Judge rules Timbercreek church proper...

Judge rules Timbercreek church property belongs to Assemblies o...

There are 22 comments on the KYTV Springfield story from Feb 1, 2008, titled Judge rules Timbercreek church property belongs to Assemblies o.... In it, KYTV Springfield reports that:

After nearly a year in court, there's now a judgment in the lawsuit filed by southern Missouri's leaders of the Assemblies of God against one of its churches.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KYTV Springfield.

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NerfGurl

United States

#1 Feb 2, 2008
It is sad that the news media doesn't do their homework to get the true facts on a story...it is sad that our judicial system is so messed up...and it is sad that good people are hurt when a group of "Christians" decide to sue their "brothers and sisters in Christ".
Disappointed

Flagstaff, AZ

#2 Feb 2, 2008
I am a member of Timbercreek church. During the last 2 years that I have been going to that church my life has been completely changed. My relationship with God is stronger today than it has ever been. This church, its members, leadership, and Pastor Paul have been such a strong support system for me in this spiritual growth. Now, because of the ruling from the courts, we have no place to meet and worship as a church community. We church members, the kids that we help, the missions we support, etc. are those who lose in this situation. I hope as the AG leaders celebrate their win, they think about those of us who have lost a church home.
Former member

United States

#3 Feb 2, 2008
I was a member of Timbercreek; and, I enjoyed belonging to the church body. I never questioned Pastor Paul's love for God. However, when the church was founded, it was an Assemblies of God Church and the by-laws were agreed to. The bottom line is Pastor Paul broke a legally binding agreement. It is unfortunate that both sides decided to go against the biblical principal against fighting in the court system. One side should have had the wisdom to grant ownership and concede to the other for the sake of the Christian family.
Sad in Springfield

United States

#4 Feb 2, 2008
All of the problems at Timbercreek could have been avoided if Kirk had resigned as pastor, as he should have done when he changed his doctrinal beliefs. It’s unethical to pastor an AG congregation if you don’t believe AG doctrine. By staying, he was setting the church up for a confrontation with the District.
It was unethical and illegal to unilaterally change bylaws in an attempt to get out of a prior agreement. The court recognized this and gave summary judgment to the District – there wasn’t even a legitimate argument that Kirk and Timbercreek could forward to a jury.
If a pastor wants to change his doctrine, then he should resign his credentials and resign his church. It is an abuse of authority for the pastor to try to “convert” the congregation to the pastor’s new perspective. If Kirk wanted to preach his new doctrine, he should have started a new church.
Now, I realize that Kirk isn’t the only AG pastor to act in this way. In fact, we in the AG often trumpet when pastors of non-Pentecostal denominations who receive spirit-baptism then lead people in their congregations to likewise receive. Almost always, these congregations end up splitting because the pastor introduced Pentecostal beliefs and practices into non-Pentecostal congregations. Even though this benefits “our side,” I still sympathize with the non-Pentecostals who felt their congregation was “hi-jacked” by another tradition. That’s what happened at Timbercreek.
Kirk had an ethical and legal responsibility to resign as pastor when he changed his doctrine. He didn’t, and this lack of good judgment hurt the Body of Christ.
springfield mo

Kansas City, MO

#5 Feb 5, 2008
Disappointed wrote:
I am a member of Timbercreek church. During the last 2 years that I have been going to that church my life has been completely changed. My relationship with God is stronger today than it has ever been. This church, its members, leadership, and Pastor Paul have been such a strong support system for me in this spiritual growth. Now, because of the ruling from the courts, we have no place to meet and worship as a church community. We church members, the kids that we help, the missions we support, etc. are those who lose in this situation. I hope as the AG leaders celebrate their win, they think about those of us who have lost a church home.
Think about your last sentence. That is pretty bold. There were rules that were broken by your leadership and church body. You can still find a church home to pour back in to and help kids and other ministries.
Anonymous

Reeds Spring, MO

#6 Feb 6, 2008
As someone that lives in Springfield, and knows both sides of the story - it is difficult for me to understand why Timbercreek ever felt they had a leg to stand on. If my memory serves me correctly, it was an Assemblies of God Church that gave several hundred thousand dollars to start Timbercreek as an Assemblies of God Church. My faith has been renewed in the judicial system.
sunlight

Springfield, MO

#7 Feb 6, 2008
If you were wondering what Paul Kirk's change in theology was, it was toward the "emergent" or "narrative" theology of Rob Bell (Mars Hill Church in Michigan). Compare the Core Value stated on Timbercreek's Web Site, timbercreek.org (if it's still up), with the Core Values shown on Mars Hill's Web Site ( http://www.marshill.org/believe/directions/ ). Paul Kirk is from Michigan and may have visited the church on occasion. The conversion of the congration happened over the space of a few years with many devout AG adherents leaving or being asked to leave. When Paul Kirk announced his intent to no longer be an AG minister, most people in the congregation were already in tune with his new theology. I certainly don't fault Paul Kirk for changing his theology. Ultimately, such decisions are between each of us and our God; and, we must each follow our own heart. The only issue that remained was what to do with the building: Give it to the AG or to Rob Bell? I can't really fault the AG either for wanting their money to go toward furthering their own beliefs (as opposed to other beliefs with which they don't fully agree).
Tired of the Illinformed

Chesterfield, MO

#8 Feb 7, 2008
Dear Lively Stone
You were correct in stating that you " don't know anything about this matter" and you should have stopped there! this is not an issue of submission to authority this an issue of abuse of power. Paul resigned his papers with the A/G, the A/G refused his resignation and brought him up on charges for dismissal. they then invited him to a trial not of pears but of men ruled by a cult. Paul and board were then invited to a meeting with attorneys in this meeting Paul and the board were told the only option was to leave the building that day. Paul and the board requested 2 weeks to hold a meeting with the congregation. two days later Paul was served with a lawsuit, Timbercreek did not sue the A/G the A/G sued Paul and the church. Paul and the board offered to settle for the total amount of seed money which was 195,000 plus five acres on the West by-pass in Springfield. This offer was made to John Lindell, the SOMO District BIll Baker, the General Assembly Tom Trask. this offer was not even respond to by any of the above stated parties. Instead from the beginning John Lindell and Tom Trask promised to destroy Paul and his ministry. Bill Baker in a sworn statement said " I do not care what happens to the timbercreek congregation, we will just get another one". Paul's best friend David Mayne caved under pressure form his mother who works for the SOMO district now saying that he had no choice the district forced his hand. George Wood has reversed his position on the state of the church several times depending on which lawsuit the A/G is answering to. By the way this same abuse has occurred repeatedly and is now happening in Niles Michigan. Try to get your facts straight from some other than the A/G or ky3.
Sickened Student

United States

#9 Feb 7, 2008
Dear "Tired",
Where did you find your information about the Niles, MI situation? I have read the guy's stuff, and he seems to hit home with it? Is the "Holy Office of the Inquistion" getting ready to spring the trap on another one?
Tired of the Illinformed wrote:
Dear Lively Stone
You were correct in stating that you " don't know anything about this matter" and you should have stopped there! this is not an issue of submission to authority this an issue of abuse of power. Paul resigned his papers with the A/G, the A/G refused his resignation and brought him up on charges for dismissal. they then invited him to a trial not of pears but of men ruled by a cult. Paul and board were then invited to a meeting with attorneys in this meeting Paul and the board were told the only option was to leave the building that day. Paul and the board requested 2 weeks to hold a meeting with the congregation. two days later Paul was served with a lawsuit, Timbercreek did not sue the A/G the A/G sued Paul and the church. Paul and the board offered to settle for the total amount of seed money which was 195,000 plus five acres on the West by-pass in Springfield. This offer was made to John Lindell, the SOMO District BIll Baker, the General Assembly Tom Trask. this offer was not even respond to by any of the above stated parties. Instead from the beginning John Lindell and Tom Trask promised to destroy Paul and his ministry. Bill Baker in a sworn statement said " I do not care what happens to the timbercreek congregation, we will just get another one". Paul's best friend David Mayne caved under pressure form his mother who works for the SOMO district now saying that he had no choice the district forced his hand. George Wood has reversed his position on the state of the church several times depending on which lawsuit the A/G is answering to. By the way this same abuse has occurred repeatedly and is now happening in Niles Michigan. Try to get your facts straight from some other than the A/G or ky3.
who_are_you

Pewaukee, WI

#10 Feb 7, 2008
Who are you "tired of the illinformed" to be throwing this around? You sound like a person trying to vent because of your own issues. You dpn't even live in Springfield, but talk and throw facts around as though you do. People who are outside the A/G can not make comments when they do not know it's operations.
Tired of the Illinformed wrote:
Dear Lively Stone
You were correct in stating that you " don't know anything about this matter" and you should have stopped there! this is not an issue of submission to authority this an issue of abuse of power. Paul resigned his papers with the A/G, the A/G refused his resignation and brought him up on charges for dismissal. they then invited him to a trial not of pears but of men ruled by a cult. Paul and board were then invited to a meeting with attorneys in this meeting Paul and the board were told the only option was to leave the building that day. Paul and the board requested 2 weeks to hold a meeting with the congregation. two days later Paul was served with a lawsuit, Timbercreek did not sue the A/G the A/G sued Paul and the church. Paul and the board offered to settle for the total amount of seed money which was 195,000 plus five acres on the West by-pass in Springfield. This offer was made to John Lindell, the SOMO District BIll Baker, the General Assembly Tom Trask. this offer was not even respond to by any of the above stated parties. Instead from the beginning John Lindell and Tom Trask promised to destroy Paul and his ministry. Bill Baker in a sworn statement said " I do not care what happens to the timbercreek congregation, we will just get another one". Paul's best friend David Mayne caved under pressure form his mother who works for the SOMO district now saying that he had no choice the district forced his hand. George Wood has reversed his position on the state of the church several times depending on which lawsuit the A/G is answering to. By the way this same abuse has occurred repeatedly and is now happening in Niles Michigan. Try to get your facts straight from some other than the A/G or ky3.
NerfGurl

United States

#11 Feb 8, 2008
All this arguing over what is true and what isn't is terrible. Can't everyone just agree to disagree? Obviously there are those who feel very stongly on both sides...why not just put aside differences to reach out the lost of this world...I mean really, is this bickering and gossiping really helping anyone? No, it isn't...the devil is just getting a foothold and we can't let him do that. So now is the time to rise above petty differences and show the world what it truly means to live like Christ not confirm to the unbelievers that we are a sorry bunch who can't even get along with one another.

Just my 2 cents and I am done now...as you all should be too, get over it and move on.
Anonymous

Springfield, MO

#12 Feb 9, 2008
I attended Timbercreek for a year or so while it was still and Assemblies of God church. The fact is Timbercreek was started with an Assemblies of God sponsor, James River Assembly, Assemblies of God members, and hundreds of thousands of Assemblies of God dollars.

Kirk and the congregation of Timbercreek applied for admittance to the AG as a General Council church. When they did so they, with their eyes opened, agreed that if the church ceased to be Assemblies of God its property would revert to the AG. Now Kirk has changed his theology and want to renege on his commitments. Sorry, but you can't just do that.

Nobody has to belong to the AG, but you do have to keep you commitments, and if you change then you are the one who has to walk away. That is the ethical thing to do. Paul forgot that.
Sickened Student

United States

#13 Feb 10, 2008
Back to the comments of "Tired of the illinformed" on Feb. 7th, I am still interested in how he knows about the little town of Niles, MI and their situation. What I've heard from friends up that way, the church was an older congregation (from back in the 1940s or something), and successfully pulled out according to bylaws. I also heard that the "powers that be" are taking out their vengeance on the pastor by trying to smear his name. He has put all his letters on his church's web page at www.michianachristianembassy.com . Interesting reading for sure... the AG is sick from the top down!
Former Member

Indian Trail, NC

#14 Feb 18, 2008
Well said! Why is gossip so common among Christians? Why do we thrive on talking about others and slap each other in the face while doing it? Why are we so interested in "justice being served" isn't our God just. If we trust in Him shouldn't we believe that the outcome, however it got there, is just. I have all of the pieces of this story and was directly involved with a lot of the characters, if you will. It is my belief that God is in all of this. When we start focusing on "religion" and "legalism" we have to start asking ourselves different questions.
NerfGurl wrote:
All this arguing over what is true and what isn't is terrible. Can't everyone just agree to disagree? Obviously there are those who feel very stongly on both sides...why not just put aside differences to reach out the lost of this world...I mean really, is this bickering and gossiping really helping anyone? No, it isn't...the devil is just getting a foothold and we can't let him do that. So now is the time to rise above petty differences and show the world what it truly means to live like Christ not confirm to the unbelievers that we are a sorry bunch who can't even get along with one another.
Just my 2 cents and I am done now...as you all should be too, get over it and move on.
Anonymous 2

Springfield, MO

#15 Feb 22, 2008
I agree with the comments posted by "Anonymous". I believe that all those of us that have been the closest to the situation would agree.
Today, I am a member of James River Assembly. Before moving our membership there, my family and I were very involved in leadership at Timbercreek for three years. We love Paul Kirk, but felt we had to leave Timbercreek for several reasons.
Looking back, there were early signs that Paul wanted to be autonomous and slip away from accountability. With Timbercreek's close proximity to the General Council (also located in Springfield, MO.) he had a kind of contempt for anything AG. The first indication was when the name of the church changed, without any church-wide discussion, from Timbercreek Assembly of God to Timbercreek Community Church back in about 2002.
We have been gone from Timbercreek about four years and sadly we do not know a single person that has stayed with Paul. I think the So. Mo. District was justified in their actions; Paul Kirk was wrong!
Outsider

Appleton City, MO

#16 Feb 29, 2008
So what is Paul Kirk's status at the church now? What is the future of Timbercreek? I'm out of state, and would like to know.
hmmm

Penrose, CO

#17 Apr 27, 2008
I know that the congregation is currently meeting at another location. They should have never asked for the building. They had the knowledge that it was and is the property of the AG denomination, as all AG churches are. And for the remark by "Tired", the AG church is not a cult any more than any other current Christian denomination since we are all devoted to God. It has not added anything to the Bible. I have never been taught doctrine that was not scripturally based. They have not added requirements to salvation. The heirarchy of the AG is designed to provide accountability which is biblical and obviously needed as was shown in this instance.
Former CBC Student

Germantown, WI

#18 Sep 17, 2008
I think the thing we are failing to realize in all of this is that TimberCreek is no longer. Sad. It was a great church and regardless of whether or not it was teaching exactly as the AG prescribes, it was REACHING LOST PEOPLE! Thats what gets me. Yes initial physical evidence, yes all the other 16 fundamentals but People's lives were being changed and they were reaching people that Central or any other "Hard Core" AG church were. Have to remember this whole thing we call the local church is about people coming to know Christ. That is the sad thing that TimberCreek was reaching an unreached people.
The AG suing churches

Milford, IN

#19 Dec 17, 2008
The A/G suing churches and begging for money

A notice to all A/G members who are being solicited for bail out money for headquarters, The A/G is in the process of suing local congregations, they have willfully destroyed congregations and stated under oath that “they would simply go out and get new congregations to fill their buildings”. So if you choose to proceed with support for the A/G do so with open eyes and know that you could be next.
AG Minister

Washington, DC

#20 Apr 20, 2009
Quick note, to Hmmm in Poplar Bluff, MO. As stated in the Assemblies of God Constitution and Bylaws not all churches are owned by the Assemblies of God. Any church that is started through AG money is designated a "District" Church and its property and all physical assets remain the property of that district, simply because they paid for it. That church knowingly enters into the agreement just like any business agreement where money is loaned or put up to start a company, if you want out, you have to pay up. Now there is a second type of AG church known as a "General Council Affiliated Church" this type of church either joined the AG after it was started, was started without AG money, or has grown to a size and position where they have either repaid the AG or have petitioned for a change in status and have been approved. Now I lived in Springfield for quite some time and knew people who attended Timber Creek and I had some interactions with the church. It became quite evident what the church leadership was planning to do and the AG had no choice but to enforce the agreement. I can understand their position, they can not be vulnerable to church plants using AG money then cutting and running. It is sad that this took so long to deal with and that Paul would not honor his commitment, God or the AG and gracefully bow out, but that is between him and God. The important thing to remember is that God is still on His throne and that the body of Christ needs to prepare itself for His return. If my current contacts in Springfield are correct it sounds like God is planting a new work at the old Timber Creek building, I think it would be wise to help bathe this endeavor in prayer so that it may be effective for the kingdom, not for any particular church. I know the heart of Pastor John and Brother Wood. God has placed the leadership in the AG that we need, I am confident in that after getting to know my current District Superintendent and Executive Presbyter. I encourage everyone to pray for those hurt by this and pray for the lives that will be touched from this new endeavor.

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