Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Announcements... or Whatever

This thread has gotten too long for those who are "still stuck with dial-up," so please, if you would, go to the "New Financial Thread" above to continue the current discussion. Thanks for your cooperation!

Originally I wrote: This thread is, as the name implies, a place for announcements rather than in depth discussions.

Note regarding Richard Emerson's comment from 2:06 a.m., November 3, 2006:

Mr. Emerson wrote me this afternoon and requested I remove his comment because he'd lost his password and couldn't log in. I honored his request. However, his edited version of those comments is in letter form
here.

If you have something you'd like to have included here, rather than put it in a comment in this thread, please place the information in a comment and leave it in the "Suggestion Box" thread. That way I can add links and edit as needed and post it "on the front page" in this thread.

So much for that idea. Now that there don't seem to be any announcements, at least not any that have been dropped in the Suggestion Box, I've just changed the title to reflect the fact that discussions are indeed taking place here.

That's all. Continue on now...

186 comments:

will mckay said...

New BBC Open Forum,

I would rather you remove our comments altogether than edit them and post them on the front page.

While understanding your position, I do not agree with much of what is said here. Therefore, I would appreciate you removing my comment from the front page.

Thanks in advance,
WM

New BBC Open Forum said...

Will,

I'm sorry if I offended you. Other than to turn your URL into a proper link, I didn't edit your comment when I placed it in the announcements, but I have removed your comments as per your request.

If Mr. Furniss feels the same way, I'll remove his information as well. That will be his call to make.

NBBCOF

will mckay said...

Thank you very much, no offense taken or harm done.

WM

Kevin Furniss said...

I would also like you to remove mine. Thank you very much! Have a wonderful afternoon!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Kevin,

Consider it done. All the best to you in your endeavors.

NBBCOF

Kevin Furniss said...

Thanks. I appreciate it very much. Follow Christ in all that you do!

allofgrace said...

If anyone could use a laugh, especially you dads, here's an article I found on a website that I found humorous.

Link<

New BBC Open Forum said...

allofgrace,

That link isn't good any more.

allofgrace said...

Sorry...try this one.

Link

mostlylurkin said...

There's word of a meeting right about now of a recently expanded Ad Hoc committee. This committee has been expanded to include other Deacons and perhaps lay people beyond the scope of pseudo elders. I was given a few names but I think I should wait.

Most notibly in attendance will be Dr. Gaines and Craig Parker.

New BBC Open Forum said...

lurkin,

Was there anyone on the list with the initials M.S.?

New BBC Open Forum said...

mostlylurkin wrote: "There's word of a meeting right about now of a recently expanded Ad Hoc committee."

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that meeting room!

mostlylurkin said...

"Was there anyone on the list with the initials M.S.?"

No M.S. invited. I was told "not this time" whatever that means.

First rule of discovery in never ask a question of a witness that you don't already know the answer.

New BBC Open Forum said...

oldtimer, WTB,

I just removed oldtimer's comment. WTB, you raised a very valid concern. I was just going to respond to oldtimer's post with some comments.

No offense to you, oldtimer. We appreciate the information, but as WTB says, these men are risking their positions in the church, and I don't want to play a role in making their job more difficult.

Thanks, guys.

New BBC Open Forum said...

oldtimer wrote:

"It was... that got the first group of men kicked off the deacons."

Which "group" are you referring to? Pre-Mark Sharpe or were others removed the same time as he? I know other deacons have been kicked off. I believe the quote by one current deacon was (paraphrased), "I was surprised to learn the highway is littered with former deacons they've run over in years past."

oldtimer said...

I will not mention the other deacons name. It seems some people are still wanting to protect certain people especially current staff. I believe this is part of the problem especially mentioning current staff names.I mean, why are we protecting and can't we trust our Lord in that matter? What is wrong with risking their positions for truth. Isn't that what Dr. Rogers did at the SBC?

New BBC Open Forum said...

oldtimer,

Thanks. I understand. I would like to see the walls of protection come down, too. But as long as people have jobs and families and reputations to protect, I don't want to "out" someone who hasn't chosen to publicize his concerns himself. Not sure this is what you were referring to, but it's my position on this subject.

Will McKay said...

Does anyone know how the meeting went last night?

Anonymous said...

Last night’s meeting went well: Positive, productive, restorative.

Praise God!

More information will be forthcoming from the church.

MOM4 said...

Andrew,
Praise God Indeed! Thank you for the update. It is good to know that there are things happening, finally!
How will we hear, by mail? or will it be covered in a service?

Anonymous said...

mom4,

I don't know how or when the "church" will pass on an official update.

The process that we are all in is still in progress and I'm sure they are eager to communicate with us.

Personally, I am encouraged.

oldtimer said...

Andrew said
Last night’s meeting went well: Positive, productive, restorative.

Herewe go, more gossip

Anonymous said...

Define Gossip

New BBC Open Forum said...

Andrew,

It's what we're all hoping and praying for, but you have to admit without any other information it kind of sounded like the current BBC party line -- "positive, productive, and restorative." Translation: "Everything's fine. Don't us ask any questions."

I believe you. It sounded to me like oldtimer was just "funnin'" with you.

NASS

Anonymous said...

NASS
I missed the humor - I'm a fairly seriously minded person. You however have made me laugh and think and I appreciate your example to us all. Thank you.

to oldtimer...

My intent is simple and pure, the information is not secret, the information is accurate.

I stand by my statement.

Don't read into more than I stated. I am not saying closure is upon us. I don't believe it is. But, healthy and open communication by key players is occuring, critical information is forthcoming, and people are serious minded about it all.

bkjrm said...

Andrew knows of what he speaks. We should be in fervent prayer for the people involved. No more stonewalling-----only the truth.

I have very mixed feelings. If the financial information proves to be no big deal, I for one, am still left with disappointment over the lack of maturity with how this mess has been handled by Dr. Gaines, the horrible way our staff and faithful deacon brothers have been treated, the half-hearted way our new Preacher (sorry I can't call him Pastor) came to us in the first place, and the humiliation he inflicted on us in Union City.

I can't get over the way trusted Godly men---Sharpe, Emerson, Taylor, Dougharty, Parker, et al have been shredded in one way or another and the only common denominator is Dr. Gaines.

Sorry---it is all so depressing.

LSG said...

Andrew,

There are so many isues with the pastor and the credit cards are just a part of the puzzle. I believe it is still going to take what Sharpe and Emerson have said all along. We must get all of the right people including {Sharpe and Emerson } in the room and shut the door. If these 2 men are allowed to have an exchange of information, we all would believe these men. When you leave the orginal 2 men out, it makes people wonder that they must be right. What in the world is our leadership afraid of? What better way to get to the truth. You must hear all accounts of recent events and anything less is not going to work with most people.

Anonymous said...

Hi lsg,

I too would like to see more progress. I hope this latest meeting can be a building block toward additional disclosure and restoration of brothers, staff, and the body as a whole.

Right now I'm not able to see this meeting as a bad thing. But it could turn out to be a waste of time, but only time and truth will tell.

I know God is able to work all this out. Just as he is able to speak to and redeem a lost sheep he is able to bring back and restore damaged relationships, lost trust, and all the rest. He really is a great God.

allofgrace said...

Amen Andrew...you got it spot on brother. He's greater than our hearts..and certainly greater than our problems. One thing that I've been blessed to see in all this...is what we've seen take place here. I don't know about you, but I've sensed a lot of softening of hearts..with all the high emotions and sentiments, we've managed to hear each other's hearts in this, and come together as a family..even though I don't know any of you...I feel more like I belong to a church family now than I have in the previous 4 yrs I've been at Bellevue. Rom.8:28. Blessings.

ilovebbc said...

This seem the most appropriate place to post something not relevant to the current Bellevue situation but I thought people might want to be made aware.

We might all want to email Janice Broach at jbroach@wmctv.com about her article on Channel 5's website at
http://www.wmcstations.com/Global/story.asp?S=5615559

She says, "In 2004, 6,500 people at Bellevue Baptist Church heard a political message from the Bush/Cheney campaign."

We all know that event was in fact the Battle For Marriage Imminent Vote Conference held prior to an important Senate vote on marriage. It had nothing to do with the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Likewise, Fox News has similar misinformation on their web site at
http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=1351722&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1

At the bottom of their article I followed these instructions to let them know about their error. "Call our SoundOff line at 901-320-1234, or post your thoughts on our SoundOff blog."

I've already emailed Janice and called Fox 13. Thought some of you might want to as well.

IWTK said...

My understanding is that Mark Sharpe has 2 remaining ssues: the pastors credit card and Amen Kelly.

I can tell you for a FACT that there is no credit card misuse by our pastor. The receipts are being reviewed by the entire deacon body on Sunday.

Secondly, Amen Kelly. I see Mr. Amen on most Sundays. He has not lost his joy and is still attending and worshiping at Bellevue (more than I can say for Mark and Richard).

If all of "this stuff", the turmoil, tears and tearing down has occured over those two issues, may God have mercy on us all. I know some of you have more "petty" issues, but without Mark and Richard, this would have NEVER gotten this much attention.

I praise our Great God for his mercy during this time. He is working all of this out in His time. He has humbled a great church and my prayer is that each of us pray as much as we spend time on the websites.

MOM4 said...

IWTK,
If there is no credit card abuse like you stated, then why did it take the leadership sooooo long to lay it all out there?
Who has reviewed the receipts and stated that there is no abuse and did they compare the receipts with the bills to verify each charge? Have they contacted the credit card company and made sure that there were no corrections or revised statements issued? Is there more than one credit card or credit card company? These are legitimate questions that I have. I am not trying to be devisive, but this started somewhere and who ever is responsible needs to be held to account whether there is something wrong or not, no matter who it is.

New BBC Open Forum said...

ilovebbc,

Thank you for that information. Here is what that nationally televised conference from July 11, 2004 was really about. There's no mention of the "Bush/Cheney campaign."

Here are the links you provided in "linkable" form:

"We might all want to email Janice Broach at jbroach@wmctv.com about her article on Channel 5's website which is here.

"Likewise, Fox News has similar misinformation on their web site here.

"At the bottom of their article I followed these instructions to let them know about their error.

"'Call our SoundOff line at 901-320-1234, or post your thoughts on our SoundOff blog.'"

It's always seemed odd to me that whenever certain politicians come to town (think any large city) that with all the locations available for large public rallies, they nearly always end up "renting" space in a predominently black church. That's just my observation -- kind of like "the sun came up this morning."

I commented just last night that if Bob Corker had held a campaign rally at Bellevue it would have made the national news, and they'd be calling for, yea, demanding the IRS to yank the church's tax exempt status -- which I'd agree they should. Seems a bit of a double standard to me.

This is the Commercial Appeal's reporting of the same story. Maybe I just blinked and missed it, but I didn't read anything about the tax-exempt issue in that article.

However, there was this quote from the same article:

"The party faithful swayed, sang, waved signs and chanted 'Harold Ford' and later 'We love Bill.' One woman swooned and spoke in tongues."

Yes, but was there someone there to interpret?

NASS

Anonymous said...

Marvelous observations, Nass.

Ms. Broach is getting more than a few e-mails about this, and to her credit she is investigating further.

Not surprising, given her reputation, but heartening nevertheless.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

"The party faithful swayed, sang, waved signs and chanted 'Harold Ford' and later 'We love Bill.' One woman swooned and spoke in tongues."

Yes, but was there someone there to interpret?


And while I'm thinking about it, that was an awfully snarky response.

Loved it.

It should be pointed out, though, that it was not a church-sponsored outburst, and a swoon rental fee was paid by Harold Ford, Jr. For Tennessee.

--Mike

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

IWTK,

You are wrong when you say the issues with folks including Mark and Richard are all about the dream issue and the credit card issue. How could you be so foolish?

All along, this has been about integrity and honesty behind the pulpit and church government. Steve Gaines and his men would like to make this one issue but it won't work. The masses of people are smarter than that.

The current church government is under complete control by the pastor (just like it was in Gardendale> A few men he surrounds himself with make all of the decisions, secrecy about financial information exists, and stonewalling goes on when members ask questions.

A good example is this latest episode of the charges brought by the former Chief Financial Officer of Bellevue. Bellevue's own finance office were the first ones to sound the alarm over the credit card issue one year ago. Here we are one year later and finally the church is going to show some credit card statements to a couple of deacons and say everything is ok. Why one year later? If there wasn't anything there 6 months ago, why not make it public then? Why drag the church through this?

There are some staff members who have access to multiple cards because everyone doesn't take American Express. Has there been any docoring of records? Does it make sense that nobody was allowed to see any records for the past year and now the whole world is allowed to see them?

As far as the dream issue goes, I heard Mark Dougharty in the last several days has admitted in front of witnesses saying to at least 3 staff members that he did in fact do so. With that said, I guess the early allegations are true after all.

If we don't wake up at Belleuve and decide on a more open church government, we are going to regret it a year from now. Baptist want transparency in church government.

I hope and pray that the leadership understands this and changes things. David Coombs I believe is going to be a good thing for Bellevue. If anyone will hold people accountable, he will.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Biblefellowshipteacher wrote:

"If we don't wake up at Belleuve and decide on a more open church government, we are going to regret it a year from now."

I think we already do.

NASS

Anonymous said...

"If we don't wake up at Belleuve and decide on a more open church government, we are going to regret it a year from now. Baptist (sic) want transparency in church government."

Yet not everyone wants transparency in commenting about church government.

Interesting.

--Mike

choice_is_yours said...

How
You Can Be Certain the Bible is the Word of God


How
to Be Saved and Know It


How
to Be Sure You Are Eternally Secure--Part 1


How
to Be Sure You Are Eternally Secure--Part 2

Josh Tucker said...

biblefellowshipteacher,

iwtk did state the entire deacon body is reviewing the receipts not just a couple of deacons to quote yourself.

About the dream -- Mark Sharpe's issue should have been with Mark Dougharty, not the pastor.

To no one in particular,

There are a few individuals here who will never be happy until there is complete and utter transparency. However, how is this to be accomplished in a church when financial data needs to be kept confidential and private?

At what point will all of this be let go? When Mark Sharpe is satisfied, or are there other additional criteria? Isn't the bar starting to get set obscenely high?

There is no need for such extreme amounts of skepticism and cynicism, and it does not profit the body of Christ.

Based on some of the commentary, I am starting to get the perception that there are a few individuals who will be complaining about the state of Bellevue until death or the coming of Christ to reclaim His church.

The level of triviality or seriousness and the manner of approach are important matters to consider when dealing with church related issues.

The original issues which started the latest crisis are finally beginning to be resolved amicably. This is great news, and yet, one can practically hear the rancorous murmurings from a few in the gallery looking on.

...sort of like an open sore that refuses to heal.

MOM4 said...

Josh,
"About the dream -- Mark Sharpe's issue should have been with Mark Dougharty, not the pastor."

Does this lead us to believe that Mark Dougharty is the one who had the dream? If not, where did it come from? I must have been out of that loop, because I have not seen or read anything on this subject being resolved. I must have missed it so please explain ...

MOM4 said...

Josh,
"There are a few individuals here who will never be happy until there is complete and utter transparency. However, how is this to be accomplished in a church when financial data needs to be kept confidential and private?"

I can see having a budget summary to release to the congregation, but I believe that where the transparency needs to be is when someone wants to see the line items in the budget or has a question about an item, they have the right to review and ask appropriate questions to the responsible persons, be they committee, deacon or pastor, and they should receive a complete and honest answer and the financial documents, whatever they may be, should be made available.
In the event someone does not see eye to eye, I am sure there are enough men and women of the church with backgrounds in finance who could work with that person to come to an amicable conclusion to all parties involved - don't you think???

Will McKay said...

Mom4,

So each line item on the Bellevue budget needs to be open for scrutiny by each member of a 30,000 member church?

How is that at all practical?

Josh Tucker said...

mom4,

About the dream, the only person on record from any source as having mentioned it is Mark Dougharty. The pastor has consistently denied having one to anyone who has asked (even Mr. Sharpe) from the beginning of this escapade.

About the finances. What you are suggesting is financially dangerous. This is one example. Let's say that I am a professional con. I make a profession of faith, join the church, and then after some time of being a member and faithfully attending church, I question the budget and request to see line items and documents. I now have access to the information I need to potentially do grave damage to Bellevue's finances/assets.

Will McKay said...

Josh,

I agree wholeheartedly.

Will McKay said...

...with both of your posts!

IWTK said...

BibleFellowshipTeacher: You are wrong when you say the issues with folks including Mark and Richard are all about the dream issue and the credit card issue. How could you be so foolish? All along, this has been about integrity and honesty behind the pulpit and church government.

Question: Where did unfounded allegations about integrity and honesty even begin? Mark Sharpe. Interesting to note that Mark does not have first hand knowledge of any of his allegations. "I've heard" has become the battle cry of many. Let's stick to the facts.

The summation of the remaining issues are not my words, but those told by your leader, Mark Sharpe, the originator of all of this, to numerous deacons. His unfounded allegations have led to you and others questioning everything from donut holes to credit cards. Our church has never been through such a time. I have to wonder if credit card receipts from our beloved former pastor were shown, how many people would be upset? I question the motive of the SB crowd.

From my viewpoint, and I am closer to all of this than I care to be at times, the real issue is not integrity and honesty behind the pulpit and church government. The governance model is the same today as it was under Dr. Rogers. Why were you not screaming when Dr. Rogers was our pastor?

The real issue is that some folks do not like Brother Steve and they will do all they can to tear him down. If we produce 14 months of credit card receipts, some say (Mom4) that is not enough, there must be more, another secret credit card account where thousands of dollars are being spent. I think they hope there is more. The church is in a no win situation. The more information is given, the more the bloggers and unreasonable people use it to hang and question people. The deacons will review the receipts on Sunday.

My understanding is that the meeting with the former CFO (as he has become to be known) was a very special time of healing and restoration. I have asked men in that meeting if the fCFO now has any concerns over the financial affairs of the church. I was told no. The questions he had were answered. PRAISE GOD! A prayer has been answered! What men meant for evil God meant for good. The details of that meeting will silence many. Maybe they take up a new cause.

The issue is lack of trust brought on by false allegations. Has the leadership handled this as well as it could have been handled? Probably not. Like I said before, this is ground we never had to plow before. I am encouraged at what I see and what I know is happening. My understanding is that a meeting with Mark Sharpe is in the works if we can meet his "demands". I think strawberries are out of season, so Mark may need to concede on the chocolate covered strawberries (that was a light, humorous moment for me, I laughed when I typed it).

God will heal in time, this has begun with the fCFO and the staff (I think some of you are actually rooting against that). The questioning of a man's integrity has been put into public forums. I am embarrassed for our Pastor and I weep for him because of what has been done to him. Please stop turning over rocks to look for something bad and serve and worship or Great God at His Church, Bellevue.

I truly believe that Mark Sharpe and others will and should stand before the congregation one day and apologize for all of this.

MOM4 said...

Josh,
Unfortunately, I do not naturally have a suspicious mind unless something looks suspicious, so I would have never have suspected someone trying to pull a con. I do, however, believe that there is a substantial number of persons within the church that are fully capable of knowing who is who and what is what and what questions are appropriate and what are not. Bank account information for example is a security issue, not an open records issue and there is a difference. There are laws in place to protect the church as there are laws to protect the individual. You are talking about a hypothetical con and I am talking about an honest concern and a need for accountability within the church.
There are municipal and government records that are open for public inspection. Pay rates, personnel files and budget items, open bids and meeting minutes are all open for anyone to inspect, some under supervision, but if I wanted to see what the Mayor of Memphis is spending or earning, I have a legal right to do so, not that I would even want to go there...

West Jackson Member said...

Hi to my brothers at Bellevue Baptist Church. I can't sit back and say nothing any longer. I have a few comments for you to consider.

At West Jackson anyone can find out what the pastor or music minister earns by asking. We hide nothing. Many in the church know exactly what our pastor makes and this transparency helps avoid the kind of arguments you have got going on. Any deacon who asks questions here will get an answer.

I'm sorry for you at Bellevue. You're finding out why so many here were blown away when Steve Gaines became your pastor. I am only surprised this blow-up didn't start before it did. He's not an evil man. In fact, he is a smart and talented man and he means well. He just thinks he is right and won't back down, even when he's wrong. He won't care too much what your deacons think. He'll gather 3 or 4 powerful men to his side and forget the rest of them.

I hate how ugly this thing has been. With Steve Gaines it wouldn't happen any other way because he wouldn't let it. If he disagrees with you, you're the devil tearing his ministry down and sending people to the pit of hell. Arrogance has always been the problem.

People are watching to see if you will fight to know the truth and save your church. Don't give in and go away. Stay strong.

MOM4 said...

IWTK
Sorry you feel that I was demanding too much, I do want to see that all the bases are covered in order to put this matter to rest. Please re-read my post in the light that I wrote it. It was not intended to be hostile, but a genuine, legitimate question.
This issue about the credit card receipts is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. While I am glad that there are men who are taking the time and making the effort to investigate this issue, it does not absolve others of their responsibility for failing to render accountability from the beginning. Your statement from scripture "What men meant for evil God meant for good." does not apply here because we are not seeking with an evil heart. For you to say so is abhorrent and shows your lack of insight into this situation. There is pain and heartache on both sides of this and it is a no win situation.

IWTK said...

mom4: "This issue about the credit card receipts is only the tip of the iceberg,"

What is that based on? Do you have first hand knowledge of improper financial activity? If so, please produce it. Unfounded allegations are fueling this fire.

Josh Tucker said...

westjackson,

Bellevue's deacon body/particular committees have access to the type of information you are discussing. What truth are we looking for? Church governance/procedure differs from congregation to congregation. Unless you have a biblical backing to your assertion regarding church openness, the issue is a matter of preference and should be determined by the church leadership.

mom4,

Is it appropriate for the laity to question the church leadership on non-biblical issues? Take your concerns to a deacon and let them handle the issue. That is one of the purposes of the deacon body. At the risk of sounding harsh, not all concerns regarding a church are vital to its functioning as the body of Christ and there needs to be a line drawn with how much complaining and questioning is done regarding church procedural issues.

If you have serious biblically related concerns grounded in fact regarding Bellevue, the appropriate venue for broaching the matter is with the deacon body. Otherwise, the concerns are non-essential matters, and should probably only be dealt with through prayer.

outsidelookingin said...

itwk,
You should stand before the church and appologize one day perhaps because I've talked to some men who where in that same room and you just stated some things that are not true.
Shame on you for deceiving the Belleuve membership further. Your way of governing a church is not what most Southern Baptists are used to. I'm heartbroken over your attitutude. Your attitude is one of one side winning instead of restoration.

Josh Tucker said...

outsidelookingin,

Be specific.

MOM4 said...

Josh,

WOW, I cannot believe you said that! Are we not congregationally led? Should how we approach this matter not be brought before the congregation in a decent and orderly format? And I pray daily, somedays constant in prayer and supplication for my church home.

Iron sharpens Iron my brother in Christ - that is scriptural.

Josh Tucker said...

mom4,

Approved maybe, but led, no. The pastor or the church leadership is not led by the congregation.

MOM4 said...

Josh,
Sorry, I mis-spoke, approved is correct (is it not:))

IWTK said...

outsidelookingin: I am for one thing: restoration. I am growing weary of unfounded allegations being tossed about as if they were truth. Half-truths are lies. This type of behavior is keeping restoration from happening. I hope that Mark Sharpe and others can be restored back into the Bellevue family. My only point is that rumors, unfounded allegations, half-truths and lies are fueling the fire, and it needs to end. Until then, restoration can not happen.

As far as the meeting is concerned, I have talked to almost all of the people in the meeting, so I am curious who left the meeting without the impression that was shared with me?

Josh Tucker said...

mom4,

I use the term congregation approval with regard to leadership within the church to mean the congregation approves the men who are to be our leaders and then they go about making the decisions. The general congregation does not have oversight of all the decisions the church leadership makes; Bellevue's deacons (by proxy for the congregation) take care of that. Granted, the congregation approves overall items such as the general budget, but that's more of a required aspect of being a 501c3 organization.

MOM4 said...

Josh,
I must have been mistaken, especially since Dr Rogers made it a point to bring things before the congregation for "approval". I know that decisions are made and general approvals are given prior to items being brought before the congregation. Changes can be all just politics unless it is handled appropriately. The congregation does need to know specifics on some things, especially committee/leadersip decisions that affect the direction of the church. Even when Dr Rogers wanted a new committee, he did not just form it, rather he addressed it with his leadership, made all the appropriate communications and then brought the matter to the congregation for approval. No one at Bellevue has ever shoved anything down our throats until now. It is now not only a matter of trust, it is a matter of pulling the rug out from under the congregation and not even telling us until we hit the ground!

Josh Tucker said...

Well, if anyone has a biblical basis for doing things a specific way at Bellevue (including how the church is run), I and a lot of other people I'm sure, are all ears. Otherwise, what is going on is a debate over personal preference.

mom4,

How is the church direction changing or, let me rephrase, how is Bellevue doctrinally shifting?

outsidelookingin said...

iwtk,
The biggest problem I see is that you and a few others that are the closest to the pastor are blinded to the fact that this is not about one issue or one person. It's a very effective tool that is used in politics to get the focus off of the real thing and refocused on someone or one issue. The issue facing Bellevue reaches across young and old, rich and poor, black and white. It's about accountability, integrity, openess, honesty, ..... The number of people who have deep concerns are in the 1000's. If you want to continue to ignore reality, we are never going to get anywhere. When you say anyone who disagrees with Steve Gaines needs to repent, what is that saying to everyone out here that is hurting for truth. Already, we are finding out that early allegations that were called lies are now being found to be true. Stop distorting the truth. It's hurting everyone.

MOM4 said...

I am sorry you don't understand me Josh, I must pray how to answer you so that you will realize what I am saying. You seem to be attempting to drive home your point that perhaps you and others have total control and us nobodies are just taking up your air. It is a matter of respect.
Sorry, I will have to sleep on that one.

Josh Tucker said...

outsidelookingin,

Goodnight, again, be specific. You used the term allegations (plural) -- which ones?

Also, you said others have deep concerns -- what are they?

Finally, come on, throwing around a number in the thousands -- how on earth do you know that?

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen - those who have differences about what actually went on the meeting...

If there is no secret then can you please give the detail that you are dancing around so that your notes can clearly be debated.

You are fencing in the dark.

That approach is not very productive for either of you or us.

Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Josh,

If the congregation as a whole wanted to evaluate the decisions they were approving - how would that work at Bellevue?

Anonymous said...

outsidelookingin:
"Already, we are finding out that early allegations that were called lies are now being found to be true."

Can you tell me what you are referring to. I don't mean to be dense but would appreciate your help. Thanks.

Josh Tucker said...

andrew,

A very good question indeed, and a difficult one to answer. You asked, "If the congregation as a whole wanted to evaluate the decisions they were approving - how would that work at Bellevue?"

At Bellevue, the latest approach has been to trust the various church committees and the administration/pastorate to give the congregation enough information to make the evaluations. To a degree, I believe a certain amount of trust does need to be placed upon the men within the church leadership that they are allowing enough information to be given to the church congregation. I am not in favor of blind trust or approval, neither am I in favor of complete congregational oversight (or access to information) either. I am satisfied with having Bellevue's deacon body act as the general congregation's proxy in these types of matters.

New BBC Open Forum said...

josh tucker wrote:

"I use the term congregation approval with regard to leadership within the church to mean the congregation approves the men who are to be our leaders and then they go about making the decisions."

Just out of curiosity, did we ever vote on David Coombs being called as the new "extra" associate pastor? If we did, I must have missed that.

I love my church said...

"Finally, come on, throwing around a number in the thousands -- how on earth do you know that?"

I don't think there is a question the number is in the thousands. Half the deacons are concerned about him too. It's untrue for anyone to claim this is a small rogue group. We need to face it, the church is split down the middle.

I love my church said...

“Bellevue's deacon body/particular committees have access to the type of information you are discussing.”

I believe that is false. Our deacons don’t have access to financial information. Not even our full finance committee knows the pastor’s salary. If you remember, when a deacon, Mark Sharpe, tried to find the truth he was blocked. The pastor even kicked him off the deacon body for daring to ask questions of him. Show me the Scriptural support for that pastor making that move. Even if he has the power, should he use it in such a self-serving way?

LSG said...

New BBc open Forum, great question


New BBC Open Forum said...
josh tucker wrote:

"I use the term congregation approval with regard to leadership within the church to mean the congregation approves the men who are to be our leaders and then they go about making the decisions."


Hey, what a great example of how our church policy works. {joke }
When was the business meeting to vote David Coombs in? Where is this congregation vote on this man. Who decided we should hire David although I'm sure he may be a wonderful man. This should not be how a congregation \authoruty works which again is being told how we will operate by someone the congregation had no say so in hiring. If you think church policy is changing, it is, it's getting worse.

The truth is he has noauthority to spend one dime of the churches money until we vote on David.

I love my church said...

MKW,

You ask a fair question. It is undeniable he has been barred for serving by the pastor. A deacon friend has said he was "kicked off." Is that strictly true? I'm not sure. I'm sorry, I did not mean to overstate that situation or mislead anyone. Someone here surely knows the straight truth of it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

lsg,

I take it there was no vote on David Coombs. Thank you.

allofgrace said...

I know there are a lot of questions about how Baptist church government is supposed to work. Here's a couple of links to some documents written by Baptist forebears. Perhaps it will be helpful, at least to see how early Baptists governed themselves and handled matters of discipline.

Link

Link

westtnbarrister said...

Anyone interested in the church government issue should read these articles from the Baptist Press. As I wrote yesterday, it seems to me we have a de facto elder system, but the congregation still believes it has authority.

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=23596 Final Decision Making is Key to Polity Debate


http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=17636 Congregationalism: Viable & biblical, speakers say

Will McKay said...

Mark Sharpe was rotating off as a deacon this last year. He removed himself from leadership as a deacon and teacher.

Stop spreading lies by saying he was "kicked off."

allofgrace said...

WBT,
LOL...beat ya by seconds.

I love my church said...

Gnats,

It has been characterized to me by a DEACON that he was "kicked off" by the pastor. However, in an earlier post I said I may have misspoken.


Be careful before accusing someone of spreading lies.

ilovebbc said...

If nobody can recall whether or not there was a vote on David, let's not just assume that means there was no vote. It just means that none of us can recall if there was or not. I was there the night the announcemnet was made that he was joining the staff but I don't recall if there was a vote or not. I believe it was the same night we voted on messengers to the Tenneesee Bapt Convention among other things. I'm sure a quick call to the church office tomorrow or to David himself would settle any doubt for those concerned about it. If we didn't vote, it's because church policy that has worked fine for over 100 years doesn't require it for that particular staff position.

LSG said...

newbbc said....


I take it there was no vote on David Coombs. Thank you.

6:18 PM, November 02, 2006

Right, there was no vote on David. Ask yourself this, why did we get to vote on the pastor but did not get to vote on David Coombs? {Fair question} It seems like we have uneven scales and the Bible warns against this.

The staff and leadership do what they want and will not allow the church to nominate or vote on. vote.

Will McKay said...

Let me rephrase that...

If the DEACON said that Mark Sharpe was "kicked off" by the pastor, He Lied.

oldtimer said...

I got in trouble for mentioning names on this blog before, but I must.

I asked Mark Sharpe and Mark also stated the church never sent him a letter inviting back on to serve as a deacon.

I asked Richard Emerson about returning and he stated the same. Richard even asked Mark D. to please write him a letter stating why he is allowing this to happen. I understand Mark D. would not respond. That's really being open and honest.

I asked these men so I know first hand and don't have to wonder.

outsidelookingin said...

Andrew said...
outsidelookingin:
"Already, we are finding out that early allegations that were called lies are now being found to be true."

Can you tell me what you are referring to. I don't mean to be dense but would appreciate your help. Thanks.

Andrew,

I'll try and answer a few now and list more tomorrow. Let's look at a common occurrence from the early days. Early allegations were made by staff members which were shared with some laymen.

One example was early on when some staff members were contacted by Mark Dougharty and told that the pastor had a dream about a man. The story was more than just "he had a dream". It was a detailed account of the dream. Mark Sharpe took the information shared with him and approached the pastor, the associate pastor, Chuck Taylor, Steve Tucker, and I belive a few other officers. He was demonized and called a liar from the group. Now we know for a fact that at least Mark Dougharty has admitted to saying that the pastor had a dream. The staff members involved remain firm in their statement that Mark Dougharty said the pastor had this detailed dream about this man. It looks like the accuser was not wrong after all but the administration and leaders were wrong.

Another example from early on was the accusation that the pastor's salary was renegotiated after he accepted the call. Once again, the one asking the question about it was demonized and called a liar. We now know that the original accusation was correct. It was admitted in the deacons meeting that his salary was renegotiated upwards of $25,000. That figure was the original figure stated in the accusation.

Let's look at another example. The fence issue is interesting. Steve Gaines, Chuck Taylor, John Caldwell, and Mark Dougharty were accused of jumping a gated neighborhood fence and trespassing. Originally it was denied, then admitted to stepping over a small fence about knee high, to after the pictures were put on the internet, admitted to climbing over. The accuser was oringially demonized and the incident was made fun of in front of the church and deacons. Mark Dougharty actually said "we didn't do anything an EE visit wouldn't do". Once again, the administration and our church leaders misled the church and it turned out that Mark Sharpe was very accurate.

Let's look at another example. The administration stated that Jim Whitmire left on his own and retired. Now we find out that was not the truth. A deacon officer last week went to the Whitmires and heard the truth that they were asked to leave. In fact, the way in which Dr. Jim Whitmire and his wonderful family were treated was shameful to the family of Bellevue.

One last one tonight (more to follow) to include would be the David Smith fiasco. Steve Gaines and the administration said to the staff and church that they didn't know David Smith was leaving when in fact we now know he was asked to leave months earlier by Steve and Mark. Once again, the truth was not told.

Here is the list of wonderful Godly men who were at Bellevue one year ago when Steve Gaines arrived and who are now gone.

Randy Redd
Jim Whitmire
Craig Parker
David Powell
David Smith
Rob Mullins
Cary Vaughn
Tanner Hickman
Ross Ramsey
Greg Ringle

outsidelookingin said...

straining gnats said...
Mark Sharpe was rotating off as a deacon this last year. He removed himself from leadership as a deacon and teacher.

Stop spreading lies by saying he was "kicked off."

straining gnats,
If you are going to continue to blog, stop spreading lies yourself. I know mark sharpe and I can tell you he was rotated off during 2006. He did not resign as a deacon as you have stated. Call him for yourself and ask him. He was scheduled to come back on as all deacons do. Once you are a deacon at Bellevue, you are always a deacon. You may not be an active deacon but you are a deacon. It's my understanding Mark Dougharty said to Mark Sharpe that "you are no longer a deacon at Bellevue." Mark Sharpe has said that he told MD the congregation voted him in and only the congregation can vote him off. This year, John Caldwell I understand chose not to let a handful of deacons back on. He didn't send a letter to them or anything. It seems this pattern has happened before. I've been told John Caldwell has been chairman of the deacon nominating committee now for 8 straigh years.

wondering said...

Consider this, approximately 75% of Bellevue's current deacon leadership is on the ECS Board Of Directors or has previously served at one time. I am told this has been the trend for some time now. What is the connection?

wondering said...

Also, our newest member on staff David Coombs, was on the ECS board. Let's not forget about our pastor, as his children attend as well. I guess the club continues to grow.

New BBC Open Forum said...

ilovebbc wrote: "I was there the night the announcemnet was made that he was joining the staff but I don't recall if there was a vote or not. I believe it was the same night we voted on messengers to the Tenneesee Bapt Convention among other things."

I was there the evening David Coombs was presented to the congregation (it was October 8th), and I can tell you with certainty there was no vote on him or anything else that night including messengers. It was, "Here he is, your new 'Administrative Pastor.'" I remember it clearly because that was the same evening we were treated to the now infamous "The Danger of a Fault-Finding Spirit" sermon.

wondering said...

Can anyone tell me why John Caldwell has been chairman of the selection committee for 8 years?

Where is this written is our church policy? Oh, I forgot there are not written policies that we go by. Here is where many of our problems lie.

Why does the church nominate and vote for deacons but has no say so in the staff? Need help here.

Anonymous said...

Josh,

Thanks for your response...

"At Bellevue, the latest approach has been to trust the various church committees and the administration/pastorate to give the congregation enough information to make the evaluations. To a degree, I believe a certain amount of trust does need to be placed upon the men within the church leadership that they are allowing enough information to be given to the church congregation."

I agree. But...

...one of the things a deacon told me recently was that during the AR era the deacon's meetings were often deferential toward the leadership and committees that were closer to the action and information. And basically, and in general, he said, they often just went along with the leader and would chat about current events and stuff. Now, I'm not suggesting that is or was the case in each meeting. In fact, I remember someone telling me that a certain leader wanted to change something a few months back related Sunday worship and certain deacons spoke up and said that wasn't going to happen. I hope the interaction was respectful and honoring both ways but I absolutely applaud taking a stand. Apparently it was a concern of too much, too fast. Again, I expect (as in require) and hope that these men are able to reason together. And frankly, if they can't or won't – they need to find another area of service that doesn't require the fortitude.

Leaders need peer-quality subordinates. Honest men, men that easily, almost effortlessly, serve humbly and love one another. Men of intelligence and dignity. Men of experience, wisdom and discernment. Men of faith - real, deep, unyielding personal faith. Men who will say, "oh king, live forever. But we will not bow to the idol. Our God is able to save us - and whether by fire or miracle, He will deliver us from your hand oh king. Either way, we will not bow.” Don't you just love that - that's not insubordinate; that's calibrated and yielded to the one true God. Hallelujah! Oh that we would ALL trust Him completely and walk with Him intimately, throwing our lives before him in total adoration and trust. What an exciting thought - Real Christianity!

We would all agree that, as a rule, reasonable people want to believe in and follow their leader. Unreasonable people, who unfortunately will be with us always, will find something to fuss about. But my concern based on my personal observations through this situation, and having worked for and with strong leaders, is that people, even strong, intelligent, smart, able men will sit silently in fear and weakness. Have you not witnessed the “big talk” and posturing only to be amused, and hopefully saddened, by the silence or pitiful squeak in the boardroom? Mind you, there are many reasons to certainly guard your tongue and be wise in regard to timing; and, of course, most certainly! honoring and respecting your authority; but I see a very constant habit of leaders, even pastors – yes, I have personally witnessed it, who open the floor for discussion but have no interest in and often are offended by the input of others. They charm and smother the soul, the drive and life, the heart of the manhood in the men. Uuhhgg. Truly, not from heaven! Truly not a leader!!

Josh said -
“I am not in favor of blind trust or approval, neither am I in favor of complete congregational oversight (or access to information) either. I am satisfied with having Bellevue's deacon body act as the general congregation's proxy in these types of matters.”

I would be too if our system – and in fairness, I'm not there, so maybe I have misjudged the dynamic and reality of our current deacon's meeting and men – but I would be too if our system actually worked with the people currently in place. Honestly, the leaders - staff, elders, and so on - they don't seem to be in touch with where the concerned congregation is. They've ignored, fussed, distanced, huddled, and really done very little to sort all this out and guide us toward healing. And frankly, where were the deacons, where was the staff, where were the shepherds while accusations went unanswered and corrected? I know, I know, “listen to the 9/24 meeting, it's been addressed”, but come on - engage already, stay on the field and run the ball until the buzzer sounds. I'm sorry I guess I'm just frustrated. And perhaps, as I sit here and reflect, frustrated mostly with God. He never is in a hurry. And I have so much to learn. I hope all this is meaningful or helpful to someone. I mean it for good. I'm not bitter or angry, and I don't mean any of this judgmentally. I just honestly want to know, where have they been for so very long. It brings me back to my experience, logic, and observation – and yes I have to fill in some blanks with well balanced reason – but it just seems like we have very few men that have any idea of what is going on and so very few that will speak up and be counted. It didn't happen overnight but I know, that I know, that I know....all is not lost and hope is not extinguished. With Jesus, with Him, as our Saviour, Lord and friend, we will find comfort. We will experience peace. And we will see God in Heaven receive all the credit and all the glory.

Sorry to rant – I'll go take my medication now and spend more time talking to God.

I love you each.

Will McKay said...

Oltimer and Outside,

Mark Sharpe Left The Church...

Why would they ask him to come back as a Deacon when He Left???

"Oh, hey... we know that you haven't been attending the church for several months and don't like the way things are going, so would you consider coming back to serve as a DEACON?"

???

wondering said...

It's plain to see the church needs a church wide business meeting. This time the pastor must share the mic. with people on the other side of the issues. Please pastor, this time don't laugh at people on the other side of the issues, especially in front of other churches.

Someone post when the next church business meeting is. Let's not run from it as it will come to pass.

Let me ask again. "When is the next church business meeting."

wondering said...

How about this.

When and where is the next concerned BBC members meeting? Why not have someone who understands the "Robert's Rule Of Order" which are the "rules" used by our church for business meetings, attend the next meeting? The reasoning is this. Use the correct way to bring {certain motions?} before the church and work that process.

New BBC Open Forum said...

lsg,

Please e-mail me. (Address in profile.) Thanks.

LSG said...

To :new bbc open forum

Why is it ok to mention certain peoples names and not ok to mention other peoples names?? Some of the peoples names I've mentioned are not on staff but you choose to remove my comments anyway?? Who is asking you to do this? Now I'm starting to understand another side to all of this?? Is there flesh in this for you as well and I'm only asking an honest question. I know you mention names on this blog too but I guess you make up rules too.

If I've said something wrong or mean, I sure am sorry. You may remove this as well and if you do I'm out...I understand you know who I am, so if you want to talk, please call me.

Will McKay said...

I agree with LSG on this one.

It looks like you've either got someone/thing to hide or protect.

It's the very same thing you accuse others of doing.

Inconsistent.

LSG said...

TO: New BBC Open Forum

I know who you are as well. Sooo with that I am asking you to put my comments back on or you can bet I'm out. I also know who you are so the next move is yours. I hope you understand my questions and concerns and I hope you answer my questions tonight.

ezekiel said...

Andrew.......

Ditto! I share the same concerns and frustrations I see in your post.

Your reference to the boardroom may hold the key. A quick look at the list of Deacons and their email addresses suggests a good bit of family/business/ECS school inbreeding probably fostered by apparent permanent priveledge rather than continual refreshment by adding new faces. This did not start with Pastor Gaines. He could have used a group of men that did not have all the social/economic baggage that accompanies "outside the church" relationships.

Add to that the appearance that church leaders need to be business owners/their employees or family or board members at ECS and you have a bunch of folks that either have to toe the corporate line or follow the family boss. Bellevue could really benefit from a good old anti-nepatism rule in the Deacon body that would extend to employee/boardmember relationships.

For the Deacons that do not fit this
mold,and I am sure there are some, standing up and asking questions is a sure way to get shown the door. Just ask Mark Sharp or Mr. Emerson.

You can't really blame the real power in the Deacon body, they fought their way to the top in their business and the very nature of that type of man pushes him to get to the top. In this case He/They appear to have gone out and hired themselves a
Preacher and I think a good one. They keep offering up the increase in tithes and salvations like a businessman promotes his sales figures (sales hit an all time high this week....)Silly me, I thought Jesus and the holy spirit did that..

The real problem is the power agreement that they have to have. The real power stays in the hands of a few Deacons and that power is the control of the money ($25-35,000,000).

On the other side the Preacher gets absolute control over the staff and is free to do PDL or anything else he wants to as long as he does not threaten the Deacons' power. Then when you find a Deacon that has the guts to stand and could threaten the agreement he has to be stamped out.

The Chairman was right. We do need a strong leader. One that is strong enough to walk through the temple swinging a whip, rather than one that is willing to settle with the permission to arrange the chairs on the deck....... Dictating tithes, running off tried BFC teachers and running around pounding your chest.
That is not my opinion of a strong leader.

If that leader does not show up soon .....We are left with the hope that there are enough Deacons without family/business ties to make a stand for Christ. Lets' be ready to support Him or Them if He or They show up. Call your business meeting fellows, lets settle this in the open.

I know this sounds horribly negative
but then nobody liked my namesake either.

westtnbarrister said...

LSG,

It's none of my business, but I think there is a slight misunderstanding. NBBCOF asked you to email her in a previous post.

Also, she deleted my post, which was right after yours, for the same reason she deleted yours.

Derrick Calcote said...

MKW said:
"Can we get Bro. Derrick Calcote to explain the procedure for a deacon rotating off and on "active" status? In other churches where I have been a member, a period of "inactivity" always followed a period of "activity," to give deacons who had been serving a while a chance to rest and to be fed without the demands that the office of deacon requires of them."

Be glad to brother. This is the way it works.

Deacons serve a three year "active" term. After that term they have a mandatory year off, being "inactive."

After you are inactive for a year you may, or may not be invited back based on any number of factors.

One reason an "inactive" deacon may not be invited to become "active" for a particular term would be be if it seemed that deacon did not live up to the commitments he said he would abide by.

These "qualifications for a deacon" are made crystal clear to you. In fact we are given a written copy so there is no confusion.

One of these qualifications is that we will "...work with loyalty under the pastor's leadership."

In my personal opinion that absent genuine repentance, this obviously would preclude certain people from becoming active deacons.

In His service, and yours,

Derrick Calcote

Derrick Calcote said...

Quote: "Half the deacons are concerned about him too."

Again with the rumor, gossip and slander.

As a deacon let me say this: Nothing I've seen or heard in deacons meetings, after meetings, in fellowship, or wherever with my deacon brothers would suggest that this 50% number has any basis in realitity.

The first time I heard this number was right before the first deacons' meeting that addressed these issues. To be honest, I didn't know what to make of it and I was quite concerned. I went into the meeting expecting it to be very contentious.

Instead it was about as harmonious a meeting as you could imagine.

There were a couple of guys with questions, but they weren't upset.

And with each meeting we've had since then it seems to me that this unity and support is only growing.

In His service, and yours,

Derrick Calcote

New BBC Open Forum said...

lsg,

I asked you to please e-mail me privately. You said nothing mean or out of line. I just need to talk with you, and I will explain why your comment was deleted.

And for the record, I have no earthly idea who you are (nor is it any of my business). Anyone is welcome to freely post here using only a screen name. Likewise, you do not know who I am, so please don't claim to know something you don't.

Thanks,

NBBCOF

I love my church said...

Brother Calcote, I respect you and your service. I appreciate your opinions and the witness of your character. I hate like anyting to dispute what you said. However, I'm certain a large percentage of your deacon brothers have changed since that first meeting.

I know you desperately want to defend the pastor and I bet your fellow deacons know it too. My guess is you don't know the true pulse of the deacons because you are presumed unwilling to consider anything other than unqualified support for the pastor. You seem like a super nice man here, yet I see you as so entrenched in your viewpoint that you are unapproachable with any evidence conflicting with your view. Others likely see you the same way.

I bet if you spent time talking with a different group you would have a different feeling for what is really happening.

Remember, you were certain the pastor does not check tithes. Even after evidence out of the pastor's mouth was provided that he did it at Gardendale you refused to believe he does that. I think you finally said even if he does, you don't mind. My point is you thought you knew something that was easily proven untrue, or at least highly debately. You weren't lying, you believed it.

I don't think you are lying about the deacons either because I think you really believe it. I also think if you try you this will easily prove untrue.

I'm as confident what I said is true as you are it is false. Conversations this week with multiple active deacons is where my information came from. I believe what they told me.

I am sorry to disagree with you, Sir. Thank you again.

New BBC Open Forum said...

lsg,

Also, I removed only one of your comments. Any other comments you've made are still there unless you removed them.

The only names mentioned in your comment that I removed were Mark Sharpe, Richard Emerson, and Chuck Taylor, names that have been mentioned in many comments in many contexts here. I actually agreed with everything you wrote, so that wasn't the problem! There was an unrelated reason for removing your comment as well as WTB's comment right after yours.

There has been a misunderstanding, and I will explain myself to you privately if you'll just e-mail me.

NBBCOF

Outsider said...

I've got an idea for those who oppose the leadership and direction of Bellevue. Take a look at the New Testament church and let's talk about the issues at Bellevue in light of what the scripture teaches and displays.

1. Get the deacon body to approve and decide what to do about the Pastor - oh, never mind, Deacons were appointed to serve the church and specifically widows and tables - not make decisions for the church.

2. Let's approach the government of the church to see what traditional Baptist polity is - oh never mind, there were no such rules or even Baptists in the pure New Testament church.I'm not even sure when Roberts was born or wrote his rules of order,but I believe it was after the New Testament.

3. Perhaps the church should run everything by the congregation as a whole - oh nevermind, there was not an organized congregational structure in the New testament and most definately, they didn't gather to determine and "vote" to approve things. They met in homes, ate together and daily there were those added to the church who were being saved.

4. Maybe instead there should be a business meeting where all members can voice their opinions - oh nevermind, the new tesament church didn't have any type of business meeting or in any formal way (cards, rolls, or other ways) recognize "membership" much less operate as a business.

5. Maybe the church should fire the pastor or the staff that he has surrounded himself with - oh nevermind, the new testament church existed in such a way that pastors and leaders usually didn't get paid, their needs were met by unselfish non-consumer based followers of Christ who didn't engage in arguments that accomplished nothing.

6. If only the membership knew and managed the church finances like the new testament church - oh never mind, they sold everything they had and gave it to meet the needs of others. It could be that the membership and the machine of the church has become so much like a business that only allows members into the gym, and serves its membership to the point of making everything comfortable and entertaining, that the new testament model is too far gone to ever come back to without a major adjustment - maybe that is what God is doing. Purging the church.

7. Maybe the church, if it gave the power back to the people and let them run it, it would accomplish more - oh nevermind, the new tesament church didn't go from pwer struggle to power struggle. Thet suffered for the sake of the gospel and yet continued to share it daily to those who had yet to hear. Maybe if we invested more time in doing that and less time in determining who was right in front of people all over the country, the Spirit of God would revisit us and what matters would come back to priority position.

This is not an attack, but a question of values.

Do we care more about our rights as "church members" which may not even be a biblical concept, than we do about the people who are reading these issues and skeptically laughing at the body of Christ. Do we try to weild power by "withholding our tithe" so that we really "show" the leadership we mean business only damaging the very thing say we love.

Even more fearful is that there are those who actually rejoice, yes rejoice, in the downfall of Bellevue, Dr. Gaines, or any other personalities involved on either "side".
Check your true motivation - do you find yourself getting excited when you read a post that might actually cast doubt on someone's character whether Mark Sharpe of Steve Gaines? If so, scripture regards that as sin to be repented of. Should we honestly sontinue this debate or discussion? NO. We ought to be weeping and face down on our knees seeking God. Not crying because of our lost priviledges or the inability we have to affect change by our comments or position in the church, but because we know that regardless of what "side" you are on, this should stop and the church should have multiple days of fasting and praying to align itself again with the SPIRIT OF GOD - not discussions or meetings! Consider this a challenge to prayer and purity. Please stop defending your position, and fall on your face. Stop the discussion and being praying and fasting for the church - maybe even for 40 days if that is what it takes. Let each esteem others better than themselves - from the youngest to the oldest - submit yourselves to God and stop the discussions until you hear clearly from God's Spirit. That should change everything including how we approach the issues.

dumbfounded said...

I can no longer watch men like derrick and josh and
and others speak about finincial and deacon issues that are laughable...in their insistence that "they know" the truth about detailed staff salary and budgeting decisions, as well as the "concensus" support for Dr. Gaines. You are both speaking way beyond your level of knowledge.

ilovebbc said...

Richard Emerson said "Now, Bellevue can begin to put up her sails and let God begin to blow in her direction and lets see what our mighty God can do."

I know he was referring to healing and restoration in the current situation but God is still very much alive and well in our midst. Anyone who was in the services this past Sunday morning and Sunday night saw what our mighty God can do. The counseling room was overflowing with people making decisions for the Lord. Yes, I know someone will criticize me for making reference to numbers saved but those numbers represent changed lives for eternity.

Outsider is correct in his comments. Many people have come on here saying they know something for a fact because someone they trust told them. Someone else comes on and says they know someone else they trust who said just the opposite about the same thing. That profits us nothing.
"Dumbfounded" just posted that a couple of regular posters on this blog have no real knowledge of the things they've said. The two he referenced will probably come back and say, "contrar, contrar". The solution is simple - if you don't have permission to repeat information from those directly involved, do not repeat it.

I ask again, why not just submit all questions you've posted on this forum to the Ad Hoc Committee, patiently wait for them to do their work and then discuss their answers? If you have a question about church policy/procedure ask them to provide your answer. If you have a question about bylaws or a lack of bylaws, ask them to provide your answer. If you have a question about anything, ask them to provide the answer. If you don't trust or believe the answers they provide, then discuss what to do.

scmom said...

Richard,

I will be praying for your son. Praying for Bellevue and all ...

IWTK said...

People who have questions about the Deacon interview process for new and returning deacons should talk to John Caldwell directly or go through the Communications Committee. To my knowledge, Mr. Calcote is not a member of the Perspective Deacon Interview Committee or the Communication Committee.

People who have questions should pose them to the Communications Committee or the Committee Chairperson over the particular area of concern. This is the church governance model for now. This would greatly reduce the amount of mis-information posted and keep emotions and un-founded statements from being spewed to the whole world. We should keep this within the walls of Bellevue and the Pastor and leadership have enhanced ways for members to get their questions and concerns addressed. I beg each of you to utilize the appropriate channels. To my knowledge, less than 20 people have submitted anything to the Communications Committee.

Let start to be an example to the Christian world of how we can work in harmony for the betterment of our beloved church. Changes have happened and can continue if we conduct ourselves civilly and work together through the proper channels and not on web sites and blogs.

cjesusnme said...

IWTK,

I am speaking only for myself when I say this, but I think I have lost faith in our leadership. Don't confuse that with me losing faith in my Lord and Savior, because that's not what I am saying. I have continued to see this go on for months now and watch dear friends leave left and right from our wonderful church because the were told "if you don't like the change, then you might want to find another church". We were even told that by one of the Deacons after we voiced our concerns to him, long before the Ad Hoc committee was formed. Why do we feel now that things sill change? I personally don't. Not until both sides come together. I keep seeing the SAME few men's names mentioned on all these committees, that none of us have voted for them to be on. Why can't others (real nobodies like me or my husband) serve on these committees? Is there a secrete club at Bellevue? I feel like I'm in college again, or maybe even High School because of the "clicks" being formed. I am just disappointed in the choices being made and how Bellevue is now viewed by non-Bellevue members(and you can't blame it all on these blogs!).

Richard, thank you for your sincere and heartfelt post. My family has prayed for you and EVERYONE involved and will continue to do so until this is resolved.

I think it is time for EVERYONE to put aside their PRIDE and come together to settle this and move on! I pray that God will continue to be glorified and that we can all come together and worship together again and Praise God for his healing!

Because HE lives!

IWTK said...

cjesusnme: I am so sorry that a Deacon told you to leave if you did not like it. I beg you to talk to the Communications Committee. They are expanding the Committee to inculde more people outside the normal suspects. They are trying hard to make this work. I know most of the men on the Committee and I can tell you that they are not on one side or the other. They want to see Jesus lifted up and glorified. Their job is a huge endevor and we should pray for them. Give this process a chance to work.

BR said...

If less than 20 submissions have been received by the committee, that should tell you something. Perhaps the congregation does not have the faith in the committee to handle the situation or answer their questions? Who gets the questions when they come in anyway? Who opens them first? Are you actually receiving all of them?
Many questions here, please respond. Thank you.

IWTK said...

BR: I would suggest you contact Harry Smith, he is the chairman. I am not the proper person to comment or provide information. I have opinions on why they are <20 submissions but I will keep them to myself.

BR said...

iwtk,
Thank you

Stillamember said...

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like one of the main problems here could be in perspectives.

To me ever since I can remember Dr. Rogers had always brought financial issues to the church. How much revenue we made during offerings, how much new construction was going to cost, what they were doing with the money made, etc.. Dr. Rogers seemed to have a view of being open with the congregation. Could it be that Dr. Steve Gaines view is the opposite? There seems to be a lot of contraversy between whether the congregation should have rights to decision making or if it's only biblical for it to be up to the elders and leadership of the church. Maybe Dr. Steve Gaines didn't have an issue with this at Gardendale, but I don't believe our congregation is used to this at all.

In my eyes, I could easily compare our current leadership's relationship with the congregation to our current congress/senate and the people. Out of touch. I do not like that and it makes me feel uneasy.

Truth Hunter said...

Everyone needs to read those articles mentioned by two different people in this thread. They are on church governement. I read four different articles and they gave me a whole lot to think about. Our church is not operating as it supposed to operate.

IWTK said...

Stillamember: Please voice your concerns with the Communications Committee.

IWTK said...

Truth Hunter: Please, please take your concerns to the Communications Committee.

Truth Hunter said...

iwtk,

Do they have any authority to deal with changing our church government? For that matter, do they have authority to do anything?

I haven't given them questions because I don't have faith in them as a committee. When a tough problem comes up, powerful men have a habit of forming committees who decide what the commoners should be allowed to know and they spin the story the way it is least harmful to those in charge. I am sure they are sincere. Nothing will come out of it that the pastor and Chuck Taylor don't want coming out, so it is a waste of my time. It's just a further layer between the leaders and the people.

We have a lot of problems and that committee has no authority to fix them. All they can do is give answers they obtain from someone else. It is a way to control the way information gets out.

We're too worried about looking bad to all these new visitors coming for their CD and Goo Goo candy bar that we have foolishly let this drag on instead of dealing with it head on. It's time to stop this nonsense. It has been three months since this thing went public and Nothing has been done. The longer this drags on the more people will believe the pastor did something wrong.

Even if everyone on the committee is perfectly sincere, I don't believe the powers that be will let them know or do anything they don't want known or done. I think it was a real bad idea.

Maybe they will prove me wrong. I hope they do.

IWTK said...

Truth Hunter: I can not comment on what authority they do or do not have. That is a question for Harry Smith. Please contact him directly.

Truth Hunter said...

iwtk and mkw,

I don't mean to sound ugly. I just gave you my honest view of that committee. I know you can't tell me what their authority is, that is part of the problem, no one knows and the congregation had no hand in picking it. Maybe over time I will see it differently.

Please know, I don't blame the men on the committee whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need to engage (politely) the Communications Committee.

Things change. Don't assume they are as defensive and protective as you think or as they may have been in the past.

Give them a chance.

I have presented questions and received answers from the communications committee. I trust and believe the person I spoke with on the committee. And until I see clearly that he is intentionally lying, which I don't believe he ever will, I will continue to trust and work with him toward resolution.

We all need to take a positive roll in this. Let's keep moving forward with whoever is willing to work toward our common goal – restoration and rebuilding.

Later, there will be more clarity and opportunity to clean house if and as needed.

For now we need to let God work in the hearts of men.

Stand firm in love for one another.

mostlylurkin said...

Members of the original Ad Hoc committee were given to the church by Dr. Gaines. I have not seen a list of these men in any followup comunication. I did not write them down and now my rememberer needs a reboot. Since we are encouraged to contact them, could someone please post that list and include all NEW members mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

Communications Committee:

Harry Smith - Chairman
John Crockett
Scott Foster
Mark Spiller
Jim Barnwell
Steve Tucker
David Coombs
The Finance Committee
Chuck Taylor - Ex-Officio

*

MOM4 said...

Who are the members of the "expanded" committee?
Also, since Chuck Taylor is one of the individuals who has been at odds with other members, why is he on the committee in the first place if this committee is to be open and unbiased?
Harry Smith also had a "speaking" performance at the 9/24 meeting, but declared that he had no knowledge of any of the incidents that were being discussed, perhaps his position on this committee will enlighten him?
David Coombs is a congregationally unapproved new hire, will he be loyal to his employer?
Jim Barnwell is on staff and of course could loose his job as so many others have done.
I do not know many of the others, but if they are of the same mindset, I can see why we are not moving along in the submissions to the committee.
I believe the members of the committee could be why there has been so little response.
I also want to say that I have no personal ax to grind with these men, it just waddles like a duck.

mostlylurkin said...

iwtk said "I beg you to talk to the Communications Committee. They are expanding the Committee to inculde more people outside the normal suspects."

Thank you Andrew, does anyone have the names of the "more people"? My understanding is that the expanded committee met last Wed so it should be known to many the final makeup of this group of brothers.

IWTK said...

MOM4: Please take the opportunity to get to know Harry and Chuck. They are not ducks. This is your church's attempt to inform members and answer member's questions. People have been screaming for change, so change was made and for the first time since I have been at Bellevue (1993), we have such a group. As far as I know, potential new members are being contacted.

outsidelookingin said...

MOM4
If you contact any of the ad hoc committee, I'd not contact Chuck or Harry. They are too close to Steve Gaines. I've spoken with them and found out later my time was wasted. I was very dissapointed. I love these men and pray for them but my experience with them was not fruitful.

MOM4 said...

IWTK,
Sorry, I did not call them "ducks". That was a supposed to be a "funny" - a simile.
It is a quote often used and from several sources and I have heard it almost all my life..No harm intended.

IWTK said...

mom4: I know what you meant. I had to have a chuckle in all of this! :-)

MOM4 said...

Outside,
That was my point with the "duck" comment. I appreciate your input and I have sent my submission last week. I have yet to hear from anyone. I guess I was not too far off in my assessments. Perhaps I will try again - perhaps I will wait and see what they do.

I love my church said...

I sent Chuck Taylor an email a month ago. It was nonjudgmental and respectful towards both Chuck and the pastor. I simply asked him the questions that were on my mind. I received an auto-reply and that was all. So, please don't ask me to take anything to Chuck or to this committee. If it were a different group of men I would feel differently.

MOM4 said...

Is Gene Howard on the committee?

IWTK said...

I love my church: With all due respect, Chuck has been getting many emails sent to his company email address. He has a business to run and he has to make a living.

I suggest you meet with him or Harry in person. Nothing will be resolved by flipping emails over the wall. I sound like a broken record, but folks need to utilize the avenues provided. The Communication Committee was not even formed a month ago.

ilovebbc said...

Perhaps they might be getting asked the same questions many, many times. They might prepare one master document to be viewed by all the membership that shows all the questions with all the answers at once. I don't know how they will function but as iwtk said, they are working men, doing this as they have time away from their jobs and their families. Give them the time they need. Hadn't we rather have it done correctly than quickly?

Anonymous said...

The Committee is working to sort all this out and provide answers.

Please make sure you are at church on Sunday.

*

MOM4 said...

Sunday Morning or Sunday Evening - I want to make sure everyone I know that is interested is there.

Josh Tucker said...

I'm wondering if, based on a lot of the commentary, a public organizational chart (committees, committee members, area of responsibility/purpose, etc.) showing the overall structure of Bellevue might do a world of good for people in the dark as to how everything is set up.

It's not exactly a question, but the communications committee is probably the best place to start.

IWTK said...

There is a book call "Lay Leadership", (I think that is the title), that has all the committees, the chairperson and all the members listed, along with their scope of responsibility. I believe copies are available in the Library or the ERC.

Josh Tucker said...

Is there a organizational chart for the administrative or pastoral offices as well?

BBCDad said...

Mom4,

you said "Jim Barnwell is on staff and of course could loose his job as so many others have done.

Could you please tell us who so many others are and the circumstances of how they lost their Job?

Just curious since you seem to have the inside track on everyone who has left.

I love my church said...

iwtk,

I have emailed Chuck at that same address before and he never minded before this started. Also, forget the committee, he was the Deacon Chairman. My email was for him, not a committee.

MOM4 said...

bbcdad,
"Outside looking in posted this:
Here is the list of wonderful Godly men who were at Bellevue one year ago when Steve Gaines arrived and who are now gone.

Randy Redd
Jim Whitmire
Craig Parker
David Powell
David Smith
Rob Mullins
Cary Vaughn
Tanner Hickman
Ross Ramsey
Greg Ringle

7:23 PM, November 02, 2006

Anonymous said...

The Communication Committee will give a Report...

...at the end of the Sunday Evening Service...

...after the Lord's Supper and Cary Vaughn recognition.

*

mostlylurkin said...

Josh, Derrick, somebody

"Thank you Andrew, does anyone have the names of the "more people"? My understanding is that the expanded committee met last Wed so it should be known to many the final makeup of this group of brothers."

Please, if anyone knows the answer, I sure hope it is not another secret?

MOM4 said...

bbcdad,
I do know all of these men who are now gone. I do not know all of the circumstances around their departure because I have yet to talk to all of them, but I do know personally that things were not as we were led to believe because I have talked to some of them and the stories are way too similar. I have submitted that to the committee as well. Maybe it will be covered Sunday..

Truth Hunter said...

Deacon Calcote,

I notice you have not responded to I Love My Church from last night. Is this an oversight or is his/her analysis correct?

SISTER PAM GREMILLION said...

outsidelookingin said...

Let's look at another example. The administration stated that Jim Whitmire left on his own and retired. Now we find out that was not the truth. A deacon officer last week went to the Whitmires and heard the truth that they were asked to leave. In fact, the way in which Dr. Jim Whitmire and his wonderful family were treated was shameful to the family of Bellevue.

+++

Greetings to you in the most holy name of Jesus!

My dear husband read your post to me and tears filled my eyes as I listened to your comments about our beloved Jim Whitmire and others.

I just want to share my heart with you about Brother Whitmire.

Brother Jim Whitmire tirelessly honored the LORD with the work of his heart and hands.

He constantly sacrificed to bless us in the name of the LORD!

He served all at Bellevue with an unselfish heart and I have no doubts that he has acquired many crowns to throw at JESUS feet!

This faithful servant of the LORD was no less than abused by men in high authority at our church and yet he quietly limped away, dragging behind him, a broken heart.

That was a year ago.

I wonder how many of our dear brothers and sisters knew the truth about Brother Jim`s last days at Bellevue.

If anyone knew,I wonder who stepped forward to face those who would abuse our dear brother like this?

If there were some Mighty Men of Valor who went forth to bring this tradedy to light, I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.

The deacon officer was not aware of the real story behind the Whitmire`s for one whole year. I don`t understand this but I do know that when he found out the TRUTH, he ran to his brother`s side to hear his heart. Oh, that we could be more like that.

I don`t feel comfortable speaking the deacon officer`s name, but thank you dear deacon, if you are reading this!

Since, I have personally talked to the deacon officer that you mentioned in your post and to the Whitmires, I am confident that I have the TRUTH.

If anyone reading outsidelookingin`s comments should have a doubt, I would like to take this opportunity to just come alongside him as his truthful witness to these events.

When I have a concern, I go directly to the person involved and I would encourage each person to do the very same thing! It is a little time consuming but tine well spent even though I have been left wounded and bleeding by the way some of the leadership has personally treated me and my husband but when we lay our heads down on our pillows at night, we can honestly say "It is well with our souls". I pray all us can have this kind of peace tonight and every night.

Would you join me in praying a special blessing over the Whitmire`s tonight!

Have a blessed weekend in the LORD!

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,

Sister Pam Gremillion

mostlylurkin said...

Quote: "Half the deacons are concerned about him too."

Again with the rumor, gossip and slander.

With all due respect Brother Derrick, I believe you believe what you are saying. This whole matter got to where it is because you and others of leadership somehow cannot see the breath and depth of these contentious issues in a timely way. It’s no wonder the Pastor continues to get blindsided. All of the so called headcounts have been dangerously flawed and your representation of the unity of the Deacon body is also.

I’m not about to out anybody here or elsewhere but be assured there is a bunch of deacons that disagree with you and much of what has happened within their leadership. Common sense will tell you that you and other declared loyalist will be the last people in the church to hear what’s really on their mind.

How can you blame these guys, they’re in a tough spot. Giving up their seat at the table for what? They know what their future holds one way or another. You guys need a secret handshake or a secret ballot or some other non suicidal way to know who’s who and what’s what. The best place to look for answers sometimes is right under you nose.

David Orwig said...

I was a member of Randy Redd's class and know for a fact that his decision to leave was voluntary and had to do with an available ministry position that was near to his heart in another state.

If what was posted above about the circumstances of the Whitmire's departure was true then I am ashamed of our church and our leadership. Things like that happen in a corporation not in a church. We should have given Jim the honor due him for such faithful service to the Lord and to us.

What I want to know is are we a church that believes the Bible all the time or only when it is convenient. Scripture clearly teaches how to pursue reconciliation in Matthew 18 and this applies to all small and great. It applies even if the circumstances are embarrassing.

I think egos are part of the problem and I refer to both sides. The issues at stake have to do with integrity even if it only has to do with trespassing or whether or not someone said the Pastor had a dream. If lies were involved even about somthing so seemingly small and insignificate then the person or persons involved owe the church an explanation.

Sincerely,

David Orwig

Derrick Calcote said...

With all due respect to those who continue to beat the drum of "half the deacons" are not standing in unity with the pastor let me say this.

If the numbers of dis-unified deacons are anywhere near "half" then these men have no courage of their conviction.

They have had AMPLE opportunity to voice their concerns both in deacons meetings, or with the leadership outside of the meetings.

Instead they have stood and applauded our pastor and those who stand with him with vigor.

Doing so, in my opinion would make them not only lacking courage, but also would make them dishonest. Dishonest by choosing to hide their true feelings and instead pretend to support the pastor. Such men in my opinion would be unworthy of any position within the church, much less that of a servant/leader.

However I do not think that to be the case. I think the deacon body is made up guys who by and large try their best to lead Godly lives of integrity. I choose to believe the deacon body is as a whole an honest body, who would not try and deceive others about their true feelings.

So I stand by my statement that those who report that "about half" of the active deacon body is not standing in unity with the pastor are are doing nothing short of engaging in gossip, which our Lord takes very seriously.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote

Derrick Calcote said...

The two new members of the communications committee (to be added) are Jim Angel and Derek Duncan.

New BBC Open Forum said...

mkw,

1. Talk to Mrs. Whitmire.

2. You have a point.

Truth Hunter said...

Brother Calcote,

Sadly, I have to agree with I Love My Church. Look what happens to deacons who disagree with your unqualified support for the pastor. For that matter, look what happens to anyone (the Gremillions for example) who disagrees with your position. I know for a fact you are incorrect in your assessment of the deacons. FACT! A deacon said yesterday the number is somewhere between 40 and 60. That is a statistically significant group.

I don't know what to make of your refusal to allow for the possibilty you are wrong about any of this. I believe you are sincere. I just can't imagine how you get to the point you know the truth about what the pastor has done with the certainty you portray here.

You know for sure the pastor was not planning to take money on foreign trips (it's easy for him to say that now because he has been questioned). Has anyone verified how he handled this in the past? His word is insufficient. If he was accepting money for these trips at Gardendale, he should resign immediately. I don't care if he paid the taxes, it is nothing more than a kickback on the backs of his flock. I am not accusing him of this, but he we need to know the truth. He can provide his tax returns and someone can easily tell if he has reported income from travel companies. That would only take a few minutes.

You also know for sure he did not improperly use the credit cards. I've been told Mark D. has admitted he did this. Who is right? You or Mark D?

You also know for sure he doesn't check to see who tithes. We have audio evidence that suppports the idea he does check.

We know I could go on and on.

It may be true Matthew 18 wasn't followed to the letter. If the allegations are true, neither were the 3rd, 7th, and 8th commandments and arguably the 10th. Lots of Scipture has been violated here.

I feel sorry for Dr. Dobson. Yesterday, he knew for sure the reports about his good friend, Rev. Haggard, were true. Today he had to retract that statement. Do you want to be in that position?

What about those men who vigorously defended Frank Harbor in Texas? How do they feel now?

I don't know the pastor is guilty of anything. I pray he isn't. I think if he is it will be awful for our church. However, Brother Calcote, I know you would agree that Bellevue is bigger than one man. We just need to know the truth. We can handle it, whatever it may be. We need it so we can move on.

This is wearing everyone out. Continued insistence he did nothing wrong by those who brought him here and those like you only make us more suspicious. We are left to wonder if he did nothing wrong, why can't unbiased men verify this for us and clear his name. This should be a real simple process. Most of these questions are easily answered. I have to say I question those protecting the pastor more than I question the pastor. The stonewall you men have erected around him since this started is embarrassing for our church.

I've read that email exchange between two deacons. I'm sure you have seen them too. Four different deacons sent them to me so surely you have seen them too. The one deacon said even if all the allegations are true it won't matter. He believes all of it amounts to nothing. He also said our church was dying under Dr. Rogers.

My questions for you and anyone else are these: What if you are proven wrong about all of it? That one deacon believes it doesn't matter. Do you agree with that? Do you believe the allegations amount to nothing?

Also, do you think our church was dying under Dr. Rogers (or "Adrian" as this disrespectful deacon called him)? I can't believe anyone believes that, especially a deacon who served under Dr. Rogers.

I'm sorry to call you out. It kills me to do it. I have never dreamed of leaving Bellevue. Unless this ends soon, I'm leaving and taking the 17 members of my family with me. I'm sure some would prefer we just go instead of asking these questions. I'm Bible-conscience bound to ask before going anywhere.

I am not going to debate this. I'd just like some answers to everyone's questions.

Lwood said...

What kind of answers do you think we will hear from the communications committee Sunday night??I'm sorry to be a pessimist but I don't think we will hear anything except the same covers.....

Diana Hart said...

MKW,

I don't consider Dr. Whitmire to be dishonest but rather staying above the fray. I assume if someone asks him to his face what happened, he may feel he should tell them but for the most part he is trying to get on with his life. I can't understand how someone who is in the choir didn't notice what was going on. When he read his resignation letter, he listed out every single program he had ever started. Did it not seem like he was making a point about something?

Diana Hart

ezekiel said...

Mostlylurkin says

How can you blame these guys, they’re in a tough spot. Giving up their seat at the table for what? They know what their future holds one way or another. You guys need a secret handshake or a secret ballot or some other non suicidal way to know who’s who and what’s what. The best place to look for answers sometimes is right under you nose.

Thanks for making my point for me. Your post says that a Deacon has a seat at the table. The way it looks the same 6-8 men are permanent diners. I wonder what the meal consists of? Do you reckon it might be the Fat of the Flock? Would we constantly find the same men at the table if it were served with humble service and work? Why do we see the same faces year after year, playing musical chairs on the various committees when we have 30,000 members? Can a church like Bellevue only muster 200 faithful men?

What does it really say when we think deacons need a secret ballot, secret handshake or other non-suicidal way of finding out what? What ever happened to strong men, led by the Holy Spirit voting their convictions? It looks like this position has been turned into a men's club. Wonder what the communications committee would say to a request for a complete list of Deacons with family/business associations to other Deacons clearly revealed? Then finish it off with a request for a detailed report
of payments made to them or their businesses over the last 5 years......WOW....A good place to start is to ask why Jeff Arnold has an apparently permanent seat on the long range planning committee that I understand is responsible for developing building plans for the future. How much of that 25-30 million do you think will find it's way to his plate? What engineering/architect firm gets all the work for our building projects?

5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].

5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

ezekiel said...

The scripture was Ephesians.

On another note we just received the love offering glossy and it just so happens Mr. Arnold is front and center asking for our dollars....We keep hearing about parking and traffic flow problems, wonder what that new parking garage is going to cost us.....

Ed_T said...

Just a bit of trivia, but our church of "30,000" is actually more like 18,000. The church has about 12,000 members for which they get returned mail (offering envelopes, etc.).

Members move away or go to other churches and don't bother to notify the church that they're no longer a member. I don't believe the church ever purges it rolls, so no telling how long our membership numbers have included these "MIA" church members.

I would guess a lot of mega-churches have similar inflated membership figures. Nothing really to do with this discussion except for people every now and then posting a note about a "church of 30,000 members".

Derrick Calcote said...

Truth Hunter,

I doubt I can address all your points but here are a few.

***
I know for a fact you are incorrect in your assessment of the deacons. FACT! A deacon said yesterday...
***

Again... rumor and gossip. Not fact.

***
the number is somewhere between 40 and 60. That is a statistically significant group.
***

Even if that number is correct (which would surprise me) that number does not constitute "half."

***
You know for sure the pastor was not planning to take money on foreign trips
***

If a man I regard as honest, and whom the Lord has placed above me as my spiritual authority looks me in the eye and says he wasn't going to take money for something, I will take him at his word.

***
You also know for sure he did not improperly use the credit cards.
***

Yes. This was confirmed by examination by Chip Freeman, David Coombs, Wayne Vander Steeg, Harry Smith, Aubery Earnhart, Perrin Jones, Mark McDaniel, John Hyneman, Everette Hatcher, Chuck Taylor, Steve Tucker, Jeff Arnold, Scott Foster, Mark Spiller, Bart Berretta, Mike Hobday, Bryan Miller, Jim Barnwel, and Gene Howard.

I know most of these fine people and trust them implicitly. If they say everything there is reasonable and customary, I have no reason to doubt their word.

***
I've been told Mark D. has admitted he did this.
***

"I've been told." More rumor, gossip and slander.

***
He doesn't check tithes.
***

Correct. There is a general check of some (like deacons before we are ordained, and before we are reactivated) to see if they are giving. But they can not check "tithing" as they have no information on what we make.

Also Pastor Gaines doesn't check this personally.

Also this has been the policy for deacons for many years preceding Pastor Gaines' arrival.

***
I don't know the pastor is guilty of anything.
***

Then in love, I would strongly suggest that in light of scripture you stop lobbing accusations.

***
What if you are proven wrong about all of it?
***

At this point I am not aware of any substantive allegation that is out there that I have not received a satisfactory answer to, so that doesn't relate.

***
Also, do you think our church was dying under Dr. Rogers.
***

Pastor Rogers was a dear friend to my family. My father had lunch with him a day or two before he entered the hospital. When I greeted him in the lobby of my office that day he was already "fighting a cold" that turned out to be tragically much more.

So based on that alone I'd certainly not choose a word that harsh to describe what was going on at Bellevue. But the point that was being made was our attendance was unfortunately on a steady decline.

This is no condemnation at all of our beloved Pasor Rogers, these types of things happen from time to time in the life of a church.

May the glory go to the Lord Jesus and to Him alone, we are seeing attendance on the rise again. While some of the changes we have gone through may not suit the tastes of us all, our Lord is blessing it. We see His mighty hand at work every week in the counseling room.

I pray some of this will be of use to you and others, especially the part about the credit card usage.

Frankly based on the people (and number of people) who have reviewed that, I can not imagine who would cast doubts on that at this point.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote

Truth Hunter said...

Deacon Calcote,

Thank you for your response.

Reread what I said, I did not lob any allegation at the Pastor. I merely used examples that have been heavily discussed within the church.

Also, I did not say half. Others said that. I said 40-50 would be significant. Again, I know that number for a FACT.

I could say more, but I don't think it is worth it. Where I see men on a holy high horse, you see fine people you trust implicitly. Sadly, we will never reconcile our opinions.

ezekiel said...

Truth Hunter,

Check under those men on "High Horses" and see if they are mounted on Steve Tucker, Harry Smith and Darrell Nephew's (all active deacons) Tucker Saddles.

Derrick Calcote said...

We can now officially agree on one thing.

Since you have just labeled a host of Godly men as "men on a holy high horse," barring a change in your own heart, we will indeed never reconcile our opinions.

The men on that list that I do know are among the most Godly men I know.

It pains me to see them impugned by someone who is presumably my brother in Christ.

Derrick Calcote said...

Check under those men on "High Horses" and see if they are mounted on Steve Tucker, Harry Smith and Darrell Nephew's (all active deacons) Tucker Saddles.

And the slander of Godly men continues.

The Lord has graced me with a great compassion for those who have stood in opposition to our pastor. He has called me to a ministry of reconciliation.

But now for the first time since I've undertaken this task He has laid before me, my heart is truly broken as I see my dear brothers in Christ mocked.

May our Lord have mercy on those who slander his saints, and draw them to repentance.

ezekiel said...

Sorry you took my last post as slanderous, but a quick internet search reveals that all of these deacons are involved as partners/empolyees in the same saddle making business. My question and reference here again is why are there so many of the deacons in power so interconnected in their personal/business lives? This appears to be too well orchestrated to be just a luck of the draw. There seems to be a real pattern here. How is requesting the truth slanderous? Everytime something "uncomfortable" to deal with is brought up, some start throwing such terms around. Why can't the questions be answered?

Anonymous said...

Why can't the questions be answered?

Last I checked, every substantive question has been answered. The problem lies in the "butwhatabouts," when some folks are forced to resort to use thinner and flimsier things as objects of their indignation.

Please--ask yourself just how productive it is to refer to others with whom you disagree on issues to be men on "high horses." Or, for that matter, "high holy horses."

Yes, I like the alliteration, but I despise the disparagement.

--Mike

Truth Hunter said...

Deacon Calcote,

That characterization may have been too much. I didn't mean it as it sounded. I am upset about this. I still shouldn't have said it that way and I regret it.

However, my point remains. You call them Godly men (as does the pastor. It isn't lost on many how he puffs up those insulating him from all accusations). I don't dispute they are Godly men. I don't dispute the pastor is a Godly man.

Where we differ is I believe they are also fallible sinners (as am I) hiding behind the vestments of the church to protect themselves and their own. They take pride in their position at Bellevue, as do you, sir. That pride makes them vulnerable.

In this forum there is no give in your comments. Never. You don't allow for even the remotest possibility you are wrong about ANYTHING. Sometimes you interject yourself with certitude where certainty is impossible.

Just because you accept the pastor's word or Chuck Taylor's word does not mean we can. Some of us are like Thomas. We need to place our hands on the scars to restore faith. For many, our faith is shattered, not in our Lord, in our leaders. Instead of saying trust me, why not do as Christ did and grab our hands and give us what we need to believe.

I'm sorry to be so direct, but since you worked the word "presumably" into your last response, I decided I would be blunt. That was your way of casting doubt on my salvation. You will be happy to know I've worked my salvation out on my knees with fear and trembling.

I am sorry to everyone who will read this. I began learning about all these things a year ago and I am sick about what is happening to my church. I have decided to say what I think because this church is in trouble. We need straight talk, not what we have been getting.

Leaders, we are responding to months of inaction.

Truth Hunter said...

God bless Richard Emerson for his open letter.

1john3 said...

A good place to start is to ask why Jeff Arnold has an apparently permanent seat on the long range planning committee that I understand is responsible for developing building plans for the future. How much of that 25-30 million do you think will find it's way to his plate? What engineering/architect firm gets all the work for our building projects?

1john3 said...

Conflict of interest! Big time!!!

WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus, who is Truth!

To know the truth about why Brother Mark Sharpe` was no longer a deacon at Bellevue, I asked a deacon officer who is also on the ADHOC committee and I asked Brother Mark Sharpe, so I have total confidence as I share this Truth with you this morning.

Brother Mark Sharpe confirmed to me in writing that he was kicked off the deacon body.

Brother Deacon Officer and ADHOC committee member, (who I do not feel comfortable to name) at first said that this was not true but he was kind enough to research it further and when he did, he found that our assistant pastor, Brother Mark Doughtery had actually told Brother Mark Sharpe that He was no longer a deacon.

Not only did he take the time to correct this with me but he also called Brother Mark Sharpe to share the same information with him.

I truly appreciate a person who will seek the truth, even when they think they have it!!! It reflects a humble heart.

I also appreciate a person who loves the Truth more than they love being right. That too shows a humble heart.

Anyone who wants to know the Truth can do just as I did and have it!

Have a blessed day in the LORD!

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,
Sister Pam

stillwaitingandwatching said...

I am praying that the Lord's Supper will be a time of true healing, reconciliation and restoration. Certainly there are a lot of people who need to be "reconciled with their brother" before partaking, but I believe a good start would be with deacons who responded so terribly to the Gremillions. How can these men, in good conscience, serve the Lord's Supper to people who they have been so hateful to? How can they possibly make things right before Sunday?

WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...

Brother Richard Emerson, I sensed your great love for Christ and HIS Bride as I sought the Truth about many things that have been said and done. What I see in you is a Mighty Man of Valor because you counted it far better to lose your position in life than to lose one crown for JESUS and this is so beautiful to see.

Let`s pray and ask the LORD to help make us all to be willing to pay whatever price must be paid to walk in obedience to HIS WORD even if it costs us our job, our family, our friends, our homes, our church, our finances, our position, and yes, even if it costs us our lives.

What good is it to maintain all the above at the expense of following the footsteps of JESUS ????

Imagine standing before the throne of GOD and hearing HIM say, "WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, ENTER INTO THY REST" and when the crowns of Glory are given out to throw at JESUS` feet, there are crowns for the times of your life when you denied your flesh and became willing to pay the cost, whatever it was, to WALK OUT THE SCRIPTURES.

What a beautiful day lies just ahead of those who dare to live JUST FOR JESUS!

I just have to say it again, if only to myself!

It is far better to lose your position in life than to lose one crown for JESUS!!!

I can`t wait to see all the crowns at JESUS`feet!!!

I pray to have many crowns for HIM and I pray the same for you.

Thank you Brother Richard for being a living episle before me.

In HIS HOLY Hands now and forever!

Sister Pam

stillwaitingandwatching said...

Amen, Sister Pam. Mr. Emerson, thank you SO much for what you have done for Christ and His church. What an example you are to us. Many blessings to you and your family!!

MOM4 said...

WM,
Sorry to be so long in addressing this issue, but I have been out of pocket and glad of it from the looks of the previous posts. I understand where you are coming from and my heart goes out to you. I was leary of accusations myself and have searched out the truth and all the answers I could get from anyone involved.
I would like for you to ask the departed ministers, including Jim Whitmire, a question. This could/will tell why they are not forthcoming with accusations.
"Were they required to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to receive their final pay, severance pay, pension, insurance or any thing else?"
Especially if they have families to support, I can assure you that they will sign these agreements and I can assure you that they will not break their agreement unless LEGAL protections are in place.
The circimstances around the departures of these men (and some women we have not heard of yet) are all perceived to be different, however, they all have one thing in common and that is the arrival of Steve Gaines.
I have heard from members of W Jackson and Gardendale alike and unfortunately this has happened before. Steve Gaines surrounds himself with certain powerful men, usually the wealthy ones that have plenty of power to sling around. He goes on to use these men as "armed" (not physical armaments!) guards and strokes their egos to assure that he is buffered against the membership and has NEVER had to give account to anyone in the membership of these churches he has led.
I understand that he has had supporters in all of his churches,
and I can only speculate, which I will not do, on the reasons other than the above mention supporters.

As far as the Whitmires departure, did you know that the Parkers purchased their new $515,000.00 home on 11/23/2005 - that was EIGHT days after Dr Rogers went home to glory. The Rogers worked for 50+ years to have a home that was worth a lot less when they purchased it. Could you find and purchase a home in EIGHT days?

Steve Gaines had PROMISED the search committee that he would not make any changes for at least the first year, yet he was waiting in the wings to pounce on the opportunity within days (or less) of Dr Rogers' death.
This whole thing is a stench in the nostrils of our Lord.

oldtimer said...

woundedandbleeding,

I agree with you about my Brother Emmerson. I was at a meeting where Brother Richard Emmerson spoke and what a mighty man of God!

A

Derrick Calcote said...

Forum at large,

Last evening I produced a list of 19 Godly people who have reviewed the "credit card issue" and have all agreed that everything is reasonable and customary for a senior pastor.

This was not only promptly judged as not acceptable, but the men were characterized as on "holy high horses," "hiding behind vestments," "protecting their own," "proud of their positions," some sort of collusion is even suggested because some of these men work together.

It is with a broken heart I note that it seems that no explanation will ever be enough; no crowd of witnesses will ever be sufficient.

If the true testimony of 19 Godly people is viewed as having no value here, then I am wasting my time and yours by posting.

If anyone with a sincere heart has a question, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

deceivedagain said...

Derrick,

I can't sit and not respond to your last post.

I believe these men have been deceived again by the church administration. I believe most of these men truly want the truth. I understand these men were shown American Express bills since the pastor has come.

I also understand that the pastor had another credit card under Mastercard. The American Express bills may have been shown to the 19 men you mentioned but it's my understanding that the Mastercard bills were never brought out.

In fact, two men asked Chip Freeman (three days ago)when they were examining the American Express bills this week if the pastor had access to any other credit card. Chip Freeman admitted that there was anoather card but he didn't think it was necessary to bring those bills out because there wasn't anything on that card to see.

If you want to check this truth statement out, ask Chip Freeman if this is true or not. He will have to tell you there was at least one more (if not others) that the pastor had because he said it in front of a couple of men.

This is the kind of thing that keeps this whole mess ongoing. I would classify this as a half-truth which makes the whole thing a lie. If Chip Freeman and the administration and some of the Ad Hoc members willingly deceived these men, this will just be another example of telling us what they think we need to know.

Please check this out and let all of us know the truth on this matter.

WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...

Brother Derrick,

Before you leave, I would like to humbly ask you if you were aware of the abuse bestowed upon our dear brother Jim Whitmire?

If you do not know the truth about his last days at Bellevue and how he was personally crucified by the brethren, be sure you take the time to seek the truth dear brother, so that you can have the tongue of a ready writer when called upon to answer on behalf of the church.

I think this is a lovely ministry that you feel led of the LORD to pursue and I would just like to encourage you to minister in a place where it is very much needed.

GOD bless you!
Sister Pam

deceivedagain said...

Derrick,
In a recent post of yours you stated the following:

Yes. This was confirmed by examination by Chip Freeman, David Coombs, Wayne Vander Steeg, Harry Smith, Aubery Earnhart, Perrin Jones, Mark McDaniel, John Hyneman, Everette Hatcher, Chuck Taylor, Steve Tucker, Jeff Arnold, Scott Foster, Mark Spiller, Bart Berretta, Mike Hobday, Bryan Miller, Jim Barnwel, and Gene Howard.

Question: Can you contact each one of these men and find out if they were awared of multiple credit cards in use by Steve Gaines when they were shown only bills from one card?

stillwaitingandwatching said...

Derrick,

This is a sincere question and thought for you...why do you think that "the true testimony of 19 Godly people is viewed as having no value here?" This should show that some have lost all trust in our leadership...men that once we highly regarded in the church...Phil Weatherwax for example, yet, through this crisis in our church we have seen sides of these Godly men that we never knew existed. You have a different perspective being a deacon and privy to information that others may not be privy to. But, it appears that overall trust has been lost with our leadership. We trusted the pastor's search committee to represent those who elected them, and it appears they possibly had their own interest at heart in their decision. Also, we trusted our pastor to lead his sheep, then in the midst of this crisis, he blasts the very people he is to be leading, to another church, nonetheless. We have had staff members that we have loved with ALL OF OUR HEARTS be asked to leave and come up with a reason to present to the congregation that would not make any waves. Then a committe was put in place for us to be able to ask questions of and it was comprised of some of the very same people whom we have lost trust in...Harry Smith and Chuck Taylor...is there any committee these two men AREN'T on?? Please Derrick, look at it from our perspective...some have us have been told by these very men, "If you don't like it, leave." And yet, we're supposed to trust them in all things. Please help me understand. Thank you.

MOM4 said...

MKW,
I do not recall using the word "pounce', however, the fact that the knowledge was known that Dr Whitmire was on his way out before he even heard tell of it is obviously there. I also referred to the fact that the Rogers family did not own their present home which was valued over $300,000.00 until they had worked for many years and the Parkers (even with family help) were able to purchase and maintain such a home within a handful of years compared to the Rogers lengthy labors. I am sure the Rogers home is in excess of the Parker's residence at this time because of the market value increasing. My point was that there WERE (not yelling, just emphasis) iminent changes in the works even though Dr Gaines had promised the search committee PRIOR to his even being brought before the congregation that there would be NO changes for the first year. Ask the search committee if you believe that this is not true. I do not mean to appear spiteful or devisive, I am just tired of everyone dancing around all the issues and the cat and mouse games. I fully expect another dog and pony show on Sunday night and I will be pleasantly surprised and will humbly apologize if it is not.
If my emphasis on the animals is offensive, I apologize, the situation just resembles those old similes, sort of like the "duck" comment I made earlier.

ezekiel said...

19 Godly men...I have not heard anything about the list you are referring to. Is it on another thread? I just wonder if we have members on Sunday morning fill out name tags and throw them in a hat, and select 19 out of it, if we would come up with the same result "reasonable and customary"

1Timothy 3 says "above reproach". How can you say that a Deacon is above reproach if he engages in behavior that is at best a conflict of interest in the World. Does behavior commonly viewed as improper in the World suddenly become saintly or biblical when one engages in that activity inside the church?

I stand behind my comments! I may be too blunt, but again, the original Ezekiel was't to well accepted either. I am not trying to make this personal with any Deacon or any member. I just want to get our members to stop and look at how the church is working, and then look at how it should. I certainly do not consider myself an authority on that either. However, Truth and Light is biblical and healing.

I may be doing a poor job communicating that but that is all I am asking for. And yes, we are probably never going to agree as long as the evidence of no wrong doing or improper conduct is coming from committees dominated by entrenched members of the committees or staff that are responsible for the improper conduct in the first place. If you want to go with 19 members let the church body choose them. Who even says they have to be Deacons?

New BBC Open Forum said...

ATTENTION PEOPLES!!!

For the sake of our dial-up friends, this thread is getting too long and needs to have a knot tied in it.

SO PLEASE, IF YOU WILL, KINDLY GO TO THE "NEW FINANCIAL THREAD" AND CONTINUE YOUR DISCUSSIONS THERE.

Thank you.

NBBCOF

MOM4 said...

MKW,
I did use the word "pounce" - I should have gone back and checked what I read before I responded. I was in error and I apologize for the statement.

New BBC Open Forum said...

woundedandbleeding,

Your comment in its entirety has been moved to the "New Financial Thread."

This thread was getting too long.

EVERYONE, PLEASE GO TO THAT THREAD TO CONTINUE YOUR DISCUSSIONS.