SUMMIT CREEK CHURCH ONLINE REVIEWS

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

Lead pastor David Chery at Summit Creek Church in Eugene, OR

ONLINE REVIEWS FOR SUMMIT CREEK CHURCH IN EUGENE, OREGON

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 SUMMIT CREEK CHURCH WHEN THESE REVIEWS WERE WRITTEN?

  • David Chery: lead pastor from 2015 - present

 


UNINVITED FROM SMALL GROUP AND NOT ALLOWED TO TELL OUR FRIENDS GOODBYE

Source: Summit Creek Church Yelp Review, April 2022

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

My wife and I started attending this church after moving from the Bible Belt in mid 2019. We got plugged in right away and everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly. This didn't last long as there were many red flags that we ignored for nearly two years. Shortly after getting connected, we had a few hesitations (the church is not LGBTQ-affirming, does not allow women to hold leadership positions other than in the children's ministry, etc). After bringing these hesitations up with our small group leader, our questions were quickly dismissed with the response of "this is what the Bible says," rather than having an actual conversation to help us understand the church's reasoning behind these stances.

Amid these questions and concerns, COVID hit. Not feeling up to the challenge of finding a new church amidst a pandemic, we decided to try to stick it out. Even during the pandemic, our small group leader continued to pressure us into bringing new people to small group to grow and "multiply" the group to try to grow the church as quickly as possible. Growing up in Oklahoma, I understand how evangelicalism works, but this was bizarre--knowing that there is a deadly virus and still encouraging us to engage with and bring new people into our small weekly meetings was another huge red flag.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when we made the decision to look for another church. We had let our small group leader know in advance that this was something we had been thinking about and he initially seemed supportive, saying he wanted us to find a place that fit our needs. When we told him that the upcoming small group meeting would be our last, that we were sad to go, and wanted to end our time with the group on a good note by having some time to say goodbye to people, his response was simply "if you've already made your decision, it's best if you don't come." We were devastated. Keep in mind, these were people that we had gotten to know over the course of two years during a pandemic--a huge part of our lives at the time. After being uninvited, we have yet to hear anything from people who we thought were our friends. Needless to say, we were not their friends, but just a body count toward their goal of growing the business that is Summit Creek Church. If you are looking for a safe place to ask questions, grow your faith, and build genuine connections, this church is sadly not the one for you.

 


THIS PLACE IS A COMPLETELY TOXIC ENVIRONMENT

Source: Summit Creek Church Google Review, May 2022

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

Awful experience over the span of 1 year.

Summit Creek is a part of "The Network" and is run exactly how every other church in the network sounds like it's run. It is an awful place. But I'll share my personal experience. I won't call it a church because it's definitely what I think a cult would feel like once "you're in".

I've been a Christian for about 9 years of my life (I'm 30) and have gone consistently to about 5 or 6 churches in California and Oregon over that span, with none of them being "perfect" and not trying to seem like they're perfect because they're run by knowingly flawed humans. Not Summit Creek though. In their eyes, you're either all in on Summit Creek, or you're not welcome. From the outside and as a new person going to service there, it seems absolutely great. That's why my wife and I, and our few friends that went kept wanting to go to Sunday service and the small group we became a part of.

My wife and I specifically went there consistently for Sunday service for about a year, and of course there were some weeks we weren't able to go, and we would go to a small group every week that we could. But to actually become a "member" of the church, you had to fully dedicate your time to going to every single Sunday service, otherwise you weren't considered "in" or a part of the church. Of course, they will never actually say that to your face or be honest about it, they'll just not consider you part of their "inner circle" and recommend that you choose between dedicating fully to Summit Creek, or find another church. That's exactly what happened to us when we started having conflicting opinions with our small group leader, Alex, who had welcomed us into his house for over a year, who we had become friends with, and then immediately cut all ties and communication with us once we weren't going to Summit Creek anymore.

I guarantee that there are some decent people that go to Summit Creek and it's sad to me that they're trapped and in too deep to see for themselves what's really going on there. But as far as where this churches roots came from and the values of their leaders behind the scenes that you probably will never see until it's too late to get out without being totally scarred, this place is a completely toxic environment and it's hard for me to believe that Jesus is genuinely there.

 


IT'S VERY CULTISH AND I'LL HONESTLY CALL IT THAT. A CULT.

Source: Summit Creek Church Google Review, June 2022

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

I was a member, served on Sundays, attended small group, made great relationships there, and so on for almost two years. I’ve been going to church since I was a child and accepted Jesus as a teen. I acknowledge that I am not perfect and have growth to do as a Christian. I understand no church is perfect but after my own experience and learning more about this church. That doesn’t apply to Summit at its current state.

Summit Creek is part of “The Network” that is connected to multiple churches across the country that follow the same doctrine and methods under The Network. The Network is lead by Steve Morgan who you know little to nothing about from his background or “testimony”. You can look up “Leaving the Network” for more details.

I started to become more aware of red flags less than year ago but never acknowledged them until more popped up and I had to take a step back to observe it all

Things I’ve experienced and witnessed are:

  • After attending and receiving attention(love bombing) for the first couple services, eventually you get asked to be a member, go through a long process, commit to them only, and you MUST tithe or you’re asked to go find another church and told that this church isn’t for you.
  • They tell you to listen to your leaders because they know what’s “best” for you. They emphasize this a lot even though some leaders have no training or understanding on how to lead people struggling with certain sins, mental health, or past wounds.
  • There were questionable/recycled sermons. (Once you’re there for a while, you begin to notice.)
  • I attend or help out other ministry groups outside of the church that actually do great work and bring many to Christ. Those groups helped me grow, heal past wounds, or brought me to Christ in the first place. I’ve been suggested to leave them, as well as having some jabs thrown at them even though they say other churches/ministries are “good” and have the “same” mission. (Not true)
  • They only grow their pastors and ministry from within with no theological background or training required. They only follow the format given by their Network. Any doctrine outside the church that isn’t theirs is ignored
  • I’ve witnessed/saw a list of the church ranking leaders on how they pray one evening last year.

These are the things I noticed myself. I’ll just stop here since there are too many things to share personally and I know others with their own experiences as well. There are great, genuine people and families there that I love that just simply attend, who truly love Jesus, and want to grow in their relationship with him there. I am grateful for the good times and relationships that I made but I couldn’t be apart of a church system that is conditional. They want to be your friend and do life together until you don’t commit to them or meet their conditions of membership. It’s very cultish and I’ll honestly call it that. A Cult.

Its not the gospel I know and grew up with in my walk with Jesus over the years. The gospel is not conditional, it’s not secretive, and it’s not manipulative. It took months to process everything, looking more into scripture myself once I became more aware of these things to arrive to this conclusion. This is for those having second thoughts or for new people who are curious for a review of Summit Creek before they attend a service, specifically from a ex members experience.

To sum it up: I don’t recommend this church.

 

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