What were the specific concerns the Elders presented to Dan?

While initially designed to remain private, Dan has shared publicly the restoration document presented to him by the Elders. In addition to these initial concerns, Dan has exhibited behaviors that require correction. Ultimately, the hope was to bring correction and restoration to Dan and healing to the congregation and staff who have been hurt. The following is a brief synopsis of the areas of concern brought to Dan:  

1.  Prioritizing his family over the ministry of the church:
The Elders acknowledged that Dan’s family has been through a huge transition over the past year and a half including changing schools, moving, and building a new community at a new church. The Elders had received concerns about Dan missing commitments to his family to attend to church business.

While we are grateful for Dan’s dedication to our church, Scripture is clear that children need their parents and a wife needs her husband to be present to shepherd and lead the family. 1 Timothy 3 states, "He (pastor/Elder) must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?"

The Elders requested Dan take two dedicated days off per week to rest and be with his family.

2.  To take responsibility for his words and actions and not shift blame to others:
The Elders provided four examples of Dan shifting blame and/or not taking responsibility for his words or actions. These included making excuses about his choice to purchase a 3 million dollar home in Rolling Hills, misrepresenting the neighbors to the congregation, choices made regarding the Worship Center remodel, and sharing confidential discussions and decisions made in an Elder meeting with others not in that meeting.

3.  Preaching:
The Elders acknowledged their love of Dan’s bold and unapologetic preaching of the Gospel and his desire to hold firm to sound doctrine. They addressed two areas in regard to preaching:

Sufficient time to study and prepare for the weekly sermon:
Because of the many needs of our church, Dan has regularly scheduled meetings on and off campus during days dedicated for sermon preparation and study. Understanding there will be exceptions, the Elders requested Dan exercise firm boundaries and take two uninterrupted days each week to allow for sufficient time to prepare his sermon.

Cease with certain jokes and comments:
There is a growing concern among the congregation and the Elders regarding the necessity to make certain comments, jokes, and racial remarks. Numerous congregants have come forward either hurt or disheartened by some of the comments heard from the pulpit and many have left the church because of it. These jokes, comments and racial remarks do nothing to bring people closer to Christ, and in fact, they may be harming people and preventing them from hearing the Word of God.

4.  Cast vision and allow the staff to execute it:
The Elders acknowledged Dan has been tasked with setting the vision for our church. However, instead of trusting the staff to carry out his vision, he has spent countless hours seeking to execute and manage this vision himself. This has created an unhealthy pattern, preventing him from taking sufficient time to prepare the sermon and attend to the needs of his family and congregation. In addition, there are many staff members and congregants who feel they cannot share their thoughts and concerns openly without fear of retaliation.
5.  Contemporary Worship Team:
The Elders acknowledged and are grateful for Dan’s desire to have doctrinally correct worship music. However, they expressed concern for Dan not beginning an agreed-upon search for a permanent full-time contemporary worship pastor/leader. In addition, most of our current worship team does not consider RHCC their church home. It is the desire of our Elders to have a worship team that are actively involved in the life of our church and live according to our shared theology and doctrine. Because Dan was overseeing and making decisions that impacted our contemporary worship team, the Elders asked that everyone on the team commit to attending at least one service the weekend they are here. They also asked that band members and vocalists be vetted for doctrine and theology to ensure that they align with RHCC as they frequently talk with congregants at the end of the services and are a representation of our church.

6.  Financial Stewardship:
The Elders outlined three examples of poor stewardship and a lack of accountability: projected overspending on the budget for the contemporary worship team; tasking staff to put on events, some of which cost thousands of dollars, without regard to if we have the budget for them; and requests to spend 3 million dollars over the originally budgeted amount for the Worship Center remodel.

Was Dan forced to sign the confidentiality agreement?

Dan did not have to sign the confidentiality agreement but instead was asked, not coerced or threatened, to sign the confidentiality agreement on August 31, in regard to the concerns brought by the Elders. He had full freedom to refrain from signing the document if he wished. The purpose of this agreement was written in order to protect Dan and his family, our staff, and our church as a whole. In addition, Dan asked for and was permitted to seek counsel outside of the church. Confidentiality agreements are a standard part of our performance improvement plans for all staff.

How did Dan resign as Senior Pastor?

The Elders desired to see repentance and restoration for Dan, but let him know that if his conviction doesn’t allow him to agree to the restoration process, then he should resign. As the Elders said in an email to Dan: “We love you and we love your family. We know that it was not easy moving your family here and we don’t want to position you in a way that brings harm to yourself, Joy and the kids. For this reason, the Elder board has unanimously agreed that if you choose to take the path of resigning, we will provide for you a 1-year severance of pay and medical so that you may provide for your family and to help you transition to what the Lord has next for you.” The following day (Wednesday, September 14) the Elders received an email from Dan stating, “I believe it best to resign with an appropriate 2-year severance package plus medical insurance…I believe a statement of mutual non-disparagement that the Elders and I sign be crafted; honoring our parting of ways.” Dan also asked for loan forgiveness for money he used for improvements to his home in Rolling Hills. The Elders informed Dan that the severance package he asked for totaled about $650,000 which would put staff positions, missionaries and ministries at risk.

The day after the Elder Council rejected his desire for a $650,000 exit package, Dan began his public disclosure of information. Although Dan could have refused, he signed an agreement on August 31, that he would not share any of the information from that night’s Elder meeting with others. The agreement continues by stating that if Dan chose to share information privately or publicly that it would be considered his immediate resignation. Since Thursday, September 15, we have witnessed Dan repeatedly break this agreement and thus the Elder council accepted Dan’s immediate resignation according to the agreement he willingly signed.

Was Dan given the opportunity to respond to the Elder’s concerns?

Yes, Dan met with the Elders on Wednesday, September 7, and was given uninterrupted time to share his perspective. The Elders gave this response, “After hearing your perspective and your heart, the Elder Board of RHCC is in 100% agreement and unanimous support of our original position that you are in need of restoration, healing and to come to a place where you can repent and repair the relationships and the trust that you have broken with many staff, congregants and Elders.”

Did the Matthew 18 process for Dan start recently?

The initial Matthew 18 process began approximately 5-6 months ago. Culminating in the restoration agreement that was presented to Dan on August 31.

How was Dan in the normal day-to-day interactions with staff?

The staff have been given freedom to share their personal experiences about working with Dan. We encourage you to talk with the staff members and Elders you love and respect. All of our current pastors and ministry directors affirm and stand behind the decision of the Elders. This was emphasized by the staff requesting to join the Elders on stage Sunday, September 18.

Why are we sharing these concerns publicly?

As stated above, the Elders agreed to keep their concerns private in order to protect Dan, his family, and the church. The Elders honored that agreement, however, Dan violated those terms and made everything public when he called a meeting with congregants, again when he posted a public video, and then again when he posted some of the documents and emails on his personal website. Dan’s actions necessitated a response from the Elders in order to protect the church and help bring understanding.

Financial Accusations:

RHCC has a long-standing record of completing a full audit of our finances every two years, with a partial audit done in the alternating years. The audit process this year was delayed as we are in the process of changing our accounting software and our auditors have told us that an accurate audit will not be possible until this is completed. We are currently scheduled to have a full audit in October, once our accounting software transition is complete. Dan presented concerns earlier this year and, at his request, we completed a partial audit and received this confirmation from the firm: “We completed our audit work for potential irregularities in financial activity and did not find any transactions of a concern.” Dan was informed of these findings by multiple individuals earlier this year. The fact that Dan is inferring, in his public videos, that something financially malicious is potentially happening at RHCC is grievous, misleading, and a completely baseless accusation.

We would like to be clear, the Elders have never accused Dan of any sort of fraudulent activity. We have no reason to believe this was ever the case. In addition, we have several long-standing safeguards in place to prevent this from happening in any form, from any staff member.

Worship Center Remodel Update:

We want to take the opportunity to inform the congregation that the Worship Center remodel is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year and will be kept within the original budget the Elders agreed upon. As mentioned in previous Congregational Business Meetings, the funds for the remodel came from a large gift bequeathed to the church from a congregant and did not come from our regular tithing.

What now?

Our staff is fully committed to you and to our church and all ministries will remain the same as we move forward. The Elders are actively meeting to discern the best way forward for RHCC. In the meantime, we will continue to welcome our current pastors as well as guest speakers to preach on Sundays. Please continue to pray for Dan, his family, our Elders, and our church.

The Elders are available and open to meeting with you to answer any additional questions you may have. You can schedule a meeting by emailing elders@rhcc.net.

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

PROVERBS 6:16-19