«Gal 6:1-5 1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking ...»
Report On the Restoration of Darrell Ferguson
1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore
such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be
tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if
anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let
each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard
to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load – NAS Background On June 12, 2005 Darrell Ferguson publicly confessed to a serious moral failure that occurred in 2004. His sin involved an unconsummated but adulterous relationship with a woman in his church. At that point he voluntarily resigned from ministry and a process of restoration was begun in-situ. During the course of this restoration effort, in August of 2005, the Elders publicly placed Darrell under Church discipline on the basis of charges that now appear false.
We have found that the actions taken against Darrell are in direct conflict with the clear mandates of scripture. Prior to the day of public dis-fellowship neither Darrell nor the church were informed that he was under discipline…in fact communication from the elders one day prior to the public dis-fellowship indicated that he was not under discipline.
The restoration team has reviewed a mountain of email and other evidence and cannot substantiate any of the charges leveled. The restoration team can find nothing in Darrell’s character that would lend credibility to the charges.
The Creekside Elders have also refused to meet with the restoration team as of this writing.
After the dis-fellowship Darrell was told by Creekside leadership that if he fulfilled four requirements they had given him they would “joyfully announce to Creekside [Darrell’s] removal from church discipline.” In a meeting on March 5, 2006 with Kurt Pourbaix, Del Fafatch, Jim Wright, Jim Shaddix and Scott Nauman, both Jim Shaddix and Scott Nauman affirmed to the Creekside elders that Darrell had fulfilled the four requirements. The elders stated at that meeting that they knew of no conditions that had not yet been met.
At Creekside’s request Darrell met with Russ McKendry (Pastor of L2) for counseling regarding his character and restoration until Pastor McKendry was satisfied regarding the restoration of his character. (Pastor McKendry is currently writing his doctoral dissertation on Biblical Counseling and the Creekside leadership was satisfied that he was qualified for that role and formally turned the process of overseeing Darrell’s restoration over to him.) Pastor McKendry was satisfied with Darrell’s repentance and affirmed that Darrell had done all he could to reconcile with Creekside.
Page 1 During this time Darrell repeatedly approached each of the elders individually for the purpose of re-affirming his recognition of his guilt and asking them if there was anything else he needed to make right with them. Each of them told Darrell, in person with a witness present, over the telephone, or in writing, that there was nothing else he needed to do to make things right with them personally. Their only remaining concern was the fact that the board as a whole had not yet acted to drop the church discipline (however none of them were willing to discuss with Darrell why or even what the reason for the original church discipline was).
In August of 2006 Darrell received word from Russ McKendry that the Creekside elders had informed him that church discipline had been lifted. Darrell then called Creekside to confirm and was assured by Jim Wright both verbally and in writing, that the discipline had been "removed." On September 29, 2006, Darrell and Tracy met with Jim Wright at Darrell’s request for the purposes of reconciliation as brothers and sister in Christ. At that meeting Mr.
Wright agreed to inform Creekside Church of the dropping of the discipline as well as clear up misconceptions that were existing regarding the church discipline - most significantly, the belief that there was some sin, other than the original sexual sin, that took place after Darrell's confession and that was the basis for discipline. Mr. Wright assured Darrell and Tracy that they never meant to imply such a thing, and that he would gladly correct the misunderstanding if it existed.
The following Monday Jim sent an email to Darrell which included the following statement:
I used the opportunity [of that Sunday morning's adult Sunday School class] also to report good news such as your release from church discipline, the fact you have now joined a church and we have had good communications with the leadership there, and that you and I had what turned out to be a good meeting on Fri.
UPDATE: Darrell and Tracy remained members in good standing at L2 Church in Denver until the launch of Agape Bible Church in 2007. L2 has not formally endorsed the church plant, however neither do they oppose it. Darrell and Tracy left L2 on good terms, and the L2 leadership was satisfied with Darrell’s repentance, his restoration process, and his efforts to reconcile with Creekside; such that pastor McKendry did not recommend any further counseling.
Members of the Restoration Team
The Restoration team consists of the following men:
Pastor Scott Nauman: Pastor of Worship and Music at Foothills Bible Church.
Pastor Andy McClure: Senior Pastor of Mountain Ridge Community Church.
Richard Esterline: Former chairman of the Board of Elders at a large church in California where two pastors fell to immorality and were restored. Richard was a member at Creekside from October of 2002 to October of 2005.
Terry Gilbert: Worship leader at Creekside from 2001 through 2005.
Alfred Randall: Former member of Creekside and Darrell’s manager at Dominos Pizza and his daily accountability partner. Alfred met with Darrell most every day throughout the restoration process, often for several hours at a time. Alfred spent considerable time with Darrell observing him at work, in his home, and at church.
Other individuals who are close to the restoration effort but not on the team:
Page 2 Larry Russell: Executive Director of Shepherd's Heart Ministry, a ministry to Pastors and Ministry Leaders all around the world. Larry has done approximately 18,000 hours of counseling in private practice in addition to the hundreds of hours with Ministry Leaders and Pastors. Larry also served as a pastor for eleven years.
Chet Herzog: Darrell’s Small Group Leader at Riverside Church. Darrell has been a member of this group from September of 2005 to August of 2006.
Jim Shaddix: Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church.
Russ McKendry: Senior Pastor of L2 Church where Darrell and Tracy are currently members.
Most of the team met with Darrell on a biweekly basis from October 18, 2005 to the present.
Chet observed Darrell in the church and small group setting, Andy participated and advised via phone and email, Russ counseled both Darrell and Tracy and Larry Russell met with Darrell and Tracy regularly from October 11, 2005 through April 11, 2006. Larry’s conclusion and
statement to the team was as follows:
“In all the years I have spent working with leaders, I have never encountered a leader so broken with such an humble spirit as Darrell has exhibited. We have been working together since October 11 along with his wife, Tracy on a regular basis. During that time, Darrell has cooperated fully -- disclosed completely -and has left no stone unturned in the discovery process of his motivation regarding his failure. He has fully accepted responsibility for the failure, the pain he has caused to his wife and the church community at large. In that posture, he has examined and worked on all the areas of concern that I have raised in the therapy process and continues to make progress in his healing both with Tracy and, when possible, with the at-large church community.” Page 3 The Restoration Process Each member of the restoration team believes it is possible, but difficult to restore a fallen Pastor. We have several Biblical examples of spiritual leaders who have committed disqualifying sins and who have been subsequently restored.
After many months of thorough examination it is the judgment of the restoration team that Darrell’s character has indeed been transformed and that no disqualifying sins remain. We believe Darrell’s character is exemplary and has been at least since when the Team began meeting in October of 2005.
In the months following Darrell’s public confession, though he earnestly sought help, he was mostly left to himself in the early transformation process. During our examination period we have found that Darrell had been and continues to be exceedingly thorough in addressing all the character flaws that led to his sin.
Following Christ’s example in restoring Peter, and following other passages found in scripture, Darrell discovered 35 areas of concern that he felt needed change. And while Darrell went to great lengths to address each of those areas, most of his energy he devoted simply to developing a deeper love for God, as he had discerned that lack of love for God was at the core of his sin. In seeking to learn how to develop deeper love for God Darrell has read over 20 books, listened to countless sermons, and studied and meditated deeply in the Psalms, journaling hundreds of pages of prayers.
Members of the team have been reviewing these prayers (one member on a daily basis) and
made the following observations:
Darrell has shown an increasing love for God. This is most obvious in his prayers. He • generally prays over the psalms for his daily prayers and he devotes his time to learning about the attributes of God in those psalms and delighting in the experience of those attributes. The impact on his character has been enormous. He has reworked his entire spiritual life around the core of loving God in a much deeper way.
Darrell was very transparent regarding any failures and sins in his prayers. While he • possessed humility before, it was clear that his sorrow and genuine humility grew over time until, in the team's opinion, he possesses more godly sorrow and humility then could be attributed to either false pretenses or his own hard work by itself. It is clear that the Holy Spirit continues to work in his heart.
Darrell has increased his skill in interpreting scripture. While no one can doubt his • previously existing skill, he has grown in ability to perceive what scripture is saying in very difficult passages and he prays heartily and relies on the Holy Spirit's help through prayer.
Much of the above restoration work was done entirely on Darrell’s own initiative prior to the
formation of the Restoration team. Also on his own initiative Darrell:
repented of and forsook the sexual sin many months before it was discovered • sought counsel from the Creekside elders and outside professional counselors • enrolled in and completed the Setting Captives Free program for dealing with sexual sin.
• Upon completion he was asked by Setting Captives Free to become a mentor in their program.
Reputation The assessment of Darrell’s reputation is ongoing. The team has met with some of Darrell’s family members, and one member of the team is a co-worker. No concerns have arisen to date.
With regard to Darrell’s reputation at Creekside Church and with the Elders there, we continue to desire a meeting to begin the process of reconciliation with these individuals. It is doubtful
Assessment It is the unanimous judgment of this team that Darrell’s character is exemplary and that he is fully qualified for pastoral ministry. We also affirm that he has demonstrated such profound transformation for a long enough period of time that we are confident in recommending him for pastoral ministry. Our only hesitation is that he not allow the distraction of Ministry to derail him from continuing to make progress in his newly kindled relationship with GOD.
It should also be noted that the team does not view itself as an ordaining body and any decisions regarding commissioning to teach or oversight of a Bible study or work in professional ministry we defer to whichever local assembly Darrell would be attending at the time.
Conclusion It is our prayer (as well and Darrell and Tracy’s) that anyone who has anything against Darrell or Tracy, or who has been estranged from them as a result of this process, would make great haste in contacting the Ferguson’s that there might be full reconciliation and peace within the Body of Christ. Darrell and Tracy are open to any questions regarding suspicions of unconfessed sin, and are eager to be restored to the good graces of those from whom they have been separated, that there might be no division in the Body.
Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Pastor Scott Nauman (720-936-2020) Pastor Andy McClure Richard Esterline Terry Gilbert Alfred Randall