Vineyard calls for investigation of pastor who left… | news report

Vineyard USA vocation to a separatist congregation to launch a “thorough and independent investigation” into allegations of misconduct, narcissism and spiritual abuse.

“We pray for those who were hurt, harmed, mistreated or otherwise negatively impacted by their time under Alan Scott’s leadership,” the denomination’s statement reads. National leadership is pleading with “current and former board members” of the Anaheim, California, church to “fulfill their legal and spiritual responsibilities.”

Scott did not respond publicly or respond to CT’s request for comment.

His Southern California church was founded by the late charismatic leader John Wimber and has long been viewed as the “mother church” of the movement. Scott and his wife Kathryn took over Vineyard Anaheim in 2018 and then unexpectedly pulled the congregation out of the denomination in 2022. There was little explanation beyond the claim that they were following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

“We don’t really understand why,” Scott said in a sermon at the time. “We don’t always know what’s on the other side of obedience.”

Some Previous members of the church, which is now called Dwelling Place, have sued for fraud, alleging that Scott misrepresented his relationship with Vineyard in an attempt to take control of $62 million of church assets. The building is debt-free and sits on more than five acres zoned for commercial use in Orange County.

Scott may also have been reacting to efforts to reorganize the Vineyard to provide more oversight and accountability. National director Jay Pathak, who took over in January 2022, had dinner with the Scotts to tell them the direction he wanted the denomination to take and ask them to play a role in greater oversight, just before announcing his departure.

The turmoil over the split prompted complaints from several people who worked with Scott at his previous church in Northern Ireland. The first was Luke Martin, presenter of a podcast explore questions about the Christian life. He interned at Causeway Coast Vineyard as a teenager.

“It was fine as long as you agreed with what the leader said,” Martin remembered. “But as soon as you started having doubts, which I did, about what I was saying, that was not appreciated. At best, they told you: ‘You are not in touch with the Holy Spirit.’ … At worst, they told you that you were working for the devil. Literally.”

Others spoke up with similar stories. The church’s former business director said The Roy Report that Scott claimed to have a powerful spiritual vision and then used it to manipulate and dominate the staff.

“He told us he could know our sins before he met us,” Donna Finney. saying. “He also regularly stated that we were likely to dream about him and, if we did, he represented God in our dreams.”

Causeway Coast and Vineyard churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland hired a human resources company to conduct an independent investigation. He final reportpublished earlier this month, said there was compelling evidence of manipulation, narcissistic behavior and spiritual abuse.

“Some claimed that Alan would falsely idolize himself,” the report said. “One incident mentioned by more than one respondent, specifically related to Alan, included him walking off stage in the middle of the service and applauding, inferring that he was not receiving enough praise.”

Investigators heard from dozens of people in Zoom interviews and written statements, some spanning more than 10 pages. Most were negative. Twenty-three people said they felt spiritually abused. Nineteen said they were manipulated and nearly 30 left the church feeling rejected.

The former staff said Scott cultivated a “culture of honor” that “left no room for questions or disagreement.” In one case, pastors were forced to physically bow to Scott. At times he also referred to himself as the “God-appointed” leader.

Those who crossed paths with him told investigators they were privately reprimanded. Publicly ignored. Or humiliated in a staff meeting or in front of other church members.

Scott also created a culture obsessed with numbers and encouraged staff to compete with each other to increase attendance, salvation, and healing. He pitted staff from two services against each other, former church members said, asking which could report the best statistics. According to the investigation, this led to exaggerations and lies. Church leaders inflated attendance counts to win Scott’s approval, sometimes by as many as 100 people.

Scott was not involved in the investigation to respond to the allegations.

The pastors who replaced the Scotts, Neil and Janet Young, initially offered apologies to those hurt by the church, but then saying They did not fully agree with the report and resigned.

The investigation acknowledged that “not all incidents could be independently verified.” The report, however, said there were enough overlapping stories and mutually confirming accounts to provide evidence of a clear pattern.

“There is a strong likelihood that most of the examples of behavior and problems raised occurred as described,” the report says.

Naming in the United States also sees a pattern.

“The conclusions of this UK report are consistent with the numerous testimonies brought to Vineyard USA since the disassociation of Anaheim Vineyard in February 2022,” the statement said. “Vineyard USA continues to pray for those who have been impacted by Alan’s leadership and will continue to work toward greater accountability structures.”

Vineyard USA established a confidential tip line last year and received more than a dozen tips about the Scotts in one month. The stories include “accusations of spiritual abuse, manipulation, deliberate exaggeration, deception, humiliation” and “dismissive, over-spiritualized and controlling language.”

Denominational leaders said they approached the church but were rebuffed and ignored.

Scott’s only public statement was made before his congregation in May 2022.

“Some people are saying some things,” he said. saying. “It’s what people do. “People talk.”

He described himself as “a lamb among wolves” and said he was blessed when people insulted him, as Jesus promised in Matthew 5:11.

He urged the church not to be angry about him.

“God is doing something too valuable here for us to allow,” Scott saying. “Remain who you are, people of his presence, called by his Spirit.”

Meanwhile, in a California court, a judge agreed to dismiss the fraud lawsuit against Dwelling Place on the grounds that the government cannot interfere with the hiring and firing of clergy or the internal administration of a church.

However, Judge William D. Claster invited the former members of the congregation to review and resubmit their case. In reviewing the allegations, noted that “if everything they allege in their complaint is true, the Court understands why they would be upset.”

The complaint was amended to argue that “this civil action arises out of a secular and non-ecclesiastical dispute…regarding fraud.” The next hearing is scheduled for December 15.

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