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FL COG Office couldn't make payroll?
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Post The Church of God needs a Clint Eastwood. Hillbilly
You hit the nail on the head!!! We need someone to get upset and do something! The Church of God needs a Clint Eastwood to take care of things. We need a team of "Bad Boys" to clean house.

Sing with me, "Go back to the enemies camp and take back what the AB has stole from you!!!"

Think about it these things happen to often.

Almost forgot, then go watch Joel Osteen until you cool off. Cool Twisted Evil
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9/21/10 10:59 am


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Post If you were suddenly appointed as AB of Florida... roughridercog
what would be the immediate changes you would make to remedy this situation?

Instead of blaming this guy or that guy, what drastic steps would you take to see this problem taken care of?

Would you remove pastors whose churches are not paying percentages?

Would you sell tiny struggling churches to raise funds?

What?
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9/21/10 2:55 pm


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Post well... aprilmay
get the entire staff on our faces and beg God that His annointing hasnt left the Florida Church of God

reduce all salaries to total 42% of budget or cut by 20% whichever is greater.
sell all vacant buildings and ask council for direction of funds (with priority given to outstanding debts)
require all travel/expeditures by departments to be approved by AB or by ED
travel to the top 30 churches and preach the vision for the FLCOG and then give practical ways they can be involved
send a letter to every ordained/licensed minister asking forgiveness
increase the youth department budget from 0 to 10% of incoming funds
increase church planting efforts from 0 to 10% of incoming funds

thats where id start
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9/21/10 3:33 pm


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Post Re: well... roughridercog
aprilmay wrote:
get the entire staff on our faces and beg God that His annointing hasnt left the Florida Church of God

reduce all salaries to total 42% of budget or cut by 20% whichever is greater.
sell all vacant buildings and ask council for direction of funds (with priority given to outstanding debts)
require all travel/expeditures by departments to be approved by AB or by ED
travel to the top 30 churches and preach the vision for the FLCOG and then give practical ways they can be involved
send a letter to every ordained/licensed minister asking forgiveness
increase the youth department budget from 0 to 10% of incoming funds
increase church planting efforts from 0 to 10% of incoming funds

thats where id start


Now see? That is a starting place.
Maybe those in leadership have already started these steps or maybe ideas like this might inspire them to lead.
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9/21/10 3:35 pm


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Post Re: If you were suddenly appointed as AB of Florida... FellowSoldier
roughridercog wrote:
what would be the immediate changes you would make to remedy this situation?

Instead of blaming this guy or that guy, what drastic steps would you take to see this problem taken care of?

Would you remove pastors whose churches are not paying percentages?

Would you sell tiny struggling churches to raise funds?

What?


This is obviously a situation that calls for another one of my step plans.

Step 1.) Call former AB's that misappropriated funds (or to keep from offending them or placing "blame" you can say, that spent funds without the prior approval of the State Council)

Step 2.) Politely request them to sell cars, condos, etc and return the funds to the State Treasurey.

Step 3.) If Step 2 is successful consider the matter closed and celebrate! If not move to step 4.

Step 4.) Call the local District Attorney and report the matter.

Step 5.) After former AB's are arrested contact the District Attorney again and agree to a plea bargain where they receive 5 years probation; pay restitution in cash with interest; pastor 15 member churches; agree to never hold any executive office in any church ever again no matter who they know; and deed all condos to "The Ministers of The State of Florida."

Step 6.) Make Payroll.

Step 7.) Help Struggling churches.

Step 8.) Set up a schedule of use for condo (known as "The Fellow Soldier Respite House") for the ministers of the state, with priority use going to pastors of struggling churches, unless said pastor is on probation which disqualifies them from using the condo.

Step 9.) If after the implementation of this plan you find yourself on probation watch lots of Joel Olsteen to rebuild your self esteem. If you are not on probation simply Celebrate!!
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9/21/10 4:27 pm


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Post youngbishop81
Ok I have been viewing this thread for some weeks and was surprised that no one has stated the obvious. All of these men (especially Brother Walker) have served in other states with none of these issues arising. All of these men all of a sudden come to FL and lose there integrity? Could it be that it’s not the AB’s but the state council and leadership of FL that is the issue. I could see one rogue AB but 3 different men who are loved and adored in every other state they have served in.

Here is what I have heard. I have heard that members of the FL state council likes to live the high life and I have heard that members of the FL state council likes to cash big checks and puts all of these ideas into motion. I have heard that said members then blame the AB as they leave. Wake up Florida or in a few years brother Stephens will be leaving as the state council bashes him for all the bad financial decisions he has made. Anyone see a pattern?
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9/21/10 4:34 pm


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Post Loved and adored? GuideOne
'In other states they are loved and adored." That is a stretch. Track record is that the Executive Committee uses Florida as a holding pattern for outgoing Executive appointments. Friendly Face
Posts: 296
9/22/10 5:49 am


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Post Florida Situation Can Be Corrected Nuffsed
But it will have to be done with openness and accountability.

The new Overseer needs to send a financial report to every church in the state and tenderly explain why they are in the financial condition they are in. He does not need to specifically blame past leadership but admit that in the past there have been management failures.

Then he needs to invite any questions with the promise of candid answers with nothing hidden.

Third he needs lovingly ask every pastor to honor their commitment to support the state and general ministries with their tithe of tithe and missions money. Browbeating and threats to move or revoke pastors is not going to motivate greater giving.

Accountability and integrity will go a long way to increase the stream of finances into the state coffers.
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9/22/10 8:05 pm


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Post Re: Florida Situation Can Be Corrected FellowSoldier
Nuffsed wrote:
But it will have to be done with openness and accountability.

The new Overseer needs to send a financial report to every church in the state and tenderly explain why they are in the financial condition they are in. He does not need to specifically blame past leadership but admit that in the past there have been management failures.

Then he needs to invite any questions with the promise of candid answers with nothing hidden.

Third he needs lovingly ask every pastor to honor their commitment to support the state and general ministries with their tithe of tithe and missions money. Browbeating and threats to move or revoke pastors is not going to motivate greater giving.

Accountability and integrity will go a long way to increase the stream of finances into the state coffers.


This is a good plan but I would have some issues that need to be addressed:

First, accountability is absolutely essential, but what about holding those accountable that used state funds, without consent, for personal gain. If the current AB and the EC will not hold former AB's accountable then what does that say about our integrity and openess?

Secondly, this goes way beyond "mismanagement" when a man buys a condo with state funds. I could go out today, take a church check and buy a new car. Would this be OK? I think not. In fact, I would be out of the ministry and should be.

I would hope the churches in Florida would honor their TOT covenant in spite of the fact that those in power have not. I would also hope the EC would honor their covenant to look out for the welfare of the COG, and hold these people accountable.

A disturbing pattern has emerged in the COG IMHO. Leadership makes financial messes and then simple say, "we messed up but we are going to do better." Then we send them somwhere else to make another mess without any accountability for there actions. This must stop or it will evebtually lead to a major division in the COG, and I don't think it will be long. Most men who pastor their churches with integrity, accountability, and openess are getting fed up with stuff like this.
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9/22/10 10:21 pm


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Post A Florida Pastor Needs To Prefer Charges Alan Wagoner
There are a number of things that have happened in Florida that were at best unwise and even stupid.

However there is one thing that was criminal. That is when JDS took church money without permission and bought a personal condo. Even though it has a been a few years since he did that, I would assume in the COG there is no statute of limitations.

I do know last year the COG in GA revoked the ministry of a well known pastor for something he did 15 years ago. It just took that long for someone to come forward with charges.

It would send a powerful message to leadership if an Overseer who misappropriated church funds for personal gain were to have his ordination revoked.
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9/23/10 9:26 am


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Post Charges filed GuideOne
You have to have specific charges. You have to be willing to go all the way.

Uusally the Overseer will appoint a friendly committee toward the accused. Most investigative committees say not enough evidence.

If charges are filed, there has to be witnessess. These witnesses will be grillled unmercifully.

The outcome is usually decided before trial begins. Go for it.
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9/23/10 2:18 pm


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Post Officials Seldom Held Accountable Retired in Cleveland
Perhaps my memory fails me but I can only think of 2 COG officials who were tried and revoked by the church and both were General Overseers.

A. J. Tomlinson was accused and revoked for financial wrong doing. There are many to this day that believe that was a political witch hunt.

Just a few years ago Robert White was accused of receiving royalties from a book published by the church. He was never found guilty of that or even tried for that. However they tried him and revoked his ministry for "insubordination". I think that meant failure to resign when the council told him.

Other than those I don't remember any state overseer or general official ever being tried and revoked for any reason.

I remember that General Overseer Hughes demanded the resignation of Gen. Sec. Treas. G. W. Lane because he had been paid a thousand dollar finders fee for a loan to a church in California. Hughes even ruled that Brother Lane was not eligible for election for any office because of that. His credentials were never revoked however.

I remember when the Ex. Council required the Publisher Floyd Carey to resign for alledgedly using the Publishing House credit card to buy tires for his car and a go cart for his grandson. He was never charged or tried for the alledged offenses.

I know of other offenses that were much greater that were just overlooked however. I remember when another Publisher, E. C. Thomas, Lewis Willis, who later became PR director, and T. L. Lowery took Publishing House money and transferred it to their personal business account in order to get a loan for a motel in Cleveland. Even though a member of the Editorial Board filed charges they never had to give an account for their actions.

Now we have Florida overseers, taking huge sums for personal gain, spending for ridiculous and frivolous ventures without council approval and they are never held accountable.

I think it basically comes down to your political connections. If you are connected to the right powerful people you are protected. If however there are powerful people who want your job it is a different story.
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9/24/10 6:24 am


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Post Information (Very Long!) John V. Morgan
Being from Florida, I have followed this thread with some interest. Although I've been a reader of posts on this forum, this is the first time when, in my opinion, I may have something constructive to contribute to the discussion. I apologize in advance for the length, but have never been real good at "sound bite" information.

Money for Condo
What began as a statement concerning what was considered by one poster to be an inappropriate loan seemed to become in a later post an allegation that Jimmy Smith took state funds for the purchase of a personal condo - and then, only when caught, repaid the money. I was serving on the State Council during the time this information was investigated. That allegation is NOT true!

State Vehicles
With regard to vehicles for the Administrative Bishop - there has been a policy for this in Florida for many years (dating back at least to the time when John Nichols was AB of Florida). This policy was followed. Now that income has declined and expenses have increased so dramatically to produce today's new economic reality that policy has been revisited and adjusted by the present council.

The entire budget has gotten and is continuing to get an overhaul (in addition to presently serving on the State Council I serve on the Budget Committee). Cuts in both personnel and operations (most of them unpopular) have been and continue to be made. It's a lot easier to give benefits in good times than it is to rescind benefits in tough times. In my opinion, the re-tooling of the budget is not a bad thing; it is, in fact, much needed. But it remains a challenge for which there are no easy answers. The idea that Dwight Allen, the chairman of the State Council could or would authorize the use of state funds on his own initiative or in collusion with the Administrative Bishop has no foundation in fact and is patently false.

Celebration of Praise
Some have taken issue with the support that has been given to Celebration of Praise Church in Clermont. The State Council is indeed trying to support and assist this church - we want it and Pastor Dutruch to succeed! Toward that end, LOANS have been secured and underwritten. At the same time, while this may be a high-profile situation, the truth is that there are dozens of churches that are currently being assisted in a similar fashion.

Right now there are a number of churches who are delinquent on loans and the state office has been making their payments in order to provide support and assistance to them and also to maintain integrity with investors. There are also churches that have closed, but the properties are mortgaged and in some cases, even if a buyer could be found, the property is not worth as much in today's market as the amount owed. Each month the state office spends tens of thousands of dollars to pay mortgages on church properties in the state.

I share the opinion of some that money hasn't always been wisely spent. At the same time, I suspect that if anyone looked at the expenditure of funds at my local church there would be those who would believe that money had been wasted. In any judgment call there are always those who would judge differently (as I learned as a Little League baseball umpire).

That being said, there are some other issues that are unique to Florida that have contributed to the current financial distress of the state office.

Campground
For example, it costs between a half million and three quarters of a million dollars a year to maintain/run the campground in Wimauma. A case can be made that this property has never been properly developed or utilized. But the fact remains that until we find and implement a way for this to become budget neutral the campground has been and will continue to be a substantial drain on state funds.

Insurance
Also, until just a few months ago, Florida had a state program for property insurance. This was a program voted into existence by the ministers of the state. A year before it was discontinued, there was a special called meeting of the ministers to discuss its continuance. At that meeting the ministers once again voted to retain the program. Only in the last few months have the ministers voted to discontinue the insurance program.

Whether you like or dislike the insurance program, the fact remains that several million dollars has been paid from state funds on behalf of churches for insurance. These are not funds that went into the pockets of anyone in the state administration. The state office paid money up front to buy down the cost of the insurance each year so the premiums and subsequent increases in premiums would be more manageable.

Also, the program called for the entire amount of yearly premiums to be paid in full at the beginning of the year. The monthly premiums paid by the local churches were simply repaying money that had already been spent from state funds (either funds on hand, or funds borrowed). When a church failed to pay the monthly premium, the state office was still liable for the money.

Now that the program has been discontinued there are some churches who have lower insurance premiums than they had with the state program. There are some whose premiums are higher. And there are churches that are uninsured - either because they cannot find a company to insure them or because they either cannot or will not pay insurance premiums. One of the primary reasons the insurance program collapsed was because of churches not paying their insurance premiums. There is over a million dollars stilled owed to the state office by churches who did not pay for their insurance.

Final Thoughts
Finally, I was surprised the first time I was elected to serve a term on the State Council. I was AMAZED that I was elected to serve what now is my third term. I have no idea if I will ever be elected again. That being said, I would simply observe that in the time I have served on the State Council I have never had anyone contact me to request information that would either substantiate or repudiate some of these rumors/accusations/assumptions/claims with regard to the finances of the state offices in Florida. I would also note that I have not witnessed any of the men with whom I have served being anything other than men of integrity, compassion, courage and wisdom. Not once have I known of anything simply being "swept under the rug" - no matter how sensitive.

While this post has been entirely too long, it is not the total picture by any means. There remains much re-thinking and re-structuring of the way business is done at the state offices. We cannot (nor should we want to) continue to function the way we always have. Dramatic cuts have been and will continue to be made in the budget expenses. But there is no way we can hope to cut our way out of the dilemma. The State Council has committed to join with our Administrative Bishop and state staff in times of prayer and fasting. We have been and are praying for wisdom and understanding. We are praying for the health and growth of our churches. I would hope that, instead of throwing stones and tearing down of others, creative ideas that will help move us toward a position of health will be presented to those charged with the responsibility of leadership in these trying times.
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9/24/10 11:10 am


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Post bonnie knox
Welcome to Acts. Glad you took time to post. [Insert Acts Pun Here]
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9/24/10 11:32 am


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Post Church Courts vs Civil Courts Mat
Church Courts vs Civil Courts

From what I have read on this forum, I don’t see a great deal of confidence in the “church” court system practiced by the Church of God. Politics often trumps justice (and grace) in any system that has a hierarchical structure. Too much is at stake for men in power to simply consider the facts and to judge between honest mistakes and intentional mismanagement.

When it comes to dealing with the issues on this level perhaps a civil court would be the best move. Preachers are not lawyers or bankers, though we like to fancy ourselves as all knowing professionals, and we certainly are not qualified to be judges in matters of money and misappropriation verses mismanagement.

The Church of God has a legacy of church politics and “power” plays. I think in the case of Tomlinson, when all the facts were in, the civil court found him innocent of any wrongdoing and of not personally profiting from any “mismanagement”, where as the church court of the Church of God branded him a thief. Now all those involved are going to be judged in the court of God.

If you don’t like the idea of going to civil court then there is always the ballot box. However, I think Tomlinson was elected by the assembly.

Church Courts sounds a little like sharia/shariah (sp) law to me.

Mat
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9/24/10 11:37 am


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Post Money For Condo Was Not A Loan CentFLPstr
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Money for Condo
What began as a statement concerning what was considered by one poster to be an inappropriate loan seemed to become in a later post an allegation that Jimmy Smith took state funds for the purchase of a personal condo - and then, only when caught, repaid the money. I was serving on the State Council during the time this information was investigated. That allegation is NOT true!


This did not come through the State Council and they were not even aware it had been done. According to Donnie Smith who followed JDS, he learned about it when he came to the state. It was approximately $140,000 that was donated by the family of a deceased minister. JDS claimed they told him it could be used for any purpose he saw fit. Donnie Smith claims that JDS was ordered to put the money back into the Florida COG account and he did.

The councilman said this was investigated. By whom and what did they find? Did they say it was a lie and nothing like this ever happened or did they say the money was back in the state funds?

Brother Morgan made no mention of the $36,000 JDS spent on the ponzi scheme. Neither did he mention the Broadway trip for all the councilmen and the state office team. If I remember correctly that little trip cost the state over $50,000.
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9/24/10 3:30 pm


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Post Marie Auvenshine
John,
I am very glad that you did decide to post your information. This thread was getting to be like the gossip game we used to play as children...
It was a relief to have someone who is in a position to know and to understand the bare facts of the matter and who is willing to share with others so that this "gossip" and "slander" will stop!
Does anyone remember the Ten Commandments???? You know....those ten little commandments that Moses brought down from Mt. Siani??? The ones that God wrote with His own finger????
Does anyone remember the 9th commandment??? Lets see now.....it was one of those Thou shalt not's......oh yeah!!! Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor!!!
WOW!!!!! Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
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9/24/10 5:42 pm


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Post thanks John aprilmay
your defense of floridas financial position "pierced" me in places that I didn't know I could be pierced. excellent

just curious. did you get a chance to catch a broadway show with Jimmy?

btw. welcome to acts.
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9/24/10 5:50 pm


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Post Brother Morgan Doesn't Have All The Facts Clyde Walker
Here are the facts that came direct from the Florida State office concerning the misuse of the money for the condo:

1. The money was donated by the Wilmon Smith family.
2. Jimmy Smith used $174,000 to purchase the condo.
3. He claimed he was authorized by Jim Lee who was the church CPA at the time.
4. The state council was never informed until JDS left Florida.
5. The new overseer, Donnie Smith, asked for the money to be returned to the Florida account.
6. T. L. Lowery came to Florida to smooth it over and ask Florida to forgive Jimmy.
7. Jimmy Smith got a loan from a bank in Cleveland to pay Florida back.

Mark Williams, 2nd Asst. General Overseer was on the Florida council at the time and can verify the facts.

The Florida Evangelism Directors from that time can verify the facts.
Jim Lee the CPA can verify the facts.
Donnie Smith can verify the facts.

A simple phone call to any of them should set the record straight.
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9/24/10 6:07 pm


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Post i agree iknownothing
aprilmay wrote:
your defense of floridas financial position "pierced" me in places that I didn't know I could be pierced. excellent

just curious. did you get a chance to catch a broadway show with Jimmy?

btw. welcome to acts.


So J, this post of yours is shocking! Its "piercing" too,as you well know! However, your post is wonderfully written! It flows well, "like long, recently grown, locks of hair!" Wow!
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9/24/10 8:13 pm


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