Devastating Open Letter To Mike Rozell From Former Associate
We publish this as a news report.
Date: March 10, 2020
To: Mike Rozelle
From: Craig Linquist
Re: An Open Letter to Mike Rozelle and Potter’s Field Ministries
I’m writing this letter as a pastor, on behalf of Godspeak Calvary Chapel, the church and children of Calvary Chapel Entebbe, as well as other churches whom Potter’s Field Ministries (PFM) sponsored in Africa. Additionally, I’m writing on behalf of the many former Ignite Interns and PFM staff who have reached out to Loren and I, spiritually derailed and deeply wounded by what happened to them at PFM, confused at how this whole matter was handled, and bewildered by the eventual outcome. Recent communications from PFM now make us aware of the continuation of Mudman Burgers as a “for profit business” which promises to donate .50 cents for every burger sold to a child in need, and ask us to rejoice (and keep sponsoring) in the victories of the PFM program in Guatemala and Cambodia, as well as up and coming programs in Uganda and other African countries. It is these communications, and the countless phone calls and messages of concern and outrage from former Ignite interns and staff, that have prompted me to write. As this is an open letter, for the sake of these others who are also reading this letter, I begin by including some background and details. My prayer is that this letter, which I know is long and I apologize for that, brings a level of clarity to those who have been confused about the PFM saga, as well facilitate closure to this difficult chapter for those who have been manipulated, deceived, and/or hurt.
First of all, some context. Mike, I remember one of the first conversations I had with you in January of 2019, just after Pst. Don McClure’s abrupt departure from PFM. I too was shocked and confused at this turn of events, but after talking to Pst. Don and yourself, I was clear with you; “Mike, this is huge. The best thing you can do is get ahead of it, own the sin, be transparent with your sponsors about what happened, and tell the sponsors what you as an organization are going to do about it”. You acknowledged there was much you did wrong, but told me that the danger of opening yourself up to liability prevented you from being too transparent, and you would continue to complain about what Don and the CCA did wrong, and that you felt they did not adhere to Matthew 18 in how they dealt with you.
While I came to know that they did confront you biblically over the course of many years, I can speak for myself, Godspeak Calvary Chapel and Pst. Rob McCoy, that to the best of our ability, we also did. I came to PFM (myself twice with Mike McClure), we heard your side of the story, we talked extensively to your staff, we talked and listened to most of the accusers and again confronted you with those same accusations and listened to your explanation. The outcome was ultimately an email letter I wrote to you on May 25, 2019, (copied in full at the end of this letter), in which I told you that unless you (Mike Rozell) stepped down from leading the ministry, and were transparent as an organization with your sponsors about what you had done, I could no longer partner with Potter’s Field Ministries.
We had a conversation a few days later in which you rejected every admonishment and advice I gave you, and told me “We are moving on”. Pst. Rob, who also struggled with how the whole issue was handled, stepped in as CEO of the Potter’s Field Board, and spent even more church resources and personal time with you over many months, trying to help you through repentance that would lead to reconciliation and eventual restoration. Rob’s intervention did not save the ministry, but brought hope that the sponsorship program could be saved in a new program administered with greater transparency and honesty under the name of “Godspeak Missions”. In time, Pst. Rob also came to see your insincerity and lack of desire to truly repent, and in frustration with you and the direction PFM was taking, ultimately stepped off the board. Our final appeal to you, in November of 2019, in a phone call with Pst. Tony and Pst. Micah, to allow Godspeak Missions to contact those sponsors of children in Uganda and Kenya, specifically the children at Calvary Chapel Entebbe and Calvary Chapel Ongata Rongai, and make them aware of a new sponsorship program we were attempting to start so as to continue help for these children, you outrightly rejected.
All of this brings me to the present and the reason I’m wading back into this issue: to confront you on your lies, and warn others of the man you are. Upon returning to the United States from a recent trip to Uganda, I received the letter sent by the board of directors of PFM to the supporters of Potters Field Ministries which portrays a version of events that is patently not true. In the letter, after reporting a testimony of Jackie and how her life was transformed by the ministry of PFM, you report in glowing terms and impressive numbers all the wonderful things God has done through PFM in Kenya, Uganda, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Congo, and the United States over the years. You then write“Every one of these numbers represents a child, and each one of these precious children are made in the image of God and loved by him. We are so blessed to be able to help them meet Jesus and grow in their faith with consistent meals served, supplemental education, sports and music programs, and the building up the local church… In 2019, twelve young adults graduated from our Ignite Uganda program in Entebbe, with specialized training in areas like nursery education, hair dressing, tailoring, motor vehicle mechanics, and electrical installation, giving them great opportunity for their futures. After many years helping to establish and grow our program in Entebbe, Uganda, we passed the program over to Calvary Chapel Entebbe. We were blessed to have been a partner with a ministry that is now sustainable and continuing on”.
This letter, (also an attachment to this letter) which serves as a “reboot” of PFM and intends to quell any fears PFM supporters might have, is so disingenuous! The reality on the ground cannot be more starkly different! I have recently been in Uganda, most of that time at Calvary Chapel Entebbe. In those three weeks, I was largely talking to pastors and staff, teachers and children, and attempting to find a solution for the Calvary Chapel Entebbe kids, school, and child sponsorship programs, which Loren and I started in 2007, but had had been being supported through the Potter’s Field Kids program starting in 2010. The school, Calvary Chapel Christian School, which was subsidized by PFM, is in a funding crisis and may or may not be able to continue. The 60 students that were being sponsored currently have no sponsor. The church is struggling in the aftermath of two years in which the relationship with PFM was fractured, dysfunctional, and lacked trust. The funding was abruptly stopped in October of 2019, when the last of the PFM missionaries left, without so much as notifying the pastor of the church that there would be no more funding! Rumors are rife as to how all this happened, blame settling on the pastor, and many have left the church. The church is also going through a crisis! Let me be clear, I’m not placing the blame entirely on PFM, nor is the church or school PFM’s responsibility. However, PFM’s ill advised and culturally inappropriate actions had a huge negative effect on the church.
For instance, inexperienced and culturally insensitive staff were sent by you to “spy” on the church and pastor, poisoning the local staff against the pastor and creating mistrust between the pastor and PFM. Your threatening and frankly demeaning and racist language and gestures in meetings with the local pastors and staff, myself as witness, was what I witnessed of what must have been your regular behavior towards the interns. These facts aside, my real issue is this. For you and the board of PFM (same thing), a supposed Christian ministry with the heart of “transforming lives forever”, to write a letter like this to all your supporters, on the heels of all that has happened in your ministry in the last year; misrepresenting the facts, embellishing the details, and making dishonest claims, and most importantly, neglecting to publicly and sincerely repent and ask forgiveness of the many you have sinned against, IS WRONG. It is an obvious effort to paint a “rosy” picture to settle the hearts of supporters, maintain their loyalty, and keep the support dollars flowing in! You are blatantly and dishonestly using the church to promote your agenda! This letter honestly makes me sick, and reinforces suspicions and concerns I have had with PFM for many years. Mike, so much of what you do is “show”, meant to sell and impress, and so many of your claims are embellished and not true. This was, and continues to be Mike and Pam Rozell’s MO. To you, money, fame, and influence prove God’s blessing, regardless of how it is achieved, and you fail to see how compromised you have become.
You write in your letter “In the 4th quarter of 2019, the Potter’s Field board brought in an independent CPA firm to audit our finances working in partnership with an outside church ministry (Godspeak Calvary Chapel). We are pleased to report back to you that everything was reported positively, and there have been no improper accounting of assets and liabilities over the past 5 years.” I’m speechless at yet again, your distortion of the facts. Yes, you did have an audit which did include oversight from Godspeak Calvary Chapel. I’m told the audit firm gave you a pass on the account information provided. But did you care to listen to the cautions or see the red flags that were raised? No! I am aware of the amount of money generated through sponsorship from 2014 onwards. On average $120,000/month, sometimes less, sometimes more. I’m aware of the amount of money that ended up in Entebbe, $4,300/month, as well as in the various other programs you helped, generously a total of $30,000/month for all five to six country programs PFM was involved with combined, some of which was for the Ignite students upkeep and travel. That is 25%. I guess the rest (roughly 75%) must have been spent on other aspects of PFM’s “mission”, Mudman, the horse ranch and indoor arena, the Ignite program, travel expenses, and untold number of real estate properties and ventures? All of it cleverly labeled “part of the mission” of PFM and therefore a legal expenditure of the proceeds of the sponsorship program. I wonder, did the sponsors of “Evon” and “Bright” and “Joan”, and “Thierre”, children in Entebbe, know that much, if not most of their sponsorship dollars were actually helping to build Mudman Restaurants, run an elite horse ranch, buy properties, and sponsor PFM staff and American millennials to travel around the world? Using the plight, pictures, and stories of poor African children to manipulate people to give, in order to build your ministry, buy yourself properties, build restaurants, and sponsor American youth is so wrong on every level. You say it is legal. That may be the case, but Mike, you were not, and are not, being transparent, nor is it right! I guarantee that most of your supporters don’t know that this is what they signed up for! Ask them!
Speaking of American millennials, the Ignites, where are they in all of this? The Ignite program was the flagship of your program and I don’t deny I saw fruit in it and was a spokesperson for it! Many of the young people who came to Uganda returned to the United States transformed. But, by your own doing, it derailed spectacularly. The line of PFM and Ignite casualties over the 20 years is long and the stories sordid, and the cause lies at your doorstep. Amazingly, you are emboldened to re-start the sponsorship ministry, write a reassuring and glowing letter to all your supporters, and even try and woo Ignite students back to work in your restaurant that you now are in the process of restarting, attempting to lie to convince them that it was you who was misrepresented, and that it is everyone else who is wrong. All the while failing to even acknowledge the hurt you caused, and that what you did was wrong. At no point in your letter do you mention the failings of what was one of the most important parts of the ministry, and at no point in the letter, or any other communication that I have seen to your supporters since, do you, or the board, (same thing) own up to any of the wrongs you have done in the past, nor the hurt you have caused many of the interns who have passed through your program. Still no repentance! What presumption! Have you ever actually done what your elders, Pst. Don, Pst. Joe, Pst. Rob asked you to do? What about your friends, myself, Pst. Mike McClure, Pst John Randall? Have you called and repented to Dawn Marie? Paula? Christian? Caitlyn? Julie? Nick? Jordan? Paige? Anna? Ashley? Ashton? Michelle? Zach? Josh? Christina? And the list of innumerable others hurt goes on! Have you reached out to Greg, John, David and Barb? Pst. Dave? …? Probably not. All of these people who were one time friends, supporters, and heroes, you, your wife or your staff have lied about, defamed, and dismissed as heretical, insubordinate, or outright demonic in mine or my wife’s hearing. We, the public, are simply told by you and your lawyers to “take all their complaints with a grain of salt”. I quote from what I wrote you in my letter on May 25.
As a pastor, which you are, there are standards of qualification, and you have disqualified yourself – You are a pastor over a church and a minister with influence over the globe. This is a high calling. You have been given GREAT privilege and access. And with that privilege comes greater responsibility and accountability. Scripture tells us that Judgment begins in the house of God. I Timothy 3 gives us qualifications of a minister. An elder is to be blameless, above reproach, able to rule his household well, of good reputation among other qualifications. Mike, by ANY reasonable standard, considering the burden of evidence against you, you have disqualified yourself on most of these counts from ministry. Damien Kyle said at the recent conference “Watch over your character and God will take care of your reputation.” The cloud that follows you is too large to ignore and the accusation too numerous to simply call “an attack of the enemy”, “spiritual warfare”, or “vengeful accusations of an enemy”. Any denominational pastor would surely be called to account and forced step down when presented with this great burden of evidence that you are faced with. Recently, our board confronted and removed a pastor from ministry for ONE such offense not so different from yours.
You claim to be a minister to youth and children, yet you have wounded the very ones you are ministering to – You are a minister to children and youth. They are your target ministry. Yet it is those very youth who are being hurt! Jesus said “it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and you be drowned in the deepest ocean than to cause one of these little ones to stumble”. Mike, whether in naiveté, or through negligence or the carelessness that comes through success, pride and no accountability, you have caused not one, not five, not 10, but more than 25… and counting, little ones to stumble…too many to disregard or excuse. And that is not counting the many broken and cast off relationships that are littering the PFM ministry trail over many years.
Men, women, young people lie wounded in your wake as casualties of your ministry. I would be one of those if not for my decision to “bear…believe…hope…endure” in love. Now, you may, and I know you do, have an explanation, context, or backstory for each of these, and again, taken individually, each might be excusable, but taken as a whole, in their entirety, they point to and prove an incontrovertible pattern that has been ongoing and unchecked in your life. It is a non sequitur that a man who is doing ministry should attract such controversy, confusion, carnage in his wake. This is not how the Holy Spirit works. Righteousness. Peace. Joy in the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Mike, you certainly have a right to continue on with life and I would not begrudge you, nor would I ever get in the way of your honest and transparent desire to pick up the pieces of life, to continue on, and finish well. However, I stood by for 9 years as a loyal “puppet” beholden to his benefactor, for that is what I was, dismissing or sweeping under the rug the many red flags I and others saw in you and your ministry because PFM brought help to needy children in Uganda. But when I see you continuing on in the same pattern you exhibited before, continuing to gloss over improprieties, manipulating, lying, distorting truths, disregard the hurts you caused to countless young people who are now spiritually confused, some derailed, and in all of this dividing the body of Christ, I won’t stand by.
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction. But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. Proverbs 13: 18
As of January 2020, we are starting a new effort to support the kids at Calvary Chapel Entebbe and other churches we have been partnering with, including works in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, and Sudan. I’m apprising you of this so we don’t run into the issue of “double sponsoring” children which you have always been so concerned with and fastidious about making sure can never happen.
Secondly, I want to make you aware that I will be sending out a letter through our network of sponsoring churches, supporters, and the CCA, explaining what has happened and how we are moving forward, inviting those that desire to be a part of this new work.
I’m sorry that our partnership of 9 years has ended like this.
Email written to Mike Rozell from Craig Linquist on May 25, 2019
I owe you a phone call, but this letter will serve as an outline for the conversation we must eventually have. First, know that Loren and I love you, and to the degree you allow us in your life as friends who have loved you through this ordeal, we will continue to be, as long as I continue to believe that both you and Pam are sincere in your love for the Lord. NO one is beyond the ability of God’s grace to forgive and reform. I know I am a flawed and defective man… but for the grace of God. However, in conversations with many godly men including and listening to the heart of Pst Joe and Don and other leaders, I have come to the conclusion that in aspects of my reasoning and thinking, I have been wrong, and in my position as pastor and visible involvement with CCA, I must take a clear stand on your actions and the ministry of PFM. The reasons that I have finally come to this conclusion are as follows:
1.While I know you complain that CCA and Don McClure didn’t handle you in strict accordance with Matt 18, and whether that happened or not, I am not educated to say. However, I can speak for myself, that to the best of my ability, I have. We came to PFM (myself twice), we heard your side of the story, we talked extensively to your staff, we listened to many of the accusers and again confronted you with those same accusations and listened to your explanation. The outcome that I think all can agree on is this.
- I acknowledge that there is context for many of the wrongs you find yourself accused of, and which if taken in isolation, on a case by case basis, could be explainable and forgivable.
- However, yourself would agree that there were many serious allegations, and much truth in the accusations that you needed to own, repent of, and seek reconciliation and reformation.Nonetheless, there are several salient and immutable truths that God’s word speaks to.
2• As a pastor, which you are, there are standards of qualification, and you have disqualified yourself – You are a pastor over a church and a minister with influence over the globe. This is a high calling. You have been given GREAT privilege and access. And with that privilege comes greater responsibility and accountability. Scripture tells us that Judgment begins in the house of God. I Timothy 3 gives us qualifications of a minister. An elder is to be blameless, above reproach, able to rule his household well, of good reputation among other qualifications. Mike, by ANY reasonable standard, considering the burden of evidence against you, you have disqualified yourself on most of these counts from ministry. Damien Kyle said at the recent conference “Watch over your character and God will take care of your reputation.” The cloud that follows you is too large to ignore and the accusation too numerous to simply call “an attack of the enemy”, “spiritual warfare”, or “vengeful accusations of an enemy”. Any denominational pastor would surely be called to account and forced step down when presented with this great burden of evidence that you are faced with. Recently, our board at Godspeak confronted and removed a pastor from ministry for ONE such offense not so different from yours.
- As a minister to youth and children, you have wounded the very ones you are ministering to – You are a minister to children and youth. They are your target ministry. Yet it is those very youth who are being hurt! Jesus said “it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and you be drowned in the deepest ocean than to cause one of these little ones to stumble”. Mike, whether in naiveté, or through negligence or the carelessness that comes through success, pride and no accountability, you have caused not one, not five, not 10, but more than 25… and counting, little ones to stumble…too many to disregard or excuse. And that is not counting the many broken and cast off relationships that are littering the PFM ministry trail over many years. Men, women, young people lie wounded in your wake as casualties of your ministry. I would be one of those if not for my decision to “bear…believe…hope…endure” in love. Now, you may, and I know you do, have an explanation, context, or backstory for each of these, and again, taken individually, each might be excusable, but taken as a whole, in their entirety, they point to and prove an incontrovertible pattern that has been ongoing and unchecked in your life. It is a non sequitur that a man who is doing ministry should attract such controversy, confusion, carnage in his wake. This is not how the Holy Spirit works. Righteousness. Peace. Joy in the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good- ness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
- The pattern continues even after your apparent repentance – Scripture tells us to bear the fruit worthy of repentance. Many of the wrongdoings have continued as patterns of behavior even after your public repentance. This was evident when I came up there in, among others, the case of Julie and Nick. Again, you posted pictures of myself and Mike McClure doing ministry there without my consent, and recently ran a full article on the PFM CCE relationship with pictures of my two sons in it. Again, not saying that there is no truth in what was written, but you know you are throwing fuel in the fire of this controversy…not the fruit of a man who is truly repentant.
3. While I love you and Pam, and I love the ministry and the Ignite program, and have seen wonderful fruit in all aspects of the ministry, I do understand Pst Joe’s, Don’s and CCA’s hearts and responsibility to protect the sheep. I know that CCA have valid and serious concerns with PFM, and that in my visible, though not sought after, position with CCA, I am not the right person to try and bring reform and reconciliation to the ministry at this point. Any involvement I have with PFM seems to further muddy the waters, brings confusion, and potentially will bring division within CCA. I certainly don’t want to be used of the enemy to sow discord. I don’t want to be associated with this kind of ministry, and I don’t want to expose others, children and youth, to this kind of ministry, regardless of the implications to me or my ministry.
4. This is not to discount everything you have done. I don’t deny God has used you and Pam and even in the midst of this, there are those who have benefited from your ministry.
I’m not walking away from you Mike, and believe me or not, Loren and I do love you. However there is something that trumps our relationship, and that is the responsibility to the sheep that we have and hold in our office as ministers of Christ. While I love you as a brother, I have to say I can no longer support you as a minister, nor can I support the ministry of PFM until such time that sincere, public, and biblical measures of repentance, reform, and reconciliation are taken by you and the ministry, and that we see the fruit of that repentance. This will include…
- You yourself stepping down from your position as pastor and leader of PFM, and installation of an interim pastor of the church and interim director of the ministry
- A bold and clear statement from the board to all your supporters concerning the wrongs that have been done and the measures being taken to rectify them. I actually told you to do this in January if you recall.
- A methodical attempt by yourself and PFM to understand the hurt and seek forgiveness from the many whom you have wounded over the years.
Of course this all has massive implications on myself and Pst Isaac and the ministry in Uganda and I honestly don’t have a back door to get out of this. We are trusting the Lord as we attempt to do the right thing.
In taking this stance, I and CCE must decline, and we do, any further financial ties and donations from PFM to the ministry. As of June 1st, please don’t send any further financial support for the ministry in Uganda. For clarity, and if you choose this route, (and I say this as a concession…to minimize collateral damage on the young people who are innocently involved)…
- PFM programs (kids club, ignite) may continue through the October completion date of the Ignite program.
- The PFM CDP sponsorship program can continue to accumulate funds, kept by PFM, so students currently enrolled can remain in school through the end of the academic year. This involves students in the church school, as well as students in other schools.
- All funds to run these program must be sent to and administered by PFM staff or personnel on the ground through PFM bank accounts. We no longer can have the church continuing to receive funds from PFM for church ministry.
- Funds sent to PFM from third parties to route to CCE will be contacted and if they desire, other channels of sending funds will be instituted.
- In October of 2019, I, along with others, are willing to sit with you, your board, and assess our relationship, the measures you have taken to right the wrongs, and decide on a way forward.
All of this, I write with a heavy, but hopeful, heart , knowing the bitterest of pills are taken for an important purpose, and when taken, they can accomplish the good that is un- achievable by other means. When humility, brokenness and the Holy Spirit are in the equation, nothing is impossible to God.
Blessings to you Craig