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Even MORE about FBIM

February 22, 2009

Seems you post a few things about the questionable motives about a church and people find it.

And if you’re lucky, others contact you to share their story.

Today, I received an email from another former FBIM member. And there is no way am I disclosing their name, but I am posting their email AS PER THEIR REQUEST.

This email speaks for itself. I don’t really think I need to add commentary, however, I will state that my posting this has nothing to do with Danny Gokey. Just his church. I would actually really love to see Gokey distance himself from such a shady organization for his own sake.

Since his church has more than welcomed public attention from Gokey being on Idol, then they’re open to criticism. And frankly, I think they’re exploiting Gokey being on Idol to further expand their congregation and line their pockets, maybe get some national television or book deals out of the exposure. 

And if that’s what FBIM is doing, they cannot really be surprised if people start talking about the church or  their experiences within the organization.

I have read the article ‘The Curious World of FBIM’ and do not dispute any of what was said, although I wasn’t aware of everything that was said until I read the article.  I have changed my mind about what I will talk about in this article only because the information about New Ark Christian Center is non value added.  NACC was a good contemporary Christian church.  Things didn’t change until Pastor Jeff took over as head Pastor of Faith Builders International Ministries and that is what I would like to talk about.  For readers to understand what I am talking about below, they should read the article ‘The Curious World of FBIM’ as it lays the foundation for what I am going to say below.  Also, what I say below has nothing to do with Danny Gokey.  I  worked with Danny for a couple years and appeared in different productions with him to reach the lost.  I met his Wife Sophia and believe both of them to be genuine Christians who gave of themselves to reach the lost.   Sophia’s passing was a tragic loss but we know that she is now with Jesus and has no more pain and no more tears.

 When Pastor Jeff Pruitt took over FBIM after Pastor Jerry went to Arizona, things changed right away that shook some of the members in the congregation.  I did not see any of the changes made as any concern at the time and still don’t.  It was mostly differences in Pastoral styles between Pastor Jerry and Pastor Jeff.  Things really started to changed when Pastor Jeff brought Terry Morehouse aboard as administrator of the ministry.  Pastor Jeff & Robin started to become more impersonal to the church members.  You couldn’t even talk or approach them without making appointments first and they stopped talking with people before services.  When I say people…I mean people who were not in their inner circle.  They even stopped elders from coming up and giving them a greet and hug before services started, which they had done since the beginning of New Ark Christian Center many years before.  The ministry started to grow more secular and cold all while I was part of the leadership.  We started asking questions in close circles of friends but would not question in public as that would bring certain and quick condemnation from the Pastors or Terry.  Before we knew it, Terry was made a Pastor in the ministry along with another gentlemen who had only been with the ministry for a short time.  Short time later, Pastor Gentleman (not real name) left the church after an adulterous affair was discovered.  This really started questions being asked among the leadership and elders.  I eventually stepped down from leadership because I didn’t agree with things that were going on and with decisions that were being made.   Terry Morehouse married the little sister of a close friend of ours.  This alone shook many within the church, Terry was 43 and Rachel was 19yrs old.  There were other members of Rachel’s family that were members of leadership in the church.  One by one, most of those members were taken out of leadership for reasons given by Terry Morehouse.  It didn’t matter what anybody said,  Pastor Jeff always believed Terry over anybody else within the ministry.  Terry was walking around using the authority of Pastor and causing harm and hurt to members that didn’t see things the way he did or got in his way.  Now that I have left the ministry, Pastor Jeff has installed a member as an Elder in the ministry even though that person is a convicted sex offender.  That was the last straw for many and they have now left the church also.  Many leaders and Elders have talked with Pastor Jeff about their objections to the non-Godly decisions that have been made over the last couple years but to no effect.  It seems that Pastor Jeff feels that everyone else is wrong and he alone is right.  We have since heard that one or more of the church properties could be in trouble financially.  Pastor Jerry was going to come back and take over the ministry again but when he found out just how bad of condition it was in financially it shook him badly and has now stated he will not be coming back due to health reasons.   It is very sad that this ministry started out preaching the Gospel and was God focused, in the end it has gotten secular and man focused.  The cost of that transition is becoming more and more apparent every day.

And in case you were wondering what it was like to uh, attend a service at FBIM? Here’s a first-hand account. You can even learn HOW TO BE A PLAYMATE.

No. Seriously. And bring your credit card 🙂

They have a little bookstore set up with DVDs by both of the Pruitts, and I’m sure profits go straight to their pockets. It was advertised as “Jeffrey Pruitt Ministries Productions Presents” or something like that. Didn’t ask for the prices. A notable DVD, by the wife, was titled “How to Be a Playmate”, seemingly about how to be sexier for your husband. Like a good Christian woman, I guess. They also sell terrible looking costume jewelry, presumably for the same reason. 

The worship area or whatever they call it looks like a big conference room. Big screens on either side, those stupid indirect lighting lamps on the walls. You could imagine how awful the music was with those crappy acoustics. 

There were 9 vocalists. NINE. That’s not counting the 25-person choir. It was all high-energy, choir bouncing back and forth, and they switched lead vocalists off and on. It was like a crappy pop album. You know, the background vocals sing the part, and the lead just kind of echoes certain parts of it? That’s how it was presented. I read somewhere in this thread, or in the links, that it was like a big show. That’s a good description. It all felt like a televangelist TV special. 

Then Big Pruitt waddled out and rambled through a 10-minute prayer. He then let us know that God was telling him someone (“I’m not gonna call anyone out”) was suffering from a “sharp pain in their wrist…..God is touching that right now.” He also did this for “someone” suffering from migraine headaches. A true prophet, he is. 

Sermon wasn’t anything special, but one thing made me laugh. People kept getting up and moving around, coming and going, and he said “I don’t want anyone to leave, it’s time for giving.” Don’t leave! I need your money first! Is it common for churches to accept credit card information for tithes? I’ve never seen it before today, but that might just be because I don’t church hop that often. 

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. BankeRRoleX permalink
    June 13, 2009 12:52 pm

    PLEASE READ-
    First of, there are many people who have credit cards, that shouldn’t have them. When anyone says that you can get, or pay with a credit card, you should decide for yourself if this is the best thing for you financially or not. Pastor Rolly as you call him (lol) is not encouraging people to pay with their credit card. it is simply an option. a convenience to people, and it truly is! The way my husband and I do our finances, is we use our CREDIT CARD for everything because it earns rewards! We automatically pay it off every month straight from our checking accts and NEVER do we pay interest. We each have one and we’ve had it for over 10 yrs. NOT ONE CENT has gone to interest because we are good stuards of our money. Thats what the bible teaches us to be like. I learned the hard way but I learned. You also should learn from that. So if my Pastor would ever say You can use your credit card, it doesn’t offend me. I would love it!! more rewards for me! lol But i can see why you offended people will talk or think crap because your situation is different! you probably dont need to be using one and getting in debt at all! You over spend, then become stressed and angry because you cant pay your bills. I have been there, but thank God that I see things clearly now! I have a Rolex and Coach purses. I love to live good and to MY standards (not the worlds) I work hard and am able to afford it. I’ve owned a cadillac, and many can judge but dont know how much it cost me, or if it cost me anything at all!! I’ve given much and continue to do it. I dont judge even if I am tempted to, because I am not perfect. I have my flaws and so do you all. God blesses his people, when they are obedient and faithful in EVERY way. I pray you all can move on from the hatred towards this Pastor. To the frmer FBIM members- LET IT GO! Share God’s love. DO not slander one another. Open your heart to all who need you and an encouraging word. I pray for Pastor Pruitt and his family, and his ministry. For it to come in order and be blessed, for HIS glory, God’s glory. Love you all- annnnnnd May God open your hearts to HIS love.

  2. March 19, 2009 3:06 pm

    To anyone who will listen,
    I know the Senior Pastor, Bishop or Elder (or what ever he is being called now). And his main concern and focus is MONEY!! No doubt about it. My prayer is that God will touch his heart and show him that being the False Prophet (as he is) and not preaching The Word of God that he is inevitably not only sending himself, but also his many FOLLOWERS straight to hell. They all truly need our prayers. God Bless

    • bob permalink
      March 22, 2009 3:56 pm

      Paps,

      THANK YOU! I know the Senior Pastor, Teacher, Bishop, Elder, Visionary, as you said, whatever he is calling himself now. For awhile in AZ he wa being introduced as “best selling author” because he wanted to sell some copies of his books out of the boxes of them stacked in the back. His main focus IS money. His motivation for doing things was to bring in people because people have MONEY. Thank you for your post.

  3. February 25, 2009 1:38 pm

    Amen! Well said JustME…

  4. JustMe permalink
    February 24, 2009 9:41 pm

    Alright, so I read this article, and a couple of the other ones bashing this church–Now I am not a faithful church goer myself, my job requires alot of me–however, I feel that alot of this is Harsh. Honestly, I am almost positive that these few ex-members that have come forward are walking in offense in one way or another–people like this have something done to them that they didn’t like (obviously) and instead of confronting the issue left with words unspoken. Half the time, the other party has no idea what they did to offend the other person! Now, we are all human, and EVERYONE makes mistakes–so for me to sit here and bash this church, knowing that I’ve done some bad things myself, just wouldn’t make any sense. I don’t understand why everyone is making a big deal out of all this….Ok, Ok–MONEY (I know some of you are thinking that you need to expose this church because supposedly, all this Pastor asks for is money)–Now to have a church–we know that it requires money—there are electric bills to pay, there are heating bills to pay, water, phone, and I am sure that they have a staff that have to be compensated–just like any other Home/Business–How else would a church be ran if the members did not pay their tithe—the giving principle is not just so that the PASTOR can get all the money! Heck Yeah he’s going to get paid, Pastoring is HIS job–so the guy deserves a paycheck!! And you know what, if this man is dedicating his life to getting gang members off the street, helping addicts get their life back on track, and helping abused and battered men/women know that there is HOPE—this guy is going to get a lot more than financial blessings–his reward is something greater, something bigger than all we can imagine or think!….Now as far as the credit card thin goes—hmmmmmm, well, how do we not know that it is meant for a Check Card/Debit card #–hello people, our Check cards, as we all know hold the VISA/Mastercard Logo!! I use my Check Card/Debit card for everything as well–if and when I make my contribution to a church, that’s what I always use—I am sure this whole CREDIT CARD thing is being blown way out of Proportion! In my life, I have learned to just not saying NOTHING if I don’t have anything nice to say at all. And like Jesus said “He that is WITHOUT sin, cast the first stone.”

    • Jworshipgal permalink
      February 25, 2009 1:48 pm

      I love it. Speak that life! 🙂

  5. February 24, 2009 6:18 am

    Because video footage edited and shot by the freaks is sooo going to be unbiased *rolls eyes*

  6. Sara permalink
    February 24, 2009 2:53 am

    I use my debit card for everything because I don’t have time to go to the bank and withdrawl cash…so sometimes I use my debit card to pay my tithe at church. I don’t feel it’s wrong to use a credit card or debit card as long as you pay it off. Now that part is between you and God. Top Idol…what about Nick Pruitt’s offer to supply you with video footage? You didn’t accept that. May I remind you that no church is perfect. Let me know when you find one because then it won’t be perfect anymore.

  7. February 24, 2009 12:23 am

    The difference, I believe, we are discussing here is between evangelical and more traditional types of churches. The growth of the Mega-Churches and Joel Osteen style of Prosperity Gospel has appealed to a very wide range of individuals particularly in the mid-west and the south. I’ve watched Osteen on TV from time to time. I can certainly see the appeal.

    I traverse long stretches of highway in this area of the country quite often and, in many communities, these churches are larger and nicer than the high schools.

    My grandparents watched Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power for years when they were unable to attend their regular church. I was only 7 or 8 years old and remember listening to his voice on their television while I constructed PhD level hot-wheels race tracks in the adjoining room.

    I know that the majority of these churches do far more good than harm in the community. People have a right to give their money to any chruch they wish at any rate they desire.

    The onus is on the church to make reasonable and responsible requests during capital campaigns and services. It is irresponsible in the extreme to accept non-bank-draft cards from their members. Are they going to give the money back to them if the member can’t make the payment in full at the end of the month? Of course not.

    Just like many greedy bastards in my area of specialization have completely wrecked our financial system, people that would take from those that can least afford it are the worst sort of people in the world and deserve to be ridiculed in public.

    FBIM has placed themselves in the public forum with very visible support of DGokey and sometimes that light will uncover some blemishes or show the entire thing to be rotten to the core. I hope it is the former but I suspect the latter.

  8. Jworshipgal permalink
    February 24, 2009 12:12 am

    mE:

    Wonderfully put.

  9. February 24, 2009 12:10 am

    Who are we to judge anything? I know some think we are entitled to because we are Americans, but I disagree. Opinions are one thing, blasting Pastor Pruitt and members of his Church is another. Nobody has any facts to back any of this up. Stories and Emails are hearsay and hold NO validation. You are judging based on peoples opinions that are not CURRENTLY involved in this ministry. Sour grapes often turn into horrible rumors and I believe that’s what has happened here…

  10. Jworshipgal permalink
    February 23, 2009 11:30 pm

    To the post above:

    I hope you do know that not every church begs for your money. I know that the church I go to (especially when we have special productions) our Pastor has specified during the giving time- that this is something our church is to participate in- and that if they want, they can- but nothing is ever forced. As I said above your post- As Christians – this is what we do… we are glad to do it! It is an act of love for God.
    Granted- some people can abuse that… and that is so sad. But God is the Judge and he will definately judge.

    j.

  11. Jworshipgal permalink
    February 23, 2009 10:56 pm

    Okay… I just read this… I can’t believe I read it all.
    But I will make a comment… or two.

    1. It is wrong to pay tithe on a credit card (in my eyes). I am a christian and I pay my tithe. I also give offerings regularly. I don’t consider it a hassel or an attack by man- I LOVE to give to God’s house! I love knowing that I am investing into something that is changing lives! I love knowing that part of what I give helps my pastor to live… He doesn’t have to go out and work 40+ hrs a week and then pour himself into the church till there’s nothing left for his family. I love it. And God blesses me and gives me wisdom on how to use the money I do have.
    Here’s why I think it’s wrong to use your credit card. The bible says to give of “your first fruits” – A credit card is an I.O.U – That is money you DO NOT have! Also- you are going into debt for that. God’s desire for us is NOT to be in debt. He desires for us to be wise and responsible with what we have.
    Now, a ATM check card and a VISA credit card are different things. I would gladly pay my tithe with my check card… but to encourage paying with your visa- would NOT do!

    2. My second comment is this. I don’t know much about FBIC. I have my thoughts on what I have seen. But the true shame would have to be on those that have disclosed this information WITHOUT first taking it to the pastors. Those that are Christians should know better! The right way of doing this is to FIRST go to the one who has the wrong- if they don’t listen, go to a leader above them, and it they don’t listen take it to the church… that is BIBLE!
    It’s terrible to read things like, “We started asking questions in close circles of friends but would not question in public as that would bring certain and quick condemnation from the Pastors or Terry. ”
    … YOU JUST DID!!! You held noone accountable to the questionable changes taking place… You backed away and did not BE THE CHANGE. And now you are bringing forth condemnation! This is SO sad. Pastor’s are people… YES they mess up too. But with that we have to be gracious- AND willing to speak up!!!!

    ONE MORE THING. In the bible there is a story of KIng David- Known as a man after God’s heart. He messed up BIG TIME. David saw a women bathing. Fell in love with her- killed her husband and took her for himself! THIS IS THE KING, guys! Now, in a sin matter like this… who would DARE correct the king?! But let me tell you- someone had gutts enough to do it. A guy named Nathan. God spoke to his heart and revealed the whole thing. Nathan went to the King and layed the matter before him. In short- David repented for that sin. He turned his heart back to God.
    David was just a man- but a minister unto the Lord, too.
    HE FAILED BIG TIME!! but he was quick to ask for forgiveness… and GOD was quick to give it. Here’s the thing though, after that- David didn’t do it again.

    That’s the point… God loves us SO much- and even when we fail BIG TIME… and fail BIG TIME FOR HIM… he will forgive us if we are sincere and if we turn from our evil ways.

    Whatever has happened in that leadership will be unfolded b4 God. As for everyone reading the stories and passing on the info… be careful… to the same measure we judge… he will judge us.

    Forgive… and pray for those who need forgiveness…

    Jesus is love sick for you… remember that.

    j.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 23, 2009 11:19 pm

      I’ve heard its commonplace now for collection envelopes to take CC numbers.

      I always thought tithing was say, stick a couple of dollars in the basket? The thought of an ATM in a church lobby just…ugh…

      I was once the only person on a 2.5 hour plane ride NOT part of a church group. From Heathrow to Split. They were all going to Medugorje. And I happened to be seated next to the guy leading the entire thing. I had also talked to some people while we were waiting to board. These people were probably the strongest believers I have ever met. Yet no one tried to convert me. And money was never mentioned. Not once. They were going to spend 7+ days praying in the same area, a pilgrimage of sorts. Only a handful were going to spend a single day sightseeing in Dubrovnik, the rest were spending the entire time in Medugorje. My point? There was something inherently sincere about this group and their faith, regardless of whether or not I agreed with them.

      Churches like this one, I just don’t see the sincerity.

      • bob permalink
        March 22, 2009 3:53 pm

        There is no sincerity because it is all about what FBIM can GET from you.

  12. Disgusted permalink
    February 23, 2009 10:49 pm

    Danny’s a great singer?

    From the article above:
    I will state that my posting this has nothing to do with Danny Gokey.

  13. February 23, 2009 10:34 pm

    I’m trying to figure out what any of this has to do with Danny Gokey being a GREAT singer… If anyone can answer this intelligently, please do.

  14. Sally_yessally permalink
    February 23, 2009 10:15 pm

    Why only talk to former members, easy answer, the current members are either to scared or to brainwashed to make waves. It took me 3 services to understand where this pastor is coming from.

    Luke 6:45 \”For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh\”. Speaketh Money, Speaketh Money, Speaketh Money.

    No Pruitt doesn\’t say he needs your money, just that you are cursed with a curse (ref. Malachi, the Italian Prophet), and the windows of heaven can\’t be opened over your life.

    Why pay with a credit card YEAH let\’s all pay 18% interest on our offering. Yes, let me see, yes Jesus took his Master Card to the Temple when he was 14 and gave his offering….

    Scary place this is.

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 23, 2009 10:16 pm

      Whoa. What? CURSE? CURSE?

      That’s the next best thing I’ve heard since prophecy.

  15. Sane Jason Fan permalink
    February 23, 2009 8:12 pm

    The exploitation going on here is nauseating. This church is exploiting Gokey being on Idol and Gokey and Idol are exploiting his wife’s death for votes and ratings. The only person I feel sorry for is the late Mrs. Gokey. It’s sad to watch people trying to get ahead by climbing all over her remains.

  16. awesome permalink
    February 23, 2009 4:27 pm

    OH NO!

    “It was all high-energy, choir bouncing back and forth”

    I cant beleive these people! Aren’t they supposed to stand there and look bored!

  17. Disgusted permalink
    February 23, 2009 4:03 pm

    What is wrong with paying your tithes and offerings via credit card? We pay everything else with a credit card?

    Maybe FBIM should create a “Living Within Your Means” ministry.

  18. Sara permalink
    February 23, 2009 12:43 pm

    What is wrong with paying your tithes and offerings via credit card? We pay everything else with a credit card? Why is this different? I was there yesterday and Pastor Pruitt did not say, I need your money. He was upset because people were getting up and moving around and it was very distracting. How would you like people to interrupt your service when you are speaking to your congregation. OH! And one more thing……….you are only talking to FORMER members of FBIM. What about talking to current people?

    • TopIdol permalink
      February 23, 2009 2:44 pm

      No current members have bothered to send me an email.

  19. Mandragora permalink
    February 23, 2009 2:16 am

    Years ago, I used to work for a Bankruptcy attorney and I can’t tell you how many times when I was reviewing credit card statements to prepare the Schedules, there were charges to various televangelists such as Benny Hinn and the like. Truly sick AND sad.

  20. February 22, 2009 11:56 pm

    These people. not this people.

  21. February 22, 2009 11:55 pm

    CREDIT CARDS!!!! for your 10%! It is now truly official….I hate these pigs. I am a Methodist that rarely attends church but has some rather strong beliefs. This people are the worst sort. They prey on people by praying for them. F’ing credit cards. I would love to see how this is defended. Truly SICK.

    • bob permalink
      March 22, 2009 3:51 pm

      When I attended Jeff taught that debt was “the 20th century from of slavery. Debt is a sin.” Then they put the credit card spot on their giving envelopes. I guess you can go in debt so long as you give the money to the church.

  22. February 22, 2009 9:18 pm

    That sound you hear is the Baby Jesus crying.

  23. February 22, 2009 7:21 pm

    Wow an egomaniac takes over a church and turns it into his own Jonestown. I am shocked. Shocked and surprised. Truly.

    *runs to give money to the cult*

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