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Welcome to De-Commissioned, a forum for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, and the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.

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* Previous/Current Organization Names
  • The "Blitz" Movement (1970-1983)
  • Great Commission International (1983-1989)
  • Great Commission Ministries (1989-Present)
  • Great Commission Association of Churches (1989-Present)
  • Great Commission Churches (2005-Present)

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Spanking 174782
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xx Updated information on reason for Mark's ordination being rescinded - full text | 31 Jul 18
10:03:44 by DarthVader | Views: 3453 | Comments: 21

(Posted July 31, 2018)

Statement regarding the rescinding of Mark Darling’s ordination

Reason for publishing this statement.  According to 1 Timothy 5:20, impartial,
public reproof of a pastor who has lost his qualification for ordination is as
important for the health of the local church as the impartial, public
celebration that occurs when a pastor is first recognized as being qualified for
ordination. What follows is an impartial, public reprimand of Mark by fellow
Evergreen pastors. It is a necessary step for the church to make sense of the
rescinding of Mark’s ordination.

Question: “Do Evergreen pastors agree with the rescinding of Mark Darling’s
Yes.  After examining the evidence of the investigation, the Board of Trustees
[BOT] decided to rescind Mark Darling’s ordination. While this is a serious
consequence of Mark’s misconduct, it is also coupled with a pathway back to
ordination. The path to restoration offered to Mark acknowledges that the
misconduct was not so serious that full restoration was not possible.
Regrettably, he has declined this course of action and has chosen to resign. 

Allegations of “physical sexual abuse” against Mark Darling, and “cover up” and
the offer of “hush money” against Evergreen Church – allegations first made in
January of 2018, on social media, by Suzanne van Dyck – were NOT found valid by
the investigator. These allegations DO NOT factor into the rescinding of Mark
Darling’s ordination by the EC Board of Trustees.

EC pastors do, however, agree with the EC BOT decision to rescind Mark Darling’s
ordination for a combination of the following reasons.

  Meeting with female congregants. Since Evergreen’s inception, it’s pastors
  have held to a verbal code of conduct of not meeting alone with female
  congregants. “Alone” means an intentionally private setting; without a 3rd
  party present, or without other known persons nearby and easily accessible.
  Credible female witnesses came forward in the investigation and testified Mark
  Darling met with them alone, prior to 2001. Beyond the investigation, there
  have been additional women and current attenders who have claimed to have met
  with Mark in an intentionally private setting.
  Inappropriate conversation. Credible female witnesses came forward in the
  investigation and testified Mark Darling spoke with them about sexual subject
  matters, in private, prior to 2001.
  Comprehensive denial. In conversation with fellow Evergreen pastors since the
  start of this investigation, Mark Darling categorically denies ever having met
  alone with adult female congregants, or ever having had inappropriate private
  conversations regarding sexual subject matter with adult female congregants.
  Credibility.  Based upon all of the evidence, the investigator found that
  “Mark Darling, while holding a position of authority, engaged in inappropriate
  conduct”. The BOT further observed that this conduct included spending time
  alone with women in private settings, and inappropriate conversations of a
  sexual nature with women. Evergreen pastors believe the findings of the
  investigator and the determinations of the Board are reliable and trustworthy.
  EC pastors therefore support the rescinding of Mark’s ordination by the EC
  BOT, on the basis of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Specifically, the
  violations are:
    “above reproach” Defined as “without obvious defect that discredits or
    undermines trust.”
    “good reputation with outsiders” Defined as “viewed by persons outside of
    the congregation (at least in terms of character and integrity) as being
    worthy of respect or imitation.”
    Note: Mark’s behavior also falls short of the ethical directive for pastoral
    conduct given in 1 Timothy 5:2, “treat younger women with all purity, as
    your sisters”.

Sincerely in Christ,
 Mark Bowen, Brent Knox and Doug Patterson, on behalf of the Evergreen pastoral


xx Letter From Mark Darling | 27 Jul 18
08:36:52 by Linda | Views: 1394 | Comments: 6


Here is the link to Mark Darling's letter of resignation and the announcement of his new mentoring ministry called Strong Disciple.

No mention of the elephant in the room.

xx Apology Letter Posted on website | 23 Jul 18
14:02:20 by DarthVader | Views: 2396 | Comments: 22


*(Posted July 23, 2018)*

Our Apology

Because of the investigation, we know that some people have been
affected adversely by the inaction of our church leadership which is
spoken of in this letter. We sincerely apologize to all who have been
affected negatively and offended. And we mourn your hurt. There will be
a reconciliation process offered by our Board of Trustees to those who
have been offended.

We also acknowledge the shock, hurt, and sorrow being experienced by
many in our church community. The sorrow of this situation will not go
away quickly. We apologize to all who are hurting, and we hope we can
move towards a place of healing and strength in our community. 

According to 2 Corinthians 7:10,*“*Godly sorrow brings repentance.” When
there is an offense in a relationship, it is imperative to humble
ourselves before the Lord, and ask Him to examine our hearts, and show
us where we have stepped away from the good He wants for us. As the Lord
has brought light to our waywardness, we need to humbly apologize for
the wrong we’ve done, acknowledge the pain we’ve caused, and ask for
forgiveness from those we’ve offended.

We have begun the process of examining where we, personally and
communally, have miscarried the responsibilities and conduct our Father
requires of us as leaders in His church. Collective mistakes are often
harder to be aware of and discern than individual failings. We are
learning to better understand this dynamic and our weaknesses. We also
understand our vulnerability to judge ourselves by our intent, and not
our actions, even though actions and deeds are of more consequence than
intent. Our reflection is underway, but not completed. God is revealing
our failings where growth is needed. We believe it is appropriate to
acknowledge where God is shedding His light on our mistakes thus far,
and we offer our humble apologies for how we have caused pain. To this
end, we wish to express the following.

1. /_We should have had policies and procedures in place for congregants
to voice concerns about pastoral behavior._/ It is generally difficult
for a congregant to bring a complaint against a pastor. Why? The pastor
has an influential position, and the congregant has experienced care
from the pastor, and generally feels respectful toward that pastor.
Therefore, approaching a pastor can be intimidating. This difficulty
increases with a woman bringing a complaint against a male pastor. There
has not been enough recognition by us of these dynamics of power, and
how much courage it takes for a woman to bring a complaint about a male
pastor. We apologize for not adequately recognizing this difficulty, and
we will create procedures to make this easier and less intimidating. We
want to avoid marginalizing anyone’s pain.

2. /_We should have had training in place regarding best practices for
pastoral counseling._/ Wise pastoral counseling includes setting
proactive limits, for the thriving of both congregant and pastor, and to
prevent unhealthy attachments or inappropriate discussions of sexual
subject matter. We regret not having secured continuing education for
the best practices in pastoral counseling.

3. /_The concerns raised by John and Suzanne van Dyck in 2001, that were
communicated to Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, and Doug Patterson, should have
been shared with the Evergreen Church Board of Trustees(BOT), and
counseling should have been required for Mark Darling_/. If the BOT had
been informed, then legal counsel could have been sought, and an
impartial 3rd party could have been retained to review and advise
Evergreen leadership on the entire process. These steps would have
allowed for a more thorough examination of the conduct involved. They
would have greatly enhanced the follow-through necessary, and afforded
opportunity to discover if the inappropriate behavior had occurred
elsewhere. There should have been procedures and guidelines in place to
insure pastor accountability. These steps were not taken. We apologize
for this neglect.

4. /_By not going far enough, some offenses from the past, affecting
female congregants, were not fully discovered or dealt with_/. This has
caused some women to suffer alone, in silence, and in continued pain,
due not only to the original offense, but also to a lack of closure.  We
realize we should have taken the action steps in point #3 above. To
those who have been hurt and have continued to remain hurt because of
our lack of follow-through, we apologize and ask for your forgiveness.

In closing, we acknowledge our lack of due diligence in this matter and
the pain that has resulted.  We are deeply sorry and sincerely
apologize. May God help all affected to know more deeply the comfort and
hope of Jesus Christ in this difficult season, and experience new
heights of personal renewal in the process.

Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, Doug Patterson, with support of the pastors of
Evergreen Church, The Rock, and The Urban Refuge.

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