“There’s No Good Way To Leave A Cult”: The Potters Field Case

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238 Responses

  1. What a great (but sad) title for the article. So true!

    Often that’s what keeps us in the madness…looking for a smooth way out when there is only jaggedness and pain.

  2. Em says:

    Sorrowful… BTW, the ground at the foot of the cross is absolutely level – but no one here doubts that i am sure

    Also, i trust every child of God (adopted) here is praying for you, Michael…

  3. Michael says:

    Em… I hope so…

  4. Steve says:

    Unfortunately this cult-like mentality is way too common with the “triangulation” and all the rest. It will be difficult for CCA to speak more clearly on this issue since this controlling mentality is part of the CC history and DNA and is all too pervasive but hopefully its a first sign of good things to come for this org.

  5. Jessica says:

    And refresh my memory Rozell started out under what church and what pastor?

  6. Michael says:

    Yes, Jessica…Ft. Lauderdale and Coy…

  7. Jessica says:

    McClure is on PFM Facebook visiting Ignite in 2018 several times. Look CCA gets a 1/2 a point for writing the letter breaking away. Sadly why would they not research what is going on prior to people being victimized? CCA should have broken away immediately when contracts and kids are being used as slave labour. The damage is sadly done. If they don’t vett their affiliated ministries how do they check their own pastors? Not very good.

  8. Michael says:

    I honestly don’t blame either side of the CC split for this one.
    These issues can remain hidden for years…

  9. parts unknown says:

    Great article, Michael. It should get more comments than it has so far…I hope at the very least you have a ton of readership.

    Going strictly by what I’ve read here, there are similarities between PFM’s actions and what Ron Miscavage says he went through in escaping Scientology. Ron Miscavage is the father of current Scientology head David Miscavage and has written a book and done numerous interviews; I have not read the book (yet) but the interviews I heard were harrowing. Severe punishments, low pay, long back-breaking hours working for the church. The interviews are worth hunting down and listening to.

    Another parallel is how Ron Miscavage discusses the Church of Scientology’s practice of recruiting actors and actresses within Hollywood who would project a positive image for the church within the mainstream world. Michael didn’t mention it here, but he has mentioned in another thread how the founders of PFM had a positive image and good reputation within the Calvary Chapel community.

  10. Michael says:

    Parts unknown,

    Thanks.
    I think the numbers are fine…I just want everyone involved to have access to this info.
    A lot of these techniques are standard cult material…

  11. Jessica says:

    Were not parents/guardians aware of these contracts? Were parent/family allowed to visit? How often were they allowed visitation of family and outsiders?

  12. TheGhostofBelleStarr says:

    ” The familiar tactics of shunning and demeaning come into play whenever people try to leave under less than ideal circumstances.
    When one does leave, they are spoken ill of in the group as well to insure solidarity…those who left were “in sin” and rebellion against God.
    Attempts to contact those who left were discouraged by the Rozells, even to say goodbye….”

    Sounds like CC 101.
    And its a shame that those who left, may in the future need a reference when they try to get involved at a new church ministry or apply for church membership. They sure can’t mention the time spent with Rozell as he will give them a bad rap, however unjustified. That’s why its very important this is made public.

  13. Michael says:

    Jessica,

    These kids are 18 or older.
    Whitefish, Montana is the definition of the middle of nowhere and very expensive to get in and out of…

  14. Michael says:

    TheGhostofBelleStarr,

    Well said…

  15. Sonesta Josephsen says:

    In April 2017, during my re-entry, I was pulled from the girls house on the mountain at 10pm and taken to the house of one of the PFM leaders.
    When I got there two of the PFM leaders (because I still care about their wellbeing I won’t use their real names -S and J) and Pastor Mike sat me down as I was tired, drained, emotionally exhausted, and completely wrecked as a person from the emotional abused I received from previous months in the “ministry”. They then proceeded to tell me that my best friend, Kenzie, was a druggie, a whore, a liar, a thief, and a manipulator. They all said that she used me. That she never loved me. And then at that point S took my phone and typed out a message to Kenzie, as if in my voice, and told Kenzie that she is not qualified to speak to me and she needs to answer for the things she’s done. (They said and did all of this because Kenzie decided to leave the ministry and they didn’t like it. NONE of what they have accused her of is true.)

    They then asked me if it was okay to send the message but told me I wasn’t being a true Jesus follower if I didn’t.

    And the whole time I lay there in a heap. Too tired to cry anymore. Too emotionally broken to stand up for myself. Too confused about what was Christ like and what wasn’t. And knowing that without letting it happen I wouldn’t be able to leave that room until I agreed, I nodded.

    I will forever regret that nod.

    If I could pick anytime in history to go back in time, I would go back to 11:14pm on April 13, 2017 at J’s house. I would bust down the door, pick myself up, and get the hell out of there. And I would tell myself that that is not Jesus. That is not what a loving Jesus would do.

    Maybe if I could go back to that moment and rescue myself, I wouldn’t have the trust issues that I have with Jesus now. I wouldn’t carry the shame of letting such horrible and hurtful words be sent to a lady I love dearly. Maybe I wouldn’t fear reading the Bible anymore; worried that I will find a passage that tells me that that night was righteous. Because I refuse to believe it was.

  16. Michael says:

    Sonesta Josephsen,

    It wasn’t righteous, it was evil and abusive.
    Jesus weeps with you…may He restore all that has been stolen from you.
    May He also bless you for having the courage to share…

  17. This all sounds something like the guy Rozell alludes that he used to be before his “conversion.”

  18. pstrmike says:

    TheGhostof…

    Well said my friend. You are describing my experience when I left the CC that we attended together. Two of the other local CC’s that I looked into attending treated me as if I must have done something wrong. Even in the CC that we eventually landed in, I was viewed with a cloud of suspicion and I sat in the bullpen for a very long season.

  19. ChattyKathy says:

    Michael, I may be remembering wrong, but didn’t you mention in an earlier article that a family member of Don McClure was with PFM and perhaps complained and started this whole inquiry by McClure? If yes, is that the main reason this split has occurred? In other words, if a child/grandchild of a well known CCA leader is involved then something must be done. Otherwise ho hum.

  20. Michael says:

    ChattyKathy,

    I have spent 18 years busting Don McClure’s chops.
    I thought I was about to do it again.
    However…and I’ve interviewed a ton of people…I don’t believe that anyone in CC was aware of these issues…the silencing techniques worked… it took one feisty, brave, McClure to stand up and shout the truth where it could make a difference.

    She did and thankfully, Don listened.

  21. DavidM says:

    A few years ago I was in attendance when Mike Rozell preached. It was the first time I had seen or heard him. I was fairly close to the front of the venue, so I could easily see his facial expressions. What I saw was somewhat disturbing to me, though now it makes sense. While speaking, he would frequently close his eyes in a clench, with a look of anguish on his face. I commented to my wife at the time about how strange that was, like he was fighting something inside. Now, it makes more sense to me. He seemed to be dealing with some sort of inner anguish. As a pastor for decades, I have had so many meetings with individuals who were in a mental prison of their own making, and that same deep expression of anguish was often present. I wonder if the dissonance between what he was preaching and what how he was actually living created this expression of anguish as he spoke. Whatever the case, it was not at all normal for somebody preaching, at least in my experience.

  22. Michael says:

    DavidM,

    Very insightful comment.
    “I wonder if the dissonance between what he was preaching and what how he was actually living created this expression of anguish as he spoke.”
    That makes perfect sense to me…

  23. Chris says:

    Spot on. I dissolved a long time relationship with Mike and Pam under very stressful circumstances. Mike and I had a business contract and sold tamales before he decided to use our profits and go ahead with Mudman. He ran operations , with the interns/labor…he rolled OUR business into Mudman. Interesting that CCA disowned them. I had a heated business meeting with McClure over this issue…whom I admired . Based on that meeting I requested a one on one with him…he refused…would love an opportunity to meet with Don now! This just confirms what my wife and I suspected. Here’s the biggest injustice. Those young adults enter their program with problems and unfortunately some leave in worst condition.

  24. Michael says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for affirming this…and you’re right…some go from one form of abuse to another and end up in worse shape than when they started…

  25. pstrmike says:

    So according to what Chris has said, McClure is not completely innocent in all this. We all have some type of boundaries, looks like Rozell finally crossed McClure’s.

  26. TheGhostofBelleStarr says:

    @pstrmike
    That was for sure a steep part of the path during your journey to where the Lord has eventually brought you. Your perseverance has been blessed. He gave you a promise, He has kept it and He is keeping it :
    ” The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. ..”

  27. pstrmike says:

    TheGhostof. . .

    Thanks. God has been faithful in my life, as I know He is in your’s.

    During that transition, I was looking into enrolling at the Bible College that the big CC in that area had. The assistant pastor who oversaw the school gave me such grief and raked me over the coals. I decided that I didn’t need to study under them. Turns out that it was God’s way of moving me into a different direction.

  28. Daniel says:

    I am from the Flathead Valley. My encounters with Mike Rozell have been limited to just 2. He appeared as a guest at our church once and just talked about himself while spinning some clay, and I saw him once at a subway restaurant, shouting at the poor sandwich maker over some miniscule thing. I have heard disturbing rumors about the Mudman burger operation for years, glad to see it in writing. I have been telling people not to support them but they always tell me the employees seem happy.

  29. Michael says:

    Thank you, Daniel.
    Hopefully, this leads to some changes…

  30. Will Whosoever says:

    Without getting into specifics I can say that McClure is complicit in this as well. How do you not spend three+ years at PFM and not see or be able to ascertain the culture? Then on top of that, as a leader (an elder figure to Michael) you remain silent? Incredible, yes? I can share things regarding McClure and his own narcissistic ways. He will say that he did not witness any of this, but it is simply untrue and no, he did not confront Rozell until just before it went to the CCA board by his own recommendation. Wherever McClure is operating, he is needing to be the “Alpha Dog.” That’s all I can share publicly and it’s already too much. Christians…please pray.

  31. TheTruthWillSetYouFree says:

    Thank you for posting this! There are victims that are still there, regardless of how this information has come out. I am one who has also survived their emotional and spiritual abuse. There is hope and God is still good!

  32. Jeff says:

    It’s about time.

    Our family left 10 years ago and the place was whacked then. I served for six years and was part of the original team that created the first “school of discipleship”. It took 3 years before I really saw how jacked up it was. Once I moved into Sr Leadership, that’s when the true colors were shown. Three hour lectures over the phone, public shaming, fear mongering, and then the treats to keep you in. We got ski passes, international travel, dinners, rafting trips. Smacked around one day and a dozen roses the next…. text book abuser.

    And to the guy I told to “run, not walk off the property” as they courted your family to join.
    I told you so.

    And to the pastor I spoke with months ago that discredited former employees and Don McClure dismissing our claims because you didn’t want to see the truth, shame on you.

  33. victorious says:

    Different place, different time , 27 years ago. observed McClure diss myself and others who engaged him and brought to him atestimonies of others that were being abused by an affiliated ministry.
    Only Don had the power to do something or the authority to empower others to handle it. He brushed it off with words as slick as his sermons and then later after the damage had been done, stepped into the light to take credit for handling a situation and professing sorrow over those who had been hurt.

  34. victorious says:

    On the other hand, any thing that who have heard good about Jean McClure. It’s true and probably even greater than what you have heard.

  35. Truthinlight says:

    I too witnessed so many horrific things inside this ministry during time on “the board”, an “honor” given to those who have something Michael Rozell needs (usually money). I was one who dared to question the lies, manipulation, abuse, and seemingly illegal activities. I was taken into one of these closed door meetings where Rozell sat knee to knee with me. He screamed, cursed, and spit with rage I had never seen from any human being (while another CC pastor and his wife looked on). He did everything he could to “break my spirit” as planned before the meeting. My family and I immediately planned our escape. We were advised by some scared, but stuck, Sr Leadership to “leave well”. After we left everyone who stayed behind, by choice or manipulation, was forbidden from speaking to us. There are many, many more horrific stories that aren’t even touched on in this article. Find past students, pastors, staff, and board members and you will hear of the true sickness. My hope and prayer is that finally this break from CCA and this article will shine a bright light, prompt investigations into the PFM books, as well as the abuse, and ultimately save the latest group of young adults!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Just waiting for them to respond with “though none go with me” and declare this article as persecution. Glad truth is being brought to light.

  37. Sarah says:

    I went through the pfr program in 05 and then stayed on as staff for 3 years. Not to discredit others experience, but I had a very positive, healing and empowering out take. Somethings can always be better, but pfm is not God, and at that time, did not play a god role. God uses broken people to work through. With God, it is aways a blessing to be willing to do what God asks you to do. We need to hold each other accountable, and it sounds like the leaders did not repent to the small things, and now its blown up. I just don’t like that the sins of man are misrepresenting God. God is not a cult, and God has used this ministry to do a lot of good. We put our faith in God, not man. To the phenix preacher, the Bible says “your rod and your staff comfort me” meaning even when God corrects, it is comforting. This article certainly is not that.

  38. Dan says:

    I really appreciate all the digging you have done on this issue. Do you have any current plans of bringing this story to a wider audience? I mean not to disparage your website, but I only managed to stumble upon this due to having an associate who used to be involved with the whole mudmen business. There are ALOT of people in the valley who are not particularly concerned about spiritual matters, but are very concerned about having a cult in their backyard and the worker exploitation that happens at mudmen. We have heard rumors for years but I would love to see the claims substantiated. Would any of the local news organizations (E.G the Beacon, MTPR, Daily Interlake) be willing to run this story? Would you be willing to share sources with them. I know people who unfortunately will not believe blog posts but will believe what they see in the paper, I would really like them to read your story.

  39. Acts2024 says:

    Mike yelled at us in furious anger more than once during the time I spent as an intern in PFM’s Ignite program. As a result, I am not surprised by this news.

  40. Steve says:

    ……it took one feisty, brave, McClure to stand up and shout the truth where it could make a difference…..
    ________________________________

    Michael, so removing PFM from their affiliated ministries and releasing a statement saying that their discipleship methods are not what Chuck Smith modeled is being fiesty and brave? Isn’t that actually lying and distorting history and putting this at their idol Chuck Smith and whitewashing the origins of this crap.

  41. Jessica says:

    I am so sorry for the trauma that has been caused on so many amazing young lives who just wanted to serve and help others. This story has so many layers. It seems obvious that Mike took in legal 18+ young adults and had them sign legal contracts is very purposeful predator behavior. How did he keep this from seeping out to their families? Look, if my 18 year old joined the service I would b aware of their pay structure, usually they have an option to put a parent (if not they are married) on their checking acct as a emergency signor in case. Do not these Christian families speak to their kids while at the “compound”? We had issue w CC over-charging for mission trips years ago (a trivial issue compared to this) and felt capitalized and used by the church. But this seems criminal. How could well known pastors/wives and family that ran huge churches including CCA and CCftl allow their kids to attend w all these red flags? Speaks volumes on their lack of judgement. There kids don’t speak up? Our Christian kids raised to be so obedient that they lack judgement to question? so sad. My point , it’s time to teach and educate people/families and our youth to look for the signs of abuse and brain washing. Thank you Michael for being an advocate and a watch dog for the Christian community. just another reason for me to caution raising my kids in a heavily marketed mega church “cult”.

  42. Jeff says:

    As a team member of the original staff who moved from Fort Lauderdale in 2003 to begin this awesome endeavor of developing a radical, out-of-the-box, School of discipleship, I feel the need to comment once again.

    There were warning signs even before we moved our family. This issue of control and rage was known by the staff at CC Fort Lauderdale for many years before Potter’s field Ranch was even a thought.

    The thrust of my comment here is twofold, ultimately there are sins of the domineering Shepherds and there are sins of the complicit sheep. Throwing mud at Don will do no good. There were many who saw things and did not know how to expose for the various reasons that only one involved can understand. For those of you who are not intimately involved with this ministry I do implore you to tread lightly on judgment. These are very emotionally, mentally, spiritually charged complicated dealings.

    In light of the above comment from Sarah, I too must admit that God used the six years in my life to develop me into a person who has learned to bear more weight, fulfill my obligations, and was the bedrock of shaping me into the successful person I am today. There was much fruit through all of these years of ministry, this alone is the testimony that God is the faithful one who uses jackasses all over the world.

    For any out there who have used the negative influence of this ministry as a breaking-point in your relationship with your heavenly Father, I am saddened by that and will encourage you to look beyond the brokenness of men. Church history is one long story of God’s faithfulness to use jacked up humans to propagate the good news that God wants to save sinners and will through many means continue to do so.

    For those of you seeking to point fingers and need a place to aim your hurt, as a 20-year ministry veteran of five different Christian organizations; other than the key leader himself, the blame ultimately lies on the board members throughout the years. They are the ones who knew the most, saw the most, and heard the direct reports from those on staff. Why they did nothing or why what they did to expose this never took root, only God knows. But I watched several board members turn a blind eye to the verbal abuse and emotional destruction coming from the top. I offer that only as a factual statement with no malice in my heart and no stone-throwing. Several of these men I know personally and care about.

    God have mercy on us all, we are only human.

  43. Steve says:

    Jeff, good point about the board members. So who actually appoints the board members in a CC church?. Was not the model of church governance passed down from Chuck that the senior founding pastor is to pick their own board members? Also the congregation is usually clueless of who is on the church board. After numerous attempts to find who the board members were in my ex CC and even after eliciting help from Don with that, I still could not tell you who they are. The no accountability Moses model needs to be finally buried less this happen over and over again. There are a few other CC ministries I can think of that will be next to have an article written about them. Michael’s work is not done here. Sad.

  44. Jessica says:

    And the wagons have started to circle.

  45. Nolongerashamed says:

    It’s seems upsurd. Incredulous that families would allow their kids to attend or sign up and serve. Friends I was nineteen. In my new faith I was ready to go eat locusts in the desert to proclaim the gospel. I was young, no attachments. Spending every waking hour feasting upon God’s word, fellowship with other believers and service in what ever form I could give. I was young and naive. I didn’t realize the weight of the humanity of PFM. You see PFM is spread out friends. Mike and Pam and one or two workers are typically traveling quite a bit. When they are out doing their performance ministry ( God still uses to bring people to Jesus) day to day tasks go smoothly. Our parents see the ministry and are proud of us kids for giving our lives. The next area is church. Mike and Pam are leaders in your church. Really cool.churches with great Bible teaching ( the pastor’s cycle through every couple of years as do the board members) it was rare to see Mike in a rage at church so many people don’t know. There is a church in Whitefish now that Mike and Pam are heavily involved in. Thirdly there is the school or Mudman where students who have seen this amazing ministry can sign up, and spread the love of Jesus through the whole world. It’s very inticing. I didn’t even know that what I was going through was abuse. It took YEARS of God’s healing to understand that that is not what God wants. The phrase “it’s a really intense ministry and not everyone is cut out for intense ministry”, it’s sold like the Navy seals of ministry. As a young person you want to be that!! You want to give your all! So when things go south you are ASHAMED that you couldn’t cut it. You don’t want your parents to know how much of a failure you are. You lose you friends, your fellowship and are an outcast and blame yourself for “not being faithful in the small things”. These kids serving are not all having a bad experience, they don’t know, they can’t see. This will no doubt be played as persecution from the enemy which will firm up their young convictions and serve more. Mike and Pam are human. It’s that humanity that is the issue here. Lord only You can heal our hearts. Help us.
    (I still struggle working with men. I made a clerical error on a letter that was printed, Mike took the letter and started yelling and walked towards me to the point I was against the wall. He had the letter in one hand and a finger close to my face. I was balling. I was not faithful in the small things. I was ashamed and felt that I wasted God’s resources. I wasn’t forced to resign and repent until months later.) My own pastor was there. When I went to him it was “an intense ministry”. I don’t think he was intentionally complicit. In his heart he did what he thought was right. He too was oblivious that he was in a cult. Our highschool kids call Mudman cult burger. The community is not stupid. Getting outside confirmation from news sources would be helpful.

  46. Kevin H says:

    Thanks, Michael for having the fortitude to investigate and report on this situation. By your diligence and from the platform you have created, it looks like you have given an outlet to speak and cry out to those who have been abused or taken advantage of or simply knew of the wrongs yet nobody would listen to them; an outlet that they seemingly previously never had. God bless you for having done so.

    Potter’s Field Ministries and the Rozell’s have been to my CC many times over the years. I never took the time to attend any of their presentations so I can’t speak to that. But I can share a couple small experiences that I did have with PFM that made we wary. I shared them once before on one of the other PFM threads, but I’ll do so again.

    My first experience was at a men’s fellowship night where Mike Rozell spoke (the only time I ever heard him speak). He said he had a prepared message but right before he was to speak God spoke to him to talk about something else instead. It was the most disjointed, disoriented message I ever heard in a church setting. I couldn’t quibble much with what he said theologically or from a standpoint of reason because he was so all over the map that I pretty much had no idea what he was trying to say. Now that it has come to light what kind of man Rozell is, I guess his message that night is potentially more understandable. Maybe he thought God was speaking to him, but it may have been his own inner turmoil and duplicity that screwed up everything.

    My second experience was one of simply reading something in the news. Mudman Burgers came to our men’s conference last year (along with Mike Rozell who was a speaker). During their road travel to the conference, the two young men driving the burger truck were involved in a horrific accident that very easily could have been fatal and yet they escaped without a scratch. Their incident made the local news here in Philadelphia and the two young men were quoted as saying that God had saved their lives, which I would have to agree that it certainly seemed like God’s providence was in play in the circumstances. However, they also went on to say that the reason the accident happened was because Satan was out to get them. Unless something was communicated to them supernaturally, there would be no way that they could know such a thing. It made me wonder what kind of things they might be getting taught by their ministry. Something just seemed off.

    So I am glad for this platform that has been created. May it expand and reach those who need to be reached. And I am glad that the CCA has cut them off from their support. However, I also believe that if the CCA is aware of these serious issues, then they have the obligation to inform their people of them. They have long supported PFM and many CC’s have probably long been a tributary that has fed young people to their ministry. The churches and people of Calvary Chapel need to be made aware of these things so that they can rescue their own who are currently entrapped in PFM and warn others from joining who may be considering doing so.

  47. Steve says:

    No longer ashamed. Thank you for your testimony. The Navy seal intense training discipleship type of church is a telltale sign of a cult. To a lesser extent when you hear a pastor say, we aren’t Christians but rather fully devoted followers of Christ I get the same reaction. Apparently being a Christian is not enough but you need to attain to a super human level of devotion which means complete obdediance to the leader else you are in deep sin and need discipline. The discipline is treated on a severity scale relating to how submissive you are the leader. The more harsh you are to the leader, the more authoritarian it becomes. The more submissive you are, the more access you get to the inner circle and more trust you are given. Classic cult tactics.

  48. Jessica says:

    Jeff and Nolongerashamed, thank you for sharing. I have had 19+ kids who at one time or another had the desire to give it all to God and go off to work in mission ministry. We actually have read a lot of the blogs from students out of this program and were amazed and respect their servicing. My kids have been in much smaller, but “navy seal” type marketed ministries for high school that pushed the limits, however as parents we knew everything prior. We could contact the pastor anytime and by knowing the program we were able to speak
    With our children about their experience when they came back. It was marketed as a character building, push the limits, break you, life changing experience appropriate for high schoolers kind of like reality TV Survivor camps and overseen by older peers. I think it is very very important that the variables/gaps that led to this abuse and possible cult which IMO a cult is a planned concept not mistakes in a ministry be transparent and told by you, your families and staff so other Christian youth and family can be proactive in not falling prey. So thank you for sharing. I do not agree with making excuses for Rozell temper or trying to balance these stories reported with, he meant well, it served a purpose in the world, it built me up to be stronger, he is a gifted speaker and lastly God uses sinners. The ministry, board of director and founder needs to be accountable and thank you for having the courage to speak out. Lastly still blown away w the fact so many had no idea like pastors frm cc whose kids went through the program and ex pastor families. You would think they would be the first to see red flags.

  49. Midwife Patti says:

    First time replying here. I have a visceral angry deep down reaction when I read about these cult leaders continuing to harm innocent people. There are so many people here I would love to respond to but you don’t know me or my story. In short, 1971 is when I joined my first cult in the “Jesus People” movement. I was 16 years old and oh so vulnerable but my saving grace was that I came from a poor family so I was gotten rid of because I was not valuable to the men who ran this church. They told me I had satan in me, they pressed their hands all over me to wipe this satan out of me and then left me on the street and warned me that if I didn’t keep praying, this satan would come back. I was numb for about a year. I know now that Jesus was crying and suffering with me but I certainly didn’t understand that then. Then I headed for another cult that I joined for the next ten years. Someone here said that “God is not a cult, and God has used this ministry to do a lot of good”. God is not a cult I agree, boy do I agree! But NO, no to the so called “good” you think was done in these soul eating circles of deeply sinful individuals preying on the young and innocent. I’m old enough now to just shake my head at such guilt-ridden ignorant words you have written here. It’s those words that people like me, who have survived any cult, hear over and over again throughout our lives. You perpetuate shame in this walk with God by not stopping and listening to the pain. You are deeply afraid. Thank you to the Phoenix Preacher for investigating this and writing this story. I am once again reminded that what I went through over 50 years ago, and still feel the impact of, that the compassionate Father, our comforter Jesus, is with us every turn in the road.

  50. Michael says:

    “……it took one feisty, brave, McClure to stand up and shout the truth where it could make a difference…..
    ________________________________

    Michael, so removing PFM from their affiliated ministries and releasing a statement saying that their discipleship methods are not what Chuck Smith modeled is being fiesty and brave? Isn’t that actually lying and distorting history and putting this at their idol Chuck Smith and whitewashing the origins of this crap.”

    I was talking about Don’s granddaughter.
    How many more times do you want me to write about the origins?
    I even included that paragraph for that purpose…

  51. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    Thank you, my friend…well said.

  52. Steve says:

    Midwife Patti,

    Thank you for your story. I’m so greatful to hear from survivors. There is hope outside the cult. I’ll also make that statement a bit broader as well in stating there is hope outside of CC. I once tried to determine if CC was a cult or not. I never came to a conclusion affirmatively other than cult like tactics have been used in CC over and over again and to not recognize that puts our children at risk.

  53. Michael says:

    Dan,

    “Do you have any current plans of bringing this story to a wider audience? I mean not to disparage your website, but I only managed to stumble upon this due to having an associate who used to be involved with the whole mudmen business.”

    I believe the local paper in Whitefish is working on a story. I have always worked with other media outlets, but all my sources remain confidential.
    It took a lot for these people to trust me and I won’t betray that.

  54. Steve says:

    Michael,. Thank you for the clarification about Don McClure’ grand daughter. You did a great job with the article. When you mentioned McClure I immediately assumed it was Don which was my bad. Don’s grand daughter wasnt really mentioned in the main article which led me to a premature conclusion.

  55. Jacob Hawk says:

    Michael,

    Please feel free to contact me or use this information in any following articles or interactions with news outlets.

    My wife and I were PFM Ignite interns from July 2012 to June 2013. For the last two years we have had ongoing conversations about PFM being a cult. This originally started because my wife was taking a class at our interdenominational Christian university that covered identifying cults and understanding how they work. She immediately came home and told me she thought PFM was a cult. Since then we have talked through that subject several times and each time are only more convinced of it being so.

    As has been covered here already one typical identifier of a cult leader is to shame or destroy a threat to the organization by any means necessary. Tragically every single story told in the comments by previous staff and interns fits exactly with the way I was treated by Mike Rozell.

    About a month into our program I felt that God was telling me to shave off my shoulder length hair because I was idolizing it and was way too concerned with and distracted by my physical appearance (let it be known that I have great hair). When I buzzed my hair off apparently it spooked one of my fellow classmates and she called her parents because she was worried what PFM was doing to/demanding of people. At the time I thought it was weird that she was so concerned with me cutting my hair but now hearing all of these experiences it makes sense that she would have been very worried. When Mike Rozell found out, not that I cut my hair but that she had called her parents and had concerned them about PFM, he called everyone in the program into a room and screamed at me at the top of his lungs for close to three hours. As my fellow students, the entire staff, and pastoral team watched on he broke me. His blistering and aggressive verbal assaults ranged from my stupidity and cluelessness to my spiritual ineptitude to my intentional recklessness and endangerment of the entire organization. After I was finally in tears, balled up in a corner of a couch, wishing with all I could to disappear, his anger abated. He did this because my action had somehow threatened PFM. He later acted like all of this was for my own good because I was a special and chosen person destined to do great things for God. I was also treated in a similar fashion for wearing flowers in my bandana or behind my ear or any time I questioned the efficiency or methodology of our labor assignments because it was “rebellious.”

    These experiences weren’t isolated to my action alone. Mike similarly laid into our entire class for forty-five minutes because someone was using the internet while we were in class. How they monitored who was accessing the internet still confounds me. He then punished us by taking away our connection to the outside world except for a few select hours. But the experience that still writhes around inside of me with disgust is from the end of our three months of training. Apparently the interns still weren’t living up to Mike’s unknowable, undefinable, secret standards. This time, when he attempted to break us by screaming at us our nebulous inadequacies, selfishness, and sins, he walked around the room carrying a (loaded?) assault rifle. He held it over his shoulder, waived it in the air, and used it as a tool to feed his power and fear-mongering. I should have known in that moment that something was seriously wrong with Potter’s Field Ministries but as several people have already pointed out it is really hard to speak up or even process how unhealthy a situation is when you are 18 years old and constantly being treated in a way that normalizes and sanctifies Mike’s every word and action.

    These are but a very few experiences of those of us who have spent any amount of time working for Potter’s Field. These aren’t even all that I know about but just a select few to support the accusations that are being made here. I hope that my wife will also speak up and share her own stories. I am grateful that all of this is finally coming to light.

  56. Steve says:

    Jacob,. It’s definitely a cult! Yet the Rozells and many CC pastor’s only joke about drinking the Kool-aide convincing themselves they couldn’t possibly be drinking it yet they were the ones that had the keg of this Kool-aide for years serving it to the most vulnerable. I had concerns with PFM with their courses on vision casting I researched on their web site and only now I am seeing the fruit of this. I guess when you are drinking it, you get intoxicated by it’s seductive power to manipulate. Material success followed by a trail of broken souls that are too easily forgotten.

  57. Kendra Scharite says:

    My husband and I have just recently left Pottersfield after 4 years on their “senior staff” as one of “12” that he trusted with much. I had keys to their home and all those personal credit cards. Mike would often joke about this incident that Jacob described with the gun. He made all these things so normal to us and laughable. He also used to joke about not being the creepy cult leader.. again to normalize it to us and if we ever thought that then of course that’s laughable. I personally have had many many vile sexual comments said to me about other people’s sin and mike and Pam’s personal sexual relationship. These people need stopped and my friends need help out of there. They are all still so blinded by fear and deceived by mikes manipulation .

  58. DawnMarie says:

    As someone who got out over 7 years ago, I just want to say Thank you to everyone for speaking up here. This article and every comment is an answer to prayer. The lies and pain needs to stop, so healing can begin.

  59. Phram says:

    Michael,

    Is it possible to get your full name? Or a way to contact you in private. I have some questions that I’d like to ask regarding this subject.

  60. Katherine Coon says:

    “The preferred method of freeing the young people’s souls from such sin was to be brought into a private office and verbally abused for hours until you broke and confessed…employees were often broken then fired and made to beg for forgiveness and their place back in ministry.”

    I was one of those people. I was kicked out and never allowed to return. It was devastating at first, now I’m unbelievably grateful.

  61. Julie Anne says:

    It seem Calvary Chapel sets itself up for abusers in the pulpit because of the adherence to the Moses Model authority structure.

    Reading this reminded me much of my own cult experience. There is no doubt in my mind this group is functioning as a cult. I hope those who have left will heal from this spiritual, emotional, and physical abuse. My heart goes out to them.

  62. Point the Blame where it belongs says:

    It seems to me there’s resounding evidence that Mike Rozelle is the root of the poison causing all of this controversy. I know that my experience with PFM has been that 99% of the people are in it with hearts for the Lord and to honestly help the children and each other. I’ve heard testimony of people getting saved from addiction by joining PFM, people finding their spouse and creating beautiful families. People often cling to community and love in action to turn their life for the better. Parent shaming isn’t necessary, having a church that is a long-standing solid, reliable church that supports and encourages PFM is enough for some parents to trust. Pretty much all of the interns are 18+ and choose this program over drugs, alcohol, staying in a dead end town. Many people have had great success in spite of Mike narcissism. I think if the internal leadership were to stand together and tell Mike his time is up, the good of PFM can possibly be patched into something for the greater work of God. Instead of victim and parent shaming, hep come up with solutions to help them out or rise up from within. Be their prayer warriors and soft support. This thread is likely panicking families and young people that didn’t know any better.

  63. Ron Smith says:

    Couple questions 1. Did you ever talk to Mike and Pam. 2. How many people that are still part of the ministry have you interviewed compared to the one’s who left?

    Lastly I was involved in something that was reported to CCA a few years ago that sounds like what you’re reporting but that Pastor is still running a church. Can you help by interviewing all who left and stayed to come to a fair decision. This Pastor did all Mike is accused of but nobody ever talked to people who left. The church is in Utah

  64. Just Wow says:

    I agree a little with Point the Blame, I’d like to think if Mike Rozell or anyone that is close to him reads these comments he’ll know if he really has any heart for the ministry or the kids he makes promises to, he’ll step down and get help.

  65. Anon says:

    Just Wow-

    The man has been confronted many times. He has straight up fired & shut out people for suggesting that he seek accountability and counseling. We can only pray and hope he will do the right thing, but we are talking about a narcissist with a god-complex that has rejected truth time and time and time again. He doesn’t think he needs help. In his mind, if you disagree with him, you’re disagreeing with God.

  66. R says:

    Even if the truth was shared from someone who disagrees with the accusations, would those be shared? In a court of law there’s always two sides presented. It seems like there’s only been one side that you’ve posted about. Beyond that, the Lord has placed guidelines and principles on how to navigate being wronged by a fellow believer. What about the people you say you’ve talked to that are still in the ministry? What have they had to say? Why are they still there? Also does your generation just think the millennial generation is stupid? We are all watching as you older men just tear each other apart in the name of “exposing the wrongs of others”. I think it’s fair to say we have all been hurt in ministry. I think it’s fair to say we have all hurt in ministry. I think it’s also fair to say the heart is deceitful above all else, and maybe the fleshly response to being hurt is to hurt the one that you’ve been hurt by. Even then, the Bible says to love your enemies. All I will say is that no one is righteous, not one. Are we really willing to cast the first stone? If it means our own sin doesn’t get exposed, I suppose so. But before the Lord are we willing? He knows our hearts after all, so it is before Him. In the end as a nonbeliever, why would they want to be apart of this family that fights day and night and does everything to destroy one another?
    As a young Christian, why would anyone want to remain? After all what’s the visible difference between this and the way government tears each other apart?
    In the end, it’s in the Lords hands. This isn’t the first time His children have chosen to tear their siblings apart. Yet, the Lord could return at any moment and we would be standing next to the one we fought against.
    My prayer is that there would be reconciliation, repentance where needed, and unity. That we would return to the purpose of our calling, that is to go and love on a world that is so desperately lost. Allowing the Lord to use imperfect men as He’s done for all eternity.

  67. Michael says:

    R,

    All biblical protocol has been given to the Rozells multiple times.
    All the people I have talked to have shared the same template of abuse.
    The Bible also tells us to deal with wolves a certain way…I’m just being a faithful zookeeper…

  68. Michael says:

    I did contact Mike Rozell and he said the Lord told him to be silent.
    If the Lord changes His mind, Mike knows how to contact me…

  69. R says:

    You didn’t answer my first question.

  70. Michael says:

    R,

    If you think the truth is that all the people I’ve talked to from all over the country are lying, then I reject your “truth”.
    I believe that these accusations are true.
    Period.
    If someone wants to add to the picture I’m not censoring them.
    These accusations stand on their own despite whatever additional information is provided.

  71. Kal says:

    My wife was physicality and emotionally abused by Mike. She still serves Jesus in spite of her terror of this false prophet.
    #pfmsurvivors

  72. No longer duped says:

    This is identical behavior to the CC I attended for about 20 years. Every single point. This is not a Potters Field thing. This is Calvary Chapel practice taught to Mike Rozell which he gladly adopted. CC is a cult. They do what they can get away with until they’re exposed to this magnitude.

  73. R says:

    The biblical term would be shepherd. Zookeepers make sure their animals stay in their cages.

  74. Odette miller says:

    Hi, please contact me if you are interested in my experience personally with Pottersfield Ministries. Thank you.

  75. victorious says:

    R-
    You have learned some accurate lingo but have also been taught and adopted a false cowardly methodology that accompanies the hubris of mind you have put on display.

    Your version of a shepherd is one who cares about the public relations spin of the spiritual platform while letting the wolf eat sheep; all in the name of your notion of love.

    Jesus made it clear such people were not shepherds but hirelings who flee from ( while quoting voluminous scripture ) rather than fight the wolves as trauma is inflicted upon others. That mindset has run rampant across multiple generations.

  76. Kellie says:

    Thank you so much for this article. Dear friends of mine have been hurt by this cult. So thankful their stories are being told! God is so good.

  77. Steve says:

    It seem Calvary Chapel sets itself up for abusers in the pulpit because of the adherence to the Moses Model authority structure.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Julie Anne, yep and I’m calling for every single Moses model pastor in CC from the no name to the big and powerful to step down from ministry and understand how complicit they have been in the abuse of so many for so long. I don’t have visions of God speaking to me like they apparently do, but I’ve also never felt more prophetic in calling for their repentance of every single one of them.

  78. McGarrett says:

    R. IMO, your opinions are juvenile. You talk about two sides to a story. If you have Children, who were shamed into a false “Gospel” who were maimed, controlled, and fed a spiritual cesspool, how would you react. If you have a backbone, you would be outraged, particularly in light of story after story on this particular Blog.

  79. “Even if the truth was shared from someone who disagrees with the accusations, would those be shared? In a court of law there’s always two sides presented. It seems like there’s only been one side that you’ve posted about.”

    Five years ago, I had to call the cops on my ex-BIL, my kids teenage uncle, whom I loved. The first time my 2 year old daughter told me “Uncle [name] touched my butt!” I was confused. I think she meant her genitals. I made it a point to spend more time with him on joint outings with the kids. My son had just turned 5.

    The second time she said it, just turned 3, and her genitals were red which I had attributed to diaper rash, I knew I had to do something. I knew the ex-laws had a history of hiding past domestic abuse, so I left my ex out of it and took it upon myself what I knew would happen.

    They hated me. Accused me of being the abuser and lying to protect myself (that makes no sense, but I understood the emotions). After getting over the shock of not telling her, their mom did the right thing and… sided with me? No. Sided with our daughter because then D (just turned 3) told her the same thing. The afternoon I made the report, standing at a window downtown for 3 hours (it wasn’t like Barney Miller where I was sitting at a desk), 6 cops showed up and arrested the 17 year old uncle, separated the family and interviewed everybody there. Our kids told the cops differently than they told me (then S5 confirmed what his sister told me), and the uncle was released.

    A child rape exam (and it kills me that such places exist), turned up no DNA evidence, and a partially broken hymen, which sometimes is natural. Criminal case closed.

    My ex later told me that [had to stop for a minute… surprise tears as I revisit this again] both kids told their mom that “[uncle] touched our butts” months before I heard it. Even if it was just their backsides, she and grandma should have enacted rules and boundaries. Instead, she called her grandchildren liars and said that her son would never do that! So both moms became complicit accessories to possible child sexual abuse.

    There was also a cultural component, I was told I should have gone to the Patriarch (Pastor? Moses?). I violated the Cultural Code. Yet since he was the former domestic abuser as serial adulterer, yeah, right!

    If I fail to provide for my family (pretty sure providing includes protecting), then I’m worse than the unbelievers. Pretty sure The Good Book says so.

    After boundaries were enacted, sufficient to satisfy CPS, a year later, D locked the bathroom at grandmas house. She asked why. “To protect me from Uncle!” Grandma called her a liar and wanted to have alone time to talk to her. Thankfully, my ex said NO, and since then, D is never there for more than a few hours or with me, her mom, or her aunt (who had moved back from out of state with her young son).

    The Natcissistic Family Unit adjusts to protect itself from outside conflict which can upset its [dysfinctional] balance. Sure, the Family Unit remains strong, *at the expense of sacrificing individuals upon the alter of Family*.

    As supreme court justice Louis Brandeis once wrote, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” A therapist likened it to shining a flashlight, and suddenly people behave.

    This isn’t about “a court of law” but about protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Those who are in positions to do so, FAIL if things are hidden, because what is hidden will be exposed, hopefully in this life rather than the next.

  80. Ian says:

    I’ve been debating writing a comment all day. I both want to and don’t. I’ve been so afraid of trying to not gossip or slander that I’ve kept my mouth shut for the last 3 years since I left this ministry. I probably should have said more and said it sooner. My wife has even rebuked me because when asked about PFM, I struggle to actually be honest about my experience. But i don’t want my voice to be lost in the midst of those coming forward for the sake that my testimony might encourage others to be honest with themselves and what they experienced.

    I won’t go too into details and I must preface with a deep, deep longing for all of my brothers and sisters that I served with for 3 years and that they might find some solace or reprieve. I was an intern 6 years back and was on staff for 2 years after. I traveled the world and was given responsibility over people and resources. Accusations were raised against me for things I had supposedly said and done previously. I was called in the early morning and verbally abused over the phone for almost an hour while half asleep and completely caught off guard. I immediately chose to believe these accusations as fact and spent a time completely broken. However, after prayer and council I was able to go back, discuss and conclude that the events that had predicated these accusations were not only false, but a twisted version of what had happened. When I attempted to contact leadership to present my side of the story in order to better understand why I was being accused, I was told that I couldn’t speak to leadership and I just needed to accept the consequences. When I said that I was struggling and that I did not feel heard or cared for by those in authority over me, I was told that I must then be in sin. I felt the Lord lead me to lay myself down and accept the punishments laid out, but to return home and sever ties with the ministry.

    A few months later I was home. I never heard from 95% of those still with the ministry afterwards. Those I tried to talk to initially were already set in their minds I had abandoned the ministry due to my sin. Many of those people were some of my closest friends for the 3 years I was with PFM. My story is not just that experience, but that experience best sums up my story. I was in large part spared due to being international for so long, but not entirely.

    I honestly don’t really know how to feel. This is all coming out very suddenly and it seems surreal that, as strange as it sounds, what I went through is in some way validated. I firmly believe in the restorative powers of the Lord in all things. I quite honestly don’t know if any of this makes sense but I decided to say it. I’ve tried to write as coherently as I can. Like i said, I feel surreal. None of this seems like it could really have happened or be happening.

  81. Michael says:

    Ian,

    That was well said and profound…thank you.

  82. ChattyKathy says:

    In a perfect world this wouldn’t happen. In a near perfect world, every church pastor who invited Potter’s Field ministry to their church would make a statement to their congregation warning them not to give $ to this ministry. In addition, if any church has or had young adults serving with them they need to check on them. PFM came to our church yearly. I know of 3 young adults who served with them. One was a high school graduate who had a rough upbringing with a single mom. Very little money. If he was still with PFM he would not have the finances to get home if he was experiencing this abuse. He may stay because he was ashamed thinking he had done wrong. I hope the CCA would tell their pastors to check in on any young adults who are with PF and offer to bring them home. Take the next step rather than just cut ties with an strange explanation that only protects them.

  83. Ren says:

    In the summer of 2011, our family sold/gave away/packed our belongings, sold one car, and drove the other across the country to Montana for 3 months of ‘training’ before becoming long term missionaries in Central America for PFM.
    Red flags appeared early for me:
    no plans for language training
    (“You’ll pick it up when you get there!”),
    repeated urging to sell instead of rent out our home (“It means you’re really all in.”) and
    scheduling my husband only for classes to ‘prep for the field’ when clearly we were moving there together for the first time with our two young boys. For some reason, there was a constant emphasis on speed rather than quality of preparation.
    I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit (and the stubbornness God gave me to listen to Him over all.) I quickly registered and took Spanish 102 to get some language learning started at our local community college before we left our home. I disagreed repeatedly with selling our home (never heard any talk/planning about what we would do when the time came to re-enter the US.) I am thankful to this day; when we returned after 4 years, we didn’t have jobs or cars or…forks, but man, we had our home. It was empty, but God’s beautiful math had it grow in great value while we were gone. And, it’s funny… so many people in our home church cheered and encouraged us on the way out, while only a very few help us quietly rebuild an existence when we returned.
    Uneasy memories include a very strange meeting with Mike, his 2nd in command and my husband and I where I was warned that:
    “Central America is a patriarchal society.” (I know.) “And it’s not good to be a ‘strong woman’ there; they wouldn’t like/accept it.” (Ok…uh, have I done something wrong?) “No, no…we just wanted to make sure you know this.” (Walking away with my husband as confused as I was, then saying to him, “If you ask me, it takes a strong woman to pack up her family’s everything, move to a foreign country, and work with orphans. Would you want a weak woman?”)
    In the midst of much confusion and being constantly referred to as ‘guinea pigs’ because we became the first of the brand new Ignite classes, there was a visit by Mike and co-pastors/leaders. We were asked how it’s going with the 5 interns they sent us, one week after we arrived, as rains brought flooding and evacuation due to landslides. As we tried to relay the several hurdles and how we were learning to work together through them, Mike began screaming at us in a hotel lobby from midnight to 2 AM. “THIS IS WHAT YOU SIGNED UP FOR! I’LL PUT YOU ON A PLANE BACK TO THE STATES SO FAST YOU WONT BELIEVE IT! HOW DARE YOU BRING UP THESE TRIVIAL THINGS! WE’RE HERE TO KICK IN THE GATES OF HELL!” It was especially unnerving to have three other pastors sit/stand there watching this mantrum with mixed looks of understanding, pity, and acceptance.
    The last straw included a phone call about how to best get a children’s program going in the new location we were moved to in Guatemala. I relayed that the local pastor often changed his mind as to how, when, and what the program would be. I was told by Mike’s #2 leader:
    “Just pretend like the pastor’s in charge in meetings but, at the end of the day, we’re paying the bills so we know who’s really in charge.”
    After staring at the phone incredulously, I said, “You mean, the pastor IS in charge, right?” (This is the model we had been taught repeatedly during our 3 months of ‘training’ for the field, after they let me join the classes.)
    He replied, “Right, pretend like he’s in charge.”
    I felt nauseous. I was done. I literally don’t know how to do it like this (and refuse to represent the Lord in this way.) We knew it was time to do different things differently. Soon after, my husband began building houses with another local ministry, and I began building boxes full of play equipment for those who work with children.
    We returned to the States in the summer of 2015. Trust, that used to flow naturally, has become a challenge in many areas of life now, especially for those in leadership & authority positions. Depression and anxiety has manifested in different ways in different members of our family. Four years after returning to the States, we continue to work through the messy heaviness.
    Thank you, Michael. For carefully listening, righteously reporting, and for helping connect all of us who knew ‘SOME THING’S NOT RIGHT HERE’ so we can expose this to the light and begin/continue healing. I hope and pray that all of us can continue to grow in our relationships with the Lord, not because of PFM, but in spite of them.
    PS. I want to acknowledge that while our experiences felt betraying and difficult, I am appalled to read all that went on for young interns. I stand with you and am here to help however possible.

  84. Emilee 95 says:

    Being part of this ministry was both a blessing and a very difficult chapter in my life. I was in this program as an intern in 2016. Yes there were many things the Lord revealed to me about my heart and where it needed more aligning with Jesus’ heart. Friendships were made and I met so many great people.
    But I also was a target for accusations against me from a classmate. This occurred early on in training. I was pulled into the office multiple times to talk in the phone/face to face with Mike himself regarding this “occurrence” that didn’t happen. Pastor Mike did not want to hear what I had to say and went on to throw the following verse at me.

    Matthew 18:6 King James Version (KJV)

    6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea

    This went on for 2 weeks. There were also inappropriate questions he would ask me about my past. It made me feel very uncomfortable but he insisted on getting his point across. It was very embarrassing that these accusations were being tossed at me. I could not believe what I was hearing.

    There were also times I saw leadership taking too much control and manipulating certain individuals. I was blinded by all the abuse and can see it now looking back.
    Though these are hard words to share, it’s the truth and I cannot keep inside what I know needs to be shared.

  85. Just being honest says:

    I was an intern with PFM and enjoyed the friends I made and time spent there. However, yes, it’s a cult. Mike yelled at our class often for hours on end, and he mentioned how often, nights before he would have to give his performances, he would get extreme panic attacks, and he felt it was Satan trying to get him to stop. In the moment, I thought… “maybe that’s God saying you need to just stop and refocus on Him…”. He also told our class he was a prophet. And once when I asked about his daily Bible reading and prayer time, he didn’t have a clear answer. And one of the girls on staff, from his “inner circle,” bragged how Mike told her, “when we go out to eat, don’t think you ever have to worry about money, we are going to nice places” (or something of that nature, please don’t quote me!!! I just remember thinking it was really odd)

    But anyways, like I said, I did enjoy my time meeting new friends, but I couldn’t imagine being there long term. God pulled me out of there, thank God!!!

  86. Roxann Gaudern says:

    My daughters were the first group to go to their discipleship program in 2003. Rachel and Priscilla were destroyed by this man and Chet Lowe.
    Their incredible faith in Christ devastated. On the heels of this a Calvary minister in Sandpoint Idaho took the baton from us their father and married Rachel w/o our consent. Horrible. This devastated our entire family. Neither the Spokane minister nor another Calvary pastor near our home in Heron MT would do a thing… My husband was shipwrecked.
    Our family destroyed and several left the faith & threw out the Lord. Divorce ensued and I and 3 of the 5 children walking w Christ. Rachel divorced & away from Christ.
    Mist recently Ben Ortiz (son to Ken Ortiz) started his own cult. Since my husband abandoned me after all this, cuz I still love Christ w all my heart soul and mind, I didn’t see what was happening. He started Grace Sandpoint, after Jeff Bradley fiasco and Grace Sandpoint Bible College. We all did slave labor for 9 years. I lived on 4-5 hours of sleep for 5 1/2. Didn’t see he was building his empire so his family could move out there. Out of some 50 students, all wee kicked out cuz the weren’t quite dead enuf for Ben. Rebellious. He stood between the congregation and the alter and God. Sick man. A year and a half ago God just peeled the scales off of my eyes and I saw exactly who he was. You didn’t dare ? him. It was prayer and fasting that got 91 of us out of about 180. He is Still going on just like Rozell. So much destruction to all those kids… I wouldn’t want to be these men on judgement day.
    Roxann Gaudern

  87. Jessica says:

    Roxann, My heart goes out to you and your family. Chet Lowe is frm CCftl And had a youth based ministry called Patmos location ws the Bahamas. Is this the same Chet? You also know Rozell started his ministry frm CCftl. I wonder how these ministries are invented? Looking back they were made for youth and usually based for kids who needed focus away from the secular world or wanted to give back in a mission form. Hearing of these tragic outcomes we all now must wonder, how secure and stable they really are? Thank you for sharing.

  88. Jessica says:

    Just being honest, My understanding from hearing Mike down in Ft Lauderdale was prior to him becoming a pastor he was a stock broker/financisl planner of some sort and he claims to have had a jet set life. Maybe he never laid down his stressed out screaming like he is on the floor/pit on Wall Street and the drive for money. Just a thought. I am beginning to see that a lot of these pastors are not really deeply qualified to run big ministries dealing w our youth. Questions have arose hear whether they are truly qualified much like getting a masters degree in psychology. No excuses being made for PFM. Just looking at how this sadly got to this point.

  89. Kenzie Kinney says:

    The “ministry” was founded by and is being run by a cruel, manipulative, intelligent, and evil man who is responsible for hundreds of young adults with PTSD, years of therapy, depression, and suicides.

    I was a part of it for years so I know better than anyone how easy it is to be brainwashed like this….this isn’t just some article I decided to share without fact checking. I was a part of this firsthand and am still suffering from it’s effects. They prey on vulnerable young people on purpose. I was lucky enough to escape, however, some very dear friends of mine have not been as fortunate. Please be sensitive and do not use phrases like “well why don’t they just leave? It’s not like they’re handcuffed there or anything” and “it must not be that bad then”. Those are ignorant statements and you obviously have been fortunate enough to not have been involved in abusive hostage situations like this.

    If I can also speak to one thing and she’s some light regarding Pastor Don McClure:
    Every time he visited, Mike made SURE she was with him 100% of the time to ensure all of what he saw and heard was being monitored so he would never know about anything unsavory. It’s very easy to pass off as just plain hospitable. He was only being shown the facades of what Mike wanted him to see so it looked like this amazing program. Made sure no one would accidentally slip up and say something that could show any red flags. Facilitated every activity and conversation, every move was very intentional.

    Don McClure is just a man like everyone else, and he was manipulated just as severely as the rest of us. I can attest to the guilt and shame he is suffering from, as he saw me at the coffee shop I was working at and began sobbing, apologizing for being such a fool, asking how God could ever forgive him. He was not only ashamed for being so blind, but for blatantly encouraging and pushing PFM so heavily. He is sickened and heartbroken, so to all who are very quick to judge him, please remember he is a man who loves the Lord and was blindsided like the rest of the world.

  90. Jessica says:

    Kenzie Thank you for sharing, your courage to speak up and all are in our prayers. I have not heard any judging here. Instead a bunch of caring Christians who have had possibly all some form of connections w PFM whether distant or in your unfortunate situation direct. I respectfully believe this ministry is or was marketed through some form of CC. And I think when people bring that up, it’s just to be on a fact finding basis. One thing is for sure, there should be discussion afterwards about how these “pastors” are qualified, who backs them etc. so, that this never happens again. No judging just caring. Many of us have a daughter and sons who could have gone or have gone to these ministries bc in the past trusted CC their marketing and affiliation w said pastors and ministries. So it is only relevant to ask how, why, when. However, If this triggers you or any others our apologies. I think for now we are thankful for this blog and all of you. And hopes to help as many to get home and the help they need. God bless.

  91. Steve says:

    Don McClure I believe Kenzi and I take her word your heart is broken. You are not in a position to fix this mess. The only way is to lead by example and step down from any and all authority in ministry for a long time. Someone that has been deceived like this should not be on any ministry board for your sake and the sake of others. If you care to listen, when I came to you in 2012 about a similar situation you ignored me. Remember you are the one that wrote the forward to Rozells book if that says anything at all. Truly repent and let God set you free. BTW, you have taken the first step in repentance and I applaud you for that God bless

  92. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I refer you to the new article I just posted.
    I spoke at length with Don last night.

  93. Brooke Garza says:

    I served with PFM in Ignite in 2015. I have just published my experience in this blog post because it was too much to share in the comments here. Thank you so much to the interns that were the first to come forward. I regret that I wasn’t amongst you. Thank you, Phoenix Preacher, for your investigation, report, and fairness. God is faithful to us all.

    https://illuminatedbytheson.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-raw-truth-of-my-experience-in-ignite.html?m=1

  94. AJMJ says:

    Please read Brooke’s story! It is very well written. This whole thing, experience, blog, emails it’s bringing up things buried for so long.

  95. Michael says:

    Thank you, Brooke.
    I just sent an email to you…

  96. Aaron Bolton says:

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Aaron Bolton and I’m a reporter with Montana Public Radio. I’ve been following this page and I hope to speak with some of you about your experiences in this ministry. If you’re willing to share your story with me, please reach out to me at aaron@mtpr.org. Thanks for your time and willingness to share.

  97. Michaela Griffin says:

    My heart is completely broken as I read this article, read the comments…. think back to my own time in the program. The only thing I can say very clearly is that it’s a very confusing time for me as well as the other interns I know and love. Please be gracious to us as we process all of this.

    I did ignite in 2015, part of class 8. There were two instances I can think of very clearly where pastor mike lost his temper with us. The first time was a couple nights into us arriving in Guatemala for our training. He sat the whole group down in the kitchen and started ripping into us, demanding to know who has gossiped already about someone else we just met, and told stories about how gossip made the past classes bad. He demanded to know who had already gossiped… declaring that anyone who has gossiped already would be sent home immediately. They weren’t fit for what we were there for. While we sat there in terror looking around, one of my classmates (who has actually commented here already) raised her hand and admitted to gossip, accepting that meant she was going home. I remember thinking she was brave to be so honest. She never got sent home but the lecture continued.

    The second time I remember clearly was in our ReEntry period in Montana. We were downstairs in the church Selah and I could see Mike screaming at two classmates in the corner (one of them being the same girl from the previous story). Both girls were crying. I couldn’t tell you about what, I was so scared I pretended it wasn’t happening. Part of the secrecy and “don’t ask, don’t tell” motto that he had engrained into me already. When he was done with them he got all of us together and screamed about how people go home from the program and don’t sponsor the ministry. He told us they obviously don’t love the children they had all just poured into, and that a lot of them don’t even walk with the Lord anymore. He then demanded that we make a vow to support the ministry when we get home. If we would publicly accept we could have the “Stay Tucked” bracelets he had made for our class. I had supported PFM financially since I was 16… pastor mike spent a lot of time at my church CC Boston. Him and Pastor Randy were good friends. I grabbed my bracelet relieved that I wouldn’t be shamed by not having one. At the time it seemed wrong but what could I do about it…

    My experience there was very bad but mostly because my uncle died half way through the program and I had to go home for 3 weeks. I thought I was having an extra hard time because I went right back after (duty calls. Lots of people donated lots of money to send me there, I can’t let them down) and was grieving in a strange place with people I had just met. I assumed everyone else had a better experience than I did.

    Pastor Mike really liked me. When he visited us in Kenya it was right after I returned and I was so starving for affection that I sat at his feet on his side of the house and listened to anything the group would talk about. The leadership traveling with him even asked if it was okay I was there and he gladly let me stay. I could be trusted with what I heard.

    Up until a couple months ago when I was contacted by fellow interns and told horror stories I would have fought to defend Pastor Mike with everything I have. I considered him my pastor, especially after the awful things I experienced at my own CC when I returned home. Processing this has been very difficult for me.

    I know this is a long response and I apologize, but this will be my final story. August 2018 I returned to Montana for a 3 day visit. Many of my friends were there as 2.0’s (graduated interns that return to Montana to live there and serve). I reached out to staff to ask if I could come visit and was met with excitement. I almost didn’t go but at the last minute booked my ticket. I was told I wouldn’t have to get a hotel or bnb, I could stay at one of the houses for free. If I really wanted I could donate something but I didn’t have to. They picked me up from the airport and for the next 3 days I was questioned and looked at with confusion. A very different response than what I got online. I was asked “why are you here?” So many times I lost count and started to really ask myself the same thing. Apparently you’re not allowed to go there to “just visit”. I felt more uncomfortable with every interaction I faced and didn’t see pastor mike until an hour or so before I was headed back to the airport. While staying at one 2.0’s house, I was talking to her when she started really prying about sin in my life. Deep conversations are normal in the program so I didn’t think anything of it at first, but then she asked me point blank if I masturbate, if I use toys, if I’m sexually attracted to women. She continued this until she felt I had given her an honest answer. Feeling guilty, I asked to go to my room to pray privately about the matter and was told I could not. I had to pray and confess my sins publicly and she wasn’t satisfied that I was truly repentant until I started crying. She even told me that if I wasn’t repentant she would have to throw me out like the story in 1 Cor 5 of the man caught sleeping with his fathers wife. They were providing my transportation and housing, so I was mortified. I couldn’t imagine being stranded in Montana. She then called another 2.0 who was a classmate of mine and asked her to drive from the office to her house to be with me while I prayed. After all of that was done, another newer 2.0 came home and she then told her what had just happened with me. I was humiliated, and too ashamed to talk to even my best friend about it who was living there at the time. Apparently I was told it is a talk all of the girls have gotten.

    Reading your article Michael the stories of this happening to other people hit me the deepest because up until that happened I was writing off everything else as just normal ministry stuff. The “miscommunication” of living with people from different cultures. Thank you for bringing this to light, because I’ve known about some awful stories for months and have been so afraid for the people I love who are still in ministry there. Those interns have good hearts and they honestly believe this is what God wants. Please, everyone pray for them, this is a very messy confusing time for us.

  98. Michael says:

    Michaela,

    Thank you and God bless you…your story matters…

  99. Midwife says:

    Brooke Garza,

    Brooke, Your story shook me to my core. I understand this brutal abuse by a church “pastor” as I was severely thrown out of a church in 1971 simply because he couldn’t use me. This also separated me from my boyfriend of two years, someone I dearly loved and looked forward to marrying. I’m reading everyone’s stories because you deserve my attention and my prayers for your healing. I am now in my middle 60s and I remember the abuse like it happened yesterday. I never really had a chance to share my story and no one ever told me how wrong and totally unbiblical the treatment I got was. So I’ve always held on to a piece of it like wearing a scarlet letter. God, Jesus our Lord is becoming clearer to me every day as a completely loving and healing Father. I’m to a point where I am seriously rebuking any thoughts or memories as so wrong and just not my problem any more. They are the guilty ones, the evil ones, the proud ones, the ones whose deeds we now can smell when they are watched on a video or walk into a room. I can feel the expressions on this Mike’s face when he’s spitting out his filth towards you and others in your story. Ohhhh how God will deal with them… Now, as a Great Grandmother, I would not hesitate to put him in his place as a miserable, terrible and abusive character if I had the opportunity. Yes, God will take him down and all the other men who paint themselves as pastors when we now know they are very ugly wolves in pastor clothing. His Birkenstock’s don’t fool me nor his man-handling of the innocent clay he punches and grips like he does with young people. He’s a bully and a coward. I am praying for you to see the kindness of God in your life. I am praying for you to understand the affirmations God wants to give you for being such a beautiful child of His. Even in your darkest moments, Jesus, I believe cries for you to know His love and that He is not angry with you. I trust Him for these understandings in your life as I have in my own. God is on the move and these bad bad men and women will see Him coming for them! Thank you for sharing your tragic story. I’m so sorry that any young woman or man had to go through this decades after I went through mine. Your story helps me to continue to heal too. Patti

  100. Michaela Griffin says:

    *an edit to my comment.

    Everyone should go read Brooke’s blogpost since she is one of those two girls I spoke about. She has a way more accurate timeline of events. I had confused the order, they were spoken to after the whole group not before.

  101. Michael says:

    I’m going to post Brooke’s story here as well…

  102. Danielle Hawk says:

    I have been watching these comments appear while waiting for the words to come about my own story with PFM.

    I don’t think they ever will.

    I was an intern with Potter’s Field Ministries in the third IGNITE class in 2012, less than a month after graduating high school. In an attempt to process and gather my thoughts, I went back and looked through my social media posts, emails to friends and family, and blogs to see what I had to say about my time there while I was actually in the thick of it. I was shocked and confused to find that I gave no indication of what was really happening.

    This is a testimony to how fearful I was of what would happen if I spoke out.

    I couldn’t bear to speak the words, “help me,” because I was too ashamed of failure and being ostracized from the only people who understood what I was going through (my fellow interns).

    If I had reached out to anyone about what was happening, I would lose this community, I would have to pay back everyone who had helped me get there, and worst of all, I would need to explain why I was back in my hometown when I should be serving God in another country. I was terrified of not making the cut.

    I remember thinking, “I just need to keep my head down, lie low, and make it through without drawing too much attention to myself.”

    I can corroborate the many accounts given here. I was in that room when the assault rifle was being waved around and looked for the exits to see if I could get out if shots were fired. I heard the vile things that were screamed at interns for hours over trivial things. I was woken up at 3 am by screaming staff members and kept up through the morning to prove a point. I held my friends as they cried over the trauma they were experiencing. I was manipulated by fear into repenting for “sins” I had never committed. I was there. I lived it.

    Over the past few years, I have struggled internally through many of the things I experienced during my time with PFM. I am in conflict with my thoughts and my heart over this. I must admit that I was deeply changed (for the better and worse) through my time there. God blessed me with friendships and my now-husband through this, too. It is hard for me to hear these things (though I know they are true) because there are many people I love that were long-involved (and still are) with this ministry and there were true moments of joy and sweet memories I have of my time there. Even though I felt dirty and used, I still desired approval and praise from the same people that tore me down and took advantage of me years after. I still feel hurt, rejected, and full of failure when I think back to that year of my life and how my fellow interns and I were treated.

    It wasn’t until I learned about cults in an academic setting, as my husband mentioned earlier, that I realized exactly what I had been a part of. I told myself for years (because it’s the only thing I had heard), that my “disappointing” experience was because the other interns and I were prideful, arrogant, and needed to be changed. I now know that my experience was “disappointing” because I was being spiritually, mentally, and emotionally abused.

    The manipulation and abuse does not end when you fly out of Kalispell, MT. It haunted me. Every once in a while, I forget… I am thinking about how good that time was and then I remember… and I find myself shivering from the trauma I experienced out on that ranch. Even years after returning, I experienced anxiety, panic attacks, and deep emotional trauma and attended professional counseling. Some of my friends and family members are learning about much of this story for the first time.

    To those who are holding Potter’s Field Ministries accountable, thank you. Thank you for doing what those of us who were affected were not strong enough to do. Thank you for building a platform where we can stand together, speak, and heal. Pray for us as we try to find our peace and process through all of these pains that we have shoved away for so long. Remember that many of us can be dealing with un-dealt with pain and may be realizing the weight of this for the first time. Please pray for not only the victims of the abuse, but those who are guilty of it. Pray for justice and (as hard as it may be), pray for redemption.

    And to interns, staff, and others who have been hurt and marred by PFM (especially Ignite Class 3), remember that you are not alone and you are not responsible for the horrible things that have been done to you and the pain you may still feel. We serve a God of grace and love, and the picture of God that was “showed” to you is not accurate. It is okay to be angry about these things, too, but channel your anger into speaking the truth and seeking out justice in love. Encourage others to speak up and come alongside of those also dealing with this hurt.

    This has been long overdue. I am moved by the support the victims have received and I am committed to telling my story in honor of those who cannot find their voice. Let’s work together to ensure that those responsible for this abuse are held accountable and that they do not misrepresent our faith or harm anyone ever again.

  103. Michael says:

    Thank you, Danielle…I think we’re getting there…

  104. Acts2024 says:

    I was not going to post anything, but after reading the horrors that other ex-interns have experienced, here I go. I have found a safe place.

    As an intern who completed Potter’s Field Ministries IGNITE program in the mid-2010s, I just wanted to let everybody know that this article and the stories about the antics of Mike’s anger at PFM is all but true.

    Mike has a very strong temper and would lay into our class with shouting and drama every few months when we were in Guatemala and during our re-entry in Whitefish. When somebody did not address him as “Pastor Mike” he would instantly go ballistic and it was a lesson we quickly learned not to do. It was scary and was something I still have never seen.

    Although I never was the punching bag of Mike’s abuse first-hand, many friends of mine, including some who have posted stories, have told me things that match what is have written word for word. We were all yelled at by him as a class, mind you.

    One odd thing that I remember was Mike literally shouting at us about “how a woman named Hilary Clinton was coming to destroy America though the evils of socialism” and that it was “our duty to stand up against her” when we were in re-entry during a class. It was odd and made me feel very nervous and he seemed to be generally concerned with America being overthrown. Politics aside, the way he addressed it made me think that he could snap violently.

    I also remember him brandishing an AR-15 over his shoulder and shouting at us, around that same time during as an event above. This was also during our re-entry in Montana and he had some sort of message to go along with it, but I look back in horror because it was an indication that something was not right in his mind. He really laid into us then. He never pointed the weapon at us, nor do I recall if it appeared to be loaded. I would have fled if he did.

    I always figured that he had a God complex. He walked around Potter’s Field like some sort of high-end CEO from the “Wolf of Wall Street.” Looking back now, the staff and interns seemed to idolize Mike. He had some sort of cult of personality around him. Maybe it was all the wealth he had made for himself?

    This sadness me, of course. I met some wonderful people there, both in Guatemala and Montana. Ignite was generally a good time for me, but only if I exclude Mike from the equation because he was abusive.

    Had I known how close I was to the abuse that Mike was dishing out, I never would have joined up.

    If anybody wants to contact me, comment below so I can see.

  105. Michael says:

    Acts 2024,
    Thank you…

  106. Char says:

    This Potters place is awful! My daughter went there for three months. One night when all the kids were exhausted (10PM or so) the leaders decided they all have to switch bunk rooms and no one could move their “own” stuff and half of them were blindfolded… We had to go to Guatemala and literally save her. This place gave her POTS. We got her home and took her to the ER and she passed out from low blood pressure.

  107. Jeff says:

    Dear R, and any others who have opinions about our comments who have not attended the school or been on staff:

    Please be quiet. Please do not try and spin some Bible verses about how this “should be handled”.

    I helped start this school in 2003 and was finally “fired” in 2008. I am the one who started the intern program. I was there when we wrote the curriculum for the very first class, and I took over the school as the Dean of Potter’s Field Ranch in 2005 after the first mass exodus of staff members. I was there when we first went international with the orphanage in El Salvador, and I was there when Mike had his epiphany moment that he and Pam had helped support World Vision upwards of 20 Million dollars over the years via sponsorships – concluding that they should start their own sponsorship and retain all that money.

    If you were not there than you do not know what we went through and who got hurt and how they got hurt. This is so long overdue.

    I’m sickened and saddened at how this behavior only escalated, and I’m utterly disgusted by the pastors and leaders who discredit and dismiss any of these testimonies. Shame on all who knew better, who smelled something foul over the years, and those us who kept drinking the kool-aid.

    It was never meant to be this way. Please forgive me for any part I had to play.

    For those of you who enjoyed your time, who made it through unscathed, praise God! He is faithful despite our own stupidity!

    Jeff Bower
    s.w.jefferey@gmail.com

  108. Michael says:

    Thank you, Char…

  109. Michael says:

    God bless you for standing up, Jeff…it matters.

  110. A Former Ignite Intern/Employee says:

    The following is an excerpt from Pam Rozell’s autobiography: “Stones of Remembrance” as she recounts the abuse she suffered from her husband, Mike Rozell.

    “I don’t even know what I said to him – but it sent him flying into a rage. I thought I had just answered a question in the same way I would answer anyone else. Before I knew it, he was standing directly in front of me, screaming and yelling at such levels that any neighbor, or even someone in the parking lot, could hear him. I was trying to placate him by answering him with soft answers, because the Bible says that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but then the vitriol and horrible things he started verbally hurling at me made my own anger start to rise within me, and I wanted to defend myself. Michael would always use the secret things that I shared with him in my heart, my fears, and my family against me as a sword in these rage attacks. It was so hurtful that I thought my inside would explode with pain. How incensed it made me that he didn’t know how to fight fairly. You don’t speak or act toward someone you love the way he did. The fear I felt was consuming every molecule of my body. I never knew where these fights would end up.” -pages 232 & 232

    Sadly, I find that many of the personal testimonies of Mike’s anger match very much the narrative seen here. This book tells the story of how God repaired their broken marriage and helped heal Mike of his anger issues. However, based on the numerous accounts and evidence that has recently flooded in, I would say that it’s still a struggle in his life. I was an Ignite Intern in 2016 and a former employee at Mudman. I witnessed firsthand the way that Mike handled himself. It wasn’t healthy. I would often avoid him, especially when he was going off an another intern or staff member. As stated above, there truly was a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality that was engrained into all of us.

    “Whatever Mike was screaming at that person, they must have done something wrong to deserve it. Yeah, they must have deserved it.” I am ashamed to say, but this is the mindset many of us were manipulated into thinking. If someone left the ministry on bad terms, we were told not to contact them and to question if they ever believed in God in the first place.

    Many of the employees and staff members there are people I love dearly. They geniunely care about helping others and have sacrificed much of their lives in order to so. However, I feel that Mike has taken advantage of their hardwork and exploited that. Whether this is intentional or not, I cannot answer. But the evidence is on the table.

    I have many personal accounts of the unhealthy leadership of PFM, but I felt this was on my heart first and foremost to share.

    God is bigger than any man, and Mike is just a man, no matter how much he is idolized within his circle.

  111. Jessica says:

    We will continue to pray for each and everyone of you and your families. You all are brave and are helping so many w your testimonies. Thank you Michael for advocating through Phoenix Preacher for these amazing brave young disciples to speak their hearts and these truths. Acts 4:24, 29-30 This needs to be heard and stopped.

  112. Michael says:

    Jessica,

    I’ve been at this a long time…and this is the most amazing bunch of people I’ve ever worked with…

  113. tilthewholeworldhearsyoureacult says:

    I’ve witnessed and experienced this abuse from Mike AND Pam firsthand. Although it is easy to overlook Pam because of her husband’s “radical” behaviour, she is every bit as responsible as Mike.
    Praying for those still involved at PFM as they endure the “punishment” sure to come.
    I have local friends and family willing to help those that need to evacuate. Please contact Michael via e-mail and he will give you my contact.

  114. Evangeline says:

    The way Mike and Pam do ministry via PFM has been going on for years and I am encouraged by all of you for your courage and boldness to speak out! Due to the fact that I would not yield to Mike and Pam’s ungodly authority totally I was fired in 2004 by Mike- Has Mike screamed at me in a RV Park we stayed in while on tour till way into the next morning I just stood there and listened to him while the Lord told me Mike was bluffing. I was so mentally physically and spiritual depleted yet I could hear the Spirit in that I am so grateful for the Lord removing me! So to you all that are speaking up know that this an answer to many years of prayer! I know the Lord is faithful and I am deeply sorry any of you had to go through this! Praying for healing for all!!
    Thank you Michael for your for being the one to bring all of us together-

  115. JM says:

    I am still processing and formulating the words to articulate my experiences. What I will say for now is that 8 years later, I finally know that I am not alone, and I will never be able to truly articulate what that feels like. I am so thankful for this platform and that truth is being brought to light.

  116. Thomas Belle says:

    I was an intern in 2013, and am grateful I didn’t return. At my home church, it seemed to be standard for former interns to return to be “2.0’s”, as they were called. Objections had been repeatedly raised by the church, because this younger generation, which was hoped to be a boon to the church body upon return, was instead being assimilated into the organization. I had returned home physically and psychologically depleted, and assumed I simply didn’t have the moral fiber or fortitude to be a proper Christian. I am fortunate I had a good, good friend who sent me on my PFM travels with some encouraging, grounding books, and welcomed me as I returned with encouragement, teaching and replanting in the Gospel. I wouldn’t have recovered spiritually without him, and wouldn’t be in the church today.

    Harm has been done to those of us who were there. My year was more gentle than subsequent years, it’s true. But what I can say is, you can do no better than to surround yourself in the love of Christ via your brothers and sisters who are committed to the Word and love of God. As we all move forward, I pray we learn the love of God all the more in contrast to the fallen state of where we had been. I pray for my friends and former interns; I also am extremely grateful this has all come to light. Some days, I honestly wondered if it was just me seeing things poorly. I tend to lose perspective now and again.

  117. UnCCed says:

    And for those involved with CCs just the past few years, and a reminder to those of us with decades of experience, remember the decades of ridicule Chuck and his parrots (little Moses) heaped upon a lot of other ministries (I still have the C series CDs teachings) where he’d point out their flaws and “beating the sheep” as proof they weren’t as “anointed” as CCs.
    Ok CCs, now take your medicine!!!
    I’m up to about 16+ news stories of these narcissists produced from YOUR movement, convicted of the most foul behavior (felonies).
    Where the ridicule for you?!!!
    “Cemeteries” produced academics “lacking faith?”
    I know of a couple fine seminaries (couldn’t attend any) who didn’t teach the pastor to dupe a vulnerable mother into polygamy, then kill her!
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nwfdailynews.com/article/20160428/NEWS/160428849%3Ftemplate%3Dampart

  118. Michael says:

    We’re not doing those posts tonight UnCCed…these threads are for the kids…

  119. J says:

    I was an “intern” in 2007 and became staff in 2008. I was paid $150 for +50 hours of work per week as an intern, and I made $900 per month as a staff member. I was working upwards of 15-hour days including working with students, for which I was not trained or prepared for.

    My time at the Ranch is similar to most people as a student. You run laps in the snow, hike mountains, get woken up in the middle of the night to switch dorms, work out until you throw up, berated by staff and/or Pastor Michael. You are reminded that you are insignificant and that Pastor Michael is a true vessel of God. Here’s what I wrote in my journal. This is just one conversation with Mike Rozell while I was still a student.

    May 3rd, 2007
    “Today Pastor Mike came and told us the visions (our plans for how we would serve God after leaving the Ranch) weren’t big enough… Afterwards, I talked to him and…[sorry, I’m parsing this down for clarity but the parts I’m typing out are word for word] he said, “You guys aren’t a team yet and none of us can figure out why.” He said it then aloud to everyone in the room and left.

    “After lunch, he came to ___ and I and brought up the fact that after he had left the room, someone said, “I think we are a group,” and it undermined Pastor Mike. Pastor Mike said God has given PFR to him. He’s seen 8 teams come through–enough to see the difference between those that are unified and those that aren’t. He said we aren’t a team because we all think we still have rights. We think we have the right to say that we believe the authority set above us is wrong. But if it [the leadership structure] goes: God, Pastor Mike, Pastor J and Pastor D, then the rest of the staff, what makes us think we have the right to be the one that’s right?

    “God gave Pastor Mike all the rights and his staff does whatever he asks without asking why or telling him what they think he should really do because they all know that they were called to serve there and doing that means having respect for Pastor Mike. He said that we’re wasting near half a million dollars by not being a team because that’s what we’re called here to be, so we’re missing out on the blessings. He said we would be accountable to God for the $13,000 that was paid for us to be here and to use it wisely, fix the problem, and grow. Pastor Mike said that he was crucified by us right here on his own property because of criticism. He asked me if I was all in and I said I was.”

    Things got worse when I came on staff. I don’t have the energy to really get into all of it now, but it was pretty traumatic. Pastor Michael would ignore me then get really personal. He asked me to move to El Salvador to work at the orphanage there with another pastor and his family and then told me no. It became a theme, him telling me one thing then taking it back.

    When things got really bad, he would lecture me while I sobbed and tell me I had to leave the Ranch, then the next day he would take it back and say God told him I needed to stay. He did this a few times. He let me get treated like an animal in a cage by other staff and board members, all while saying it was because God wanted me to be there.

    I am not ready to share my story as it would take away my anonymity, but I am grateful to the survivors who feel comfortable sharing their truth. Thank you for shedding light on Potter’s Field.

  120. Jaymi says:

    I wrote this on my personal social media, but I thought I should share it here, too:

    I don’t even have adequate words right now, so please bear with me…

    I cannot explain what the last few days have felt like since these stories have begun to surface – to know that 8 years later, that I am not alone – that what I went through during my time at the PFM Ignite program in Montana and El Salvador (from 2011-2012) wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t “fail,” that the way I was treated WAS spiritual abuse regardless of the good times mixed in and how much “love” I felt towards them, and that others went through similar experiences as I did and worse. There was kindness sprinkled in with screaming and manipulation and humiliation and insults, and in hindsight everything fits the textbook definition of psychological and emotional abuse. As young adults right out of high school, we took a leap of faith to help serve kids around the world and ended up surrounded by confusion and darkness. We became blinded by it.

    The way that we were treated during the Ignite program does NOT align with the heart of God. Not in the slightest.

    Read this article. More importantly, read the 100+ comments and stories. They are from people I know personally – fellow interns, friends, former staff members, people I look up to.

    I share all of this not out of malice (in fact, I am struggling to even formulate words and muster the bravery to share this), but in order to protect others. Please, please – if you are in any way supporting PFM financially, stop now. If you have friends or family or kids that have been to this program, please reach out to them. Let them know that they are not alone.

    I deeply regret that I did not realize all of this sooner. I sincerely apologize to anyone that I directed towards PFM, especially those closest to me. I fully believed that my own experiences were my fault, that it was all growing pains of a new program, that others who went after me would do better than I did and not “fail,” etc. I didn’t begin to realize that there was truly something wrong until a loved one of mine went last year (after I encouraged her to go). 💔 It will be a journey for me to forgive myself for that (if I ever can), and I know that so many others feel the same way. We were all so, so blinded.

    I have many mixed emotions and I am processing… I will most likely share my own experiences later. Reading accounts of others’ experiences has brought me to a state where I am reliving the trauma and I will be seeking counseling to work through it all and process. I am so thankful for tremendous bravery of those who have spoken out. I am confident that there is deeper healing to come.

  121. Walking in Truth says:

    “Good Leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation”

  122. Walking in Truth says:

    Two must reads that have truly helped me and many others who have experienced spiritual abuse, cultic manipulation, narcissistic leadership, and those who have misused God’s Word

    “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, The: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church” by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen

    “Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience” by KeBlue

  123. Still Standing says:

    Sadly, this important warning will not be heeded by the people that need to see it most, the kids that are currently there.
    I know how this works. I’m willing to wager that the young people there are either on a “tech fast”
    Or, there’s an outright ban on social media altogether in order to maintain control over any and all outside influence.
    Undoubtedly, the leadership is reading it, though. To you, I say, shame on you. You profess to know God’s word, yet you distort it. Jesus would NEVER “turn over tables” on His people. Only those who would use and take advantage of them, flaunt their power and take nothing less than the “ high seats.” Show me ONE scripture of our Lord screaming in peoples faces. One! You won’t find it, because it’s not there. You expect perfection at being faithful in the small things, and don’t even have governance over your own emotions. Get your house in order. It’s a mess.

  124. Pat says:

    This article states the letter was sent because Rozell and PFM “didn’t “ conform to Pastor Smith’s teachings then it goes on to say “whoops, didn’t mean conformity to him but mirrored the worst of Chucky’s standards! That was a huge goof on the CCA and negates your whole article!!

  125. Michael says:

    Pat,

    I wrote the article and CCA wrote the letter.
    My paragraph on Smith wasn’t written by them, trust me…

  126. sheavi8or says:

    well I was part of the group from a church called Horizon, that helped work on the ministry center. A friend sent me this at I had informed her about Rozell yelled at me over the phone. I never said anything, except to a friend who wasn’t involved with the group. She sent me this. Not good, doesn’t surprise – yet it does a little. God can still use him.

  127. Debra J Gerold says:

    I would like to spoeak to the writer of this article. My granddaughter is part of the Ministry in Montana. I have some questions.
    Thank you
    Debbie

  128. Erunner says:

    I couldn’t help but think of Scientology as I read the article and many comments. Makes this even more chilling to me.

  129. Amy says:

    I am so thankful for this post, and to all the hurting souls who are brave enough to come forward with their stories, some still in the midst of their pain.

    I worked for PFM for almost 9 years. During that time,
    I was almost daily berated (sometimes multiple times a day), called worthless, and was the brunt of Michaels rage tantrums and Pam’s wrath. I believed, at the time, that I deserved the constant verbal and emotional abuse, because I was sinful and not good enough to serve the Lord. I was told that I was a nobody and that I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion. That I was lucky to ‘get’ to serve in this ministry. The very few times I gathered up the courage to object or question the treatment of others, I was told ‘this is not a democracy’, and ‘you aren’t loyal to me (Mike)’, and ‘remember who signs your paychecks’….all followed by hours and hours of rebuking unto the wee hours of the morning. I had originally started working for PFM, because I was told it would be a ‘safe haven’ for me to come away from ‘the masses’ and everyday life. That this would be a way to take a respite from some serious things that I was going through and trying to process through at the time. A time to seek the Lord. (This was before the discipleship school & the intern program was up and running, so I was never a student/intern).

    The Rozells kept me so mentally and physically exhausted working an inhumane amount of hours each week, I found that I had very little time to seek the Lord. Myself, and the others I worked with…we were all just so exhausted all of the time. I toured with the Rozells, along with another assistant for 8 years. Initially I enjoyed the travel and I really loved all of the driving. It took me until recently to realize that the reason I loved the driving so much was because I could be alone, and Michael or Pam were unable to invade my personal space and boundaries while safe in the confines of a van. While on the road, the other assistant (who is now like a sister to me) and I lived in an 18 ft travel trailer. Michael would always remind us that this was HIS trailer and HE paid for it, so if he wanted to come over at 1 o’clock in the morning because he needed something from one of us, then that was within his rights to do so. Sometimes Michael would come over to the trailer and yell at one or both of us until 1 or 2 in the morning. I remember feeling suffocated and claustrophobic, stuck in a small trailer with a raging maniac and feeling like I could not escape. I want to mention that Pam was well aware of what Michael was doing during his rage fits and tantrums, and would just sit over in their bus and watch tv. This went on for so many years, it became ‘normal’ life for me. I was a shell of a human being when I finally left Whitefish, MT.

    It took years before I was able to fully grasp what had taken place there. The abuse, the accusations of various ambiguous sins (real or imagined )and the yelling. Always the yelling. I still cringe and disappear somewhere inside myself when people are too loud or the volume of a tv or radio is too high.

    When I left PFM, I questioned if I was even saved or not. I broke off contact with many family members and some friends, because I did not know how to explain to them what I had been through. I was ashamed that I had let the abuse continue for so long, and I was afraid they wouldn’t believe me. I felt guilty as welI, that I didn’t get out sooner, or that I stood by and said nothing while others were abused in Jesus’ name, or that I chose to excuse the Rozells behavior, convincing myself that nobody is perfect and that it isn’t really as bad as it seems.

    I still have a hard time reading the Bible, because all I hear is Michael yelling verses at me, or Pam twisting them to make herself look righteous and right, and me sinful and wrong. I have been able to find verses that comfort me, and I still cling to those. I have not been able to bring myself to go church. I tried for bit, and it would trigger panic attacks. I am hoping to one day be able to go to church, and make it through an entire sermon without shaking.

    I have been out of PFM for 7 years, and I have healed a lot since then, but it has been a process, and God is still continuing to heal me daily.
    It’s both encouraging and painful to read these horrendous stories. It has stirred up many internal emotions, and brought back a flood of memories, even after all of this time.

    I am so sorry for the pain that all of you interns, staff members, and families have experienced. Your bravery and honesty is amazing and encouraging. I am also sorry to any of you that were hurt my own passivity. I stood by and watched a number of people get emotionally and spiritually abused and I was too afraid to stand up and say anything, because I was afraid of man. Please forgive me.

    This verse from Matthew is a comfort to me, and reminds me of God’s gentleness:
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

  130. Nathan says:

    What happens if mike and Pam step down and out but the rest of his leadership stay and are the ones who take over they have been trained and discipled to be like him?

  131. The New Victor says:

    The rest of Sr. Staff may be enablers.

  132. Michael says:

    Thank you, Amy…well done!

  133. Challis Bower says:

    So so proud of you Amy.

    Love,
    Challis

  134. BrianD says:

    To all of those who have suffered under this “ministry”: you are not alone. For those who are still underneath its oppressive yoke, please know that you have a world of support waiting for you. For those who have escaped and are speaking out, know you are loved and there are many who have your back, will not mistreat you and are willing to help you and walk with you back into freedom.

    To Erunner: I made the same connection, too, based on what I’ve read here and what I heard from interviews and read in books by former Scientologists.

    Leah Remini said on Joe Rogan’s podcast* that her TV show’s producers had received requests to look into other cults. I wonder if they might be interested in looking at PFM?

    * Remini, an actress who escaped Scientology, hosted a TV show breaking down that religion. The interview referenced does have language, and does go into some detail in her experiences inside and escaping the cult.

  135. jenster says:

    Amy-you showed me the love of Jesus more than any “pastor” at PFM. When I questioned my faith, you spoke truth. When it was dark, you showed me light. I love you always.

  136. Erunner says:

    BrianD, I watched every episode of Remini’s show and she does have a “potty” mouth. Quite severe. I imagine her interview with Joe was very explicit. I think I read that she’s having troubles getting another season of her show on the air. Don’t know if it’s ratings or what.

    If A&E thought a series or special re PFM was ratings worthy I’m sure they’d do something with it.

    Thanks for the response and God’s best to you!

  137. anonymous says:

    I became a Christian when I was 17. I gave my heart to God and trusted that when Mike Rozzel told me I was called to work and serve with him I really was. I never really felt special or wanted growing up and for the first time I felt like I was… after arriving I was continually emotionally and spirituality abused. Constantly yelled at for not calling him “pastor” before his name. Constantly called into late night meetings.. if I questioned anything as respectful as possible it was always a sin, because in his terms I was not level at the cross with him and he is my pastor so if he says something is right then to question him is to question God.
    He would scream and yell and threaten horrible things.. after I was shaking and crying he would wipe tears off my face, get to close to me for comfort and hold hand as he said, “dear sister you know I love you and you and I have a special bond like no one else, I am called to be your pastor and that’s why I tell you things that no other person or pastor would.. that’s why I yell until your broken. No one else can understand you like me, God has given me that roll and if you leave you will have to live with being separated from your will and calling.”
    He made me sign a contract that was “unto the Lord” in the contract I was not aloud to speak about my discipleship with anyone but him and Pam and 2 others that he trusted with his forms of private abuse. I also wasn’t aloud to leave until he told me I was “ready”.. I was never ready to him. He told me if I broke that contract I was breaking a promise to God. Wanting to desperately be loved and excepted by God I never told anyone about it… until now… 8 years later.
    With out going into much detail, mike has sexually made me feel uncomfortable making comments about my body, telling me stories of him and Pam’s sex life, telling me what type of sex men want and telling me his sexual experiences with multiple women at the same time, asking me about my sex life and asking if I masturbate, if I have ever been into bestiality ect…
    I now don’t trust anyone.. mostly I don’t trust my ability to fully hear from God. When I decided to go to Pottersfield I thought I was hearing from God in return I got abuse.. I love God and I believe in Him but I am scared of my own ability to follow. I am indecisive about most decisions I used to be able to make confidently before Pottersfield.. Mike leaves us drained and tired and unable to make decisions with out his approval.. I am now learning how to make choices for myself again.. He stole my free will far to long. By the grace of God and my strong husband I am slowly healing. Everyday I work through another panic attack.. always feeling like I’m about to get in trouble or hurt or abused for no reason.. nightmares that steal my peace and sleep. I have so many more horror stories related to mike but I don’t have the strength to type them now.

  138. μαθητής says:

    anonymous,
    I’m so sorry. Your sex life is between you, your husband and the Lord. Period.

    These were the words I was hoping to read from your post.

    ” By the grace of God and my strong husband I am slowly healing. ”

    God is faithful, and I trust your husband is also. Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .

  139. Col46 says:

    Anonymous and anyone else dealing with nightmares,

    “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” Ps 4:8

    Praying for healing, comfort, and restored trust in our faithful God for each of you. Joy will come in the morning!

  140. Sean Tribble says:

    I do not even know what to say or how to respond. I was involved with PFM from July 2009 until December 2010. I know some of those who have commented here and others were before my time and others after. However your stories are not lost on me and are all too real. The details of my story, of my time are much the same as the stories that have been shared, with some exceptions. Some of you that I know and I do not know have suffered much more. When I left, it was time to go and I had a safe place to retreat to. Others have not been and perhaps are still not so fortunate. The people I left behind, I think all of us who left are still dealing with that thought. We had to go, but how could we leave others there. The abuse is built in and for the things that came from peers, I hold no fault. For any offense I offered, I am deeply sorry. My heart breaks. I thought I had been long over this, but while my focus has been consumed these last three days, I have realized just how not over it I am. I have been working to reach out to those I can find and express my concern and sorrows for leaving and not reaching out (though you are threatened so as to keep you from reaching out to anyone still in the program). If I have not been able to reach out to you and you would like to reach out to reconnect, please do so as it would mean so much. When you live on site and work with, eat with, play with, study with, pray with, worship with, cry with, celebrate with these people over a year and a half and have to cut all ties, it is heart breaking. Knowing others have the same exact story… devastating.
    If you are reading this and know me, for my part in leaving, I am sorry. For my not reaching out, I am sorry. For all the mishandled choices that I would do differently now, I am sorry. If you were there with me, you know me from my time with you, I miss you; all of you. That is, all but those who are the place where the abuse sprang from, Mike and Pam. If you were a peer and are worried that I am holding anything against you for anything said or not said, the answer is, NOT IN THE LEAST. We were conditioned and no blame falls to you for this. But now many of you, many of us, are speaking up and standing up together to see that the light is brought to this darkness.
    I am so grateful for all the brave ones who have spoken up. I am grateful for the safe places that have been created for this need and for those who have been safe people for those with this need. If you do not feel you can speak up, we stand with you. Your story is our story and our story is your story. Though we all have this in common, there is something greater than this we also share; A God who loves us and is angered by the abuse that we have experienced in His name. I am so thankful for the grace that is available to us, that the price for that grace has been paid and the love that paid that price has been poured out on us. I understand that it may not feel like it sometimes, right now, or maybe not at all for some of us. I am grateful that the light of a new day is dawning and our hope for healing, from the wounds and loss of relationships and friends, is at hand. And I am grateful to God for His grace that sustains us and brings healing. There are too many who have had a great need for it in the aftermath of their time spent in this organization.
    Sean Tribble seanatribble@gmail.com

  141. The behaviors described in the stories sound like at least 4 of the diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder.

  142. Paige says:

    I just looked at PFM and the Rozell’s facebook pages and it all appears to business as usual…. not attempts at defense, or mention of being ‘attacked or falsely discredited, etc…. The “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” strategy, I guess….

    I do wonder about the fate of the orphans in the various orphanages that are ‘supported’ by PFM, if the ‘ministry’ collapses….

  143. I wouldn’t answer it either. There are no logical consequences yet. If it hits the media, that could change.

  144. Lisa McLellan says:

    Sounds EXACTLY like how the “youth lead ministry” at Freshlife Church were treated. Investigate that. When my daughter left the ministry she was shunned and ghosted. Staff was expected to put incredible “volunteer hours” in with no pay. You were “all in” or out and a traitor to the ministry. Sounds very familiar.

  145. sheavi8or says:

    We need to pray for Rozell – the program started out good and it would be great to continue. Read I Samuel – Saul was meek and cared about his people, then he became self centered, overstepped his position, and greedy. Rozell’s board needs to be people who care. We are all insecure people and he probably more so. Yes he is a jerk, but a cult I do not know, but still needs prayer for correction.

  146. Anon says:

    I’m another one grappling with the shame and confusion of so many years lost working in this abusive environment. There were no limits to the boundaries that were crossed, and we tolerated it because it was our “reasonable service.” There was/is a pervasive message here: your devotion to PFM is evidence of your love and faith in God. So of course you will give it your all.

    These are things we tried to express to the family when we finally reached the end of our ropes and came home. And even then, it’s clumsy and conflicting to communicate because your worry is that you are gossiping and divisive. So you don’t talk about it.
    And you remain in silent turmoil as your former friends shun you, and the church family you left behind (to go serve in Montana) have been warned (with a call from Mike) that you are “poison,” and they avoid you, believing the lies. You feel like all that you went through was for nothing. The irony is, all of his tight-fisted micromanaging is an attempt to portray the image that “his ministry” is above reproach, when he is the one that made it reproachable. And he made people afraid; consumed with obtaining approval by all of their hard work and compliance…. the opposite of GRACE. And that is not the GOSPEL.

    Brothers in sisters, if you are still there, and by some miracle read this, please remember that you cannot earn God’s favor. Jesus loves you even on your worst day. You cannot improve upon the work of the cross. It is perfect and complete. That is good news- never scary or exhausting. And you WILL REBUILD. Just be patient with yourself and try not to compare your progress with others. And maybe now, you have something that many of us did not have. A church to go home to, with pastors who believe you, and walk you through this.

  147. Appalled says:

    I’m appalled that while this is breaking open, and many are finally feeling they have a safe place to share and feel seen and heard, that anyone would even suggest a TLC tv show. No! Even the local news and NPR is borderline putting many vulnerable people in a public spotlight they didn’t ask for. For the sake of helping and healing this message should spread internal enough to help save others and stop Mike but not for public enough for mass scrutiny and humiliation. Most of these people that want to remain quiet and/or heal in their own way, had at some point supported, published and promoted PFM. So an expose will uncover Mikes actions but at the expense of exposing so many that need peace and quiet for healing. Pray, use discernment for the victims and their families. All of the affiliated churches & pastors should be notified of the stories so they can contact and find healing for all the right people. A public outcry and mass expose just to take down Mike is negligence to the victims and people still trying to get out.

  148. Michael says:

    Appalled,

    No one has to get involved with public exposure that doesn’t want to.
    In my opinion, the only way that Mike Rozell will step down is if he is forced to.
    The public has to be aware as he will simply find another denomination to prey on and the victim list will keep growing.

  149. ThatGUY says:

    Please expose this man! I was about to throw away my life to become a slave to this man! Please lord save your sheep before it’s too late!

  150. “Assault does not necessarily involve a physical attack. Assault is any action that causes the other person to fear bodily harm. It can be a slap, a punch or a shove, but it can also be a verbal threat of violence, aggressive posturing (a raised fist, jabbing a finger) or _yelling angrily in someone’s face_ Simple assault is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail.”

    The gun story, likely another crime. Yelling in a closed room for hours? There isn’t a story yet where a person tried to leave and was physically kept from doing so (if I missed that, I apologize… I’m saddened and sickened reading your stories, especially thinking about my little kids) , hard to say… also being purposely cut off from contacting help, which if so, is a felony.

    This may not be the time to discuss this, but I was thinking today about the Christian family culture that might implicitely enable newly adult kids to make them suceptible to accepting such abusive behaviors for the cause of Christ. I’m a long time past 18. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have been also cowed in the face of extreme anger at that age. I was a meek kid. Submitting to authority shouldn’t mean being eaten by lions (or wolves) in this century.

  151. CCStupid says:

    Michael what a puff piece. Don McClure calls it a cult after being with them for what over 10 years? He receives money from them and even leases property to them and now we are to believe The King of the despots? This is fishy. You could fill a stadium with the people burned by Don McClure. 2 of his sons (like Chuck’s) profit from daddy’s CCA throne and mafia racket. Mike Rozell is a byproduct of Don McClure and is a total scapegoat and you fell for it.

  152. Tanner Bell says:

    I was a part of the first ignite intern class. Let me start off by saying that I no longer attend a church. While being fully honest, I would like to say that I’m constantly trying to fight my bitterness towards the church and am trying to come to a point where I can find the truth. I would also like to start off on a positive note.

    Although my time at pottersfield was filled with many of the things that this article has mentioned there were many things that changed me for the better. I could begin by speaking about the many people that I’m still friends with, or the people that helped me. I however would like to give those people the anonymity that they deserve. I however would like to give credit to one person in particular, Pastor Jim Randall. I miss him very much. He helped me in more ways than I can begin to say and I still regret to this day not saying goodbye to him before he passed. I was at a point in my life where I was still very bitter and confused at what had happened. I felt as though I was running from the church and all that he was going to do was guilt me back in to it, which was farther away from his character then I can say. Rest in peace pastor Jim, and thank you for all that you did for my life.

    Now moving on to my experience at pottersfield

    I remember when I decided to go to pottersfield. I was really depressed and highly anxious at the time. I felt like I was going nowhere with my life or my faith. I was so nervous that I was going to lose my faith and not do anything with my life. With that being said I was really drawn in by the sales pitch at the time. The sales pitch was to donate 1 year of your life and you will be closer to Jesus than you ever were before. Looking back on it I can’t believe that that was ever a sales pitch that was endorsed by the church. The idea behind it being that if you do this thing (commit a year) God will reward you in this way (being closer to him). The whole heart of it is so far from what the Bible teaches and so far from the gospel. Here in lies, I believe the main fundamental belief in what was being taught at pottersfield.

    After arriving at the camp I remember we used to do these things called ibs. During these classes we would take one verse at a time and write a piece on how that verse affected us, what we learned and how we would apply that verse to our lives today. Keep in mind I still had crippling anxiety at this point. I could not fathom how I would apply “Jesus wept” or whatever the verse may have been to my life while I was surrounded by Christians all day. Being the realistic person that I am, combined with the fact that I couldn’t understand why god wasn’t speaking to me on each verse I could not come up with a good piece every single day. (This may be a poor example but you get the point) I remember multiple times getting sent out of the class because I did not complete the assignment to it entirety. I was treated as though I didn’t care and God wasn’t speaking to me which is what I desperately wanted.

    I could go on a lot of tangents.. possibly about how Mike put himself in the middle of a romantic relationship that was forming between me and someone else (he didn’t want the camp mentality or the bad name of relationships not working out) or I could talk about how he would choose favorites at the camp. He would often refer to these people as the “poster children” of ignite. After my friend left I was deemed the poster child of pottersfield at the time. Something I didn’t want but was a tactic to get other people in. I could go on a lot of tangents, if you would like to know more please reach out. I will put my email at the end of this piece.

    I think often about the stories that Mike would tell, because at the time I looked up to him and how god spoke to him and changed him. The main story that I remember is about how a pastor, that we called pastor G, made him clean the toilets of the church for a year. Apparently Mike came in as a sinner who needed to be broken but wanted to be a big pastor. This was the tactic used to break him and make him a “servant of the lord”. This I think is what lead to Mikes idea that “the ground below the cross isn’t level” or however he said it. He may have been messed up in his teachings but this seems to be what ft lauterdale and overall calvary chapel taught him. Looking back and reading this article makes me think that Mike certainly was a narcissist, or had some sort of disorder. However this was also the mentality that he was taught… you do the dirty work and get humiliated then you are forgiven of your sins and god turns you into a pastor. (Please note that this does not make it okay for the way that he treated people, I do believe that we are each responsible for our own actions, especially as adults)

    My whole point for bringing up Mikes “spiritual upbringing” is pointing out the belief that this seems to be a systemic problem with the way that discipleship is taught. This seems to be a theme with Calvary chapel and pottersfield is taking the brunt of it, and granted they are the most extreme/worst example of this.

    I do believe that pottersfield was a cult. I also believe that Pottersfield charged far more than they should have for us to be “interns”. I sincerely wish that I could go back in time and save those thousands upon thousands of dollars.

    I know that a lot of people seeing this will say that I am bitter, and I am sure to some point that is true. I am truly trying my best get over that part of it and see it just for the facts. However for these people that are commenting here please do not talk to them as if they are exagerating. That is in fact victim blaming, and I am here to say that that first class was bad. Yes when Don Mcclure was there it was obvious that he was chauffeured around as if he was a board member to be pleased and lastly it would be shocking if things did not get worse after the first class left. This is why I fully believe this article, because all know how much harder it is to get better and not worse, especially with no accountability and a staff that is trained to just do with it what you say.

    If you would like any more info my email is tannerbell101@gmail.com

    PS I apologize for being all over the place. I am writing this late at night because I could not sleep until I wrote something.

    PPS Thats obviously Mike Rozell as the mudman burgers logo

  153. YHWH is Love says:

    Hey, I’m a fellow Ignite intern, and I even went back and worked with PFM. Like many of you have stated your hurting and painful emotions, I plan on doing the same.

    My hurts are no longer to Mike Rozell anymore.

    You see, I have sat at the foot of the cross, and I keep coming back to the fact that I myself still sin. I do know this though, Yeshua, literally Yhwh is my salvation came to earth and lived this life that had no sin, no flaws, no mistakes. He however was scourged, mocked, spit on, betrayed by a man that was one of His closest friends for three years. Jesus was betrayed to a place that we don’t even know the depths of.

    You see, the hurts we’ve faced, they are real yes, I cannot deny you the emotions you are facing. I can tell you this though, Jesus, He can heal you. He tells us that being one of His disciples we have to forgive. No, we get to forgive!

    In this season, I keep coming back to the gospels, they’re so rich and full and I see the heart of Jesus. So let me share a few verses with you:

    Luke 4:18- “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He has anointed me to preach the gospel (good news) to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken hearted…”
    -Jesus of Nazareth

    Matthew 6:14-15- “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.”

    Matthew 5:38-42-” You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him also have your cloak. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give him who wants to borrow from you and do not turn away.”

    1 John 4:7-8 (Pastor Don this one is especially for you, I think you could sing along with it, think back to the Maranatha days man.) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

    Wait let’s keep going with the 1 John 4 I liked where that was leading.

    1 John 4:9-11″ In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might LIVE through Him. In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for OUR SINS. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

    Guys, please listen. Please.
    I get it, I really do. I’ve been hurt too. I also know that Forgiveness is hard. However we as Christians get to. We get to forgive those who hurt us. We get to forgive the ones that did us wrong. These teachings of Jesus are radical.
    Are you willing to join me? Are you willing to forgive Mike Rozell? To listen to the voice of our shepherd, I am no disciple of any man, I’m a disciple of Jesus and Jesus taught me to forgive so that’s what I am going to do.

    So
    Dear Mike Rozell,
    I forgive you, I forgive the pain you have caused me. I forgive you of the wrongs, I also hope you would forgive me of mine.
    I love you and thank you for the good things and love you have showed me.
    -A former Ignite and PFM

    Exodus 34:6-7
    This is the characteristic of my Father,
    Merciful, gracious, long suffering, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands forgiving mercy iniquity and sin (which He did in full on the cross for us Christians.) by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and children’s children to the third and fourth generation.
    If you are going to use my Dad’s name for writing your letter, please use His real characteristics please, I beg you. My Dad is kind and loving He isn’t destructive.

  154. Debra Gerold says:

    I agreewith your comment on McClure. And alk this posts.. they are one sided except a few. PFM was never given the Matthew 18. Isnt that biblical? Go first, then a second time, and if a third is required, let the authority take care of it? And where is the mercy, God has shone to all of us. Has things changed in the last 3-4 years? Has anyone investigated that? What about the damage that is taking place right now and in the past couple of months, with the students? Does anyone consider how the enemy can use this to throw in the towel and walk away from God? If the students and staff are at risk from Rozell, they ares more at risk from CCA and their actions. There is more to this stiory than is being reported. This is a one way story. Arent you innocent until proven guilty? CCA carries way to big of a stick. If they have disassociated themselves with PFM, then why are they still involved trying to destroy it? When you disassociate with any tjing, you no longer are involved with that person , company etc. People need to quit taking sides and judge so quickly. I see Un-Godliness here. No Matt 18, no grace, no mercy , no thoughts of restoration, no love. I do see Gossip, talebearing, slander, & pride with those involved. God is a God of Mercy, 2 ,3,7,10,100 chances, forgiveness , restoration ,refreshment. This is putting the Lord’s name to shame because people are to quick to take matters into their own hands , and not go about these matters by God’s word. I am ashamed of Don McClure, CCA, and you Micheal for not acting in a Godly manner about PFM. I beliueve there is a much bigger motive than is being reported.

  155. Debra Gerold says:

    Well said. Thank you. The church along with life is made up of all types of people. We will cross paths with some who love us, like us, do not like us, hurt us etc. This is reality. But, God forgave each and every soul, that what Jesus died for. We too must forgive those who trepassed against us as you said, for our own well being. And it does not mean Mike Rozell is who you say he was in the past anymore.

  156. Jessica says:

    PFM needs to be shut down.

  157. Michael says:

    Debra Gerold,

    If you can read all the testimonies of that have been posted and worry about anything other than stopping the abuse, I really have nothing here for you but scorn.

  158. Michael says:

    CCStupid,

    See above…

  159. Alissa says:

    We are willing to forgive. We share our stories so that others do not get hurt. This is abuse. It is not just hurt it is deep penetrating emotional and spiritual abuse. Thank you for allowing us to finally be able to speak. Mike Rozell has been confronted by many and has not changed. Pastor Don just had a conversation with him recently and he has not changed. Leadership has not changed. There are stories here from just last year. How many need to come forward for us to step back and see that there is something wrong? We are all willing to forgive and we no longer want anyone to be abused. Lord Jesus we give this whole situation to You. We don’t know how it’s all going to work out. Thank You for seeing our hidden pain, thank You for loving us, ALL of us. Heal us Lord Jesus.

  160. Michael says:

    Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow abuse to continue.
    Period.

  161. Michael says:

    Thank you, Tanner…you make bunch of good points.

  162. Michael says:

    For the purists among us, Matt. 18 has been invoked repeatedly.
    The last step in Matt 18 is tell it to the church.

    I have no problem looking at all the other issues surrounding this situation…as soon as everyone involved is safe and there are systems in place to make sure no one else has to live with the abuses that have been chronicled here.

  163. Brooke Garza says:

    Dear “Debra Gerold,”

    I’m laughing to myself because it’s important to find humor in the midst of these dark days, as an ugly truth comes to light. I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone who has read through 30+ testimonies, from 2001 to 2019, chronicling a consistent pattern of the same sorts of abuses, and has dared to say, “Well there’s two sides to every story.”

    I highly suspect you are an active PFM leader. The way in which you speak is so familiar… The quickness to urge for grace toward Mike (and did any of us advocated for for that same quick grace without Mike pouring all the wrath and terror he could manufacture about us), the attempt to catch us on a spiritual technicality, like, “Where is Matthew 18? I am ashamed of you.”

    You remind me so much of the Pharisees, who would rather a man stay crippled on the Sabbath than healed from a terrible disability he’s had all his life. I wonder which is closer to Jesus’ heart? What do the Scriptures tell us?

    My Sword is sharp, you can see. In spite of all the confusion and discouragement, I stayed in the Word all these years, wounded, but fighting to stay ready for battle in and out of season.

    Incidentally, your accusations aren’t even true. I employed Matthew 18. I was offended by Mike. I approached him directly. He decimated me. I then told pastoral staff. He did nothing. I took it to the church, once I was home. They supported me, but desired to keep this hush-hush in the end. There was no reckoning to Mike to a higher up. Finally, movement came out off CCA, spear-headed by Don McClure, who, by the way, was one of many pastors who employed Matthew 18…

    Do you know what Mike used to tell us interns all the time? (Of course you do, because, like I said, I highly suspect you’re active staff at PFM.) He would proclaim to us, “I want you to know I’m a man under authority, and that man is Don McClure.” It was a pretense, proven by Mike refusing to step down after the only man with “authority” over him attempted to pull the plug on his leadership.

    I know this machine, because I served with you all. I know you’re bustling in and out of crisis meetings right now. Interns are confused, because they can tell something is going “down,” as key players are pulling into another meeting; ordinary activities are being interrupted to have a leader whispered to about a new development. You’re watching our pages like a hawk. Now you’ve taken to the keyboard in attempts to call foul play.

    Shame on you. Unrepentant to the end, I see. Even when God has stripped your ministry of its influence and integrity. Still blame shifting and trying to make this an issue of victims having no grace, or supposedly not going about it the “Biblical” way – all while ignoring active and egregious sin in your camp by the leader you defend. What happened to Scripture’s qualifications for leadership? 1 Timothy 3:1-7 anyone? And what of Jesus’ warning to Mike in Matthew 18:6, and to all of you who are complicit in his abuses? It amazes me, the lack of fear and trembling of an Almighty Shepherd Who is zealous for the protection of His sheep…

    I don’t expect to change your minds. I write this for the readership.

    Brooke B Garza

  164. Michael says:

    Brooke,

    Wow…well done!

  165. Brooke Garza says:

    Sorry, in my excitement, I forgot to identify when i came to Mike “with a brother.” I didn’t include it in my blog post because it was too difficult to explain, and I didn’t want to lose readers in the details. I decided I could just tell my own story for the sake of clarity. As Mike was chewing me out in that corner, about “accusing a pastor” without a second or third witness, God sovereignly brought forward one of my teammates, who came to Mike with the same objections. There were two of us subjected to his wrath by that point. He also told me that I was a mere intern without the qualifications to challenge him in any way. So I spoke to two pastoral staff members, who did nothing (one knew more explicitly than the other, because I waited until being home in Chicago to go into detail). Finally, I told my church, as I repeated above.

  166. SavannaM says:

    This needs to go viral. I’ve forwarded this article to all the major national news services– everyone do the same and maybe we can get this broadcast nationwide. Also make sure to speak out on your social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and tag PFM’s accounts.

  167. Michael says:

    Thank you, SavannaM…

  168. Jenna Ruiz says:

    Debra–
    The cycle of abuse is as follows:

    Love and kindness —> over protection in the name of love —>power gained through isolation –>control over resources and activities —->punishment through anger and harm —-> acting as if nothing happened —> love and kindness.

    It’s why so many of us stayed. It’s why so many of us felt love and hope that things would be different in the future.

    I’m not willing to put my feelings and hope above the safety of others. This place does not reflect the heart of God. Perhaps it’s mission is good, but God can take care of His children around the world without the help of PFM.

  169. Michael says:

    Jenna…well done.

  170. Mud Man (not the PFM kind BTW) says:

    Why is it in our modern “Christian” paradigm so many seem to forget about justice?

    A sage from the Middle ages said this, “to show mercy on the wicked is to bring wickedness on the innocent.”

    Another interpretation of the same thing, “He Who is compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate.”

    Of course this doesn’t mean we become a mob and fail to show true justice and due process. It also doesn’t stop us from mourning over the fact we have an obligation to bring such to the guilty.

    PFM is neither independent or free from scrutiny and we should be reminded neither are we. Jesus’ resurrection did not relieve the duty of His followers to live in a manner worthy of the calling.

    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of all of us.

  171. Debra Gerold says:

    But, did you bothger to go seek out any goid testimonies? Or are you just going on what the bad ones ? I have a granddaughter up there. You are not reporting on the other side of the coin just the negative.

  172. Michael says:

    Debra Gerold,

    When you have this many testimonies of abuse there is no other side of the coin.
    It has been acknowledged that some come through with a good experience.
    Those experiences do not validate what we have seen from so many.

  173. Michael says:

    Well said, MudMan…

  174. Debra Gerold says:

    These testimonies are true, but th ere are more that came out over the years that did not have these testimonies. I am sorry you are not interested in th eir stories.
    Thank you.

  175. Michael says:

    Debra Gerold,

    I do not understand how you don’t comprehend that even one of these abuse testimonies would be too many, let alone the dozens who have come forth.
    This is simply not acceptable, nor is it remotely Christian.

  176. McGarrett says:

    Debra Gerold,

    I have a great idea, get your granddaughter out of there. This is Fool’s Gold.

  177. pstrmike says:

    MM,
    I don’t want to go too deep into this for fear of derailing the thread.

    “to show mercy on the wicked is to bring wickedness on the innocent.”

    who said this?

    The Midrash says:

    R’ Elazar said: One who becomes compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate, as it is written, “And Saul and the nation spared Agag and the best sheep and cattle.”, and it is written (Ibid. 22:19) “And Nov, the city of priests, he smote with the edge of a sword.”

    ~Tanhuma, Parashat Mezora,1; Yalkut Shimoni, I Samuel, Chapter 121.

    Some of this is problematic when considering the full context of Saul’s actions, including David’s responses to Saul. While not going into much detail, it appears that the Midrash is describing a psychological/spiritual condition rather than the exercise of law. Much to consider in these words and the context from which they were forged.

  178. Em says:

    There seems to be a personality type that is swayed by show – perhaps they best fit the description our Lord gave us: sheep
    I read Debra G.’s posts here and ask myself why she cannot grasp that her granddaughter is in a dangerous place? Why, in light of the project here to help the betrayed salvage their lives and their faith, she would muddy the waters? Why she would speak in defense of a dangerous cult?
    I think Debra’s heart may be in the right place, but she needs to take to heart the admonition to “renew our minds” and then her heart, too, will respond. At least that has been my experience.. 🙆

  179. The New Victor says:

    This is how abuse gets covered up in families. The other kids didn’t get it, so either that one kid is lying or it isn’t “that bad” and the family as a whole functions well.

    Jesus, speaking metaphorically, abandons the flock to search out the one lost sheep.

    If my kids were up there, I’d already have been on the road to take them home.

  180. Em says:

    FWIW…
    I think your advice and observation are rock solid, New Victor

  181. pstrmike says:

    “This is how abuse gets covered up in families. The other kids didn’t get it, so either that one kid is lying or it isn’t “that bad” and the family as a whole functions well.”

    There it is.

    Some people are wired in such a way that unless they see a wholesale, complete act of genocide, will always default to finding the one or few examples where abuse didn’t happen. This has been the much of the uphill fight that people like Michael experience with every abuse story . . . and the usually for him, the resistance has been from those associated with CCA. I hope this wakes you guys up.

  182. Anonymous says:

    Debra…

    Here’s the thing. There are great memories, great life-long friends were made, the LORD did move and did a work because He is sovereign regardless of man. Even in the midst of the pain and distress way too many (including myself, and as Michael said, only one testimony of this abuse would be too much) are feeling, I am desperately trying to separate those good things from the intensely evil and negative things. I want to cling to God through this difficult time- I want to see His hand in this. I’m not necessarily there yet because I am in deep pain, but I seek to be there with the Lord’s help and in His timing.

    It breaks my heart to even have to ask this…but what if Alexa called you and shared any one of these stories of abuse with you? How would you respond? How would you feel then? I implore you to look at the situation from that perspective. Please. There are countless people, such as your granddaughter, out there who have truly experienced these horrific events. I am one of those people. I beg you to set the semantics aside and put yourself in our beaten and bloodied shoes. Do it for her sake if not for ours. Please.

  183. Steve says:

    I wish folks would stop pulling out the Matt 18 verses. I personally think and its just my opinion that these verses are one of the most abused verses in all of scripture. On one hand they appear to be like a magical 3-step formula to get rid of somebody you just don’t like. On the other hand they are almost treated like the Miranda rights by the guilty as a form of defense if they were not properly followed. That appears to be in this case.

    May I suggest that CC is in one horrible position to talk about church discipline and Matt 18 when they can’t even differentiate between a cult and a church for so long. Think about it, the last step in the 3-step process is to bring this offense to the church. But in this case the church was a cult. So Don McClure steps in and helps out since none of the leadership at PFM could. And now Michael has to step in with his blog because there really is no other way. What you are seeing here is not Matt 18 from my perspective. This is something else altogether. I could be wrong and maybe this is all textbook Matt 18 proceedings but my gut tells me no. This was an intervention that was necessary and biblical but I’m not following that Matt 18 is the right way to look at this.

  184. Kenzie Kinney says:

    Debra –

    Let’s say you ordered a pizza for delivery. You ate it and loved it. Your family ate it and loved it. One of your friends works for the pizza place. She tells you it’s getting shut down because of the disgusting environment and how all the food is rotten, staff drops it on the floor, blood is all over the bathrooms, staff spits in food all the time, they steal customer’s credit card info, there are rats everywhere and people have been hospitalized after eating there.

    You’re the disgusting person saying “but my pizza was good, nothing was wrong with it! They shouldn’t shut it down! I mean you’re not even mentioning the good pizzas! You’re just focusing on what’s wrong with the place and that’s not fair!”

    IF SOMETHING THIS SEVERE IS WRONG WITH A PLACE, THE “GOOD” FROM IT CEASES TO MATTER, LET ALONE BE ENOUGH TO MENTION.

    The only good in that place are those little moments God gives us in the darkness as He’s trying to keep people from killing themselves until they have a chance to escape. Of COURSE there was good in these terrible situations, but that’s not the point.

    Why are you ignoring what’s going on here? If you really had a granddaughter in the program and read everything here, you should be ashamed of yourself for not immediately being terrified for her safety and well being. A real grandmother who actually loved her family would pull her out of this immediately.

    Honestly, I’m also not convinced you’re not PFM staff because no one is as shitty of a grandma as you claim to be. Lord help the rest of your family if it’s true, but otherwise, stop jumping on this thread. Feel free to report back to whoever. 😉

  185. Michael says:

    Kenzie…I had to edit that one part…but we get your drift. 🙂

  186. Sonesta Josephsen says:

    I’ve already shared an experience from my re-entry but I feel like there’s more that needs to be said. I was in IGNITE class 11 from 2016-2017.

    When I was in Guatemala, my parents called and informed me that the doctors had found a cancerous lump in my dad’s bladder. I was devastated. They assured me that they had caught it early and they would inform me if anything changes. During this time NONE of the PFM leaders asked me if I wanted to go home or gave me consistent phone privileges. When it was my time to have internet, the schedule always changed. I asked to use the main phone and was denied.
    Two weeks went by and I wasn’t able to get an update.

    During my time in Guat I also gained quite a bit of weight. I was so embarrassed (still am even as I write this out) – I couldn’t button my jeans anymore. I only had 2 skirts to wear but often times the Antigua mornings were so brisk I could see my breath in the air. I begged the leaders to take me pants shopping since we weren’t allowed to leave the compound without them. All I wanted was one pair that I could wear comfortably! I felt disgusting and there wasn’t much time to workout in the evenings between mandatory meetings and homework.
    In the end, nobody ever did take me shopping. I was told that I “should be thankful for what I have” and that “clothes shopping on a missions trip is vanity” and they “didn’t have time” even though I explained my extreme need.
    I ended up wearing a long shirt while I used hair ties to extend the room between my front two belt loops just so I could wear them.

    Another time we did a “team building” exercise where we were blindfolded and our partner would have to yell directions to guide us from the middle of the courtyard, while we navigated the obstacle course in the ring surrounding it. They had 2 teams going at a time. They had basketballs dribbling around the blindfolded person, blow horns going off, and people who would surround the blindfolded person and whisper to them to distract them. (I remember thinking the whispers sounded demonic and my hair stood on end)They did this to illustrate how hard it is to listen to the Holy Spirit in a world of chaos. Okay, sure, I get that…I guess. But then they brought out the fireworks. I kid you not. They started setting of firecrackers at the blindfolded person’s feet. All of us who were waiting were shocked as we watched kids drop to the floor from fright and start crying. If they tried taking the blindfold off they were yelled at in their faces. A few of us in line tried to get them to stop but were yelled at to “shut up and stand in line”. We all ended up having to take a turn going through the course blindfolded. Most of us trembling by the end.

    One of the reoccurring, hardest issues for me to deal with in Guatemala was a male intern who had a crush on me. Let me just say that crushes or male/female relationships of any kind was forbidden. (So stupid. You’re getting 20+ young adults together and not expecting them to be human)
    This guy would buy me candy and gifts and would sit next to me in class quite often. He’d offer to carry my backpack and walk with me as all of us would go on town outings. I did not reciprocate his feelings. However, when he first arrived he was not a saved Christian (I don’t know how he was allowed there) and nobody was making friends with him. I felt bad and was trying to be friendly to him so he didn’t feel alone. My friendliness was mistaken for flirting and he told multiple people he loved me. As far as I know, he wasn’t talked to by the leaders.
    I wasn’t that lucky. I was pulled aside multiple times and was told that I needed to “stop being a Jezebel” to “stop flirting and leading him on”. I was accused of trying to find alone time with him when actually he would find me when I was by myself. I was so frustrated! I told him to stop buying me things and would ask a few girls to stand with me if they saw him start to talk to me while I was alone.
    It started to become a fear for me. I would try to keep from catching his eye. I would lower my gaze if I passed him anywhere and would feel panicked and anxiety if he gave me anything or did anything for me because I knew the leaders were watching and I would get in trouble.
    I still struggle with feeling like I’m leading a guy on even if I catch his gaze in the grocery store. I still feel anxiety and a rush of panic if I catch a man looking at me. Even if it’s an old man! What the heck is that all about?! They created such a fear in me that I’m the issue. That I, a woman, am the reason men have lust and “stumble in their walk”.
    This is not the woman I was before I joined the ministry!
    This was the PFM mentality though. They are extremely sexist.
    One time Austin was teaching and we were sitting on the rooftop of the coffee shop. He started going on a rant and said “women should be more careful about how they dress so they don’t temp men”.
    The girls were also pulled into a meeting and were told that we needed to “step down and let the guys step up”. We were “too strong” and “the guys weren’t being given the chance to serve because we were doing everything”. Heck yes we were doing everything! If we saw a need like the chairs needed to be stacked, we’d stack them. It’s not like we were pushing them out of the way. They just didn’t do anything that needed doing. From that moment on we were forbidden from stacking chairs or setting up tables because it the guys needed to learn. This never made any sense to me. They should have encouraged the guys to see us as an example and try to out serve us instead of making us the issue.

    There are many other instances that happened in Guatemala that are coming back to me in with floods of emotion. Others that seem like fogged up glass that I’m trying to see through. While I am happy to have met my teammates and to have had wonderful moments with God during my prayer time, my faith is not as strong as before I joined PFM.

    I ended up serving my 6 months in Cambodia. Cambodia was the hardest portion of my life that I’ve gone through. I was riddled with panic attacks, parasites, lice, extreme anxiety, depression, emotional abuse from the girl’s leader, and hives. It’s its own story that I’m still processing.

    I wrote the excerpt below in a journal during my two months of serving in Selah. (Since I lived in Columbia Falls, MT during the time, Selah was considered my home church. After 3 months of schools and 6 months serving, interns are required to spend 2 months serving their home church before they are considered done with the program.)

    6.7.17
    “Father, I was asked today if I was praying and considering staying with Potters Field through the fall. I said yes but you and I know that’s the farthest thing from the truth. I am like a kicked dog on a leash. I will sit patiently with a slack line but as soon as the leash is removed, I’m ready to run.”

  187. Mud Man (where I came from and will go) says:

    Steve:

    The Matt 18 verse is used as a convience by people to forward their agenda while ignoring the content and actual purposes of the rule. Sadly those who often use it also refuse to let others read and learn about its source and the purposes mentioned in it. Basically a classic misuse of scripture, a verb known as “iniquity,” whose root is, ” to bend, twist, distort.” source BDB

    In a nut shell the Matt 18 verse is a part of a very serious serious set of instructions from God so justice and proper mercy can be administered amongst His creation. It’s a lot like the rule in the USA of “not guilty until proven otherwise,” designed to prevent abuse and false convictions.

    But here people use it to cover up and misdirect proper process and the protection of the innocent from the guilty. Of course, under the mantra of “grace” and the “cross,” we also ignore a whole bunch of other biblical instructions for life.

    Yes we are often a sad bunch.

  188. Midwife says:

    Thank you Sonesta for your story. It tears my heart out to read the emotional violence done to you and your fellow classmates by PFM. I’m an old woman now but back in the 70s I too was abused by a pastor and his chosen leaders. I understand that crazy guilt you carry around like you are the problem and cause of men’s thoughts and stares. I just hope you talk more, tell your story and heal so you don’t become an older woman that continues to look down and away from others eyes out of some false sense of shame. You and your classmates amaze me with how articulate you are. I see such a bright future for you because you are working through this abuse and sharing it so others can too. Be strong, keep telling your story and know how much God loves you.

  189. Mud Man (where I came from and will go) says:

    Sonesta

    I’m sorry to read about your experiences in Guatemala and the old city. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a small amount of time in the city and surrounding country side and I remember the wonderful native people, the beauty and peacefulness of the mountains they lived in.

    It’s a shame your memories and experiences aren’t representative of what they should have been and I hope you will be able to return to learn and savor the real life in that country.

    Interesting thread and thank you for your witness.

  190. The New Victor says:

    ” I asked to use the main phone and was denied.”

    In the United States, this is likely a felony, blocking another person or taking their means to call for help. Two cops and a therapist told me this concerning a situation like this in my family.

    That team building exercise sounds frightening. This and other stories go beyond LGAT (Large Group Awareness Training) which I think itself is cultish in nature (see “est” and Werner Erhard).

  191. Michelle says:

    This reminds me Scientology and the people who affirm their behavior often result to bullying, verbal, emotional, mental, and sometimes physical abuse. This Potters Field Church is NOT of God but rather of men, greedy and egotistical men. God will NOT be mocked and thank you for a great article.

  192. Stoptheabuse says:

    Pam Rozell is 100% complicit in every thing Mike has done and continues to do!
    These stories are abhorrent. And to do it all in the name of the Lord is a whole new level!
    While the spiritual abuse is certainly the most grievous part of these stories, nothing of real consequence (here on earth) will stop the Rozells from morphing this reign of terror into a new ministry, unless the authorities investigate! The IRS, Montana Dept of Revenue, and the Department of Labor & Industry need to investigate the books of PFM, PFR, and MUDMAN! Including the equestrian “program” at Potters Field Lodge! Forensic accountants will likely have a field day!
    Maybe the Rozells could start a prison ministry from the comfort of their own cells!
    Prayers for those egregiously abused by these lost and deviant souls!

  193. JM says:

    “The reality is that it mirrored the worst of the way Chuck Smith dealt with his inner circle.
    Smith had a volcanic temper and fired and verbally accosted people frequently, only to bring them back when his wrath passed.
    He was aware of the need people had for his approval and his place as their spiritual and emotional father and he used that for his benefit against them.
    The same strategy, multiplied, seems to have been in play with Mike Rozell.
    The allegations against PFM present textbook cases of spiritual and emotional abuse.”

    Still scary. Thanks for acknowledging this and saying it publicly, Michael.

    God be with these many abused souls to heal them and help them regain what was taken. May they experience deep healing and someday be able to embrace how beyond precious they really are.

  194. Becky says:

    For the past 10 years I have struggled with seeing the seemingly “good things” that were happening with PFM. I would hear of all these new students that were coming from everywhere (including my own home church where my pastor chose to believe Don McClure over what my husband and I were telling him we saw- that’s another whole sore subject as he was a second dad to me growing up). Anyway, I finally settled in my heart to chalk it up to the fact that God was somehow using Mike and Pam in spite of themselves (the same way He uses me in spite of myself quite frankly).

    Last year I was reading Matthew 7 where Jesus is talking about false teachers. He said you will know them by their fruit. All of a sudden it hit me- I had been confusing “good things” with “good fruit”! I was looking at all the “good things” like a growing ministry, orphanages, Mudman restaurants opening all over, etc. and thinking that was the fruit of their ministry. That’s not fruit! The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL!! 👏🏼🙌🏼💕 All of which are extremely lacking to say the least! Any fruit that is coming from this place is rotten fruit.
    Just wanted to share that little revelation that helped me a lot.

  195. Michael says:

    Becky…that is worth a second read…well said…

  196. Col46 says:

    Thanks Becky, so easy to mistake “good things” for good fruit! That reminder blessed me personally!

  197. Kay says:

    I went through PFM’s Ignite program in 2013-2014. I was a favorite of theres I believe, I always tried to be on their good side, never questioned anything (even in my journals, I was afraid that they’d go to the lengths of reading through them), and I never gossiped. I always tried to win their approval because I was so lonely and disconnected from my friends and family.
    There were times that they set us up for failure, and yelled at us when we didn’t “pass the test,” but I never got yelled at individually.
    The thing that hurt me the most was that they tried to turn me against my family. My family isn’t Christian and they told me repeatedly that my family can never truly love me because they weren’t Christian. That only Potter’s Field can love me because they know the true love of Christ. They told me this over and over until I was exhausted and gave into them eventually and started to believe them. Even years later, those thoughts still pop up and I have to check myself because my parents do truly love me. But they did this so I would stay and work for them They pulled me aside telling me they wanted me part of their ministry, whether in Cambodia (which was new at the time), or with their horses.
    Anyway, that’s what hurts the most. I never really talked about it until now. I thought I was crazy.

  198. Michael says:

    Kay,

    You’re not crazy and what they did is wicked…

  199. Autumn S says:

    Michael, I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say thank you. Thank you for advocating for us; for giving us a platform for our voices to be heard. You gave (and continue to give) all of your time to listen to each and every person’s story. And for that I just want to thank you.

  200. Michael says:

    Autumn,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    It sounds cheesy, but it’s been an honor and privilege for me to work with all of you…

  201. Jessica says:

    I have read through every tragic testimony and 95% of them came from a Calvary Church, some sponsored by CC to attend and did not want to “disappoint” their church who financially supported them, so suffered the abuse. Some interns, in the beginning, thought it was the norm of pastoral authority bc they experienced similar behavior coming from their local CC. Rozell Commented to many that the authorities in place at the ranch, including himself were “appointed ” by God and the students were required to submit to them under Biblical authority. I also read many interns felt they were under pastoral authority and their definition of that was formed by CC local churches for them. A term I have heard slipped into women’s ministry conferences by Coy’s wife discussing her husband being gifted by God, years ago about Bob, whether it is anointed or appointed it is part of the Moses Model and is flawed. I didn’t understand the strong significance of that at the time unfortunately I now do and do not agree with this understanding of pastors and CC. Within the CC churches, To serve and be submissive and loyal to a pastor under Biblical terms seems loosely thrown around and has been the catalyst for grooming of the abuse here. Especially when these pastor (Rozell) have not had any formal training or seminary and come from a checkered past, regardless of their past repenting and the Grace they and we all received from our Lord and Savior, we all need accountability. And in this case legal accountability for abuse on every level. Some CC pastors actually accompanied these students and stood right by Rozell as he verbally abused and accused them per these testimonies. One survivor said if my pastor is standing there letting Rozell scream at me, lie and twist their words, they all can not be wrong. PFM looked at Gossip as capitol sin and I remember reading Chuck Smith’s rules to Assistant Pastor that if you leave the church, leave quietly, you will not speak of anything you had seen wrong by the head/senior pastor bc it was considered a sin of “gossip” and was between you and the head/senior pastor. As one survivor wrote it muddys up the waters of right and wrong. CC must take a long long look at how they contributed to this tragedy and train wreck, and some stood by and watched it. CC should spend less money on marketing their cool church and church planting instead their top priority should be on training all their pastors, assistant, youth and head. They should throw out or redefine the anointed/appointed from God authority. The word submission should be studied and redefined so not to allow loop holes and abuses to happen. No one should feel it’s ok to be treated like this. CC must stop disrespecting women by making our young women assume it is ok to scream, corner, touch etc. CC needs to work harder at respecting women so that our young women hear from the church strongly, loudly and unequivocally they are not and never to be thought of as less. The majority of these student were groomed to accept Mike and Pam by their local churches CC. CCA must take full responsibility for the deep rooted cause of this. We have seen sociopath narcissistic mega pastor fall within CC and here we are again w Mike and Pam and their crew. CCA must spend the next year dissecting their philosophy that contributed to this horrific abuse. Otherwise they too are to blame. I don’t know much about Don but respectfully crying and apologizing is nice but as a leader you must do more. Fix It, Own It and Deal with It.

  202. Midwife says:

    Powerful Jessica. Thank you and thank you again for speaking up for women in this not-cool cult mentality of Calvary Chapel.

  203. Steve says:

    Jessica, I’m totally with you. Not sure they can fix this though or if they should even try. The way I am seeing this now is a tree with rotten fruit that eventually needs to die and rot away. You can’t fix a weed that has grown out of control and turn it into a beautiful orchid. It doesn’t work that way. A good tree bares good fruit and a bad tree bares rotten fruit.

    Unfortunately, CCA has looked at numbers and size and metrics but they miss the mark in not seeing that their root is faulty and the fruit of the Spirit missing. They can preach about it all they want and they can use clever stories and sound sincere but the root will never be addressed without a complete do over. I don’t see how you salvage this mess and I don’t know who would want to.

  204. Anon says:

    Becky, The part of your comment about the fruit of the spirit is so helpful! Thank you for bringing it up.
    It is sad that your home pastor/2nd dad did not listen to your concerns. At church was he a man like Mike? Did he treat people like him? In his 2nd dad-ness to you did you see him treat people in his personal life like Mike? I can’t grasp how a “father” could ignore his “daughter’s” warnings unless you were showing him his own similar sin.

  205. Jessica says:

    To Midwife snd Steve, thanks for the input and Steve yr sadly probably right. I could walk away from this topic of Calvary Chapel and b done but it haunts me bc I feel the inner church structure kind of deceptive w these beliefs and a lot of these are the root of abuse like PFM. For years I sat and heard during altar calls, we have no membership man, Jesus lives you, I am not even a member and I a pastor here, we just want you to b saved. I sat there thinking wow they don’t press people(for the most part they don’t) yet people give freely and generously this is amazing this is how a church should be. Then you find out not having a membership and not even an assistant pastor means One person over sees everything, controls everything and is not approachable. This pastor is anointed or appointed by God and only answers to Him. And I read myself Chuck Smith protocol for assistant pastor if a issue arises, the last thing to do for the asst. pastor if resolution can not be found with his head pastor, leave quietly and do not speak to anyone about the issue bc it is considered gossip. It is s real deep underlining problem that contributes to possible abuse and has no accountability.

  206. Steve says:

    Jessica, I used to be so negative about membership but I’ve done a 180 degree reversal in my thinking over the years. Also I’m convinced that the most healthy church polity is a hybrid between an elder led and congregational rule. It may not be the most efficient but it helps to hold people accountable. A purely elder led is dangerous in that it can become a good ole boys club with no checks and balances from congregation. I’ve seen that happen. A purely congregational polity can result in chaos. And we all know what can happen in the local pope or CC model.

  207. JM says:

    Jessica, I can’t thank you enough for your posting @ 5:11. Well done.

  208. Kay Kuran says:

    As others have said, thank you so much Michael <3 Your support has meant the world for us and we couldn't have done any of this without you.

  209. Eric Schulken says:

    Finally,
    After all of these years of doubt, self-reflection, and reconditioning, validation is carried to those of us who were directly afflicted and affected by the “discipleship” that took place on that mountain top in Olney, Montana.
    Thank you for your reporting of this. I just found out today by a trusted friend an brother who too was a recipient of the abuses of PFM.
    Respectfully,
    Eric Schulken:
    I am one of the original 12 from the first graduating class of Potter’s Field Ranch.

  210. Shannon says:

    I’m a parent and long time attender of CC who experienced spiritual abuse because of our lack of support for PF. Students returning from PF were in turn abusing our youth and their peers. I have a hard time writing about it since it still hurts deeply.

    We have family who were on staff with GFA that we watched walk through the painful Diaspora process and healing. Because of their experience, our red flag senses were on high when our CC started sending students (as young as 16) to Potter’s Field. We spoke with our youth direct to let him know the flags we saw and that we wouldn’t be comfortable sending our children to PF, so ‘please be careful how to you ‘talk it up with the kids’. We shared with him the mess of GFA and the flags to be watching for and he essentially ignored us, “PF is nothing like GFA.”

    In early spring, we had three male students return from PF – two were on the field in Africa, one in Guatemala. To finish their internship process, they asked if they could run a kids club at the church through the summer. They invited the youth kids to help them run it, but after the first meeting, my daughter came home in tears and shaking. They were told that they didn’t have to volunteer to help them this summer, but if they really wanted to grow as Christians they would. If you choose not to, you’re choosing to not grow. They were also told that they would have to ‘obey instantly’ to what they were asked to do. This was guised as being ‘fully intentional’ in your ministry work. To make matters worse, our youth leader wasn’t in the meeting. There was no oversight (that we could see) as to what was happening.

    We immediately called the youth pastor to let him know what our daughter had experienced and he was apologetic and said he’d speak to the student leaders. A week later he told me, “they answered my questions about spiritual authority exactly as you would expect. I don’t think there’s a problem.” We hesitantly aloud two of kids to volunteer, but one in particular came home upset week after week. She said she felt like she was always being watched and was never good enough.

    Since we weren’t getting anywhere with the youth pastor, we met with our pastor and told him what we were experiencing. He was quiet and said, “I had no idea this was going on.” I told him I thought it would be wise to gather all the youth together and explain what proper spiritual authority looks like – servant leadership. And it would probably be good to talk to the PF kids about their leadership. They were lording authority over the others, which isn’t good, Biblical or healthy. We again talked about the correlation to GFA, which he quickly blew off.

    We decided to pull our kids out of the youth program until the authority issue was cleared up. THREE months went by and nothing. . . finally, a parent meeting with the youth leader where he told us that kids were not expected to ‘obey their leaders like they would their parents (which they had been told)’ and that we just need to move forward. I asked again, “are you ever going to talk to the youth about proper spiritual authority?” No clear answer. By this time a few families were about to leave over the issue and the pastor must have gotten wind of it, so we had another parent meeting, but this time with the pastor and his wife and one student from PF. I was told in the meeting that I was the one who caused confusion since I didn’t go directly to the student causing my kids pain – I should have gone directly to him and not to the youth pastor. Apparently, according to them, that was the cause of the problem. All the other parents sheepishly spoke up saying, “I don’t think I would be comfortable going to someone else’s kid – we would go to the youth pastor.” We were then made to feel bad for even considering ‘leaving the family’. After all, family doesn’t just leave family. Nothing really came from the meeting other than, ‘we’re moving on’, but the real issue of abused spiritual authority was never addressed.

    For the past year, I had been teaching the youth girls through Romans & Hebrews, but had stopped due to the ‘Kid’s Club’ over the summer and then pulling our kids out of the youth. Parents in the meeting were asking me if I’d teach again, but as I looked toward our pastor, he didn’t give any indication he was okay with it.

    Within two days, my husband and I found ourselves in a closed door meeting with our pastor where he laid out his reasons for why he ‘doesn’t trust me with women in the church’. The reasons ranged from, ‘you talk too much in BS’ to ‘ you obviously have spiritual authority issues’. It came up that I had never asked his wife to disciple me and going forward, they suggest I be discipled by their daughter, who is very soft spoken. Essentially, I need to brought into humble submission. My husband is livid at this point. ‘So, your hail mary is for her to be discipled by your daughter?’. Things I had shared in the women’s BS were brought up, which I could hardly believe. I thought BS was a place where you could share without it being ‘held against you’ and how did our pastor know what I was saying in a women’s BS? I can’t tell you how fast I ran out of the building and I will NEVER EVER go back! I got in our car and stared hyper ventilating.

    A few days later we receive an email from the pastor’s wife where she laid out how dangerous I am for discipling young believers in our church – I’m a cancer cell that goes off on its own and other’s will follow. But then, a few days later she sent another email not apologizing, but saying she doesn’t like that side of herself and she just wants to ‘start over’ with me. What?! How do I do that? Especially since she wasn’t sorry for what she called me.

    We had to cut all ties with the church expect for a few key families who knew what we were enduring. Even now that it’s come out that PF is a cult, we haven’t heard anything from the church. I suppose we shouldn’t expect it, but I’ve had to face the reality of spiritual abuse and the authority issues at CC – once you go beyond the veil as we did. I was the kid abused in the back bedroom that no one saw, so no one wants to believe it happened.

    There’s no one above our pastor to go to share our story. There’s no accountability. The church has two elders – the youth pastor and associate pastor.

    For those who are coming out of PF, I highly recommend reading “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse’ by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen. It has been healing, but I admit, it will be a long time before I feel ready to open my heart to the church body again. We’ve found a wonderful church, but it will take time for me. . . and my kids. They are also facing the pain of abuse.

  211. Steve says:

    Shannon, wow just wow,

    You demonstrate the generational affect abuse has. I’m raising a 3 year old daughter and I don’t want her near this kind of stuff when she grows older.

  212. JM says:

    It seems that CC and PFM are inextricably intertwined and belie a whole host of sinful problems in both camps. What you describe, Shannon, is essentially what happened to us in one CC we attended. The problem that was complained about only got worse until many parties suffered and we were the ones shown the door after some false accusations. Friends and family who were part of that church did not believe us, betrayed us and stayed. Even when things blew up–no one came back to say we were right. To this day, we have many friends and family members who have moved on to other CC’s for cause, but still remain within the system mesmerized by whatever “aura” seems attached to CC. Their actions defy rational thinking. It would appear they have drunk some kind of “spiritual kool-aid”. Interesting that, in discussions of cult or cult-like behavior, the increasing irrational thinking of the members comes up.

  213. chris24eph says:

    My name is Christopher Roberts. I found myself at Potter’s Field Ranch from 2011 to 2013. I was there at the end of the discipleship school and the beginning of IGNITE.

    First of all, I’ve read through every single comment and available journalistic piece. The thing about this whole issue is that it’s very personal for each one of us. If it wasn’t for an old friend reaching out to me via Instagram, I’d likely not have even heard of any of this. Some of the names I recognise: “Ren”, Eric Schulken, Paige, Tanner, Ashley, Jaymi, Jacob Hawk. There’s probably more that I know, and who know me. This hurts for many of us. I know your stories – as I was involved with many. I found myself quickly involved with PFM and was let down many times by empty promises. I suffered neglect. Was rebuked often and asked to do questionable things in the name of the ministry. I was involved in vanity projects, indulging in spoiled, celebrity pastors visiting the ranch. Many of them touted as “good and gracious servants of Christ”. Any of these senior pastors were given celebrity treatment at the expense of “dedicated” interns and staff. Overworked is a term I’ve seen throughout these testimonies and it’s true. Abuse was rife in all it’s forms and flavours. As most will know, those who are “staff” or “staff-interns” were asked to wear many hats – and it often resulted in doing weird jobs or working long hours – especially when these pastors were visiting. And it didn’t change when we were in El Salvador. Visiting teams often required us to work endlessly to make sure they got everything they wanted. We all, at whatever level, were asked to do unreasonable things. Along the way, hearts were harmed. Spirits brought low. And has brought years of doubt and suffering. But I forgive it all. Not in the name of Christ or Christianity, as I no longer wear that badge…but as fellow humans. I could list the wrongs done to me by PFM…but it would fill a book. I could list the wrongs I did to others at PFM…and again that would fill a book. I have carried years of shame, doubt, and hurt. And for most of it, I’ve hid away afraid to face the truth of the matter- which is that I should just forgive and accept that I’ve done wrong and hope to reconcile and move on. But along with all this hurt and shame, I cannot deny the truth, that I grew as a person. It came at great sacrifice. I saw many other lives touched by PFM. That’s a hard truth to swallow- but it’s undeniable. It doesn’t undo the injustice and pain inflicted. But it does show that, should “God” exist, his providence and purpose will always supersede that of man and that ultimately that will be done, not mans. We are not perfect. And always a work in progress. While Mike and I had our differences, he never claimed to be a finished product. The grace and forgiveness that many benefit from as Christians or not, extend that to your “Judas”.

    To Jacob Hawk – I feel for you and I’m sorry for the struggle you suffered. You mentioned that you had no idea how internet was accessed and monitored- that was me. As a network engineer, not only was I tasked to rebuild their PFM’s network topology at the Ranch, but I was tasked with monitoring their firewall, web access and performing upgrades. Occasionally, when suspicion was raised, they asked for a verbal report. I am sorry to you, and to Danielle and wish you both a happy future in your marriage 🙂

    “Ren”…..I cannot even begin to express my deepest apologies to you and your family. But I ask your forgiveness. I behaved in ways that did not reflect the nature of our work nor who we claimed to be – servants and help. I can’t excuse it, but I can say that my mental health wasn’t in the best of shape. Bipolar Disorder, when unmedicated can show impulsive and unpredictable behaviour. Again, it doesn’t excuse it, but perhaps it might explain some of me. You and your family showed me patience and love time and again…and I took that for granted. I wish you and your wonderful family all the best.

    To all- I urge you to forgive. There is much in the way of pain. Overcoming abuse begins with forgiveness. Trust me, from someone who has suffered much abuse in life…if you can forgive and live on, you will feel better.

    For those who remember Jim Randall…will know what forgiveness is and will know how to show love even in the most difficult of times. Jim was that example of Christ. Jim didn’t try to justify the wrongs of people or point the finger. Jim simply showed love…though at times I got a knock on the head to shake me out of silly thought. 🙂

    My love to you all. Let your healing begin.

    To those who wish to reach me: chrismroberts@pm.me

  214. Barb says:

    I have just completed reading all the comments and related articles. As I personally know most of you, my heart is grieving.
    My husband and I have been volunteers and supporters of this ministry for seven years. Until June 3 of this year I was unaware of the depth and severity of what has transpired over the years. I knew there were issues… I have to go through my own turmoil and journey of not seeing the signs for what was really happening. I want to publicly apologize to all of you who know us for our not having my eyes opened sooner. From the bottom of our hearts please forgive me.
    In December 2018 my dear sweet friend who I loved with all my heart and her husband left in the middle of the night. (This is where I beat myself up. Why didn’t I question this more. It happened so many times. These kinds of departures happened so many times, and were either never discussed or lied about. We were given another story or we never even knew they left. When we asked where the individuals were we were told a different version of the truth.)
    In January of this year when the Calvary association began to take a stand against the Rozell’s I began to pray constantly. It was as if I couldn’t stop praying about this. The burden was so heavy on my heart. I began to pray for truth to be revealed. I prayed for six months like this. I would wake up in the middle of the night and very early, praying, and continuing all day long.
    It was on June 3 when I met with a brave and courageous young couple who stepped forward and this honorable, noble young man stood up to the Rozells and had the courage to tell the truth openly and without malice.
    They had become very dear to us and when they shared the truth I knew that God was answering my prayer.

    I would like to share the letter I wrote to mike.

    June 25, 2019

    Dear Michael,

    It is with a heavy heart that this letter is written. You know that we have given our heart and soul to this ministry. Nearly seven years ago in July, we came to Montana and we were so thrilled to be a part of PFM. We gave whatever monies God had provided through the years to support the ministry. We gave our time, we opened our home always, and we did it all with loving hearts.

    Through the years we have seen several things of concern, but we always gave grace. We knew there were issues, and yet we continued to stand by you and Pam. There were good things that we saw and experienced with PFM.

    In January, when accusations were made against you we defended you. We defended you and Pam even to some others that we had loved and had good friendships with.

    You know that I had been praying and praying night and day. I told you this many times. I often woke up in the middle of the night praying. I kept praying for truth to be revealed, and I honestly thought it would be in your favor.

    When I got the call on Monday, June 3, I had just been praying for 45 minutes. My heart was heavy. Again, I prayed for truth to be revealed. Dave told me that Kendra and Derek were leaving. We had developed a close friendship with them. They have proven themselves to be persons of great character and integrity, and I trust them completely. I called Kendra and asked her why and she said, “Do you really want to know?” We went and sat with them that evening and we were shocked by what we heard.

    I felt compelled to do my own investigation, for two reasons. I did not want to accept heresay, but find out for myself. Also, I was a teacher for over 20 years, and I took an oath. If I suspected abuse, I would act on it. That oath is still a part of who I am.

    I did not call the McClures, as you would suspect. I began to call people that had left and we never heard from them again and I began to hear the same story over and over. The recurring words were “fear”, “manipulation” and “control. ” Since June 3, I have personally spoken to more than 20 former interns [many, many more by now] and I only asked them why they left. I did not try to get them to say anything. I have to tell you that there were many days that I was trembling and physically ill from what I heard.
    We have also spoken to pastors whom we trust who have had former interns who have acknowledged that there were similar wrongdoings, but they were afraid to come forward. There are more than a dozen interns in this category.

    This is not not even counting other adults who have had bad dealings. I heard that without going to anyone. Regarding my friend ——-; you told her in a meeting [ in December 2018] where my husband was present, along with pastor m that you would help her by paying her $1000 a month in exchange for her creating the website and using her creative talents. As of this day, she has not been paid for her last month, and she worked many more hours than agreed upon. How could you treat a hurting woman like that?

    Based upon overwhelming evidence we have made our own conclusions. You have wounded your sheep.
    “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;”
    1 Peter 5:2-3 – NKJV

    You have not displayed, nor do you continue to display the characteristics of a godly leader. Despite the good things from your ministry, there are too many issues. You have cheated these young people financially, under the guise of ministry. You have misrepresented the Gospel in a myriad of ways to vulnerable young souls looking for water in a dry and thirsty world. You have been dishonest with Dave and me repeatedly.

    At first I was very angry, but I have come to feel sorry for you. Yes, we are all sinners, but you are called to a higher calling as a “pastor.” This is even more defined as you are responsible for young people, many just new in the faith. Are you aware of how many you have wounded? Some don’t go to church, some have trouble reading the Bible, and those that still trust our Saviour are struggling with the things they have experienced, seen, or the false doctrines you have shown them, either by direct words or your behavior.

    As a result, we can no longer be a part of the ministry or church. It breaks our hearts because we have spent the last seven years of our lives there.
    We love and care deeply so very much for everyone there, but I am quite certain that no one will contact us as you tell them we are “trashing the ministry.” How do I know this? Because we have seen and heard this time after time through the years.

    By the way, as I came to my own conclusion, so did —. I did not share things with him, but we allowed him to seek God, and The Holy Spirit gave him his own discernment. He knew things weren’t right, but he wanted so badly to go into the Ignite program that he was willing to overloook. But after speaking to you in your office on June 12, he made his own decision.

    In conclusion, we have experienced lies, deception and cover up, and these have continued long after January 2019. They continued until our last conversation.

    We cannot be a part of or support a ministry where such things are happening.
    Absolutely CANNOT.
    You are not the man we thought you were.

    Our hearts are breaking over this. We will pray for healing for you.

    Again, my intention in sharing this is to humbly ask forgiveness from so many of you that have been deeply affected by the spiritual and emotional abuse. We know that Pastor Jim Randall and Patti and so many others were oblivious, as were we, to the horrific treatment that went on behind closed doors. I try not to dwell on regrets in my life, but this is a tough one. Believe me, if only I could go back and do things differently, and SEE things differently…

    As for those of you from the outside, please be careful not to judge so severely. Listen to all theses accounts of seriously wounded individuals. And I know personally many more who still are afraid to speak out. Many more. I ask you not to be so harsh with your criticisms of who should have done more. We were all lied to, deceived and manipulated. There was a great deal of good, godly people who were associated and involved. Now that I look back, they were all used to promote and to strengthen the facade. I dearly love every staff member, and I can’t imagine what they are going through. These are wonderful, caring, loving people who unfortunately fell under ungodly, twisted leadership. My heart grieves deeply for them. We love them, too, but I’m not sure they feel the same since we left. I hope one day they will realize that it was never them we were against, but the two who caused all this pain.

    Again, I ask forgiveness for not seeing this sooner or attempting to investigate sooner. I will pray for you all every day, and we love you as we always have, only now with a deeper sense of concern and care. Please feel free to reach out to me if there’s anything I can do, or just to talk.

  215. Roxann Gaudern says:

    Dear Eric
    I don’t know if you remember me, I’m Rachel and Priscilla’s mother. It’s been a long 15 years and am thankful that the Lord Jesus has brought this full circle. I’m a sorry for your pain as well. When we showed up to rescue our daughters, Mike was nowhere to be found and Chet did his dirty work for him. Rachel and Priscilla’s faith was shipwrecked. Like we said they tore them down and forgot to build them into soldiers. Our military would not be if this is how they trained. Not one CC minister in the NW here would do a thing. Not even our pastor from CS Colorado. Unbelievable to pay $10000 a head and be destroyed. Thank you for your comments. It’s been horrible to watch our daughters struggle. My husband of 34 years was stripped of his fatherhood when the CC minister in Sandpoint took the baton from him and married Rachel soon after PF. Devastated our family to it’s very core. Yes it’s all forgiven, but the marriage suffered much abuse fro ministers and so much “giving” to so many men’s empires and monuments to themselves. It’s so very traumatic that these monitors will not stand up and be men & stand for holiness. My husband left shipwrecked himself by supposed ministers and I’m sure anger & bitterness and unforgiveness.
    Rachel’s still struggling w who Christ really is but Priscilla is back wholeheartedly. Lots of devastation in her life because of PF and her father abandoning the faith and me. Jessica watched all of this and doesn’t want much to do w God. Aaron & Gabe continue to fight the fight of faith..
    I am still in MT holding on to Jesus and praying God will come through and help me to pick up the pieces of what’s become of my family.
    Went thru 8 years of the same abuse at Grace Sandpoint and Grace Sandpoint Bible College. Was pretty vulnerable when Gilbert left me penniless w . I can’t even # the amount of people destroyed by Ben Ortiz. I went to ALL the students and their parents and asked for forgiveness being involved w such wickedness and not being able to see it. It is epidemic not only in CC but the church worldwide. Praying one day God will expose this horrendous man centered Moses style leader up here as well. Way too many lives destroyed and they just keep keeping on at the expense of Gods little lambs. Shame on the people also (leadership) that are partakers in their evil. All I wanted to do was serve the younger generation and pass the baton faithfully to them. The destroyer is very cunning. Praying Eric you are made well by His resurrection power.
    Roxann Gaudern

  216. JM says:

    I Don’t know if this info is even useful, but it’s a link to a site called, “Charity Navigator” and they give a rating of Potter’s Field.
    https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=14092

  217. Laura says:

    Please investigate Ywam too!!. What you detailed in this article is the exact same experience I had with that cultish missionary organisation. They explote people to their own benefit and rob them and abuse them in the name of God. Please help people escape from them by exposing them as you did with this ministry. It’s unfair and outreagiuos they’re still doing this freely and without being accountable for their sin

  218. Jerod says:

    What is the whistleblower policy these folks signed on to? What was yours Laura, if you can remember?

  219. JM says:

    Laura,
    I give a link to an article on YWAM below. I was close to someone who lost a loved one to suicide after their involvement with this group. That was almost 40 years ago, so some things have been going on a long time. Don’t know what folks will think about all of the article, but it is quite exhaustive and helpful, nonetheless.
    http://letusreason.org/ecumen30.htm

  220. Jeff Bower says:

    Laura –

    YWAM has 1,100 ministry locations in 181 countries. Unfortunately, there is going to be some rouge leader in one or more of these places, but blanketing them and labeling the entire organization as abusive is sloppy, and quite frankly, slanderous. I was on staff with PFR for six years and endured the abuse of the Rozell’s, and currently, my son is serving in Australia at a YWAM base. We were, of course, paying attention to the leadership dynamics of his particular base; however, PFR / PFM was really just one tiny pebble in the ocean of ministry.

    It is tragic for any group to have a leader that gloats in his or her authority and lords it over others, and sadly, this happens from the Baptists and Presbyterians to the AOG’s and every non-profit group in between. I’ll even say that although I disaffiliated with Calvary Chapel years ago as a local pastor, and joined another network, people should know that there are hundreds of really great Calvary Chapel churches around the world. I’ve met dozens of pastors who are sincere and love their people and who would never look to abuse the role of authority. Their particular form of government may lend to more rouge leadership, but that never means all men fall prey to this temptation, just like not all 1,100 YWAM bases have weirdo’s running the show.

    Case by case, man by man, examine the fruit. The most freeing thing a Christian can study is church history. We’ve all been nothing but knuckleheads since Jesus went back to heaven.

  221. JM says:

    Jeff,

    One has to ask, if Calvary Chapel was so good–why did you disaffiliate?

    Secondly-if these other CC pastors are so “good”, then have they used their voices to publicly object to the sin and abuse of these “few bad apples” in their own camp? Where unrepentance exists among elders–they are to be publicly rebuked so that all may fear. Haven’t seen it. A lot of people go unwarned into bad churches because cowards stay silent.

    Thirdly-there aren’t just a “few bad apples”. There are many. You, obviously haven’t taken the time to peruse this site.

    Lastly, YWAM is bad news. It is run by people who ascribe to the “Seven Mountains” heresy. They are Dominionists. If you do not know what any of that is–you suck at protecting your own flock and you should be ashamed at being so uninformed.

    Go back to your happy denial.

  222. Kate says:

    JM-
    You’re exactly right. It is not a coincidence that I read all of these stories of abuse from PFM interns and they mirror the same behaviors I witnessed at the CC I attended for 20 years. Down to the same phrases Mike Rozell used. As a matter of fact, I have a friend that went in for marriage counseling with The Rozell’s when they visited our church several years ago . The pastor sat in on this “counseling session”and heard every word. Mike asked them same extremely inappropriate questions about masturbation. Calvary Chapel is where this started. If the head is sick, the whole body suffers. It’s hard to make any accusation against CC because they say the same thing Mike Rozell did. They’re the “Lord’s Annointed”. Sorry, but Calvary Chapel is a business. They have destroyed countless families and they will have to answer for that, the same as the business of PFM.

  223. Jeff Bower says:

    JM

    Well, thanks for publically calling me out after I tried to be gracious.

    I disaffiliated because 1) we were looking to connect with a network of churches that had a stronger presence in our specific location. We were too far from other Calvary’s and didn’t have a sense of comradery with other pastors. 2) we didn’t care for the exclusivity of certain doctrines most Calvary’s tend to adhere to (Arminian theology / pre-trib rapture). Even though I quite frankly don’t care if a person ascribes to either of those, we just didn’t want to hold debatable doctrines as hills to die on. 3) we saw some of the abuses of the Moses model of government and wanted to operate under bi-laws that subscribed to an Elder led model.

    Maybe your ministry is to call out all the bad apples. There are always people like that in every church; and without intending to compliment you, that’s one of the reasons I gave up vocational ministry after 20 years. The world is going to Hell and the church is often occupied with throwing mud at each other.

    I have “perused” the site, and it makes me sad. I lived this thing, having attended CC Fort Lauderdale since 1995 and I helped start the School of Discipleship at Potter’s Field Ranch in 2003 and subsequently lived with legitimate PTSD for years after being unjustly fired in 2008.

    In regards to YWAM, you’re probably much smarter than me. All I know is that a bunch of young adults that love Jesus and want to read the bible, pray, worship, and serve people in Australia and Papua New Guinea went to Townsville, Australia and it seemed like a better place for my son to go than a secular college campus directly after high school. Will he come back indoctrinated with the Seven Mountains heresy? I guess that’s a chance we’ll have to take.

    Refer back to my comment in the prior thread. I took four separate classes on church history en route to my MA in Christian and Classical Studies and the biggest takeaway was the fact that we are all quoting dead guys of whom inevitably we don’t agree with 100%. Nobody has it right now, and nobody has since the canon closed. Not you, not Chuck, not Luther, not Augustine, not Aquinas, not Calvin, not Wesley, etc.

    Maybe I should feel ashamed as you state, but in all honesty, I have other things to worry about and probably plenty more I can feel stupid about. Sending my kid to YWAM isn’t one of them. Maybe you can reveal your true identity and not hide behind your initials and become my tutor, lord knows I could use some help being a better Christian, and you seem to be really good at it.

  224. Charity Manwaring says:

    I KNOW Pam is pure of ❤. MAYBE, disillusioned and scammed by Michael. But I KNOW HER HEART…AND IT IS PURE IN HIS NAME .💕

  225. Michael says:

    Participating in the systematic abuse of young people makes her the opposite of pure in heart.
    These people are evil.

  226. Em says:

    If the woman, Pam, described here is pure in heart, then she has serious mental problems…

  227. JM says:

    This site has a wealth of info on abusive churches: http://www.spiritualabuse.org/articles/characteristics.html

  228. Clear eyes full hearts says:

    JM-
    This is EXACTLY the way the Calvary Chapel I attended conducted themselves. One thing I would add on that post, though-
    “Abusive churches, if presented with this very evidence, or any evidence to give credence to their abusive tendencies, will immediately attempt to discredit the author”

    I saw time and time and time again the Calvary I attended wouldn’t listen to a second of a differing opinion as this would prove “persecution” from someone that had many “deep rooted” issues. Bitterness was/is often their supposed scapegoat. It’s truly maddening trying to talk to these people.

    Anyone have any sort of advice for someone in communication with someone still attending that would refute any and all evidence as “persecution”?

    Prayer is all I’ve got at this point. The Holy Spirit will figure them out.

  229. JM says:

    Clear Eyes: Jesus said that even if someone rose from the dead some will still not believe. He proved it when He rose from the dead. The people you are worried about are under a veil of sorts. Most cannot or will not see until something happens to them. Even then, like the abused wife syndrome–many still go back or defend the abusers. I know. We still have family who have considered us heretics and are still trapped inside this entity. They are inebriated on the CC Kool-aid. Those that have studied the unclean spiritual aspects of this phenomena inside of religious bodies have a lot to say, but that’s for another day. Suffice to say, your prayers are precious and are not in vain. Many times I have seen these prayers turn around and bless those praying in some special way. I wouldn’t quit. May God bless you for your heart.

  230. Clear eyes full hearts says:

    JM
    Thanks for the response. I also have family members still very involved. In fact, it’s taken over every aspect of their lives. Any info you have on those that have studied this would be much appreciated.

  231. JM says:

    Clear Eyes,

    I would have to see if I can find active links to some things I referenced. However, if you were to do searches of “Spiritual Abuse”, “Cults”, “Pastoral Abuse”, “Narcissistic Leaders” and other terms that have been featured in people’s posts here, I believe you could come up with quite a bit of information that would help.

    I will say that, when I did research on Chuck Smith’s spiritual journey before and in the beginning of Calvary Chapel, what I found was disturbing. Chuck was the campaign manager of a false prophet named, Paul Cain, before he took the reigns of Calvary Chapel. Paul Cain has been described as possessed of a familiar spirit because of the supernatural phenomena that accompanied his crusades. (Such as the interruption of electrical fields.) Subsequent to that, and after CC was in full swing in the 60’s/70’s, Chuck was enamored of a false prophetess named, Kathryn Kuhlman, who was known to have been sexually immoral. There is video footage of Chuck Smith and his protege’, Lonnie Frisbee on stage with Kuhlman. Lonnie Frisbee was “gifted” supernaturally with passing on a certain “anointing” and taught freely at Calvary Chapel for many years while simultaneously practicing homosexuality. There is a lot of controversy about how to view Frisbee, but suffice to say, Chuck wasn’t the most discerning person because he had a leavened view of spiritual gifts. That left him open to some bad choices.

    Our host at this blog has posted a rather thorough treatment of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel. I would recommend you do a search of this site under, “Calvary Chronicles”. You should find it eye-opening.

    Hope this helps. May God send you encouragement.

  232. Clear eyes full hearts says:

    JM-
    Thanks so much for the very interesting information. Can’t say I’m surprised at all. It’s truly astounding that people have such a wealth of knowledge about how corrupt it is, yet turn a blind eye to it. Thanks for the encouragement and I will pray for your family!

  233. JM says:

    Thank you, Clear eyes.

  234. Anonymous says:

    This seems very similar to that experienced by Pastor Chet Lowe, Patmos and those working under him at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. He had much respect for Potters Field and was a disciple of their ministry. We experienced the abuse, long work hours, mandatory volunteer time, using scripture to force “compliance”, trying to control our marriage/family, and then the excess control and crazy threats once we said we wanted to leave.

  235. Dawn Panier says:

    😱 wow, your sins will find you out.

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