As you may already know, Crossroads is currently under attack. Let me be clear at the outset: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We know who the enemy is here, and it is not people.
As some of you have already heard, two former members of our staff filed a lawsuit against Crossroads. And some of you may have read about the resulting, recent jury verdict, which has been reported by a handful of media outlets. Sadly – and predictably – others have chosen to pile on our fellowship without knowing (or attempting to know) all the facts. This is regrettable on many levels, the most serious of which is that instead of bringing lost people to Christ, it unintentionally serves to drive them away.
For a fuller understanding of these facts, I recommend you read the entire statement from Crossroads’ attorneys. It is well-written; and you don’t have to read between the lines to see what actually happened.
Up until this point, our attorneys have advised that I not speak directly about the suit or the verdict, as it is still in process. But I have asked to share my thoughts as your Pastor because I knew you would want to hear from me, and I feel it’s important you do. I will attempt to keep my comments as brief as possible.
There are several things I want to make sure you know:
1) There is not a single penny of the church’s money missing. Not a single penny of the church’s money has been mismanaged or misappropriated. And no one’s retirement has been taken to pay for anything.
We know who the enemy is here, and it is not people.
2) No one at Crossroads has a multi-million dollar retirement account. No one. All of our full-time staff members have 403(b) accounts (which is similar to a 401(k), but for a not-for-profit entity, like the church). The most any staff member can contribute to their 403(b) is $18,500.00 annually. If you have a calculator you can easily see no one on our staff has a multi-million dollar retirement account.
3) Sometime in 2006-07, natural gas was discovered on the church’s property. As I’m sure many of you remember, the value of natural gas production on the Barnett Shale was quite high at the time. And our initial discussions with the energy company led us to hope these wells had significant potential to generate additional revenues for the church. Obviously, we were overwhelmed with the potential and wanted to make sure whatever we did would honor God.
To that end our elders decided to create an additional, supplemental retirement plan, similar to what is offered in the public school system. If you’ve spent any time at all with us here at the church, I’m sure you’ll agree we have an amazing staff who serve selflessly and sacrificially, week in and week out, year after year. Our elders felt this additional plan would help Crossroads keep these great people on staff, and help attract great staff in the future, as we continued to grow. Importantly, it was always the elders’ intention that this plan be funded only with natural gas revenues, and not using tithes and offerings.
4) Unfortunately, the natural gas revenues did not work out as we had hoped. As such, our former Executive Pastor was instructed by the elders to determine whether we could still fund this additional plan for our entire staff using only those revenues. After consulting with outside financial professionals, he reported to the elders that we could not. Because it would have taken several million dollars – far above and beyond what the church would receive in gas revenues – to fully fund the plan, he recommended to the elders the plan be terminated and the funds already on hand be put toward the building fund, with the hope we might be able to try something else in the future.
5) The elders’ meeting minutes from November 2011 clearly reflect the elders’ decision to scrap this well-intentioned, supplemental plan and move that money into our building fund. That decision is confirmed in the December 2011 meeting minutes, and it was also noted at that time that anyone who would have been a participant in the supplemental plan needed to execute documents acknowledging the termination. As one of the people required to execute those documents, I have always maintained that the documents were presented to me, I signed them willingly, and returned them to our then Executive Pastor.
6) Since the filing of this lawsuit, we have made every effort to locate these documents. According to Crossroads’ current Executive Pastor, these documents – and only these documents – cannot now be located in the church’s records. The disappearance of these documents is particularly disappointing, as they could have provided the basis needed for the jury to find no merit in the Plaintiffs’ claims about the supplement plan, just as the jury did in every other claim asserted against Crossroads.
Currently we are exploring every legal avenue available to us and it is with unspeakable sadness and disappointment we share this news with you.
I’m asking you to pray for God’s protection and provision for Crossroads moving forward and for anyone who would attempt to bring harm to this body. Although our hearts are broken, our mission remains unchanged: Connecting people to God and to one another. And our resolve is stronger than ever.
Thank you for your love and prayers. We are holding to the promise of Romans 8:28-31, that somehow God will bring good out of this and more people can be reached for His Kingdom.
I love you, love our church, and love being your Pastor,
“This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.