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Pastor Morin


Dear Elders of GGWO Baltimore,

I am writing out of response to your request regarding the recent vote by you, the board of elders of GGWO, had where to my knowledge the vote was 5 in favor for the appointment of Pastor Roger Stenger as the new senior pastor of the church over 2 votes for Pastor Schaller. I am sensitive to the fact that the church there is indigenous and in one sense does not need my or any affiliates input in the strict sense. So in this regards, I write with a careful respect. First, I want to say that your decision has more than just a local impact but world-wide as the churches affiliated watch this unfold. GGWO in Baltimore has over the last 2-3 years been under great scrutiny, not only by the Christian community, as well as the unsaved world, but for the 1st time in our history by Greater Grace Churches themselves and their affiliated pastors who have remained true to the heritage entrusted to them. Much has taken place over the past 30 months that has not brought honor to the name of Christ in our ministry. This vote can be another step in the right direction to begin the imperative changes to allow us not to repeat the failures of the past. So as an Affiliated Pastor of GGWO for 30 years, I share with you my concerns.

First, I would like to address the affirmation of Pastor Roger Stenger, which I am in complete favor of. Pastor Roger in my view is the most neutral (non-controversial), well balanced, pastoral candidate for the position. He is a former missionary & church planter, has pastoral experience, and is a proven student of the Word of God. But from my experience with him, one of the outstanding characteristics is that he has more of a pastoral heart which is what is needed in the church. His balance would not exclude his visionary abilities but would not let those blind him to the need for the reconciliation of the many who have been marked and hurt during this season. He is not a novice but in my estimation will implement the changes in which the 70 affiliated Pastors agreed upon at the Sandy Cove meeting. Some of those were doctrinal and some were methodology arising from improper application of certain doctrines. I believe he will represent not just the local church in Baltimore needs which is first and foremost but be someone who will reach out to the affiliated churches as well as be one who unites. In my conversations with Roger he is not seeking this great thing for himself. But has the resolve to put into practice the necessary changes and model of leadership that will take the church in Baltimore in a healing direction. I think he has the temperament to handle and work with the various personalities on the staff as well as have personal accountability himself as the Pastor. He patterns what we have strived for here in Rome – Servant leadership and not Charisma leadership.

The second vote option was that for Pastor Schaller. Pastor Schaller is a dear friend and we have been a supporter of him for many years. He has been our guest speaker here in Rome for 13 years at our Mission’s conference. When I write even critiquing any man of God, especially whom I have served in the trenches with I do it knowing, who am I, but for the grace of God.

My fear is that already there are different leaders campaigning for him and hurting the process. I received one call today from a pastor who was at a 2 hour rap by one of the elders promoting why Pastor Schaller is the one for the job. This pastor was convinced that the elders are a bunch of inept novices, who rushed the vote, railroaded the right man, don’t know what there doing and as a result voted for the wrong guy. The quote of the day – “the elders have never operated in this culture of leadership before”. This is sad and a total lack of spiritual integrity. It brings to light the systemic problem we have been facing even as affiliates. The ripple effect of a vacuum of integrity! Who speaks for whom?

Second, is my concern with the possible appointment of Pastor Schaller and the overruling of the elder’s vote. I was not aware that we had church membership and let the congregation vote for which person they liked best?

My input is the result of a number of personal meetings I have had with him regarding the serious issues concerning the church there and Pastor’s condition. The last one being over Thanksgiving when he was here visiting his mom. I have the utmost respect for Pastor Schaller and his missionary passion. I, too, share in this passion. How the Lord has graciously used him has certainly been recognized around the world. For this I am deeply grateful to have him as my friend all these years and to have the Lord use him to inspire me to think globally in missions. My reservations come as a result of my conversations with him, his strong doctrinal positions in areas which were addressed at Sandy Cove for change, and his seeming indifference or blindness to the departure of so many godly individuals who were just asking honest questions. From the interactions at Sandy Cove and his doctrinal leanings toward OT transfers of the priesthood into NT church government as well as the unclear view on the anointing of the P/T, it helped me understand how he is wired in his leadership style. Beliefs determine actions. His pattern overseas, and this is not a critique but only an objective observation, is that the churches that are planted are led primarily by single pastor/elder leadership with no strong endorsement of the development of deacons, and other ruling elders. This is consistent with Pastor Schaller leadership style as well. A strong “spiritual father” or bishop role of influence which over the years in Europe has by some churches not been so welcomed. It is my opinion that Pastor Schaller is wired for exactly what he is doing – church planting and mission/discipleship. This is a wheel within the wheel – not the whole wheel itself! GGWO at this time in its history needs a Pastor/ physician and not a C.T Studd as its pastor – mind you we always need a C.T. but not as senior pastor of a wounded church! A rebuilder and shepherd and not someone, who if they don’t fit the program doesn’t need them. When I spoke with Pastor Schaller in November and asked him what was being done to stop the flow of people leaving and to go after all the precious folks who were leaving the Baltimore church as a result of Pastor’s obvious waning health and absence, along with the misrepresentations being done in his name, his response was a shock to me. “If Pastor Stevens wants the church to go down to 1000 people, it’s Pastor’s church.” Then he continued, “If Pastor wants the church to go down to 10 people, it’s his church, and I won’t cross the line of trying to remove him.” I then asked him if he saw himself pastoring the church there in Baltimore and stated clearly, “Yes.” Is this something he is seeking? Does Pastor Schaller feel he is the Elisha of the Elijah? This does not represent my convictions or those of many other affiliated pastors for whom I will not try to speak for. How will Pastor Schaller give the affiliates confidence that the changes of Sandy Cove will be made when some of the very doctrines he strongly holds to are those that need changing in GGWO? Would Pastor Schaller be able work with men like Dr. Lewis, Pastor Steve, Pastor Marr, and Pastor Guy Duff? Would Pastor Schaller reach out and listen to the many affiliated churches that have been deeply affected by all of this as well as those callously marked for simple disagreement? My concern is that the vagueness of Pastor Schaller’s doctrinal positions along with his model of leadership would not bring a healing that is needed at this time to GGWO. His model is a much needed wheel within the wheel. Thank God for Pastor Schaller’s portion in that much needed wheel but it is not the only wheel itself in order to bring about a healthy church and affiliation. This is why I believe Pastor Stenger is more shaped for this role at this time in GGWO history. Thank you for considering my input – know we are praying for you and deeply respect each of you.

30 years of getting to know Him together is no small thing – all else means little!

Jesus Never Fails!

Pastor Mark Morin
Rome, NY