Life Center Church Board Statement
Life Center church is governed by 15 board members; comprised of women and men who have been nominated and elected by our voting members. As such, we are responsible for the selection and oversight of the senior pastor, for church policy, administration of church finances and the general well-being of the church. We don’t manage the day-to-day operations but serve as your representatives to be the governing authority of the church. This is both a privilege and a responsibility we take very seriously and devote countless hours to.
As a church with membership in the Assemblies of God denomination, we are subject to another governing authority structure—namely the NW Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God (sometimes referred to as the “NW District” office), and ultimately, the denominational headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. Of course, our highest allegiance is to God, whom we serve above all.
One role of the board is to consider accusations, which we have done in the past, which may come against a pastor in accordance with Scriptural teaching. Indeed, the biblical standards laid out for this board and pastors are quite high, and we have a responsibility to require adherence to them by our pastors and to carry out discipline when and where they are questioned.
Dean Curry has been Life Center’s pastor for 14 years. Under his leadership, Life Center has solidified its place in the 253 as a place of hope. Countless people in the region have encountered Jesus because of the ministry of Dean Curry and Life Center Church.
A few weeks ago, we learned about an accusation against Dean that was brought to the NW District office (not Life Center nor the church board) by a former employee who felt Dean had acted physically inappropriately toward her. The accuser presented her accusation directly to the NW District office, which in turn notified Dean. Dean immediately notified the Life Center board. Based on the allegations we as a board requested a thorough investigation or substantiation of claims brought to the District, but unfortunately, we have not been presented with written details of the formal charge. We have only been told what was presented to the District office.
Then, on June 21st the NW District office presented the Life Center church board with their plan to recommend to the national office in Springfield that Dean be dismissed as an ordained Assemblies of God minister. This has immediate ramifications for Life Center because our bylaws require that our Senior Pastor be a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God denomination. Due to the nature of Life Center’s bylaws, the board has dismissed Dean as our Senior Pastor. In this process we have no other choice then to adhere to the decision of the NW District in this matter at this time.
We have raised concerns about the thoroughness of the investigative process used by our denominational officers from the NW District. For an allegation as serious as this and the gravity of the potential outcomes (for all involved) the lack of extensive discovery, review, objectivity and transparency leads us to question the validity of the Northwest District office’s process. That being said we submit to their authority as our governing body.
While we may disagree with the NW District’s process, we do believe that all people (women and men) deserve to be heard. As a board we care deeply for each and every person that steps foot on a Life Center campus. The Life Center staff and board are here to listen, here to support and here to help those who are hurting and/or in need. The team has put in place clear policies and protections for employees who have experienced hurt in the workplace as everyone’s story matters. As a board we are here to help ensure that Life Center remains a place of HOPE in the 253.
Finally, we remain committed to Life Center Church and her mission in the city and greater community. Dean has always been careful to remind us this is not his church and it is not ourchurch—it’s a Jesus church, and we reaffirm that. As a board with governance responsibility for this church, we are determined to guide us through this challenging season in the long history of Life Center. Specifically, that means we’ll be doing the following:
- Praying for all involved. Praying for wisdom and God’s guidance as we navigate perhaps the most challenging season in our distinguished history.
- Searching for an interim pastor.
- Providing strategic support to all Life Center staff and campuses.
- Reviewing our options to ensure our internal systems and policies and guidelines protect both pastors and staff and provide a healthy work environment in which men and women can function effectively in a way that honors and respects both. We updated such guidelines four years ago and will continue to conduct reviews to ensure they remain effective.
- Developing a strategy and plan for Life Center Church’s future.
- Communicating with you all in a more frequent way as we have more information.
Let’s be people of prayer and harmony and fidelity to God’s Word and trust Him to lead us in accordance with His plans. Thank you for listening and praying with us.