Sawyer Highlands Church

Sawyer Highlands Church

Posted in the Baroda Forum

Since: Nov 08

Saint Joseph, MI

#1 Nov 22, 2008
This seems at first like it would be a place to go; they say all they right things and the worship and preaching are enticing. They have many, many church based programs that will also attract you. Once your are in, as a member, however, the leadership have an all-controlling roll and the members are not allowed to question the leadership. This seems similar to many sects or cults.

Please be very cautious and realize that your spiritual life is in jeopardy when you make a decision as a Christian to cast aside your intellect for you feelings, the feelings of being loved and accepted.

Riceville, TN

#2 Dec 9, 2008
I totally agree with that. But I also want to say they are loving members. Just "cult" like.
The _Sky_is Blue

Bloomington, IL

#3 Jan 24, 2009
This church states it believes in the biblical eldership model. To address one point, I think that the qualifications for teaching, at the very least, are not met by several elders, including B. Klint (he defers any teaching; if you ask any honest members they would say he is not a teacher), L. Klint (they say that he teaches by example; is that really what the Bible is discussing regarding qualifications for leadership?), J. Moline (he will play some videos or something like that; in many years I have never seen him teach), and more. This is not to say that these are not "nice" guys, it is just simply to say that when the Sawyer Highlands (Baptist) Church states it is basing its leadership on a biblical model, it is only fooling itself. More to be posted at a different time.

Bloomington, IL

#4 Feb 4, 2009
Having looked at the comments made so far about this church, I have a few comments to so. I have attended Sawyer for at least four years and have been involved in several levels of service, which include, among others, leadership and teaching.

I sadly agree with what The_Sky_is Blue says about the elders mentioned. Having seen the interactions of the elders at large, however, I think that the problem is more to do with the fact that the pastor (J. Dryden) has a power over these men. He is able to convince, or "shmooze" these men. He is very slick in his presentation. The elders are supposed to have equal authority, but I have seen that they all submit to him. In the church of Christ this is very dangerous. What a sad representation of leadership; how sad a representation of being a shepherd.

Somehow, God will, by His goodness and kindness, restore all of us to Him in heaven. Hallelujah!
Christian from Ohio

Chicago, IL

#5 Jan 31, 2014
I attended Sawyer for several years on and off. As previous reviews have stated, this congregation is scattered with people in their "leadership" who are judgmental toward people who screw up and portray that you can only be a Christian if you are 10000% committed to them, their building, their people, their congregation, etc. Almost like a cult (something that I do not know much about), their people follow their leadership around like puppies who need to be told every little thing to do. Very unhealthy. If you are looking for a new church, I would recommend passing this one up and moving on. There are several other churches in the community where you can grow and be involved without the unhealthy "ownership" that Sawyer Highlands takes over their people. If you are currently attending, I would encourage you to re-evaluate how this congregation is controlled and how "outsiders" aka "people who attend other churchs" are viewed (as less holy/beneath Sawyer People/etc./not true christians) In the last year I have moved out of state, so I things could have changed, but I doubt it.
Another view

Grand Rapids, MI

#6 Feb 17, 2014
Our family has been attending Sawyer Highland for the past ten years and this has not been our experience at all. SHC is not a perfect church (because it is made up of fallen people) but the church routinely asks God for direction and its leadership seeks to live lives that are intentionally submitted and honoring to God and His purposes here on earth. We're grateful to be part of the body at SHC and, now, Converge Community Church as well.
I switched churches

Chicago, IL

#7 Jun 24, 2014
I used to attend Sawyer Highlands church, but have recently left simply because I couldn't stand the worship/music time during the services. I partly agree with the above comments about the church's leadership and elders being self-righteous, but I honestly couldn't stand the fact that their worship time is so random. I always tried to attend with an open mind and willing heart. Different people are leading each week - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's so horrible I wanted to get up and leave. In a church that size, I expected a more professional congregational worship time. The song leaders often weren't singing in a key that you could follow, and they constantly changed the tunes to songs that thought I knew. Because of these issues with the worship leading/song choices, I decided to start visiting other churches and have found another congregation that sings songs I actually know, in tunes I recognize and in a key I can follow. If you aren't bothered by these types of things, I'd encourage you to check it out - the people are nice...

Etowah, TN

#8 Aug 1, 2014
Went to bible school there in the 70's.
Been to their garage sales. But more recently had a dealing with one of the pastors. Was very disappointed with the interaction. I was so distraught I had to leave and grab a buddy. This "pastor" was lying his ass off, my buddy couldn't believe it either. Im not going to mention names but VERY VERY disappointed (to say the least) and understand why Im more of a spiritual person and not an all out following junkie.

It looks like a nice enough place.
But the issue im talking about is way bigger than their choice of music. Im mean, right there in the church parking lot. One lie after another. This is the 2nd "pastor" (not relating churches) Ive had very negative dealings with in the last year.

This explains a lot to me. Like why people would rather play a video game about killing others than to go to church. Life is disappointing with all the crime, injustice and general evilness incorporating them into church just goes to show some fruitcakes could be right and the end could be closer than you think....but personally think the world is ready for a BIG purging. Ether it be from war or illness.

Since: Nov 08

Three Oaks, MI

#9 Nov 18, 2014
Another view wrote:
Our family has been attending Sawyer Highland for the past ten years and this has not been our experience at all. SHC is not a perfect church (because it is made up of fallen people) but the church routinely asks God for direction and its leadership seeks to live lives that are intentionally submitted and honoring to God and His purposes here on earth. We're grateful to be part of the body at SHC and, now, Converge Community Church as well.
I just saw your reply. I will try to respond in a helpful way. First, I have obfuscated names for purposes you might know. In the past my family didn't and we and our mother-in-law were harassed over the phone and via the internet by members of the leadership over a period of six months. Second, if you are not a leader, let me know, and I will let you know our real names.

When you say its leadership seeks to live lives that are "intentionally" submitted and honoring to God ... it is very interesting. That word "intentional" seems like a buzzword. Are you in leadership? I have heard this before as I am/was in leadership.

Looking at Sawyers' supposed honoring of John Piper for many, many years and then when the subject of divorce and remarriage happens/happened they turn their backs. Not only on Piper, but those out East that they have praised. I am being a little vague here, but, if you have attended the TMFL for many years or headed small groups, or taught adult Sunday school for many years, or even preached from the pulpit at SHC, you would know that when it comes to adhering to a doctrine it seems that adherence only is applicable when it does not disagree with commonly accepted action. Or if you are one of the select families. Or if you tow the line of the head pastor.

Try to question doctrine. Leadership. One of the deacons used to yell at an elder, on a consistent basis. The deacon was a woman (deaconess: D. Cryden; switch some letters and you will know), the elder a man. But she was the wife of a pastor and so the biblical inconsistency was ignored. Or the time when an elder said he really wasn't able to teach much about doctrine because he didn't like to read; he is still an elder. Look-up about the Biblical qualifications for leadership. Or the deacon who continually confessed a challenge with pornography/self-pleasure, over a long period of time; years. He was honest with his ongoing sin problem. What was taught as a continually, ongoing sin or disqualification for leadership at two TMFL times was ignored. He was supposed to step down but was too valuable for other reasons. However, a person (not me) who had been an elder in good standing in the past, a good man of God, stepped down because his son's actions precluded him from continuing in his position as elder.

One elder once told us (my family) that regarding another elder "You have to take everything he says with a grain of salt, you have to decide whether to believe him" and the head pastor D. Jryden saying "What am I going to do? You have seen them (K. Blint and K. Llint). They are not leaders; they' can't lead."

So, if you are not involved too deeply, you will never really know the cultish behavior, the circling of the wagons (a former pastor mentioned this; one who previously taught there for many years, maybe their most qualified teacher) around a long-time leader.

If you still read this, I would be interested in further interaction. Peace to you.
Spy in the Sky

South Bend, IN

#10 Feb 8, 2015
I came to Sawyer in 2003. As a new believer it was everything I needed. Fellowship etc... The college ministry was great. Now gone. I met my husband there. We were married and baptized there. We loved our church. In 2008 we moved to Chicago to attend college. While at college we were back and forth in Sawyer. During that time, we grew in our faith and learned much. Possibly too much. We came home in 2012. Seeking the church we left and knowing it had grown too while we were gone. Since then we have not felt welcomed, loved, or wanted. We no longer "fit" the magic mold that we are to be poured into. Now with all the crap-nasty the senior pastor wants to inflict on his congregation we are leaving.

The upper echelon talks about transparency and honesty but they are not with the members. It is a joke. Jryden does his best to befriend the newbie, but once you are involved and a member he couldn't give a care what you are doing as long as you are doing what they say.

So we are leaving. There are people whom we will miss dearly, but for our own spiritual life we can no longer stand with you. We can no longer stand with the people who are supporting the Jryden empire building. Like the dumb-ass New Buffalo "Church".
Ann Wilson - confused

Chicago, IL

#11 Jun 10, 2015
This place is a joke and the pastor is controlling and trying to listen to a sermon is exhausting, because it is impossible for him to stay on track. Exhausting. I walked away wondering: what the heck was the sermon about?
God is great people suck

Bridgman, MI

#12 Jul 15, 2015
I loved that church, I just stopped attending(I have my reasons). They do a lot of out reach, they try; but some of the members/leadership are young, the children of Christ if you will.
satanlovesdivise veness

Saint Joseph, MI

#13 Dec 11, 2016
This is saddening to me. Do the above commenters claim Christ? Do they consider their comments, honoring to Christ? Paul criticized the Corinthian church for taking sides on following particular leaders? Complaining on a forum like this seems very immature and indulgent of the flesh.
Follow_God_Not_M en

Taylor, MI

#14 Jan 30, 2017
satanlovesdiviseveness wrote:
This is saddening to me. Do the above commenters claim Christ? Do they consider their comments, honoring to Christ? Paul criticized the Corinthian church for taking sides on following particular leaders? Complaining on a forum like this seems very immature and indulgent of the flesh.
Is it good to let those who would take the name of Christ and oppress people continue to do so? Is it honoring to Christ to call out those who would use his name for personal gain? Paul criticized those in the Corinthian church for taking sides and following a particular leader, is that not what those who continue to let Jeff Dryden do whatever he wants are culpable of? Complaining on this forum are the only outlet some people have so their names are not slandered and run in the mud by the alleged "leaders" of Sawyer Highlands Church like so many other names have been when people have spoken out against them.

Niles, MI

#15 Tuesday Apr 11
It has recently come to light that there is an abundance of leaders at Sawyer Highlands that had been sexually abused as children. The lead pastor himself was as well. There is a veil of secrecy within the members of this church. God knows what they are all protecting. The keeping of secrets. The amount of members involved in foster care. I have spoken to the pastor as God prompted me to do so. I feel as though this church is a hot bed for pedophelia. I would strongly urge people to not step foot into this building. The members ostracize anyone who doesn't agree with what they command. This body of people is being led by a man of the world not a man of God. The mere fact that all of these witnesses are speaking up tells me a lot.
If anyone has any information about any child abuse or coercion I would beg you to contact the authorities.

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