#4 Afterwards

While the Congregational Meeting on 4/30/06 brought many things out into the open for the first time, and while on the whole it was a peaceable meeting and ended with prayer, in reality, TBC was left in stunned, semi-chaos. The circumstances that led to that extraordinary meeting had been put in motion 8 weeks prior, but for most of the congregation, Sunday, 4/30/06 was the first time that they had heard of any details of the momentous events. Everything that they had been through – the resignation of Don B., Mike, Todd and Don A.,  and then Jerry and finally the bewildering heads-of-household meeting on Friday 4/28 in which they were forced to vote – all of this had been forced on them by two men who maintained that they did not need to explain anything. That their status as “Elders” was sufficient to silence all questions.

Now, what remained, was to try to figure out what would come next. The meeting had certainly not answered everyone’s questions. Absolutely nothing was crystal clear except that Scott and Jason would not be remaining at Trinity.

The task seemingly fell to the Deacons to sort through the rubble and come up with the next steps. . .

Monday, 5/1/06

The next evening, there was a bright spark of hope. The meeting the night before ended on the note of a congregation that sorely wanted nothing more than for Scott and Jason to recognize what they had done as wrong and repent of it. There was no punishment being sought after, but rather forgiveness and reconciliation. And this first post-Split communication seemed to hint at just that.

Scott sent an email in which he wrote that he wanted his brothers to know he was “attempting to learn from [them] in the things [they had] been saying.” Scott wrote of his desire for “all the things that [the Deacons] recommend regarding any self righteousness or pride in [him].”

Scott continued by writing of how it was painful to him that he might be “lording it over anyone” and was grateful for the opportunity to “look more deeply into my heart and behavior and words to learn from the Lord through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.”

He wrote that he considered this time to be one of “chastening” from the Lord and He was glad that God was treating him as a son.

He closed with, “It is true that these things are in me, and I have seen evidences of them, and it is true that I wish them to be banished.”

Although this note from Scott gave rise to great hope that perhaps he was acknowledging what an entire congregation was trying to tell him, it stopped short of a confession or a request for forgiveness. Just how far from that he was, the congregation would soon find out.

Tuesday 5/2/06

Less than 10 hours later, the hopeful joy from the previous letter turned sour with the next letter from Scott.

There was none of the earlier humble, self-reflection. This letter was all about moving on. In it, Scott astonishingly proposed a statement that the remaining leadership of TBC could send out with him, making the events of the past 96 hours seem like nothing more than a master plan by TBC to plant a new church.

Scott wrote that the purpose of a statement about the “new church plant” would be one of explaination “to people who have questions about what is going on now.”

This was clearly a move to misrepresent the events of the past 8 weeks as at no time was there ever a purpose to plant a new church through it.

Nevertheless, Scott proposed that the Deacons allow him to say that such a plan had been a part of the Elders’ and Congregation’s purposes for some time. Also, that there had developed within TBC two different groups that “wanted to more fully develop their identities.” He acknowledged that “some of the differences were doctrinal and some of them were in the area of application of biblical principles.” However, he went further to claim that “various groups within the church” had “exacerbated” those differences by “exerting great pressure” within the church.

He concluded the proposed statement by claiming that he and Jason had resigned as Elders at Trinity seemingly for the purpose of “planting that new church in the area.”

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Stunned, the Deacons wrote back the utter unacceptability of representing what took place as a “church plant.” They also vigorously objected to Scott’s characterization of the events.

Ignoring the Deacons and former Elders yet again, Scott posted on his blog:

May 03, 2006

New Church Start This Sunday May 7

Former Trinity Baptist elders, Jason Dohm and Scott Brown, will be the founding elders of a new church on Sunday morning at 10:00 May 7, at the Brown’s barn.

Scott will bring a message from Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord Builds the House, They Labor in Vain.”

For scripture memory this week we would like for all to memorize Psalm 127:1-5. We will be reciting it during our service.

Why A New Church?

There were a number of factors… For quite some time, it has been the conviction of the people and the elders that Trinity Baptist Church needed to multiply, because it had grown to an unwieldy size, and there were some doctrinal and application issues in play in the church that made it plain that we had two churches in one. Now, each group will be able to develop according to their respective callings. The past month has been difficult for us, but we are trusting that God is bringing all of us to maturity, and looking forward to what God will do next.

Posted by David Brown at Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moving Forward

In the following weeks, there were more congregational meetings and meetings between the Deacons and an advisory board that had been appointed by the Deacons.

Both former Elders, Don B., and Jerry, remained at Trinity, and made repeated attempts to be reconciled with Scott and Jason. One of the elders went to the extraordinary effort to engage the help of Peacemakers Ministries in an attempt to be reconciled.

Through it all, Scott and Jason maintained their utter innocence and complete lack of anything for which to repent. If anything, they themselves were the victims of rebellious and jealous persons who wanted only to destroy “Scott’s ministry.”

July 2006

By this time, it had become clear that Scott and Jason had turned deaf ears to the pleas of their former friends, Elders, Deacons and congregants. They were completely set in their belief that they had done nothing wrong. While individually there were brothers and sisters who continued their attempts to reach out to Scott and Jason with the hope that they could yet help them see their need to repent, as a whole the congregation of TBC keenly felt the need to bring some sort of closure.

After much discussion and prayer, the Deacons submitted for vote the Statement of Rebuke against Scott Brown and Jason Dohm.

There was agreement that the Rebuke was not a perfect document, but the hope was that it would help to bring healing after the extremely painful events of the prior 4 months. The Deacons, Advisory Board and Congregation all agreed that it would not close the door against further action if future Elders or the Congregation deemed it necessary.

The Statement of Rebuke passed with near unanimity.

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Today, Trinity Baptist Church has reconstituted. While the memory of the events of the 2006 spring remain painful, its members continue to trust in God for complete healing.

And they continue to pray for Scott and Jason’s repentance.

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Hope Baptist Church, was indeed founded by Scott and Jason, and it continues to meet on Scott’s personal home property – effectively ensuring that Scott will not have to confront dissension if he does not choose to.

In September of 2007, Hope elected two new elders. This was a little longer than the year time frame that Scott and Jason promised to the TBC Deacons on 4/27/06 as they (Scott and Jason) were moving to assume complete control of Trinity.

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    Notwithstanding countless petitions and prayers by various persons from Trinity and others in the community, Scott and Jason continue to maintain their complete innocence and remain unrepentant.
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