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There's nothing holier-than-thou about Gil Jones

There's nothing holier-than-thou about Gil Jones

Boring churches have pews, hymnbooks, organs and stained-glass windows. Hip churches have guitars, rock videos, podcasts and piercings that aren't limited to that dude on the cross.

Both in its message and its setting, the Village aspires to the hip, if not the edgy. Launched just seven months ago, the nondenominational church holds services in the Glitterdome, a sprawling warehouse in the RiNo district that's also the practice facility for a roller-derby team, the Denver Roller Dolls. The church's website proudly welcomes "hundreds of prodigals" to its "1st Generation Christ-Centered Community," while its Facebook page declares that the Village is "where Black Sheep gather to receive grace and where White Sheep get humble."

See also: Hear Gil Jones admit he messed up

Gil Jones with Stephanie Engels, who says the pastor insisted on “dating in the dark.”
Gil Jones with Stephanie Engels, who says the pastor insisted on “dating in the dark.”
The Village holds services at the Glitterdome, a roller-derby practice facility in RiNo.
Jim J Narcy
The Village holds services at the Glitterdome, a roller-derby practice facility in RiNo.

On this summer Sunday morning, around forty prodigals assemble to pray and praise in an intimate, curtained-off and dimly lit section of the warehouse. There's no altar, just a small stage suitable for improv or a house band. The vibe is casual, the demographic young, with more women than men.

The service gets under way with songs on guitar and a welcome from an associate pastor clad in hoodie, cargo shorts and sandals. Then come clips on a big screen from VH1's Couples Therapy and a music video featuring Carrie Underwood, savagely vandalizing the truck of her cheating ex. All of this is mere buildup, though, to the main event of any Village service: the message delivered by lead pastor Gil Jones, a talk that tends more toward passionate monologue than sermon.

Dressed in a black T-shirt bearing the word PEACE and frayed, paint-stained jeans, Jones bounds to the stage, eager to kick things up a notch. He's 48 years old, tall, slender, with thinning hair. He's also a dynamic speaker, fervent and funny and occasionally profane, a maverick preacher who can keep a room full of questing twenty-somethings enraptured for the better part of an hour.

Today's topic is how to help a friend who's going through a breakup. Jones talks frequently about relationship issues; at the Village, you're more likely to hear about "relationship smashers" and "intimacy killers" than, say, the problem of evil. Divorced for the past six years, Jones weaves Bible verses with tales of his own dating follies into exhortations to be compassionate and selfless.

This morning's message is breezy but earnest. Jones talks about the need to "roll in," to comfort someone who's going through a relationship meltdown in person rather than by text or e-mail. He jokes about his own friends giving him grief about the series of breakups he's been through, grabbing popcorn and watching him "burn the house down," when what he needs are "words of grace and hope and love." Most of all, he stresses helping your friend to accept the breakup and forgive his or her former lover — rather than unloading a "big FU."

"I've got a huge FU in me," he confides. "But the biggest FU you can give anybody is to love and forgive them."

It's an effective talk, delivered in the weary, been-there-done-that tone of an expert in busted relationships — someone whose authority comes, strangely enough, from claiming to be even more of a hot mess than his audience.

And it's timely, too. Although he doesn't mention it today, just a few days earlier Jones had been in a courtroom dealing with the aftermath of one of his own ugly breakups, one that had ended in a humongous FU.

**********

On July 17, a woman named Tabitha Pratt appeared before Denver magistrate Catherine Cary, seeking a permanent restraining order against Gil Jones. Jones was there to object to having such a reproach on his record.

Pratt, 39, testified that she and Jones had been dating "off and on" for eighteen months. The pair had met at a Christmas Eve service at Pathways Church in 2011, when Jones was the pastor there. They broke up several times only to reconnect, until Pratt finally requested a few weeks ago that he no longer contact her. When Jones subsequently texted her, "Love you. Always," she replied, "You must be joking. Go away."

Jones responded with more than a dozen increasingly "aggressive" text messages, Pratt explained. She'd kept them all as evidence. The words weren't exactly hopeful, loving or gracious, let alone pastorly:

You're the biggest mistake anyone could make. Biggest bitch. Ever.

Sleep in hell, Bitch. You have no idea who you're fucking with.

WHORE. 3 Kids. 3 Guys. They left you. For Good Reasons. You. Attract. Shit.

BITCH.

You deserve shit.

Rot. In. Hell.

Pratt considered the texts threatening, particularly the one about how she had no idea who she was fucking with. "I feel unsafe," she told the magistrate. "I don't feel he will stop unless there's a protective order in place. This scares the crap out of me."

Cary studied the texts with a puzzled frown, like an Aramaic scholar trying to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls. "Why did you break up?" she asked.

"I found out Gil was dating four other women," Pratt said. "We were talking about getting married."

She'd since been able to compare notes with a couple of the other women, she added, and discovered that Jones had made similar declarations of love to them, the texts shooting out "to some of us at the same time with the same exact message."

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109 comments
seenitb4
seenitb4

I am not sure why Christians don't just apply the biblical requirements for elders and deacons laid out by Paul in Timothy and Titus. Instead we say, "well, there there, no one is perfect" and reinstate men crippled by their sin back into the very situations where their addictions can continue to wreak havoc on their *own* spiritual walk and that of *others*.  This man was unqualified for church leadership but because he is charismatic and attractive, he gets to dodge the bible and common sense to take the helm ... again ... and again ...

Further, it would help us if we as Christians studied some of the secular psychiatric literature. This man is like a tick-list of the Hare Psychopathy Index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist) and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder). I would commend people to review the criteria. He needs counselling and he needs to retire from ministry into laity for an indefinite period of time.

Attention, manipulation and conning are the addictions of men like this. For their *own* sake, never mind the sake of the sheep (which are more important), they need to be taken away from the contexts where their addiction can destroy them.

Don't let conmen back into leadership - as the Bible clearly teaches. They can't handle it and they destroy the lives of others. Repeatedly, the laity are the collateral damage of the perverted leader who can bring in people and their cash. 

"You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts."

FellowChristian
FellowChristian

I have attended a couple of Gil's sermons.  They were pretty memorable.  The church I belong to is very traditional and this was a fresh addition, a supplement if you will. I really loved how he captured the attention of all. The words he spoke were, as I said, memorable.  


As people of Christ, we are not perfect. This is what my church has taught me but God loves us all.  There are many other church leaders who have done a lot worse than this man. I know it hits home for a lot of you because it's personal. Faith IS very personal and you allowed this person in you heart and mind. But because we are not perfect, we chose to be here all together praying as a community to try and become better people, for ourselves, our spouse, our parents, or to lead by example for our children. I fall at times. Sometimes I wish I didn't. But those times I have fallen I learned so much. I consider myself a good person. I'm not perfect by any means. I believe as a Christian community we all feel that God himself is probably the only perfect one. We all strive to be and do good. Should this man be a leader for a church? Probably not. He has some issues he needs to resolve.


But from the teachings... I'm not casting any stones.  I live a very honorable life I haven't done anything like this man has. But I am not here to judge. I can simply just pray for this person, the lives he has affected, and this community. Lets look on the bright side of things, thank goodness he wasn't doing anything worse. People can be such pessimists. That usually brings out the worst in people. It's hard to read all these comments from fellow Christians. It hurts and I know Christ himself is hurting by how we are all acting! Prayer is so powerful. Don't forget that. We should all pray for this community!!!

anotherpaul2000
anotherpaul2000

From an established teacher of the Word, and, former Pastor:

It took me all day.  I was interrupted much but I kept at it.  It took me all day to read the article with ALL of the attached comments.  I read them all, every single one.  It took me all day to read, wipe my tears and pray for the body of Christ.  My heart is broken.

Before I continue, and to qualify;  I moved to Denver in February, 2012.  By March, same year, “my church” was Pathways.

When I was a pastor (a youth pastor, to be clear), I used to tell my kids, “Don’t look at me or anyone else, young or old, for your guidance towards truth.  Everyone you know, including me, will let you down.  Count on this.  It has happened before and it will happen again. This being said; Keep your eye set on Christ, where life is.  Christ, at this moment, is seated at the right-hand of God.  Christ is really alive and He sees everything, your joy, your pain, every word you speak and everything you do in secret.  For, He is your father as He said, “I and the Father are one”.  You have, or will, join in this joy only if, you are so willing”.

My kids, at the several times I said this were willing to hear it so don‘t get your choners or panties (whichever may apply) in a bunch.  I‘m summarizing, OK?  It was up to them, the kids, to decide after that.  Some did, some didn’t.  Can you imagine the heartbreak of a Father regarding the children who rejected Him?  Let alone, a stupid youth pastor who felt rejected?

Regarding Pathways Church …. The Sheppard has been struck and the sheep are scattered.  My sisters and brothers, this should not be so!  Christ is your true Sheppard.  

I was never a pastor in my soul, I was always a teacher, but I loved those kids so dearly.  I took the volunteer job begrudgingly, put up with their adolescence, I second-guessed whether I actually heard God‘s voice or not.  Within only a few months from the beginning, I loved those kids so dearly.  Did I say that already?  I guess it’s worth repeating.  

Being a volunteer pastor for seven years brought me better insight and therefore, a better teacher.  God said, “If you teach others, do you not also teach yourself”?  To be fair, not even pastors understand that verse.  Only other “teachers” do…… Anyway, All of the above is conveyed throughout the bible but is best summarized in Colossians 3.  Don’t be slow.  Read it and memorize it … the whole chapter.  It will change your life.  Dear one’s, don’t delay in this and start today.

Everything in “quotes” below is from the bible ….

I moved to Denver in February, 2012.  By March, I had found my new home - Pathways.  More on that in a minute but first, God has something to say to you:

I have been a Christian since 1975 and a truly dramatic salvation that was, and is, since I “continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling”.  That’s another long story but I’m always asking myself and God if I’m going to screw this up.  Sure enough, I do.  It used to be a screw up at every turn of my life, less now.  “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.  Right?  Is that correct?  I mean, do you believe in the bible?  (I can’t believe I have to ask Christians that question sometimes)  Yes, there is forgiveness from God but only to a heart that is willing to accept the forgiveness …….  “In order to come to God one must believe in His grace, AND HIS PROMISES”.  Sometimes, it is so hard to “believe in His promises”.

Have you ever received a gift so unexpected, so expensive, that your first reaction was to reject it?  Maybe it was too expensive and you thought the giver, could not afford it.  Maybe you felt you didn’t deserve it.

You feel this way now.  I mean, I’m guessing, you are thinking that it was too good to be true?  That you never deserved the gift in the first place?  You didn’t.  Got that?  That’s what “grace” is about.  You were given the gift but maybe, you haven’t received all of it.  Some people forget that and it drives me nuts sometimes.

  As a teacher from God, I am telling you ……. Are you listening?  It is too good for you, but it is true.  Christ’s gift.  Not Gil’s, not anyone else’s gift, but Christ’s gift.  Until the day you die, “You must believe in His promises”.  So hard to do sometimes.  All the time, really.  Some things are true whether you believe them or not.  It’s just a matter of acceptance by you, or not.  No giver of a gift can give the gift, unless the receiver is willing to receive it.

I feel a small part to blame in all of this.  Not guilty, just not completely blameless.  Gil and I spoke once for about 5 minutes after a message he delivered about dating, divorce and the ever-present sex message, albeit underlying.  I introduced myself and told him how, for the most part, I believed the message he spoke was from God.  In the few minutes I had, I told him of my 10-year celibacy, how everything worked physically, and how I wished those physical parts did not work anymore, sometimes, and how I just believed that God wanted me not to date, even though I’ve had plenty of opportunity.  I spoke to him of, “It is better for you to remain single, as I do. ….  If one desires to marry, let him do so, it is no sin”.   And, “The married man cares most about the affairs of his wife and is divided …… the single man cares about the affairs of the Lord”.  I spoke to Gil about this and told him I knew how he felt.  I knew, at the time, he believed me.  Little did I know that even though Gil did believe me, Gil was scrambling for answers due to his current status-quo.  Gil stood there with his mouth open, not speaking a word.  I didn’t know God was speaking through me at the time.  God, not me, was speaking to Gil. I couldn’t understand Gil’s non-reaction, or, reaction in the non-sense.  I thought maybe Gil just thought I was another nut.  Now, I know.  Gil finally responded, “Brother, we gotta get you plugged in.  Let’s support each other in this, OK”.?

I feel guilty.  I didn’t follow through strong enough.  Gil saw me try to approach him in the following weeks but was an expert at glancing off.  I just took it as Gil-too-busy and maybe next week.  I didn’t follow through strong enough and I, truly regret it now.  Part of the lack of follow-through would have included my outspoken rejection of Pathways policy of meeting in a bar, partaking in alcoholic beverages in the presence of alcoholics, “It is not right to eat meat, drink wine, or do anything to make your brother stumble“, and, “ He that knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him, it is sin“.  “God’s Word shall not return void”.

I’m writing this response for two reasons, in case you haven’t figured it out:

1.  Never look to the species of man for your absolute guidance towards your continued salvation.
2.  I’m sorry I didn’t try harder.  I am truly in remorse.

I love you all.  “The Lord bless you and keep you always.  The Lord make His face smile upon you.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace”.

My sisters and brothers, you’ve heard this a thousand times.  So, I’m going to say it again……..   Don’t give up on God.  He never, ever gives up on you.  Just don’t look to man for Godly tenacity.  OK?  Promise?  Man will always let you down.

Always yours,

Paul

Nobrainer
Nobrainer

Minde Smyth - You are a strong and courageous woman of God!  Thanks for stepping up as a staff member of Pathways and putting the truth out there.  After talking with you at length, I can testify your motives are based in concern and ministry; (not vengeance and jealousy - as Gil would accuse).  Although you love Gil as a friend, you love God and His people more.  I hope and pray Gil and the Village people will heed your requests.

bcypherion
bcypherion

to go to the Alehouse for Rooted in the community meeting. He might not make church, but he can always go to a bar.

Jones said in the article that he has people he is accountable to. I'd like to know who. The same person who squelched the intervention signs his paychecks. She won't stop him.

Jones has also said he has a big FU inside him. Guess what? It's about to come out. A lot Of the leaders think he's getting readyvto quit and run to Chicago. This will be a big FU on everyone left who's remained by him. It will be a FU on his kids who will be left behind. He'll take his money and leave a bunch of unpaid bills you watch and see. And even then there will be people who will defend him and say he had no choice. He likes to say that when you do God's work, the devil goes after you. This won't be his fault. Dat old Debil made him do it!

So all you remaining suckers watch and see. I bet he's gone before the end of the month. He likes the bears and loves the bars and Chicago has both. He. found his scam and will play it until he's leftvtalking to a bunch of winos in an alley.

And listen Robin Black. We don't need 40 paragraphs in capital letters about all of this. I dont even know if anyones still reading this. I justcwant to make sure this is in print so that it can be shown later on.

bcypherion
bcypherion

Everyone condemning Gil Jones's actions is forgetting one thing. The man is a raging alcoholic. If what I just said is a felony, take me away officer. His behavior is not unique. its boring. Talk to anyone who's dealt with addicts. he's not doing anything different. I know of two times he was confronted by leaders. He blew them off. An intervention was being planned this summer, but the church treasurer stopped it. She said she was his friend before anything else and would tell him if it was put into action.

Two Sundays ago Jones talked about the article. Total deflection. He called it 2 scorned women and a gossip magazine. He did do the false humility act and thank Westword and the women for making him aware of things that were concerns. I guess two job firings weren't enough. Once again there was no acceptance of actual wrong doing. I guess he's still growing.

Jones makes 10 grand a month a does no work. 2 Sundays ago was the assistant pastors last talk. He left or escaped to go to school. His replacement refused to take the job after she read the Westword article. Jones had two days to get ready for services. He flew to California on Wednesday to do a wedding. On Saturday night he called one of his loyal minions and not one of the leaders to plan a "prayer service" for the next day. Jones said there was a problem with his ticket and he couldn't get back in time. Leaders checked and found more than a dozen flights back. They offered to buy a ticket. Jones refused. Said he already had a hotel room. He insisted they do the "prayer service", which is like a teacher showing a movie. Leaders threatened to quit and he finally cancelled sevices. But the next day the same bleached blonde minion announced that he would be back in time

karmacalling
karmacalling

To use Gil's words, "I'm super stoked" that the predator has been exposed.

I hope a tv show picks this story up.

Gil really needs to be exposed for ALL he has domes, and this just scratches the surface.

karmacalling
karmacalling

To use Gil's words, "I'm super stoked" that the predator has been exposed.

'The Village People' must be the most naive people on the planet.  I hope a tv show picks this story up!

Gil really needs to be exposed for ALL he has domes, and this just scratches the surface.

Nobrainer
Nobrainer

OK, let’s look at this rationally. Think about this: Would you want to go to a dentist that has rotting teeth? How safe would you feel seeing a physician whose covered with infected, oozing boils all over his face and hands? How confident would you feel sharing your intimate problems with a shrink who interrupts you so he can talk to his invisible friend? Duh, it's a no-brainer!  Obviously you would want to see a professional who knows how to be successful in his field and shows it in his own life. Why should a person follow a pastor for moral guidance and growth in Christ when he can’t overcome his own moral issues? It’s not “judgement” to say this guy should not be leading a church. It’s common sense!

The job description of a pastor is someone who can lead people in the church to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and teach them how that relationship can help them overcome problems. It does not include crying in your beer with people about how tough it is to be human while you want to be holy.  “Yeah, I’m a mess too but I love you man, and btw, so does Jesus.”  Yeah, yeah, Jesus hung out with sinners, but he also told them, “Go and sin no more!” Gil Jones doesn’t seem to grasp that part of the Gospel. He’s got the grace and the forgiveness part down but he leaves out the part about repentance and obedience to Christ. He manipulates the Gospel, just like he manipulates people, to suit his own desires and ego. The thing he needs to realize is he can’t manipulate Christ and get away with it. God will not be mocked and sooner or later Gil will be exposed, as I believe this article has started, and he will have to answer for what he has done.

I know Gil Jones. I listened to him preach at Pathways for a year. I talked to him personally and yeah, I fell for his schtick to make me feel close and important to him. But I saw the inconsistencies and the waving red flags. He didn’t walk the talk, so I backed away and watched and prayed from a distance. I saw it all come crashing down at Pathways. It broke my heart because I really do think Gil wants to be a good Christian and a good pastor.  In order for that to happen, he needs to step away from being a pastor and get healed, which is going to take quite a long time according to the behavior exposed in this article. He needs to learn to be a child of God before he can be a servant of God. Sadly, Gil refuses to take this advice that so many close friends and pastors have given him. He plays the part of a misunderstood victim whose picked on by” judgmental Christians”.  We’re not judging him. It’s just common sense!

Redeemed
Redeemed

What a tragic waste of a gifted man.  Gil could have been used by God is amazing ways to build the Kingdom...he is such a gifted speaker and leader. I loved hearing him speak.  I am sad for all of the people that will be turned off from Christ because of Gil's behavior, people who were seeking God and found another reason not to believe because of Gil.  The enemy seems to be winning in this particular battle.  But God will never give up on him.  I hope someday he finds himself able to change for real.  As for everyone who has been impacted by his charade, I pray you will be able to look past him to Jesus, who is perfect and perfectly loving.

Sheknowswhatsup
Sheknowswhatsup

Hey Ray Crum, Gil told those same lies at Pathways and Flatirons.  One sermon, Gil spoke about the 'physical attention he would give his wife if he were married'.  (while preying on countless women in the congregation--more coming forward all the time btw).

If the 'light' of this article doesn't WAKE UP the people attending 'the village', I'm not sure anything will.

BUT don't ever complain when you also find out Gil is a fraud and liar.  There are SO many other legitimate churches in Denver.  Stop providing him with drinking money.

ulyssespants
ulyssespants

I gave up reading the numerous and petty squabbles. The personal and public attacks for all to see. People trying to defend some piece of shit womanizer whom obviously cares of no ones feelings and throws tantrums like a teenager at fifty years old. And then tries to blame the sad, lonely, unintelligent women this sorry ass dude screws. And how "Christian" elders do not give a shit as long as long as a million people show up for the propaganda, for the sole reason of keeping their pockets lined and fat, with cash.

Christianity, now I am not saying all Christians, but the vast majority I have met in life, are miserable, hateful people whom only care about money and constantly LIE to themselves, and others, with no actual love in their heart. Do you really think a ten thousand/month salary is getting closer to God? Sure that salary was spent on booze and hookers,( like that fag Ted Haggard, except he preferred to fuck men and smoke meth) Keep telling yourself you are a good Christians when you talk bad about others, when their backs are turned, which is what many of you do, and when you cheat and lie, and hurt your children, and blame alcohol or whatever substance YOU ALL do, for what a PEICE OF SHIT YOU ARE, and think it's all OK because you went to some stupid ass service with eight thousand other dumbfucks in a big room believing some false shit some false "good" guy speaks, when he turns around and literally fucks his words into the devils mouth? Going to church is not a hall pass to feel better about being a complete asshole and piece of shit, to all you come across. Remember, organized religion is man made. But God created all of this. But gave humans free will. Karma is your hell, if you live like a piece of shit., You will only repeat it in the next life, over and over, until you learn, you fucking" adult" children.

And all these old hags engaging in extra marital affairs are so fucking stupid to think some married dude is going to worship only YOU, when he is cheating on his current wife and all the other ten chicks he lies to, solely so he can have a different pussy to fuck every night. He probably cums in each different pussy thinking about how he turns others against each other with his lies, causing bad shit and feelings as opposed to being turned on by the old lonely women's vaginas. A huge crowd of people who don't know any better, is the perfect place for the devils evil to take hold. SMH at all the dumbass women who haven't a clue. Christianity is the epitome of UNINTELLIEGENCE and CULT behavior.

 PS......QUIT being like a million other dumbasses and quit putting those orange and white flatirons stickers on your back windshield! Be yourself! Be unique and individual!!! Don't follow a crowd of unintelligence and debauchery and lies!!! And actually believe it!! Think for yourself!!! FOR CHRISTS SAKE!!! That's how He would want it. Stand up for what's right. Even if you stand alone. It is God's wish. And I hope this post pissed all you pathetic ass people off, as the article angered me.

ulyssespants
ulyssespants

I gave up reading the numerous and petty squabbles. The personal and public attacks for all to see. People trying to defend some piece of shit womanizer whom obviously cares of no ones feelings and throws tantrums like a teenager at fifty years old. And then tries to blame the sad, lonely, unintelligent women this sorry ass dude screws. And how "Christian" elders do not give a shit as long as long as a million people show up for the propaganda, for the sole reason of keeping their pockets lined and fat, with cash.

Christianity, now I am not saying all Christians, but the vast majority I have met in life, are miserable, hateful people whom only care about money and constantly LIE to themselves, and others, with no actual love in their heart. Do you really think a ten thousand/month salary is getting closer to God? Sure that salary was spent on booze and hookers,( like that fag Ted Haggard, except he preferred to fuck men and smoke meth) Keep telling yourself you are a good Christians when you talk bad about others, when their backs are turned, which is what many of you do, and when you cheat and lie, and hurt your children, and blame alcohol or whatever substance YOU ALL do, for what a PEICE OF SHIT YOU ARE, and think it's all OK because you went to some stupid ass service with eight thousand other dumbfucks in a big room believing some false shit some false "good" guy speaks, when he turns around and literally fucks his words into the devils mouth? Going to church is not a hall pass to feel better about being a complete asshole and piece of shit, to all you come across. Remember, organized religion is man made. But God created all of this. But gave humans free will. Karma is your hell, if you live like a piece of shit., You will only repeat it in the next life, over and over, until you learn, you fucking" adult" children.

And all these old hags engaging in extra marital affairs are so fucking stupid to think some married dude is going to worship only YOU, when he is cheating on his current wife and all the other ten chicks he lies to, solely so he can have a different pussy to fuck every night. He probably cums in each different pussy thinking about how he turns others against each other with his lies, causing bad shit and feelings as opposed to being turned on by the old lonely women's vaginas. A huge crowd of people who don't know any better, is the perfect place for the devils evil to take hold. SMH at all the dumbass women who haven't a clue. Christianity is the epitome of UNINTELLIEGENCE and CULT behavior.

 PS......QUIT being like a million other dumbasses and quit putting those orange and white flatirons stickers on your back windshield! Be yourself! Be unique and individual!!! Don't follow a crowd of unintelligence and debauchery and lies!!! And actually believe it!! Think for yourself!!! FOR CHRISTS SAKE!!! That's how He would want it. Stand up for what's right. Even if you stand alone. It is God's wish.

I-Must-Be-Ugly
I-Must-Be-Ugly

I guess it is only easy for me to be single and Christian in Denver.  

Dont-You-See
Dont-You-See

The foolish think someone is from God if they have spiritual gifts. The Wise realize those who are from the enemy have spiritual gifts as well. The way to tell if they are from God is by looking at the fruit their tree is producing. For Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ - Matthew 7:21-23

vivicah
vivicah

I just want to say that no matter how many women Gil has hurt, he has also done good.  I know a lot of you will probably stop reading at this point, but this is my story:

I started going to Pathways early on...i just needed direction.  Gil was the most charismatic speaker I had ever seen...he made me feel that there was something to live for.  But you know what they say, 'going to church once a week doesn't help the other six!'.  And that was me.

I kept looking forward to Sunday to keep me going, but it could never come fast enough.

And then, one night, there I was.  A gun in one hand, the phone in the other.  A lot of people say Gil wasn't available to them when they needed him, but by Christ he was there, for me, that night.

We talked for hours.  Eventually, when he felt he wasn't breaking through, he came to my house.  I held the gun on myself.  I put the gun on Gil.  He never wavered.  He brought me through.

A lot of the comments I have read are women whining about their 'special' relationship with Gil and how it wasn't so special when they found out there were others involved.  I'm here to tell you that Gil has a heart as big as the world and he doesn't need or ask for your approval.

I thank God and Gil every day for all those women he had relationships with and abused over texts because all of that taught him EXACTLY what he needed to say to pull me through.

So thank you, Gil.  Haters gonna hate but you know who you are...and you ain't no BITCH.

rileyclan
rileyclan

I'm honestly shocked and frankly disgusted learning about all of this. I started at Flatirons in 2001, and was immediately impressed with, and moved by Gil's ability to get to the heart of being human, flawed and forgiven. Something I also took from Gil was the belief in repentance... if I sinned, I asked forgiveness from God, AND ENDEAVORED NOT TO REPEAT IT. I remained a Gil supporter throughout the drama at Flatirons; believing that my pastor would repent, according to his own words. I had no idea that Gil didn't practice what he preached.

I didn't know about the Pathways drama until this article, and am deeply saddened by what I've read. I liked Gil enormously, respected him as a teacher and a spiritual leader, and occasionally visited Pathways to get a "Gil fix," when feeling in need of a "rockstar church experience."

It's not for me to judge. Gil's issues/addictions/denials are his own to deal with, and I hope he will. I do hope that he will refrain from spiritual leadership until he repents and follows through with abjuring those behaviors.

My heart and prayers go out to those that have been deeply hurt and disillusioned by this. Remember though, the lessons we gained from Gil were real and valuable. His personal battles do not nullify the connections we all made with God and within ourselves as a result of his teachings.

And Gil, please get some real help from people who will be honest with you.

jessiebliss
jessiebliss

To all those who have been directly and indirectly affected by Gil Jones:

 I have read this article and many of the following comments and what is deeply concerning to me is the awful pain and destruction the actions of Gil Jones and those who have covered for his actions have caused to so many people.

 I think it is important to acknowledge the wreckage that has resulted from this abuse and hurt.  These actions are wrong and have far-reaching effects for not only those who have had direct relationships with Gil, but also those who have sat in the seats of the churches he has taught in.  The pain and hurt are deep.  The process of healing is long and hard.  Perhaps some of the hardest work you will ever have to do.

 As betrayed as you must feel, as rocked as your faith must be, as heart broken as you are, I pray that you will, when you are ready, take one small step towards the Lord with your pain.  It may be to weep at his feet, it may be to pound your fists at the injustice that has occurred to you and to others, it may be to call a friend and share what it has meant to you, it may be to ask the question you are most afraid to ask, it may be to find a group of other spiritual abuse survivors.  I don’t know.  But I do know that the Lord promises to be near to the broken hearted.  I do know that this is not the way he intended it to be.  I do know that this was wrong.  I do know that the Lord’s heart is broken and betrayed as well.  I also know he meets us in our pain in a way that no other being can do.

 I pray for all of you.  I don’t know you, but I pray for you. 

justifiedandhappy
justifiedandhappy

I am so happy and elated this article was written.  I warned Ron Johnson and the Pathways elders about Gil Jones in 2008 when I saw him slithering up the chain of command. His non-apologetic exit from Flatirons was my first clue in. They of course didn't listen.  I'm sure they are listening now!  Gil Jones is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a predator, a narcissist, and as the pastor of a church basically a pedophile in a nursery.  I will make certain everyone in my life reads this article and is warned of Gil Jones and his lies.

ddfadumm
ddfadumm

Allen, since when does Westword set the stage for a "religious lynching?" Some of your facts are inaccurate and is one sided. What about the accountability of these women. That seems to be absent in your article, among other points. Yes, our Pastor has flaws, flaws that he is working on and he will be held accountable. Let's start diving into your life, shall we? I will no longer be reading Westword. Enjoy your righteous lynching because one day, it will come right back at you. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Jsambo45
Jsambo45

Sadly there are many people not mentioned in this article that deserve to receive just as much blame as Gil. Gil jones is a sick man who needs serious help. He has more in common with cult leaders than pastors. The people who deserve a lions share of the blame are elders and staff that have not just stood by, but have actively defended Gil.....thus furthering the damage. Ken Elsner, who,is planting a church but radically defended Gil and was MENTORED by him.....note, DO NOT GO TO AROMA CHURCH. Amy Seargent, Rachell Sohlden, Chris Hall, Chris Johnson, chad stickrath a doctor who would have known better, Claudia Sipivey who enabled Gil to,get away with this stuff at 2 churches, John Parks. Gil,is a predator, and he surrounds himself with people that lack character and discernment and uses them. Shame on all of you for what you have done.

FormerPathways
FormerPathways

Matthew 7:18.  Gil Jones is a 'bad tree' and produces bad fruit.

Gil is not only a pathological liar, he's a predator on women.  They come, broken, looking for spiritual help, and he preys on their vulnerability.

Why would ANYONE go listen to this fraud at his new, joke of a church?

Nothing he does represents Christ's teaching in any way, and it's unfortunate that he has misled so many in the most holy name.  Ultimate Sin!

sandefay
sandefay

I found this choice of feature article really strange. How often does a paper run an article which can be summed up by "Hey, look at this train wreck of a life!" 

jim.beaber
jim.beaber

I'd like to make a few clarifications in the article.  It states that Jacob Stanger was at an executive council  meeting on June 11th where Gil Jones was given an "ultimatum", and that Stanger never heard the ultimatum.  This is incorrect.  The executive council consisted of five people, including Gil Jones, .  Stanger was not a part of this council and was not at the meeting.  I have talked with Alan Prendergast about this, and it is simply a mistake made in reviewing notes.  There was no attempt at lying involved.  I would also like to point out that no actual ultimatum was given to Gil Jones at the meeting.  Concerns about behavior and drinking were expressed.  The associate pastor stated that he thought Gil Jones needed to enter a residential alcohol abuse treatment program, a view shared by two other people at the meeting. Gil Jones was asked to determine what program he would enter and report this on Friday, June 14.  An ultimatum implies that there is some sort of coercive threat that will be invoked if the ultimatum is not met. No such threat existed.  There is no procedure or process for removing the pastor at the Village.  The Village had no elder board or any other group that Gil Jones was accountable to or had to report to. Gil Jones could and did ignore the request for treatment with no penalty whatsoever.  The article also states that Gil Jones took a pay cut coming to the Village from Pathways Church.  This may be true, but Gil Jones was paid $10,000.00 per month at the Village, at least up through June 2013.  He did not tithe any of this back to the church.  This is not a bad salary for most people.  It represented nearly half of the approximate $20,000.00 per month budget the Village was operating with.  

I believe that alcohol abuse is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room that no one wants to deal with.  Mike Sares may state that the warned the Village leadership team about Gil Jones' behavior, but no where did he talk about alcoholism.  The same is true of all the various warnings mailed to Village leadership from various Pathways leaders about Gil Jones.  Focusing on the behaviors that arise from alcohol abuse is like trying to treat  the bad breath that a person with stomach cancer has--the underlying problem is still there chugging away.  I personally feel that the elders and leadership at Pathways Church dropped the ball in this area.  They knew there was a problem, and they could and should have given Gil Jones the enforceable ultimatum of entering treatment or dismissal.  It is my belief that this was not done because of alcohol problems prevalent among many others in the Pathways leadership.   

I had come to Pathways Church more than 3 years ago following a personal crisis engendered by my own terrible behavior.  I felt that I needed to start following a better and more moral path.  The message that Gil Jones preached resonated strongly for me.  I thought his sermons were brilliant.   I liked being told that you could mess up and still be forgiven.  There was truly a period of time when Gil Jones' sermons were all that stood between me and suicide.  I don't know what to believe now.  As another pastor I once heard stated, I am barely saved.  When we started building the Village, I really thought this was going to be something big and important.  I told people that I thought my entire life had been preparation for this.  Now, I just feel like a self-delusional idiot.  I have no interest in ever being involved in organized religion again.  My faith is shattered.  

grantgoldberg5280
grantgoldberg5280

Gil's a great pastor. He helped Jennifer (who was a volunteer producer at Pathways in '12) and I through some of our relationship difficulties. Our relationship failed, but I still love Jennifer with all my heart and wish that I'd applied some of the lessons from Gil's sermons more often and diligently in our relationship life. She and I might have lasted longer if I had. Gil has a lot of qualities, too. Wish the article would have focused more on those than on smearing him. I don't know anybody who has pretty skeletons in their closet.

Rachel80218
Rachel80218

@bcypherion There are plenty of people who are alcoholics who do not victimize others.  Who do not abuse power and manipulate. The addicts who do these things either #1 need money to feed their addiction, which this guy did not or #2 have that as part of their personality when drunk or when sober, it is who they are

Robin
Robin

@vivicah Thank you so much for sharing this. It is important to remember something very important that Gil says all the time: We are all "Bugly" - beautiful and ugly, and we are "Jawesome" - we are ALL jerks AND awesome all at the same time.  We are ALL capable of great destruction and great beauty. I think this article is important because Gil is a phenomenal showman, and people can get so focused on the good that he does that it makes them completely willing to ignore the immense damage that he does. 

In the "Christian community" in Denver, we TALK a lot about "Community" but we really have no idea what that REALLY means to live it out the way Jesus taught us to live it. Community is hard and painful and messy - it DOESN'T mean we just ignore people's faults and flaws until the damage they cause becomes so painfully and glaringly obvious that we just can't ignore it anymore, and we deal with the problem by simply kicking the "offender" out of community - without ever acknowledging that WE "create" the offender in the first place by refusing to see BOTH sides of a person - both the great good AND the great evil they are capable of. True COMMUNITY means embracing the TOTALITY of who a person is - just as we are then "forced" to embrace the full totality of who WE are (which is one of the many reasons why we frequently fight AGAINST the "community" that we talk so much about the necessity for in the Church.) Community is about having people "in your business" 24/7 who are not afraid to speak their mind regarding YOUR actions and behaviors - in the same way YOU are free to speak your mind about theirs. 

I have no doubt Gil "rolled in" (as he says) if you were able to reach him when you were in crisis. I have no doubt that he would have little fear of a loaded gun, and would stick and stay with you and walk THROUGH your crisis with you - because that is the kind of man he is. 

Unfortunately he is ALSO the kind of man who will USE multiple women all at the same time as nothing more than fodder to feed his enormous ego. When things are not going well with one - when one woman is not providing the mass quantity of fodder he needs to feed his voracious and insatiable ego, he will "supplement" with another (and another and another and another….) 

The reality is, he is - all at one time - BOTH of these men. 

I urge the "Leadership community" in Denver to not "throw the baby out with the bathwater."  Gil IS capable of enormous good and bringing enormous healing to communities AND (ironically) to WOMEN specifically.  But there is ALSO a side of him that is capable of causing IMMENSE damage and bringing just as much destruction as healing to a community. 

Those of you whom Gil has SOLELY helped - please don't lose sight of the fact that one person can bring both destruction AND healing to a community and discount the stories of those he has hurt. Those whom Gil has solely hurt, please don't discount the stories of those whom he has brought great healing, comfort and solace to. 

He is - at one time - BOTH of these men. 

Gil is not Jesus and he was never meant to be our God. Our responsibility as a COMMUNITY is to gather around him and provide STRUCTURED SUPPORT to enable him to get the healing he needs for the deeply damaged and wounded parts of his soul that CAUSE him to cause such damage and destruction in the community. (Hurting people HURT people…) Our "job" (if you will) is to take him by the hand and lead him to the Great Physician and hold him down (or act like a cast on a broken limb) to "immobilize" him while the Great Healer does the necessary work. So that he can then go through the process of becoming RE-INTEGRATED in a HEALTHY way BACK into the larger body. 

For too long, "Christian Community" has simply acted as a passive WITNESS to the great damage and destruction that Christian "leaders" have caused - and then acted in outrage when the full measure of that damage and destruction came to light. It's time to stop watching and get in there and help "neutralize" the most destructive tendencies and habits of Gil's so that his potential for good can just become stronger and stronger. 

bufffan
bufffan

@ddfadumm This article is about Gil and his transgressions. I don't doubt that these women aren't perfect either and they probably made mistakes too, but it doesn't excuse Gil's actions. Two wrongs don't make a right. Furthermore, Gil is a pastor and in a position of leadership and has the responsibility to act like a leader. He has failed to do so. If he was truly being held accountable, he wouldn't still be a pastor, jumping from church to church as he continues to make the same mistakes over and over again. He would step down. If he eventually overcomes his problems, then he can be a pastor again but it'll probably be a while until that happens. This article was right to expose him. 

stairflairdfw
stairflairdfw

@ddfadumm ????????? Please seek help to break free from the spell you are apparently under. If only 10% of this article is true, this man should not be pastoring a church or providing spiritual leadership. If Gil Jones can get a job writing for Westword on the other hand, then good for him.

jim.a.barnard
jim.a.barnard

@Jsambo45 Come on, I understand your frustration... but Ken cannot be held accountable on this. I don't know what other people knew, but I know how much Ken fought for truth and stood up against Gil's actions. Please do not lump Ken in with Gil... that is not a fair or knowledgable statement.

Aroma Church is solid and absolutely has accountability in leadership. Anyone who enjoyed Pathways should give it a try (meeting in Lone Tree).

stairflairdfw
stairflairdfw

@jim.beaber Jim, don't give up. We all make decisions that we regret. Don't let Gil Jones rob you of the joy, encouragement and spiritual benefits that come from meeting together with other believers who are sincere.

Robin
Robin

@jim.beaber Jim, one of the things I am DEEPLY grateful for is you being a LEADER who FINALLY has stepped up to the plate and admitted that YOU are ALSO part of the problem, because you ENABLED Gil to become what he became. What I am so tired of and so sick of and so ANGRY about is churches that just keep on giving Gil ULTIMATE authority with absolutely NO ACCOUNTABILITY and then covering for him and covering for him and doing all his "dirty work" for him (like firing people, kicking people out of the church, and PROTECTING him from anyone and everyone that brings an accusation against him.) until finally all the years and years of bad behavior comes back to bite him - AND THEM - in the ass, and they throw HIM under the bus to protect their own ass!! 

I am WAITING for Church leaders to actually DO what they PREACH every week - which is to DIG IN and get their HANDS DIRTY - to stop PAWNING OFF the problems that pastors who are given NO BOUNDARIES create by just FIRING them and making them someone ELSE'S problem!!

Also Jim, keep in mind - Jesus did not fail you, Gil did. This is - again - the problem with churches led by charismatic leaders like Gil, WE make them our GODS and then we get all butt-hurt and shattered when our "gods" fall and blame the REAL God for our own stupidity. Trust me, I have gone through this more times than I can count - I have grown up in highly dysfunctional churches, and spent 9 years in a "Christian" ministry with HIGHLY dysfunctional and corrupt leadership, and I still bear the scars. 

But what I have learned is to take personal OWNERSHIP of my own bad choices and decisions - *I* made those people my God and then got all crushed and hurt when they fell right on top of me. I don't get hurt anymore when leaders like Gil fall (as they INEVITABLY will) because I no longer make them my GOD!

Jim, you don't know what a HUGE step it is to be able to look at the situation and take personal OWNERSHIP of YOUR PART in it. I am still waiting for so many other church leaders to do the same. Gil is not a "nation unto himself" - it literally takes a VILLAGE to create the kind of damage and destruction he has - a VILLAGE of people standing around him and PROTECTING him from facing the CONSEQUENCES of his own actions - but then, when those consequences finally get so large they can't hold them at bay any longer, they throw HIM to the wolves and do exactly what Stephanie is doing : they play "innocent little victim" and act like EVERYTHING is ALL Gil's "fault" and they had NOTHING to do with it. 

I am hoping that THIS TIME more people will take YOUR attitude and take OWNERSHIP of the fact that they helped CREATE the "monster" that Gil keeps becoming over and over because of the unwillingness of the people around him to set legitimate, viable, BOUNDARIES  around him, and then take action to ENFORCE those boundaries.  

I find it highly unfortunately and sad that not only was Gil NOT given an ULTIMATUM (go to rehab or you will not have a job) but that it seems as if Jacob Stanger seemed EMBARRASSED by the notion that Gil WOULD be given an ultimatum. If this were any other job or company in the world, a company would be GENEROUS to offer an employee the OPPORTUNITY to to go Rehab rather than just firing him outright, but for some reason we are ASHAMED in The Church of the notion of giving someone the OPPORTUNITY to get their shit together, but then enacting definite CONSEQUENCES for not doing so!! You wonder what's wrong with The Church??? Well, there it is, right there!! We EXPECT people to just simply have phenomenal discipline and self-control, we PROTECT charismatic leaders that don't, and then THROW THEM OUT ON THEIR ASS when they defy our OWN UNREALISTIC expectations in the first place!

Gil is the product of TWO alcoholic parents, who then was just "expected" to have these great skills of discipline and self-control as an adult - which by the way HE DOES NOT HAVE - but his dysfunction allows him to build big "successful" churches, so people enable his dysfunction and enable his dysfunction and enable his dysfunction, until the "fruit" of his dysfunctional behaviors comes crashing down around his (and everyone else's) ears, and then they throw HIM to the wolves that inevitably come calling. 

I'm hoping that this time instead of just trying to GET RID of the problem by FIRING him and making him SOMEONE ELSE'S problem, the "Christian Leadership Community" in Denver will step up and actually engage in helping to CLEAN UP the mess THEY helped CREATE in the first place by either DIRECTLY enabling him or simply choosing to look the other way because it's "not their problem" to being so IGNORANT of what is going on in their own communities that they don't even KNOW there is a PROBLEM in the first place!!!

This is NOT just a "Gil" problem, this is a PROBLEM with the ENTIRE "Christian" Community in DENVER!!! (Remember people - we are ONE BODY - what affects ONE, affects the WHOLE - there is NO SUCH THING as "this is not MY problem" - "The Village's problem" is VERY MUCH YOUR PROBLEM!!!!

swengels
swengels

@jim.beaber It saddens me to hear your faith is shattered.  I hope you don't let the repeated bad behavior of one individual shake your faith permanently.  Thank you for sharing your personal experience and for trying to bring light to a great deal of darkness, not just the dating and drinking pieces, but the awful, hateful way he responds when he is angry or hurt.  It is hard to watch someone so gifted blow himself up over and over and over again.  My heart aches for everyone who has been affected.  Hopefully as people continue to come forward, and they are, something good will come of it.

bcypherion
bcypherion

Certainly didnt mean to insult addicts or alcoholics by calling Jones one. But listen, moron, he does need the money. Where else would he get ten grand a month for showing up a couple of days and reading old sermons to new followers? This is classic late stage alcoholism. Denial, lies, excuses, using and abusing, rages, not showing up. I wouldnt bet 50 cents he'll be there Sunday.

RecoveringElder
RecoveringElder

@Robin @vivicah Many have tried to help Gil, but true help often comes with some costs to the one accepting it.  Gil never would accept help that involved any form of consequences.  He never allowed his actions to have consequences, reacting in shock and resistance whenever someone tried to address an issue.  (as you can see in the abusive texts in the article) He was never willing to step out of the pulpit, which is his sweet spot, but also the source of his temptation.  As long as Gil sees his harmful actions as the source of his unique gifts, he will never heal and become the pastor people really need.   Read Romans 6 as a very appropriate passage addressing how Gil, and all of us, should approach our sin. 

Robin
Robin

@jim.a.barnard Jim, on the one hand, I would agree that Ken cannot be held solely or possibly even "largely" accountable for the events that took place at Pathways a year ago, and pointing fingers and "naming names" is neither accurate, helpful OR constructive. HOWEVER, what I DO think needs to be looked at and recognized is that Ken - along with EVERY OTHER person in leadership, as well as EVERY person that TITHED to Pathways Church DOES in fact bear SOME responsibility in regards to both what happened with Gil and what happened at Pathways as a whole. The past is the past and it cannot be "fixed" or changed. HOWEVER, I think if we refuse to take a very long, hard RELENTLESS look at the past and our own individual accountability in regards to events that were the CUMULATIVE result of a thousand little small decisions made by hundreds of people over the course of anywhere from 2 to 5 years - then we are destined to simply REPEAT the past, and will just keep building the same corrupt "system" over and over. 

The first problem is that Gil was allowed to ever be a pastor in the first place without some SERIOUS restrictions and accountability practices being in place (which Ken had NOTHING to do with, as he was not even at PW's - or even (I believe) in DENVER at the time.) Again, one individual cannot necessarily be held responsible for this, as Gil was also "promoted" into a lead pastor position almost overnight as a result of the PREVIOUS "church split" that happened less than 4 years before Gil was fired. (which also leads credibility to the belief that the "church split" that occurred around Gil's "firing" was very likely the result of MANY causes which INCLUDED "fissures" in the leadership STRUCTURE that pre-dated even GIL.)

Again, there is little point in pointing fingers and playing the blame-game, but I think there ARE some very valuable lessons to be learned  that can be applied to the CURRENT situation.  First of all, you can't try and put on the brakes LONG AFTER the train has already begun barreling down a mountain completely out of control. Second of all, you can't call someone into accountability who is not yet ready to admit to their issues - you just can't. And the time for doing so is not AFTER he has spent 3 years building a large and thriving community (at least in terms of numbers.) The time for "checking the brakes" - putting proper accountability practices in place is BEFORE the "captain" is given control or BEFORE you get on the train.  Once the train is moving - it's moving, it's TOO LATE to check the brakes or establish appropriate safety procedures - the time for that is BEFORE the train gets moving. You can stop it before it picks up momentum - but once it picks up momentum, if you have no brakes NO ONE CAN STOP IT!!  Once that happens, you largely just have to resign yourself to the fact that YOU got on the train, and there comes a point when you have no choice but just to go down in flames with it. That's when you simply have to trust God that He will bring you out safely - and hope you have a chance to simply move on and do better next time.  

The question is, of course - whether we WILL choose to LEARN from the experience and actually DO better next time. I suspect that Ken's tenure at Pathways provided a very valuable learning experience for him, and I feel confident that he learned a lot both from Gil AND from his own mistakes, both of what TO do to build a healthy community and what NOT to do.  

I think this article comes at a very opportune time for The Village, as it provides them not only concrete proof of some very serious issues, but also provides that same "evidence" to the BODY of The Village - who VERY MUCH has the power to STOP THE TRAIN - right now.  There are definitely many integrity issues around exposing the sins of others, and thankfully - in this case - God allowed things to be revealed in a way that did not involve church leadership in any way. The point is not to "kick Gil off the train" but it IS to examine the past and figure out how to do things differently AT THE BEGINNING. 

What we tend to forget in the church is that Pastors are EMPLOYEES of THE CHURCH!! "The Church" is the group of people that supports the church FINANCIALLY. Therefore, the STAFF (INCLUDING the pastor) are - more than anything else - the EMPLOYEES of the TITHING MEMBERS of the Church!! Now, obviously an argument can be made that ultimately we all work for God - and that is true - but most of us also have an "earthly supervisor" that we are RESPONSIBLE for reporting to. We - as the BODY - need to stop believing that we have to ASK the pastor and church staff for accountability and are HELPLESS to do anything about it if they refuse!

People who tithe to a church have an ENORMOUS amount of leverage in a church that they don't even know about - and conversely, they have a RESPONSIBILITY to ascertain EXACTLY how their tithes are being distributed - OR THEY NEED TO STOP TITHING. It's as simple as that. I can't IMAGINE anyone giving money to a bank or money manager and not demanding an accounting of what is being done with that money.  When you buy stock in any company or business, they are REQUIRED (by law) to provide EVIDENCE of what they are doing with that money and where it is going. If the Federal Government feels that transparency in publicly traded corporations - supported by stockholders - is important, why is it not equally, if not MORE important in a church?

I think this situation provides both The Village AND Pathways (and even Aroma) a remarkable opportunity to take a very long, hard look at an ONGOING problem and ask what can be done RIGHT NOW - when all three of these churches are very small and have not yet gained momentum, and problems of that past have the ability to actually be addressed and potentially fixed for the future. That does not mean that for every problem you fix, a new one won't crop up - but would you rather just keep making the SAME mistakes over and over again, or would you at least like the opportunity to tackle new ones?

Gil may not have been ready to submit to accountability 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or even 9 months ago - but that does not mean he is not ready now. And the people calling him into accountability during each of those periods may also not have had the most altruistic of intentions or motives - people who have little accountability themselves are not generally the best people to try and call OTHERS into accountability, and when an entire SYSTEM is corrupt (as I believe was the case at Pathways in 2011-2012) simply "reigning in Gil" is not going to solve the problem. I believe that The Village leadership is a very different "animal" from Pathways leadership during that time, as well as the current Pathways leadership team is beginning to show some signs of good, solid spiritual health - but it (clearly) took a LOT of pruning to reach that point. 

Bottom line is there were an ENORMOUS number of decisions small and large made by an enormous number of people - some in leadership, some not - that ALL contributed to what happened at Pathways. 

We cannot CHANGE the past - or BLAME the past on one or a few individuals - but we can LEARN from it IF we ALL admit to our own individual SMALL portion of responsibility in the "debacle" that was the whole - we CAN make a huge dent in changing the FUTURE. 

jsambo45
jsambo45

@jim.a.barnard I wish I wasn't knowledgeable about it.  Back when Ken first came over to the uptown campus,  Gil initially told everyone that some guy in the church was really upset with him for dating his ex-girlfriend.  Well, it wasn't the ex-girlfriend of someone in the church, it was actually the ex-wife of a worship team member that cheated on her husband -  and the husband wanted to reconcile!!!!   Not only did Gil lie about it, but Ken perpetuated the lie and he condoned Gil's behavior that ultimately ruined any chance at reconciliation.  Ken demonstrated a great lack of discernment throughout his time at Pathways.  I would be concerned about the spiritual authority and leadership capability of anyone who supported/enabled/condoned Gil's ministry for so long.  This was going on under Ken's watch as a pastor at Pathways.  He absolutely stands accountable for what happened under his watch.  Though obviously people are free to make their own decisions.      

jim.beaber
jim.beaber

@Robin @jim.beaber   I need to make it clear that Jake Stanger did not say he was at the meeting.  This was a mistake made in the reporting, and nothing else. 

bcypherion
bcypherion

Guess we wont ever know. i dont think he's been sober longer than a day for the past 30 yrs. Look at him sometime when he hasn't had a drink for a while. His handds shake bad. He dinks more at 2 in the afternoon than most of us drink all week. Drinking wipes out his judgement and filters. A while back his head minion told us Jones had cut down on the drinking. Haha. its worse than ever. So you can argue all day about addiction but i've seen this before in other alkies. He dries up and still is a jerk you may have a point. Don't think he'll ever stop drinking though. He isnt tough enough. Drinking isn't an excuse. I don't think alcoholism excuses anything. Just explains it.

Rachel80218
Rachel80218

@bcypherion lol, I don't know why you are getting hostile.  I'm just pointing out that I don't think alcoholism is an excuse for his behavior.  He's probably a manipulative control freak when sober.  

Denial, Lies, excuses, using and abusing aren't symptoms of addiction.  But they are symptoms of someone with a Cluster B personality Disorder as well as a person who is high in what is known as the dark triad of personality.  

If addiction were his main issue and he simply is doing things in order to keep his income flowing freely, then he would be on better behavior, not worse.  His issues are clearly more than an addiction.  

Robin
Robin

@RecoveringElder @Robin @vivicah I'm not implying that no one has ever tried to "help" Gil, but what I can speak to - from years and YEARS of experiences in many different churches and religious organizations - is that very often the "help" offered is every bit as abusive as the original problem.

Second of all, I'm also not saying that no one has EVER offered Gil legitimate, viable "healthy" help - but you are right that TWO things have to be in place: 1.) the "help" offered needs to be from individuals or teams that are themselves in a legitimately stable and HEALTHY place from which to help him from - and 2.) Gil has to actually be READY to receive that help.

I can't speak to what happened at Flatirons, but you'll have to excuse me if I have a hard time believing that a team of people that participated in doing "blessing shots" (and not the non-alcoholic kind that he does with his kids) with him while on STAFF/ "leadership" retreats are really the best people to offer viable, stable, LEGITIMATE help with "accountability." 

I am not saying that EVERY leader at Pathways as of two years ago and up to approximately a year ago was "corrupt" but there WAS an enormous amount of "corrupt" behaviors and practices that were STRONGLY in evidence during that time.

It is my personal belief that both the leadership of The Village AND the leadership of Pathways are in a very different place now, and are populated by far more "sober" individuals that I think stand a FAR greater chance of being able to offer Gil the LEGITIMATE help he needs. It is going to take far more than one person or a few people to help Gil - he needs to be INTEGRATED into a STABLE, HEALTHY community - and that was most definitely NOT the Pathways of 2 years ago, or even a year ago at the time he was fired.

The "North Point Community" of churches (of which Andy Stanley is the "lead" pastor) did a PHENOMENAL series this summer called "My Bad Church Experience" - and it touched home with me on so many levels, as I think it would to MANY people who have "gone through the wringer" on behalf of corrupt leadership teams in churches. I would ask Church Leaders and Church members involved in this situation to particularly listen to Week 8 of the series, entitled "The Thrill of The Catch" - it deals with how many churches deal with "accountability" and "discipline" in The Church in ways that are often every bit as unhealthy as the original "offense" and create far more harm than good.

Again, please note: I am not saying that EVERY leader at Pathways as of 2011 to the fall of 2012 was corrupt, but I AM saying there was a great deal of corruption in the leadership team AROUND Gil as a whole. He is certainly not a "victim" by any stretch of the imagination, but he was also far, far, FAR from being the ONLY problem.

swengels
swengels

I can attest that, despite tremendous effort on the part of so many close to him, you can't help someone who looks you in they eye and tells you one thing, and then goes off and does something else. I had a dear friend who was mentoring him regularly through our break up, which he was saying was painful and awful for him, and he was telling her not only that he wasn't seeing anyone, but that he was lonely. The truth was, there were several people he was dating/cultivating, Tabitha included. I have since had conversations with some of them. I feel your hurt and anger but it should land square on the shoulders of the perpetrator and he should be the one held accountable. We have all had to own our various parts in this. I doubt you will find anyone of us who doesn't wish there had been more that we could have done.

kcelsner
kcelsner

@jsambo45 @jim.a.barnardI've tried to stay out of the midst of this, but the accusations that are being made about me are too far.  @Jsambo45 , if you want to meet to talk about what you "think" I covered up, then let's do that.  You can email me at kcelsner@gmail.com.  I have nothing to hide from you or anyone.   Here this again. I did not cover up anything.  Your facts are wrong.  And you have never contacted me about them.  As far as the past few years.  Yes, I wish that I would have been in a position of leadership to where I had the authority to bring better boundaries to Gil.  But I didn't.  None of us did. He wouldn't allow it.  All of us on staff and elders tried the best we could do guide and protect, but when someone hides their lives from you and directly lies to you about what they are doing, you become handcuffed! 

Please do not respond to me on this forum.  It's not the appropriate place to do so.  I am totally open to meeting with you and hearing you out.

Robin
Robin

@jim.beaber @Robin Jim, I recognize that Jake was not at that meeting, but I am assuming that he DID actually say: "People make mistakes," he says. "Gil's been very honest with me. When you take ownership and try to do better next time, that's all anybody can do."  And I absolutely disagree that "taking ownership" and "trying to do better next time" is not ALL someone can do. And even though he was not at the meeting he DID say he didn't feel an "ultimatum" was necessary. 

There is a little fabulous book called "Boundaries" and - sadly - it is most often in THE CHURCH (at large) that this concept is most misunderstood, misused or not used at all. In essence, a boundary IS an "ultimatum." For some reason, we think ultimatums are "bad" things and are the OPPOSITE of what it means to love or be loving, but in all actuality love ONLY thrives in an atmosphere of healthy BOUNDARIES - of which Gil has little to none. He does not know how to set them, either for himself OR for others, and he has no idea how to enforce them-which means he ping-pongs back and forth between two "modes"  - either he has NO Boundaries at all, or puts up BRICK WALLS when he gets uncomfortable with people that can't "respect" the boundaries he refuses to set! This is the root of his erratic behavior, where he will come on like a mack truck one minute and then simply DISAPPEAR the minute things get uncomfortable for him. 

A BOUNDARY is in fact an ULTIMATUM - it says "if you do or do not do this thing, then these are the consequences I am giving you warning that I will enforce" For instance: "If you show up late for an appointment again, I will leave and may  not reschedule." Or "if you cannot refrain from name-calling in a discussion, I will end the conversation." Or "if you cannot PUBICLY acknowledge our relationship, then I WILL BREAK UP WITH YOU." (That is what HEALTHY people say in situations like those mentioned in this article.)

You cannot control the choices a leader makes, but you CAN MAKE THEM take RESPONSIBLITY for those choices. An example of this is: if YOU want this person let go or fired, YOU have to FACE them and tell them that - TO THEIR FACE. Gil talks over and over about getting face-to-face with people (or as he calls it "knee-to-knee") but over and over and over again HE refuses to do that, and all the people around him COVER for him!! He has had people fired that no one made him face, he has had people kicked out of churches that he was never made to face - over and over and over again, all of the people AROUND him have done all his "dirty work" for him, and then when the shit hits the fan and gets too big to manage, they point all the fingers at HIM and say it was "all his fault."

My comments are not JUST about this meeting or even necessarily about the way The Village leadership (alone) has handled this situation, but the ONGOING way situations of this nature are handled in THE CHURCH in general  and on the whole. We talk about things like "mercy and grace" as if they are supposed to be never ending "get out of jail free" cards, no matter HOW many times you screw up - and I don't think it's merely a coincidence that it is the very PASTORS that teach this very "wishy-washy" brand of "love" or "grace" or "mercy" that demand the most often to be the beneficiaries of it!

There is WAY to much secrecy in the church, and people refusing to disclose things on the basis of "Protecting" those involved, when most often it is their OWN asses they are protecting.  There is WAY to much brushing messes under the rug, "getting rid" of the "offending" parties, and then attempting to "move on" and calling it "healing." It's possibly the most unfunny and destructive JOKE on the planet - particularly because it keeps happening in CHURCHES!!!  I am grateful that this writer had the balls to do what too many church leadership teams have not had the balls to do for the last 10 years. This writer just PUBLICLY opened a whole great big can of worms - or as the Bible would call it: brought that which was hidden in darkness INTO THE LIGHT!!!

 
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