Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stories of The Village Church and other Abusive Church Survivors



I have received emails and comments from people reaching out to me to tell their story of spiritual abuse by The Village Church after hearing about the bravery of Karen Hinkley in telling her story. I will dedicate this post to sharing some of these stories I have received. I will add to this post as I receive any additional stories. If you would like to remain anonymous, please let me know.

In this first story, the writer's name has been changed to "John." His wife's name has been changed to "Jane."

Story 1:
I just read your blog entry about Karen Root and her situation regarding The Village Church and I must say that while this is an extremely sad and troubling situation, I am personally glad that you and a few others have made the decision to bring this kind of hierarchical treatment of a congregation to the forefront.

  My wife "Jane" was a "Covenant Member" at the Dallas Northway campus when we started dating in the fall of 2011.  I had just gone through a divorce from my first wife, with whom I served in a full-time ministry position at a smaller church in rural east Texas for 5 years prior, because she was unfaithful to our marriage. Long story short, I began attending TVC with "Jane" on a weekly basis and attempted to get involved in a men's home group over then next 6-8 months (to no avail).  I was hurting SO badly, but I had prayed about it quite a bit and I was more than ready to get back into serving in some way.  I began talking to the music minister, Isaac Wimberly, and told him of my former role as a music minister and said I was wide open and more than willing to help.  He had me go through the membership seminar/class with Steve Hardin himself. When I was filling out the literal paper application to be considered for church membership, I checked that I was divorced.  That's when it all began.

  The assistant campus pastor, Mason King, began calling and emailing me asking me to meet with him and some of the "elders" to discuss my potential involvement in the music ministry. I agreed, not knowing any better, and what followed marked the end of my time at TVC.

  I met with Mr. King, Isaac, and another young man over lunch one Sunday. It was then that they began asking me about my divorce and basically told me that I couldn't be considered for membership or serve in the band until I went through months of recovery classes, etc.  They also told me I needed to break up with "Jane" because she was a covenant member and our relationship was not what was best for her.  They recommended I reconcile with my ex-wife because even though I claimed, and she admitted, she was unfaithful, I had no proof of her wrongdoing and to remain divorced from her would be un-biblical.  I, a grown man, have not cried harder to this very day than I did as I drove home from that lunch meeting.

 "Jane" and I, who had based our relationship on Christ since it started, began praying that day about her removing herself from "fellowship" because we felt like I had been kicked while I was trying to crawl back out of my life's lowest point. 

  She met with multiple elders (at their request) who encouraged her time and time again to break up with me because of my past and my need to heal under proper guidance.  She refused each time and finally stopped attending services there.

  We got engaged on 01/01/2013 and within a week after the pictures were posted on Facebook, "Jane" received a physical letter from Steve Hardin removing her from fellowship with TVC for not submitting to the elders' and the church's discipline and guidance. "We know that you are now engaged to "John," against the church's wishes and best biblical guidance for you..." When I read the communication between Mrs. Root and Steve Hardin, it eerily took me straight back to the countless emails and the final letter from that church.

  "Jane" and I have been happily married since June 2013, we just had our first child in March 2015, and we are active "partners" at a younger, growing, and extremely forgiving church here in Dallas where I serve in the music ministry and "Jane" on the welcome team.

  Whenever we share with people our experiences at The Village Church, they all have an extremely hard time believing it.  Thank you, again, for putting this information out there.  I am glad to know there are still people who truly aspire to be like Christ in all ways possible.

Story 2:
Steve Hardin in particular is very cruel when it comes to "caring" for his flock.  While members of TVC, and attenders of the Dallas campus, my husband and I were subjected to "discipline", after Steve Hardin heard me say , "Oh hush" to my husband.  After several months of ridiculousness, we changed locations and finally severed ties after our move to [redacted].  Matt Chandler does not get involved unless it involves friends of his or friends of friends of his.  Leaving this "church" was the best thing we ever did.  It is a Mars Hill Train wreck waiting to happen. Jesus told us to be vigilant for a reason.  Our three month time out was crazy.  At our first meeting Steve asked us if we knew why we were there and both of us said uh, no.  Down hill from there.

Story 3:
Even if Karen had continued to meet with them, I highly doubt The Village would have "sided with her.” Once The Village takes a stand on something, they very rarely concede. I have been in numerous meetings with the pastors mentioned in Karen's story and I have been met with the same "let us care for you" jargon. I was told repeatedly that because of my sin I was unable to make wise decisions and I needed to rely on the church to “guide and care for me." I was placed under church discipline for a period because I “continue[d] to be a threat to [my] own safety and are unable to keep with the fruits of the spirit." 

The Village continuously uses the phrase "care for you" when they really want to control the narrative and act as a savior. Because I was not healing on their timeline or in the way they saw fit I was placed under discipline so that my "recovery" could be closely monitored and measured. When medical help was suggested I was told that someone from the church would need to come with me so they "could ask the doctor questions and figure out what the best plan is for moving forward." It is not hard to make someone believe what you want them to. I was not better, but I sure made the pastors think I was because I was sick of the meetings and check ins and follow ups.


 I am grateful to be on a path toward healing now, but don't for one minute think that Jordan Root is being honest when he claims has not abused a child physically. That would be both naive and dangerous. It seems that the phrase "its ok to not be okay" that is thrown around like confetti in Village circles is used frequently to prey upon vulnerable and broken people. The pastors and staff at the church are not the only ones with a savior mentality, it is pervasive throughout Village culture. I was their project, and I wasn't "fixed" fast enough, so CHURCH DISCIPLINE. I wasn't to be trusted with making wise decisions (or controlling the narrative of my own story) so enter stage left The Village staff to make those decisions for me. 

Story 4
I am completely wrecked by coming across the Karen Hinkley story today.  I have a similar story from 5 years ago.  I haven't gone back to that place of utter abandonment by my former church body in years, but seeing this story completely leveled me again.  Please feel free to add any of my story to your collection of abuse stories from The Village.  I haven't talked about it because I really hoped it was something they wouldn't repeat.  I hate that it has happened to her.  

Five years ago I sought council via a branch of the village church (Denton) for what to do about my ex husband who was both having an affair and was also blatantly abusive. I wanted to file for divorce - mainly for financial security as my ex husband had twice drained my bank account during out separation of a few months. We had a 6 month old at that time, and I had been left twice with no childcare money, etc.  I was told that we could stay separated- but only because my physical safety was in danger (showing they knew my husband was physically a threat) but if I filed for divorce (there is no temporary official separation in Texas) that I would basically be under church discipline. They said that they would not bless any of my future endeavors if I didn't walk according to their plan. (and yes they did use the same terms of wanting to love us both well...)  I was to wait on a process for them to determine whether or not my ex husband was truly a Christian. If he was NOT a Christian they would approve my divorce. If however they felt he was actually a Christian they would Not Ever Under Any circumstances approve my divorce. Despite the fact that he was abusive. Despite the fact that he was living with someone. Meaning if they felt he was a Christian I would have to spend the rest of my life married to him.  Even though he was a risk to my life!  Anyone who knows anything about abuser psychology should know that abusers are very charming and have a way of convincing people they are repentant when they aren't!  That is psych 101!

My mom had to help walk me through that time because I felt like I was the guilty one!  Abusers like my ex consistently make the abused feel guilty for 'causing' the abuse.  The language and stance The Village took created the same guilty feelings my ex husband did.  Looking back on the emotionally broken place I was with having been abused, had my mom not stepped in to help me stand up to the church, I would probably have been guilted back in to an abusive and extremely dangerous relationship. They literally told me I was listening to satanic advice by filing for divorce- and listening to my mom.

The ironic thing- when I did finally file for divorce officially and my ex husband was served the papers, The Village helped him land a pro bono attorney- who also happened to be a Village member!

The other sickening thing about it is I appealed multiple times to Matt Chandler and each time I was either ignored or told to discuss it with my specific church leadership.

Thank you for sharing her story- and please tell her she isn't alone, and I am so so sorry.  I know what it's like to feel completely abandoned.

Story 5
My wife and I began attending in August 2012 and at first thought it was the best church ever compared to our very traditional church backgrounds. When pursuing membership, however, the stones began to be overturned to reveal some deep problems. I'll try to keep this brief but there were 3 things that eventually drove us away. 

1) Their strict adherence to Calvinism. In our home group one time, the leader said, "God creates some people to go to hell in order to show his glory." That really raised some red flags so we talked to him about it and he encouraged us to talk to other church leaders to learn more. We went through the covenant member information class and one pastor when through the TULIP and literally pointed at people in the audience and said, "You, you, you and you will go to heaven and you, you, you, and you won't and it's not up to you, it's up to God." We had major problems with this and followed up with multiple ministers on staff and learned that if we don't affirm Calvinism we can still be members of the church but certain ministries and positions of leadership would not be available to us - being home group leaders, helping in children's ministry, etc. When asked what we could do they said you can be door greeters and/or parking lot attendants. One particular elder even went so far as to say that he wouldn't be comfortable with us sharing our faith with others as representatives of TVC if we weren't affirming of Calvinism. So not only was the belief in Calvinism itself extremely disheartening to us, but their restrictions on serving, sharing, communicating with others was just out of control. 

2) Their strict views on complementarianism gender roles. In the same covenant member information class they gave their views on this - I don't have to expand much if you're familiar with the view but it was your basic "women can't teach or lead mixed gender adult groups. They can only lead other women and children. And husbands are the spiritual head of the household, etc." Once again, they made it clear that this was an important view of the church and although we didn't push on it because we had enough to deal with the Calvinism, I imagine they would have had similar restrictions if you don't affirm this view. 

3) And this one might be the saddest. There was a member of our home group that only came to 2 meetings in the 6-7 months we were involved, so I don't know him well and don't even know his last name. One night our home group leader said that he was living in unrepentant homosexuality and the church pastors/elders had had multiple meetings with him and in our home group leaders' words, "He is refusing to repent, so he cannot come to TVC anymore, and if you see him or contact him you have to treat him like he's an unbeliever." He went on to say that he was not even allowed on any of the campuses until he repents. Now, what I don't know is whether they meant he decides to be celibate and have a life of singleness or becomes heterosexual, but either way I felt this was disgusting behavior from this church. This was about the last straw for us and if we weren't going to leave because of Calvinism or complementarianism, we would leave because of this. We pushed back and talked to people of our home group about it and they just kept saying that it's a different kind of sin than most others and that's why they had to take this measure. Incredibly heartbreaking and I feel awful at times for having not been able to reach out to him. 

Fortunately for us, we never signed the covenant membership so we told our home group leader that we would no longer be attending TVC and therefore would not be part of their group anymore. He and his wife met with us, we explained everything, we all met with one more minister who tried to push Calvinism again, and that was that. We've never been back since Feb. 2013. 


In the end, this really shaped how we view God today. We're still on a journey, but have found a much better church, and are healing from these wounds. 

Story 6
My husband and I started visiting the Village 6 years ago and we became Covenant Members a year later. We had friends there and so it seemed like a logical step. Our friends however were on their way out as stories started to seep through the cracks about church discipline. My friend sat down with us and said that a young woman who was a member of TVC had been raped by a fellow member of TVC. The church was placing this woman under church discipline for failing to offer forgiveness to her abusers. He had confessed to the crime and had also stated his remorse and need to reform from his ways. Because he was willing to toe the line and fall under authority he would not be placed under church discipline. However the woman, who for obvious reasons, could not offer forgiveness and therefore was breaking her covenant agreement would be placed under church discipline. She had also requested that her abuser be removed from the church, which this request was denied. Even though I trusted my friends at their word I could not believe this story to be true. I thought that there had to be more to this story, that somehow there were large chunks of it missing. I could not fathom a church siding with an abuser over the victim and essentially making the victim a victim for a second time. I now know that they are absolutely capable of this.

As time went on people in our home group would mention things about church discipline that they received. Most of this I dismissed as them just being angry at the time and that we weren't getting the full story. The stories were not along the lines as the above story but more of members being threatened with church discipline and having their memberships removed; one of my friends actually did lose his.

It was around this time that I really began to feel lost at TVC. There wasn't a place for me, being a woman, that I could learn and grow; women's bible studies were non-existent. Most everything was geared towards men and building men up. I started to vocalize this with no one really paying attention. I had at that point joined a women's bible training program at another church (my only option for being taught) which is two years in length, a program that I thought would be so beneficial for the starving women at TVC. Each time I would voice something I was told to not worry about it and to just go to Recovery. I had been through Recovery twice at the Village and that wasn't the place for me. Just because I wanted to learn more about the bible and have fellowship didn't mean I needed to go to Recovery. If you are not familiar with this program it goes something like this: A sermon followed by small groups. We would sit in a circle and confess or vent our frustrations but no one is allowed to comment or offer any feedback, not even a tissue. Follow up could be done by your group leader off campus. I wanted to learn... that didn't mean I was broken but at TVC it's really kind of your only option.

I was told that if I wanted to belong I could work in the nursery or answer phones maybe help teach women (teaching other women seemed pretty big to me so no issue there). However, no position that made decisions would be filled by a woman as it just isn't biblical. I understood and accepted this but also felt that women should still be a large part of the decision making process. Which, to be fair, some woman are...their last names just happen to match one of the other elders.


In mid year of 2014 I was very very late on my monthly cycle, this was very scary to me as I had already suffered a tubal pregnancy that had taken one of my tubes, nearly shut down my organs and came close to killing me. I really needed to talk with someone about what I should do if it turned out my worst fears had been realized (I had an IUD removed because it was abortive in nature). There was only one woman on staff who could speak to me and she only worked part time. I would have spoken to her had I known that she existed in the capacity. Instead I had to meet with Lan. I know you don't know Lan but he's about 6'4", broad and has a motorcycle mustache. He's a good person, no doubt, but was incredibly hard to talk about my situation with. I really could have used a woman, I really needed to talk to a woman. It was hard to cry in front of him and explain that I was scared as he towered over me. It was after this that I knew I had to find a church home where women were more valued and recognized. It was then that we decided to leave.

I turned in my request for removal of membership and then was asked to come in to do an exit interview as some of the things in my letter made TVC wonder if I was leaving in good standard. It was here that I met with Beth and as I opened up concerning my reasons for wanting to leave she shared with me that the survey that we had recently took had some surprising things on it. The survey pertained more to new service times etc but women had written in the margins that they felt like 2nd class citizens and had no voice. She told me that I was saying some of the things that women had voiced. She then asked if we would stay for a while and then asked if I would write a letter to the Elders, which I did. My letter made it up the chain to the Elder's where it fell on deaf ears. I wasn't even granted permission to speak with anyone else about it. I was told to just be patient that they would handle it. I followed up a few more times but I was always brushed off. Beth told me that she had been fighting this same battle for 11 years and that it just wasn't going to change so we left. 

We started to look at and try other churches which TVC found out about. We were emailed and asked if we were leaving and if they needed to go ahead and take us off of the member list. I explained that we were looking but we hadn't found a spot and shared that we might go back to the FloMo campus. A week later I received another email informing me that we had been brought up at a Covenant Member meeting (our names placed on the big screen) as being in transition and they were praying for us to find a new place. I'm sure they meant it well but it felt like we were being pushed out. We were told we had 6 months to decide what we were going to do...2 weeks later after another email I told them to just drop our names which they immediately did.  So now we are rogue sheep without a pasture!

Story 7
I went through the same experience with TVC leaders/elders (the HVillage campus) As I read this article and the communication btwn Karen and TVC, my heart rate very quickly increased and it threw me into a severe anxiety attack. Every bit of stress and anxiety caused that consumed me during that time came back. PRAISE be to GOD that how many women are handled at TVC is out!! There will be many who do not believe even after reading the facts, just as many did not believe me as I tried to tell them I was married to a verbally and emotionally abusive narcissistic -socio-path....but many are blind to the wolves. I feel this will bring many out from the woodwork ready to share their very eerily similar experience. I hope to meet Karen one day...we share the same twinkle of strength in our eyes. When I was asked, " Who gave you permission to file for divorce??" I answered, "Jesus." Matthew 19:9

I forgot to mention that he had been in an adulterous relationship since 2005. I found out in 2007. When the church realized he had fooled them with his tears of false repentance , only his Sponsor apologized to me.

28 comments:

raswhiting said...

Thank you for posting an additional story about The Village Church, or Jail. It is useful to see that the same persons have a pattern of abusive, controlling behaviors, and that there is a persistent sin problem there, not an isolated event.

NurseWriter said...

Unbelievable. Way too controlling.

Pastor David said...

Wish I could say that this surprises me. All too common behavior in the evangelical Christian world. I can relate to some of this in my own experience with a prominent evangelical denomination that I will keep anonymous. Here's to hoping this changes to where the church you, "John," found become the norm as opposed to the exception.

Some thoughts: http://www.divorceminister.com/pastors-it-is-not-your-decision-to-make/

Anonymous said...

I was a member of the Village Church from 2003-2014. Well, really until 2012, but that’s because my membership was revoked because of theological differences. I tried to convince them I was all-in for TVC and God’s mission through the church, but one minor difference in doctrine was too much for them.

The irony is that I called a meeting with some pastors because my wife and I were community group leaders and needed some advice (as we were 25 at the time) on how to walk a couple in our group through their troubled marriage. They were contemplating divorce. But when my wife and I showed up to our meeting that we called with the pastors, they were more interested in my one doctrinal difference than the lives of these two people and their two kids. It was nauseating.

We tried to stick it out and be the better persons for two years, but it was too painful. Plus, we began to notice the cycle of spiritual abuse there. We noticed that those pastors we loved best were pushed out of the staff. Our good friends who were in the mission field were pulled back because of lies told by a non-member of TVC who was overseeing their mission. It’s not a place where you are allowed any influence unless you are on the “inside”, in the “club”, as we were for many years. It’s not healthy.

The level of dehumanizing we saw at the church in the name of “doctrine” and the “pursuit of holiness” was just heartbreaking. Add to that, the level of MC’s ego continued to rise. He even became self-deprecating about it, to the point where it shined all the more. And his ego trickled down to the other high ranking staff members.

A church built on a hierarchy with a legislative rulebook/covenant of membership, it’s inevitable that relationship with the congregation are approached in binary terms first.

I believe deep down all these persons in leadership at TVC actually have well-meaning hearts, but they are blinded by so many things. I hope it changes. But the pattern we saw just got worse and worse.

Most disturbing to me was their views on science, philosophy, psychology (as shown in this case). They were so warped and misunderstood. There is a great immaturity in TVC's encounters with those subjects and I think that the dehumanizing would stop if they were a little more educated.

Anonymous said...

I admire Karen for staying strong and speaking up for herself and other victims. I'm a member of The Village and I'm very disturbed at how the leaders are handling this situation. I would hope this prideful behavior is not the norm and not all leaders behave this way. Seems they care more about the rules than the spirit of the covenant and the gospel. If they were more humble and sought wisdom to compensate for their their lack of qualification in counseling, then they would've handled it differently. Seems they focused more time wordsmithing e-mails and bothering Karen, than figuring out how many kids have been abused and how to get them the help they need. Who will give a voice to the invisible and vulnerable - isn't it supposed to be the church? The leaders' mis-management will make perpetrators and victims less likely to ask for their "help". It appears they care more about control / image than about being gospel-centered, which is the mission of the church. It would be interesting to see if the leaders will provide more communication to their members because I think many have questions.

There are a lot of aspects The Village gets right - good teaching, community outreach. However, the rapid growth without better equipping their leaders (and their membership) is a glaring shortcoming. I hope that this behavior is God will redeem this crisis, bring truth to light, heal and comfort Karen, and restore all who are affected, especially any abused children. This has all the markings of spiritual warfare - deception, secrecy, pride, misdirection on who the "enemy" is, miscommunication, escalation of anger, stealing childhoods, etc. The church really needs to come together, pray, and figure out what's best, and not just the leaders.

Sam Hawthorne said...

"they just kept saying that it's a different kind of sin than most others and that's why they had to take this measure". its astounding that this church is anti gay to the point a gay person isnt allowed on the campus, but a viewer of child porn that 'says' he is repentant when he is caught, is totally welcome.
i think it is the structure and heirarchy of this network of churches, the doctrine of authority that is the sin and no matter if chandler becomes so outspoken that they remove him, another will replace him. i dont think the Acts 29 members see that, they keep thinking its just a bad pastor/elder, when its the whole structure and doctrine that is poison. the number of TVC members supporting Jordan and supporting the attack on Karen Root and ignoring that children have likely been abused is an example of sheer arrogance and blindness, power and control. Thank you to the people brave enough to post their stories here, hopefully it will encourage others to leave this church and stand against a church that uses Jesus name to control and manipulate people. Please remember the children still at TVC, how many more Jordan Roots are members/staff at TVC?

Anonymous said...

to be fair re: homosexuality. If the man was a member and professed believer and decided that he wanted to live as a homosexual and basically preach to the church that this was ok and not a sin thru is outward actions- the church does have a duty to call him to account and protect the church. You can disagree on whether homosexuality is a sin and find a church that doesn't think it is...but if you go to a church that does ( and a cursory look at TVC would show anyone this).... you cannot expect them to be ok with a member changing course and living in open disrespect to the church they attend. Who really knows if he was told he couldn't come to services or decided not to. Also- many churches tell people that are in sin and unrepentant that they cannot continue to come. I knew of a man that was taking advantage of many young single women in a college ministry ( he was in college himself). He was confronted and said he wasn't in sin. The leadership said ok- well we cannot have you hear because you are harming others by your actions. I think that was very wise. This was not at TVC BTW ... but even so-- this shouldn't shock anyone that attends a Bible believing church and understand about church discipline and how pastors will be held account before God on how the protected and shepherded those they teach and lead.

Also- these stories are very one sided and full of innuendo and they say/ they say. Its pretty irresponsible to me. There is always another side and the Village's hands are tied as to what they can say and what they can respond to. And also- out of a church of 6k members and even more non members but attenders- what , 10 stories maybe? Well 10 people will not like your stance or ideas and / or have a bad experience. Plus not every encounter with an elder or ministry leader will be perfect or without issue- because they are people and not perfect.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the sharing of the stories. My heart goes out to all who suffer and are recovering from spiritual abuse in any way, shape, form or fashion.

Anonymous, thank you for calling out the importance of calling sin sin in the case of the homosexual story. I would like to caution you about your thinking of the last paragraph. While it is true that you can never please all of the people any of the time, I think it is unwise to point out that these stories don't meet the majority of the membership. Any large group of people (church, social club, corporation, etc.) can be completely unaware of negative things going on in leadership and general population. This is true of the church as well. As a leader in ministry I always find the Holy Spirit cautioning me when I am quick to defend criticisms because the majority does not see it that way. I heard it recently described as popular Spock theology in leadership "The applause and satisfaction of the many drowns out the red flags and complaints of the few". So when serious complaints like these arise, it is prudent to check and see what is the root of them. There may be 10 stories on this blog, but this is just one forum.

Sam Hawthorne said...

If Jordan Root was really repentant at the Acts 29 Village Church, he would be helping Law Enforcement right now to break up the pedo rings that produced the kid porn he was viewing, he would be working with the FBI to help them trace the location pics were taken at and remove some kids from abusive homes. He knows that because he followed and supported groups that are called things like ‘stop child sex traficking. Instead he is staying sheltered in the mega church, staying with a lawyer and prob having a few beers with the other good ole boys on staff there.

and as a wise man said:
You find wolves in lots of churches but not every church has systemic abuse written between the lines of the doctrine & covenant.

Sam Hawthorne said...

I totally get that you can call out the homosexuals as sinners but not a fellow that has been addicted to porn for the past 10 years and never confessed until caught. its not whether something is sinful that i commented on, its the flagrant outright hipocrosy in churches like Acts 29 network and complimentarian/patriarchal systems. Women submitting to men was never mentioned until the curse when adam and eve sinned. these kind of churches release men from all the consequences of the curse but keep women bound under it saying Jesus might forgive you but we never will unless you do nothing except what your husband tells you too. And just like at the fall, the man said, Eve made me do it.

Sam Hawthorne said...

TVC knew about Jordans sin in December, were contacted by Karen and SIM regarding his sin. SIM sent them a letter that included the importance of notifying families that might have come in contact with Jordan and possibly molested. TVC instead sent out a directive to members to not shun Jordan but welcome instead, and to invite him to their homes. TVC didnt actually disclose the true nature of Jordans sin until March, and then only because Karen wouldnt shut up like they intimidated her to. Documentation from their own (TVC) emails: http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/she-speaks-village-church-protects.html?m=1

Sam Hawthorne said...

Thank you church members and others for sharing your stories. I fear that the culture at The Village Church and the public shaming of Karen Hinkley will make victims (possible molestation victims also) afraid to speak up and your coming forward to share your stories will hopefully encourage others to speak out against church abuse.

church members please speak up or contact watchkeep privately if you attended either this Feb 11th home group or the meeting at the cafeteria that was held to discuss Karen Root

February 11:
"Karen was told that she couldn't come to her long time home group to say good-bye. Instead, Pastor Brindley attended the group and talked to them for a long time.From that point on, Karen did not hear from many of her former friends and supporters."


March 11: Pastor Steve Hardin called a church meeting to answer questions about Karen Root.

Pastor Steve Hardin sends a note to members of TVC and Karen's supporters that he would hold a meeting on March 14 in the church cafeteria to address concerns. This is 2 weeks after Karen told them to stop harassing her.

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/26/part-2-the-village-church-doesnt-discipline-the-internet-child-sex-abuser-but-disciplines-his-wife/

http://www.scribd.com/doc/265897815/TVC-announcement-for-an-open-church-member-meeting-to-discuss-Karen-Root

Sam Hawthorne said...

Because of the authoritarian controlling environment that is evidenced by the public shaming and mistreatment of Karen Hinkly I fear that there are molestation victims at TVC that are afraid to speak out. If not molested from Jordan Root then from other child predators that exist in this church which has a policy of not informing members of serious criminal actions of some of its members. that is why it is important to bring the proceedures TVC took into the light in the Karen Hinkley incident. I would like to ask that if any TVC church members attended either this Feb 11th home group or the meeting at the cafeteria that was held to discuss Karen Root would speak up (even if privately) to the people that run this blog or any other blog you see as safe and confidential. i think this blog has their phone numbers and emails at the top.

February 11:
“Karen was told that she couldn’t come to her long time home group to say good-bye. Instead, Pastor Brindley attended the group and talked to them for a long time.From that point on, Karen did not hear from many of her former friends and supporters.”

March 11: Pastor Steve Hardin called a church meeting to answer questions about Karen Root.

Pastor Steve Hardin sends a note to members of TVC and Karen’s supporters that he would hold a meeting on March 14 in the church cafeteria to address concerns. This is 2 weeks after Karen told them to stop harassing her.

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/26/part-2-the-village-church-doesnt-discipline-the-internet-child-sex-abuser-but-disciplines-his-wife/

http://www.scribd.com/doc/265897815/TVC-announcement-for-an-open-church-member-meeting-to-discuss-Karen-Root

Anonymous said...

Sam Hawthorne,

You said,
"...If not molested from Jordan Root then from other child predators that exist in this church which has a policy of not informing members of serious criminal actions of some of its members."

Can you prove or demonstrate that the Village Church indeed has such a policy?

You should be careful, as what you're saying (and implying) is borderline defamation, especially given your previous comments which indicate your malicious position towards the theological positions of the Village Church.
http://www.traverselegal.com/internet-defamation/defamation-libel-slander/

Barbara Roberts said...

Thanks Amy and all who shared their stories here.

I've shared the story from the domestic abuse victim on the A Cry For Justice facebook page.

Barbara Roberts said...

Thanks Amy and all who shared their stories here.

I've shared the story from the domestic abuse victim on the A Cry For Justice facebook page.

bk said...

I can only commend Karen for her outstanding actions. Since I have first heard about this whole mess by TVC I realize that the true hero is Karen. I hope that Karen gets the help, support and financial support she needs and has time to recover and heal. In this day and age, I cannot believe that the church is protecting the pedophile and let him come to church while running all these childrens' ministries. Don't they love their own children? Why don't they let the children grow up in an environment where they feel safe and protected? Who wants to confess to abuse and then run into the abuser, who is protected by the church, the next Sunday?

To all those defending TVC: I urge you to read your Bibles! TVC is such a controlling bunch. How they can not stand up to the pedophile but protect him instead is beyond my understanding. Doesn't she deserve the love and care they are promising but fail to give!

To Karen: Words can not express how sorry I am that you have to go through this ordeal. I wish I could spend some time with you, pray with you. I pray that you will be sheltered now by loving and caring people around you where your own church so miserably failed you!

I'm not even from the US but just reading about this whole ordeal, Karen has to go through, I feel sick to my stomach and can't believe that the church doesn't encourage the parents to find out from their own kids what really happened. If that is not a cult - then what is? If you are in a church like this: RUN, RUN, RUN!

Anonymous said...

I just want to strongly affirm Story #5.

I come from an Acts 29 background, and I want to point out that the three main dysfunctional behaviors shared in Story #5 are indicative of Acts 29 in general. They are absolutely NOT limited to TVC. They are, rather, a product of the inherent "DNA" of Acts 29, as designed and created by Mark Driscoll.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this church is straining out a Gnat and swallowing a camel. I have been in ministry for over 35 years and am so sad to see control given to Type A personality types who should be in secular business instead of misusing biblical verses to gain control over lives of people. This is not honoring or loving. These are Old Testament Pharisees trying to follow Scripture without understanding the culture of the time. So glad I attend a loving church that walks through difficult times and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me.

Jim St. said...

I am an educated 57 year old man who was raised in the Catholic church. Today I despise catholicism and most of what it represents, which is money grubbing people who are slanted toward pedophilia and other sins that are swept under the rug daily.

I realized at a young age that this type of church involvement in my life was not only invasive and wrong, but certainly not what any god would want.

That these people in Texas at TVC cannot see this is beyond me. Come on folks, open your eyes!! You are all adults and this TVC joke of a church treats you like small children who cannot make decisions for yourselves.

I understand that most of these people are brainwashed and that is what TVC thrives on, but at some point you have to look in the mirror and use common sense.

Sam Hawthorne said...

reply to annonymous re defamation,

as my earlier post said, (which you say "indicate your malicious position towards the theological positions of the Village Church.")
TVC knew about Jordans sin in December, were contacted by Karen and SIM regarding his sin. SIM sent them a letter that included the importance of notifying families that might have come in contact with Jordan and possibly molested. TVC instead sent out a directive to members to not shun Jordan but welcome instead, and to invite him to their homes. TVC didnt actually disclose the true nature of Jordans sin until March, and then only because Karen wouldnt shut up like they intimidated her to. Documentation from their own (TVC) emails: http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/she-speaks-village-church-protects.html?m=1

Pastor and head of Acts 29 church stated several times that they have a policy for protecting children in place and that they followed it well and are satisfied with it.

http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/she-speaks-village-church-protects.html?m=1
December 20, 2014
To: Karen Root
From: tvcdallas@psmail.net
"hold off on communicating the possiblitity of sexual molestation to families... I think the most loving thing we could do for them is wait to see if any evidence surfaces that would be cause for accusation."

that email ^ was sent after the man had already confessed to enjoying viewing child rape porn for 10 years(4yr olds and under) (had admitted being sexually gratified fantisizing about children he had in his company prior) to both his wife, his church elders and SIM child safety investigators. and only 'repented' when confronted.

The Village Church boasts 6,000 members, i do not think that anyone rational person would think it defaming to say that a church with policies like this, (which were only brought to light because of a brave woman named Karen Hinkley) would have an almost 100% likelyhood of having child predators in their midst. And also that their coercive and public shaming of Karen Hinkley would most certainly keep victims of child or spousal abuse quiet and unreported. if your post is intended to intimidate people so they dont speak against this sort of controlling church, it wont stop the truth from coming out.
as Eric Pazdziora once said, :
‏ If a cause can be damaged by someone telling the truth, then it's not the cause of the One who said "I am the Truth."

Jack said...

Credit needs to be given to Chandler and TVC elders to owning up to it serious mistakes with the Roots and with others. Chandler did an excellent job in confessing and asking forgiveness in five specific areas in which there was major fault on the elders part. He opened the door wide open to make things right with anyone who had been offended or hurt in any way. I encourage you to listen to the message online.

Sam Hawthorne said...

The Lord was reminding me today about His faithful servants that laid down their lives so that common people everywhere could read the word of God for themselves and not have to have it interpreted by priests. Their blood was shed for me and I won’t let it be for nothing.

Sam Hawthorne said...

Hey Jack I read this today(from the other site you spammed with the same message):

"Here is a question I am asking lots of people. He made it clear that their doctrinal stance has not changed.It seems clear that they believe Karen should not have proceeded with an annulment. So, how would their approach to Karen change? They would still have to discipline her if their doctrine remains viable. Would they just be a little nicer while they disciplined her?" http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/31/matt-chandlers-sermon-asking-for-forgiveness-while-stressing-the-need-for-church-discipline/

Anonymous said...

Typical US marriage, jump in quick and when things get tough they are quick to jump back out. Obviously neither one believed in the vows they took to one another
Under God. He has sinned though her sin was greater, if you believe in scripture. Sad how in this facebook, open social exposure and digestion of our personal lives that
People are obsessed with sharing their lives, at least the parts they seek sympathy with and or exposure of another.


Pastor David said...

Story #4 REALLY bothers me! It is sickening that TVC leadership refused to accept adultery as grounds for that divorce. Some reflections on that one here:

http://www.divorceminister.com/sometimes-you-have-to-choose/

Barbara Roberts said...

How should a church the Village Church have responded to Jordan? By putting Jordan out of the church in accordance with the precept in 1 Cor. 5:1-13.

Here is my post on this:
http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/06/07/how-should-a-church-respond-when-a-professing-christian-has-been-committing-heinous-sexual-immorality/

Shy said...

It occurs to me that what is really happening with this church is a large scale social experiment as to exactly how controlling an organization can become over members before they will finally remove themselves, and what methods will lure or force them into complying.