fosters children and we were always being told not to because it was "too much for us". Rather than coming along side us, this church tried to control the things we felt led to do.

There is an entire forum called leavingthenetwork.org that has many stories that hundreds of us have experienced of spiritual abuse and neglect and a very controlling leadership culture in the network of churches Foundation belongs to.

 


 

IF YOU EVER HAVE ANY CRITICISMS OR SUGGESTIONS, BE READY TO BE ATTACKED BY THE LEAD PASTOR JUSTIN MAJOR AND ALL LEADERSHIP

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, November 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of full review):

My wife and I attended Foundation Church (previously Clearview) from 2012 - 2021. When we first started there Jeff Miller was the senior pastor. Jeff is a very godly man, who has since gone on to plant another church in Bloomington IL (God speed church - I haven’t been able to attend because we moved)

Justin Major took over after. Justin carried himself with a “Above the rest” mentality. I served the church faithfully, and even had minor leadership roles for a few years, but in that time, Justin never made an attempt to encourage me or even have a conversation with me. In our new church that is in Tuscola Illinois, the senior pastor gave us a tour the first week we visited and told us their backstory. Justin did not have one meaningful conversation or discussion with me in the nine years that I attended the same, small church that he was the pastor of. The biggest criticism I have of foundation church is that Justin is a leader that is completely full of himself. You will not receive love or spiritual care from Justin if you attend. If you ever have any criticisms or suggestions, be ready to be attacked by Justin and all leadership, because they can do no wrong and live on a pedestal above all the members and other attenders of foundation.

We enjoyed worship and small groups. I think that meeting every week is definitely an encouraging way to build strong relationships in the church. We were in small groups for almost the entire time we were at foundation church. The last small group we were in was for almost 3 1/2 years. After leaving the church, not one person from our small group consistently reaches out, or even really has a relationship with our family. Even though we got together once even twice a week sometimes, all of those relationships superficially melted away. This goes back to Justin. It has been communicated to small group leaders and others in the church to not communicate with people that have left the church for any reason.

A healthy reaction to somebody leaving the church is to give them a sendoff, and celebrate all that God has done in them while they were there. This church does not have the send offs whatsoever. In fact you have probably seen in previous reviews that about every 2 to 3 years 25% or more of the church exits. There is a lot more I could say, but I will strongly caution you to stay away from this church.

There are good people there that love God and others, but until all of the leader ship is scrapped, I don’t think that revival will be happening soon. Also there is no accountability for the leaders there.

 


 

FOUNDATION CHURCH HAS BECOME A TOXIC PLACE THAT IS VERY INWARD FOCUSED AND IS NOT ABOUT SERVING ALL GOD'S PEOPLE

Source: Foundation Church Google Review, November 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of full review):

There is a website and Reddit you can research to understand why I give this 1 star. I was a member for 9 years until 2021. Sadly it has become a toxic place that is very inward focused and is not about serving ALL Gods people, only those that go to their church or are in their network. It is frowned upon to be apart of any other church and they do not serve anyone in the community other than college students. If they do not feel you are on mission with them or unified in all of their beliefs and practices you will be edged out or literally shown the door.

I recommend Eastview Bloomington campus if you are looking for a local church that is Biblical and following Jesus and the great commission. Eastview’s church is truly diverse and everyone is welcome and loved no matter who you are or what part of your walk with Jesus you are in.

 


 

I WONDER HOW MANY MORE VICTIMS HAVE NEVER SHARED THEIR STORY AFTER WATCHING THOSE WHO HAVE DONE SO BEFORE THEM BLAMED, DENIGRATED, DEMONIZED AND SHUNNED BY THE VERY PEOPLE WHO CALIMED TO BE THEIR “FAMILY”

Source: Facebook Post about Foundation (formerly called ClearView) Church, July 8, 2022

Full text of review (view screenshot of post):

TW: sex abuse of a child, spiritual abuse

When <name redacted> and I left ClearView Church (now called Foundation) in Bloomington-Normal, it was because we had witnessed and experienced troubling patterns of behavior with our pastors and overseers. At first, we thought it was “growing pains” as Justin stepped into his new role as lead pastor. Over time, and much effort on our part to “stick it out and trust God,” it became clear their view of the role of leaders in the church and the church members’ lives was not something we agreed with so it was time for us to leave. Their insistence that a pastor has some special ability to be God’s representative and the mediator between God and the congregation to the point that if your leader told you to do something (even if it wasn’t anything in the Bible) you were sinning if you disagreed and “disobeyed.” We thought this emerging high-control environment was a “ClearView problem,” but about 6 months after leaving we spoke to Jeff Miller about his experience being accused of sinning/not trusting his leader, Steve Morgan, when he was told to put his children in public school instead of homeschooling. After speaking with Jeff, it became very clear to <name redacted> and I that this was much bigger than a “ClearView problem” or a simple theological disagreement on the role of leaders in the church. We started to see that there was a Network-wide culture of toxic leadership and abuse of spiritual power over parishioners. Since leaving, we have heard so many stories of how this abuse played out in peoples’ lives which only amplified last year when the Leaving the Network site showed up. The reason I have spoken up is systems like this are a breeding ground for abuse and people have been hurt. The response of these stories coming out by the leaders in the network is to deny any wrong doing, attack those who have come out with those stories and the website as work of the enemy (aka Satan) to try to stop the work of the Network trying to make those being accused of abuse out to be the victims and the people bringing the truth to light as actual instruments of evil. I, however, had no idea how far the abuse went or how far those in leadership would go to protect abusers at the expense of the church.

Now- evidence is out that, while he was a youth pastor at a RLDS church in Kansas, Steve Morgan was arrested for “aggravated criminal sodomy”- a crime that was allegedly perpetuated against a 15 year old boy. There were leaders in the church (Larry Anderson and Sandor Paull among them) who at the very least knew Steve had a criminal history that involved an underage boy (it appears Steve may of told them the boy was 17yrs old and claimed it was “consensual”- ignoring the fact that consensual sex between a 17 year old child and an adult who is in a leadership pastoral position over them is impossible) but did not feel that this disqualified Steve Morgan from leading the entire Network, pastoring one of its churches, and being the person who appointed pastors, elders and other leaders within the organization. Other leaders in the network were made aware of this over time- and a letter went out in July 2, 2019 by a former overseer to the Church Network Leadership Team (which would include my former pastor, Justin Major) calling for action/accountability. Even with a person within the Network expressing concern that nothing was being done; still it seems network leadership decided not to investigate further to be sure there are no other victims (Did Steve lie when confessing these things in saying the alleged victim was older than he actually was or was the 17yr old an actual person that Steve abused on a separate occasion?)and, again, decided self-disclosed predatory sexual behavior of an adult in a pastoral role over a child in his care did not disqualify Steve Morgan from his position of leadership and influence in the Network.

Let me speak very plainly- These churches and *everyone* in them has a choice to make now that the truth is out: Either help protect and advocate for survivors and victims of abuse, demand action be taken to create an environment that holds abusers accountable including the resignation of those who have participated in abuse and the covering up of abuse OR continue to support an abusive system with your time, energy, tithes and resources which helps perpetrators cover up abuse while providing theological ammunition to justify their behavior and lack of any accountability. I know these churches are made up of so many amazing people who have given up so much to follow what they believe Jesus has for them. These people love God and love people- it is hurtful and confusing to find out that this *thing* you’ve given so much to and have participated in for so long is actually hurting people. I have been there but, Dear Ones, ignoring and covering up the truth is not the answer.

I have no doubt that the public call for accountability will be met with anger directed at those calling for it. You might be reading this post and feel angry at me for “hurting the reputation of the church” or maybe for bringing up “ancient history” of Steve Morgan and the distress this will bring to his family and those close to him. It brings me no joy that people will be hurt by this but hear me when I say, the pain is not caused by me or anyone else who is calling for truth and transparency. The blame lies squarely with Steve Morgan and anyone who knew about this and decided their primary role was allegiance to this man rather than the people entrusted in their care.

The Network has a broken system of leadership that not only allows for abuse to continue but to thrive. People have tried to speak out against the harm they’ve experienced at the hands of the Network and I wonder how many more victims have never shared their story after watching those who have done so before them blamed, denigrated, demonized and shunned by the very people who claimed to be their “family.” If this revelation doesn’t show you the Network’s leadership is designed to protect those in power while silencing anyone hurt by them, I don’t know what will.

 

BACK TO STORIES:

STORIES: Read the stories of those who have left and who have consented to share their experiences from their time in Steve Morgan's Network of Churches