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Author Topic: Mission pastor - Amsterdam or Berlin - that was decommissioned in 2002-3??  (Read 34730 times)
MarriedWomanPhD
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« on: December 12, 2010, 09:53:35 pm »

Does anyone remember the name of the pastor who came out of Evergreen in Minnesota and went either to Amsterdam or Berlin with his whole family and was then publicly slandered for supposed adultery in 2002 or 2003? I am asking because I remember a scenario that is now raising a red flag for me. I was part of Evergreen at the time, and my parents were attending a Wisconsin church that a new mission pastor was being sent from. I remember praying for the pastor out of Evergreen, and then hearing with disappointment that he had been pulled from the field, yet I never saw him at services after that point. He came to my house as an real estate assessor in 2004 to give us a market analysis. He saw a GCAC flyer on my counter and asked very respectfully about our involvement. I told him and then he very humbly and quietly stated that he had once been a pastor for them and had stepped down. At that point, his name rang a bell and I told him we had prayed for him while he was on the field. He sadly stated that he was very sorry to leave it. He asked how long we'd been part of the GCAC church and I told him 4 years, and he said that he "hoped it would be a healthy place for us. That we would learn to love and serve God there."

I mentioned the interaction to the Wisconsin pastor going on the mission field, and he immediately got very angry. Told me we should be very wary of this man and never let him in our home again because he was being "used by Satan" and would no doubt be very bad to deal with even for business. I was surprised, and stated that I thought he seemed very respectful and soft-hearted. The pastor then relayed a detailed story of his adulterous affair that he had on the mission field, and made statements like, "I can't imagine why his wife stayed with him", and "he never chose to repent. He has a hard heart and won't be used of God again." I just remember the "cognitive disconnect" - you know, when someone tells you something that totally doesn't jive with your own impressions of the situation. I wonder now if the whole story was cooked up. We were accused of slander and told the exact things just prior to our leaving - that we were hardening our hearts, refusing to repent, being used of Satan to tear down the church, and won't be used by God again.

I would love to get this guy's name so I can contact him. I sincerely think he was probably kicked out for some reason other than adultery.

Thanks!
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Linda
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 10:59:28 pm »

We attended Evergreen and were there when the Berlin pastor left. I was not aware of the situation you mentioned. (There was a leader in GC in Amsterdam, I believe, who did step down for the reason you mentioned.) We were at the meeting where the leadership was gathered to explain why the pastor left Berlin and at one point had a copy of a letter "explaining" the situation. Perhaps we still have it buried in our 5 inch thick file of documentation. All I remember was a lot of very non-specific reasons were given. I also remember being told not to ask this pastor or any of his relatives who attended our church about the situation--lots of vague implications about why we shouldn't.

Without going into details, I do know that the pastor was unaware that people were told not to speak to him about the reasons for his sudden departure. I also learned from a friend that people were told not to ask us why we left. So, there seems to be a pattern.
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blonde
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2010, 02:28:55 am »

You are talking about John VanDyck, Linda?
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escapee
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 09:32:36 am »

The pastor who had an affair while in Amsterdam was Steve Bush - but he didn't come from Evergreen, he was a pastor at The Rock (Summitview Community Church) in Ft. Collins CO before he went to Amsterdam.
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Linda
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 09:59:54 am »

Yes, it was, blonde. As a church member at the time, all I can say is that there were a lot of vague reasons given for his departure. There was never a specific reason given. There were probably a couple hundred of us at the special meeting where they "explained" (but not really) his departure. It was very odd.

The main thing I remember is being told to not ask him why he left. We were also told not to ask any of his relatives who still attended ECC why he left.

Lesson learned: Whenever someone tells you to not ask someone a question and throws vague reasons at you as to why you shouldn't ask questions, be sure and call that person up right away and ask your questions. Information is good. People who suppress information, generally have something to hide.
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MarriedWomanPhD
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 01:54:00 pm »

I found the pastor I was referring to, spoke with him on the phone, and had my original impressions confirmed - he is serving the Lord elsewhere, outside the GCA movement.
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Linda
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2011, 12:03:37 pm »

I'm so happy to hear that you were able to speak directly with the pastor and very glad to hear he is serving the Lord elsewhere (not that I doubted this).

Your original post brought to mind the intimidation techniques used to suppress truth. When leaders subtly or not so subtly suggest that "it wouldn't be wise" to ask questions directly of those who leave the movement, it has been my experience that they often imply there has been some type of major moral failure on the part of the person leaving.

It was very odd (and frankly hurtful) that the people who knew us best in our church NEVER asked us personally why we left. They never contacted us after we left. They never got our side of the story. Basically, they disappeared from our lives.

While I don't live my life in fear of what others think of me, I must say I have wondered if there was some type of "sin" hinted at as the reason for our departure. I also wonder how many people other than our children received a copy of the personal letter the pastors sent us in response to our letter of resignation. Imagine a "normal" church where the pastors wrote a private letter of rebuke (telling someone they were "unkind", "inaccurate", and "missed the mark"), sent copies of that letter to the adult children of the person being rebuked, and didn't even notify the person being rebuked who they had sent copies to. It might even be illegal to do something like that since the relationship between a pastor and a church member is "confidential".

If we don't know who received copies of the letter, how can we possibly defend ourselves against the accusations? TALK ABOUT SLANDER! I would ask any reading this who received a copy of the letter of rebuke sent to us by the Bloomington ECC pastors to send me a private message letting me know they received one. Thanks.

I remember the ECC leadership gathering where the departure of the pastor from Germany was "explained". The oddness of it was that nothing was explained, but the vague answers seemed to suffice. I seem to remember that the leaders said they should have never let the pastor go to Germany because he and his wife had some unresolved issues. Really! Why in the world would they say that? Isn't that rather slanderous? I also remember being told that we should not approach any of the relatives of this man to ask questions about his departure.

I repeat my advice (in bold and red because I feel very strongly about it!).

Always hear both sides of the story. Never, no matter what their reason, trust anyone who gives their side and tells you not to get the other side.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 12:33:11 pm by Linda » Logged

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blonde
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2012, 10:21:58 pm »

Does anyone have the letter John vanDyck wrote to the reason he left? 

-Blonde
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marie
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 10:33:03 pm »

Some of what I know from John van Dyck resigning from ministry.

I know that John had tried hard to work through some issues he had with the Evergreen Pastors before he left for Berlin.  He specifically had some issues with Mark Darling, and worked with a outside mediator to resolve those issues. They had numerous meetings with this mediator.   Before the mediation with Mark,  John wrote Mark a very sincere  and long letter, letting Mark know the things he appreciated in Mark as a spiritual mentor to him, but he also shared specific ways Mark had hurt and over stepped boundaries with John and his family.
 Knowing John, this took courage on his part. I do not believe John wrote this with any intent to hurt Mark.
John's desire was to be authentic and work toward a better relationship with Mark before leaving for Berlin. 

I heard Mark Darlings side, and he stated that to him," it all came as such a shock, and was so hurtful."  He Had no idea he had done that to John, and He had no intent to hurt John in the ways he had.   From what I understand, Mark was wounded by John because of this long letter.   John was blamed as wounding Mark and shocking Mark with seven years of hurt all in one letter that came out of the blue. 

Mark was wounded by John and was sorry because " He had never intended" to hurt John. I do not believe there was True repentance from Mark.  True repentance does not mean you "are sorry and that was not the intent."  It means "I am sorry I hurt you, please forgive me. I was WRONG."
 I personally heard another pastor vow to Mark that he would never hurt Mark the way John had.
 
What John did was an attempt to be authentic and have a better relationship with Mark.  In an authentic, healthy relationship we DO need to speak the truth in love- EVEN if it WOUNDS.
 John took responsibility also and admitted he had been wrong to not deal with the hurts and issues he had with Mark sooner.  He humbly asked for forgiveness for that. 
I read the letter, and spoke with Mark Darling.  I heard both sides.
 
John left for Berlin, feeling good about what had been talked through and felt hopeful for some change.  Things did not improve.  I wished John would have gotten more help and support from Evergreen at the time.  There was some confusion between the leadership regarding if Berlin was an "Evergreen Church plant "or a "GCM church plant."

 The darkness of being in Berlin and the circumstances of the disunity between Evergreen and John took its toll on John and his family. He had division with his sister, who was at Evergreen.  She had concerns she had voiced to John and the Evergreen leadership and Jeff Kern at GCM.  She turned on John and felt he was unfit to be Berlin under the circumstances and needed to come back and work on reconciliation.  Not understanding what had already been attempted.   Satan got a real foot hold. A year or two latter John resigned from ministry on his own.  At this time- John has been wiped out of Evergreen and New Hope church History.  He was the original Pastor of the Evergreen Plymouth/ New Hope church plant.  As far as I know there is not reconciliation between Mark Darling and John van Dyck.  It is very sad, and grieves the heart of God. 
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Linda
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 12:05:58 pm »

Thank you for sharing, Marie. There seems to be a trail of broken relationships in GCC churches that goes back many years. It shouldn't be. It's is especially sad that it involved his family and extended family.

I always thought Rock Berlin was a church plant of ECC because as I recall ECC did a $300+thousand capital campaign to raise funds for the venture. I remember being at the all church meeting at Bethel College where the idea was announced, and another one a few years later with a live feed from Berlin.

At the time, however, we were pretty unaware of the connection with GCM and we had never heard the name Jim McCotter, so lots was hidden from the congregation. I do recall that Jeff Kern left rather abruptly when he left. Anyone know why that was?

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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2017, 09:13:19 am »

Linda,

Jeff Kern led GCM after Tom Schroeder. Tom came out of the Ohio State vein of GCM and Jeff came out of Michigan. My understanding is that Jeff had convictions to partner GCM with other organizations and realized that GCM did not exist in a bubble. He began relationships with groups like Campus Crusade and Dr. Luder Whitlock from Reformed Seminary. Jeff began introducing theological training into the staff structure and saw it as a need for missionaries. That created tensions within the overall structure as Jeff was moving towards more of a reformed structure within GC and the tensions could be felt at national conferences and, from my understanding, national leadership conferences. There was a power struggle of sorts as to who would be the banner carrier for the organization, Great Commission Churches (GCC) or Great Commission Ministries.  That is when Faithwalkers began. It was a statement against the direction Jeff was trying to move in. You still see some of the ramifications of that today as Reliant has distanced themselves from GCC. They still serve as a sending ministry, but they also serve many other organizations and not GCC exclusively.

To answer your question, I believe Jeff committed the unpardonable sin (in their eyes, not mine) of interviewing for a leadership position with another organization. This sent alarms off throughout the "committed" of the movement and he was asked to resign because he was not seen to be fully loyal. My understanding (from an inside source) is that he did not wish to do so and that certain people jumped on the opportunity to remove him. I have the UTMOST respect for Jeff; not per se as a perfect man who never made mistakes, but because of his big picture vision to move the movement towards more gospel-centered teachings. I was always encouraged and refreshed by his commitment to partner with others outside of GCx for the gospel. I do hope he is doing well. My understanding of his successor, Tom Mauriello, is that he is also a man who casts a larger net and sees Reliant as just one part of something greater that God is doing.

Moral of the story, "If you want to rid yourself of someone, question their loyalty to the organization (and  therefore Christ)."
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marie
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2017, 10:35:59 am »

That was interesting that you stated Faithwalkers started after Jeff Kern resigned or was asked to leave. 

Mark Darling has stated that he (Mark) started Faithwalkers.  This statement was made in a teaching in August of 2016.  I believe it was when he visited the Bloomington Evergreen Church and spoke. 

To me it seems like the teachings of Faithwalkers is similiar to the original days of GCM, and the national Colorado conferences. 
Are they teaching the same things that were apologized for in the 1991 weakness paper? 
Like Every man should be a Pastor?  Do not Date?  Only the church is God's Biblical way to reach the world?  etc.
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 11:57:21 am »

Faithwalkers was a direct reaction to the reformed direction Jeff Kern was taking GCM. Under Tom Schroeder, there was no real distinction between the two. The creation of GCC was to slow the influence Jeff and GCM's vision was having upon the movement as a whole and to weaken it. Jeff was still a part of GCM for several years after Faithwalkers began. In my opinion, Faithwalkers was an attempt to reclaim the movement by those churches and regions (midwest) where McCotter had the most influence.

The first Faithwalkers was very old-school. Mark Darling was at the center. They had an altar-call of sorts to bring those who had been running after the Lord and committed to the movement for over 20 years or something up on stage. Also, in attendance was Jim McCotter and several overtures were  made for him to come back and he was honored several times as well by Mark Darling and Rick Whitney. The messages from the first Faithwalkers have never been put online by GCC (and I believe that to be intentional since every other year's messages were up). If someone were to find the messages from the first year, it would be hard to deny that they were trying to return to the days of McCotter.

It is interesting (referring to a few posts back) how once a leader leaves, they tend  to rewrite history around them as if they never existed. If it happens with those in leadership, it is no wonder that it happens with those who were of the flock when they leave. Out of sight, out of mind.
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Linda
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2017, 05:39:23 pm »

I've been reading these posts with interest and appreciate all who take the time to post. I haven't had a lot of time to respond, but these posts got me to thinking of some past discussions. I reopened a thread that has some quotes from one of the early Faithwalkers (2004) and others. We have a recording someplace. There was a huge commitment for life push from 2004 through 2010 or so.

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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2017, 08:44:20 pm »

I believe I was at faithwalkers in both 2007 and 2008. I remember calls for more than 20 years of ministry ... or at least 20 years of following jesus biblically, or some such. The whitneys were featured one year and Herschel Martindale.
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GodisFaithful
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2018, 01:04:19 pm »

Anyone see the relevance of this string right about now?

When people talk about slander on this forum, they need to make sure that they are not the pot calling the kettle black.

Looks like there are a lot of people who can vouch for the fact that, now that another side of the story is coming out,  people who leave or are ousted or asked to leave are sometimes slandered by Evergreen church leaders. It looks like it has happened multiple times; it is a pattern.  Either you are one of the subjects of their little kingdom or you are out of there and your name is mud and there can't possibly be anything redeemable about you in their eyes because you questioned or had a serious concern. At the very least, they only want a certain kind of person in their church and you are not that kind of person.  That's not spiritual abuse???   

No matter that the "sheep" are left in a world of hurt, trying to put back the pieces of their lives and figure out what went happened.

And they wonder why some of us need this forum and are relieved to find others and relieved to finally be out and be free. I am convinced that there are a lot of readers of this forum out there who have been so intimidated for so many years that it is healing for them to read of others' story, realize that they are among friends and they aren't crazy, but they don't have the guts or desire to post anything, which is fine.

Evergreen leaders should walk in humility and integrity concerning the issue before them now, even if none of them did anything wrong.  Their response is now out there for the world to see.

They know this.  Deep down they know this.  And if they were open to some outside help, they could do what is right and change and have true reconciliation with those who have been mistreated.
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HughHoney
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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2018, 08:22:00 pm »

Quote
Moral of the story, "If you want to rid yourself of someone, question their loyalty to the organization (and therefore Christ)."

Yeah there have been a lot of big names to exit Totalist Aberrant Christian Organization (TACO) over the years. the Movement tends to be very shaming of people, so questioning loyalty isn’t a surprising tactic.

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GodisFaithful
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2018, 09:34:14 pm »

Wow!!!!!

 Roll Eyes

Is THIS string relevant right now or WHAT?Huh?

Now we know what the altercation was all about between Mark Darling and John Van Dyke.

And we know how Mark Darling responds to accountability and the wounds of a friend.  Touchy touchy.

I just read it again and it is making more sense. 

Why doesn't Evergreen Church stop with the secrecy and protecting top leaders at all costs?

None of the pastors are held accountable is how it looks to me. 

Is this glaring to anyone else?Huh??
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2018, 10:14:31 pm »

I've been reading these posts with interest and appreciate all who take the time to post. I haven't had a lot of time to respond, but these posts got me to thinking of some past discussions. I reopened a thread that has some quotes from one of the early Faithwalkers (2004) and others. We have a recording someplace. There was a huge commitment for life push from 2004 through 2010 or so.




I believe this message is archived at GCMwarning.  Iíll look for the link.

Found it.
http://gcxweb.org/Audio/Commitment%209%20and%2010-HSLT-07-24-2005.mp3
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Watching
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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2018, 05:22:57 am »

Wow!!!!!

 Roll Eyes

Is THIS string relevant right now or WHAT?Huh?

thanks for bringing this up again. Very relevant.   I knew and supported John and Suzanne in Berlin and were blindsided when it all Ďdidnít work outí. (My words. Not a direct quote). We were told not to talk with  them about this and obeyed. All these years later have always wondered what happened?!  The pieces of the puzzle are coming together.   I still attend an ECC church but am increasingly concerned about the secrecy. Praying for transparency.
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