Monday, June 21, 2010

Making Rounds: Pathways My first "Mega-Church" experience!

Alright so I showed up to Pathways Church on Sunday Morning at 9:00am. I didn't exactly know what to expect other than maybe a mega-church experience. Their website: http://www.pathwayschurch.us/ is quite vague in description as to what exactly happens when you get there.

I was planning on going to both services except that all three of their services: Saturday, Sunday 9am and Sunday 10:30am are all exactly the same.

When I got there I was surprised that visitors get preferred parking. I didn't really like the idea but I figured I would get the raw experience and take advantage of all the "amenities".

When I walked in after being greeted by 2 members in yellow shirts at the door handing out the weeks bulletin, I found myself lost almost immediately. I don't know if that is due to my paradigm of a "typical" church and service or if the blame could be placed on the organization's efforts in trying "too hard". But never-the-less, I wanted to give them a chance.

To my left was a long reception desk and to my right was a Cafe of sorts that I think was handing out water and perhaps a light breakfast. I didn't approach the cafe simply out of lack of curiosity. I got the picture and I was fine with it.

So I walked up to the reception desk where there were more volunteers with yellow shirts on and noticed a sign that said, "Guest Central". I figured, "Well, I'm a guest so I guess thats where I'll start." I walked up to the counter and told them I was a guest and waited to see what happened.

Immediately I was presented with a guest card and asked if I would like a tour. They were instantly curious about whether or not I had a family and presenting me with all the different amenities they had that would be of interest to me. I couldn't help but recognize the sales tactics that were being employed by the staff to sell me a membership. Many of these tactics I remember reading in employee manuals while working at places like West Business Services and in other sales jobs I'd had. I smirked and decided to just go with the flow.

Of course since I have 2 little ones they were instantly compelled to show me the elaborate nursery and daycare they have setup. It was almost like a separate business all on it's own with registration forms and a computer database system with volunteers to watch and teach the kids while Mom and Dad enjoy the worship service in the main auditorium. When I say elaborate I mean it's almost an entire wing of the gigantic building. Right away I was curious as to how much this must cost to maintain on a weekly or monthly basis.

As we continued on, my tour guide seemed at a loss as to where to take me next. She had mentioned a grades 1-6 area in the basement so I was curious as to how that was set up. When we got down there it was obvious it was setup exactly like the main auditorium (stage and all) but on a smaller scale. I assume it was a way to get the kids used to this type of worship so as to understand how to behave themselves when moving on to the adult worship service. She showed me the classrooms in the hallway in the basement that seemed somewhat unemployed with the exception of the game-room that was in use by two children at the moment. There were 3 or 4 televisions with video game systems hooked up to them as well as some arcade games. I commented that it must be exciting for kids to come with that kind of motivation. She assured me they didn't try to emphasize those things at all. I thought to myself, "I bet. It probably wouldn't look very good.if they did."

As we walked back through to return upstairs I ran into an old friend of mine Nathan Fietzer who was one of the youth volunteers and was talking to some of the children there. When I greeted him I lost my tour guide and after talking shortly with him decided to venture out on my own.

When I returned upstairs I walked down a hall that had rooms labeled for the different classes that were being held for different people in multiple situations (i.e. Married, Single, Recovery, etc.) even some general study groups. I believe they are holding a study in the Letter to the Hebrews. Or it was a class to learn about the Hebrew people. I wasn't sure. :-p

But anyway I made my way back to the main entrance and the auditorium and decided to find myself a seat. It was expressed to me that they have over 1400-1500 members. I can't imagine trying to get to know that many people all at once but I hope they weren't trying to impress me with their large membership. I guess it's a paradigm thing.

So I found my seat and soon the music began and it seems the volunteers(yellow shirts) were all up on stage leading in song along with the band. There were three screens projecting the lyrics as well as those who were on the stage performing. I kind of enjoyed it. It was a nice idea all in all if this were viewed as a place for Christians to get together and worship God and socialize and fellowship. I even thought to myself, "Maybe I wouldn't mind bringing the family here once in a while and maybe even get involved."

A lesson everyone should learn when visiting churches like Pathways is to not let the glitz and glamor suck you into thinking it is something it's not. (I think that makes sense). As the service went on and I filled out my guest card and looked through the bulletin. I was excited to hear the lesson for the day. There was a small skit mimicking the "Mac vs. PC" Apple commercials in honor of Father's day that was clever but a little too deep of a topic to be summed up in quick-witted banter between two generalized characters attempting to represent a father and son in modern day America.

After that I was thinking, "Okay! On to the lesson." I was really hoping for one of those really inspiring talks that you see on Tangle.com. You know the ones. But instead what I got for the next 15-20 minutes was a run down of EVERY single program currently in progress and a ceremony for the 30+ teens who raised $70k+ to take a missions trip to Ireland. I couldn't help but feel a little jealous. I would love to go overseas to experience life in Europe for a while. But whatever. I wasn't sure why this wasn't paid for by the church since it was being presented as an evangelical missions trip. But anyway.

At that point it was time for the collection. Of all the positive feelings I had about this place and what they were trying to accomplish, it was all ruined in the next few moments. The "Senior Pastor" Brad Liebe, went from the gentle, loving, heart of God pastor and turned into, LEGALIST CENTRAL! It was almost like he was angry about it. Pulling no uncertain punches, he declared, "YOU MUST GIVE YOUR TITHE. YOU NEED TO GIVE YOUR FIRST 10% TO GOD! THESE PROGRAMS MUST BE PAID FOR! WE CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT IT AND YOU WILL BE RICHLY BLESSED IN RETURN! If you look in your bulletin this week you will see what Malachi 3:10 says printed there right above our contribution goals." or something very similar to that. I wasn't recording it but I know they were.

So in shock at the sudden harshness coming from the stage in front of me, I looked in my bulletin to see what he was speaking about and realized why he was so adamant about the "tithe". It seems their WEEKLY budget for running this "church" is...are you ready...$25,000.00! WEEKLY! I couldn't believe it. "WOW!" I thought to myself. It seems they haven't been making their goals though. Last weeks contribution was only $17,443.75. I guess there might be some reasons for that.

1. Not everyone is giving their 10%
2. Everyone is giving their 10% but their memberships income isn't such that this amount would cover this much or...
3. People who would otherwise be able to make extra contributions (more than 10%) are not compelled to do so because the request being made is only 10%.

I guess there is something to be said about making it a "free-will" offering.

There was a plea to contribute more money. And it was requested that any extra money donated be earmarked by the ones donating. It was also pointed out however that this was not to be construed to be part of your 10% that is "commanded" by God.

It was really disappointing actually. I had to ask myself why are they so dogmatic about the contribution and not about anything else? What makes the money so important? And why use Malachi 3:10 to compel any Christian to do anything. I thought we were Christians...not Jews. But I digress...again.

It seems on top of their weekly budget of 25k they also have a monthly missions budget of 7000 smackers and an ongoing project called Project Cornerstone with a 2-year goal of $1.2 million buckaroos! With financial expectations like that it's no wonder they ride their members for cash.

So anyway, after the 15 minute sales pitch to it's members and a collection of funds for the "tithe" for the week we finally got to it. The sermon/lecture/homily. Now I don't know what happened here. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe it was a paradigm issue. Or maybe I just wasn't smart enough to get it. But, I have NO CLUE as to what Mr. Liebe was trying to say. I'm not sure there was one coherent thought process that came out of his lips for the next half hour. I was trying my best to follow along but in his efforts to continue along the same study of Luke 8 and also tie it into father's day as well as keeping it entertaining and an effort to personalize the lesson, I think he forgot to string his thoughts together cohesively so that others could get something out of it. Without going into GREAT detail about the experience, lets just say, it was some thing left to be desired...again. To be fair, I do understand that every one who preaches in this type of venue, is allowed an off day and this may simply be the case. I was assured by my friend who actually suggested I visit and who knows Mr. Liebe personally, that this is more than likely the case.

Unfortunately, however,  this left a bad taste in my mouth.  My final impression was that these people have a great opportunity to provide a place for Christians to get together and worship and grow and learn and be immersed in the Lord. It is too bad though that they come across as an organization whose goal is simply to drain this community of every last extra cent they have under the guise of religion and even more disappointingly under the name of Christ. I guess if it was treated more like a YMCA or admitted to being an organization for Christians instead of a Church, I'll be honest, I might have considered a membership myself. But never-the-less. Sadly, disappointing.

On the plus side. Since it was Father's day, I was given a token for a free Ice cream...err...frozen custard at Culver's. WOOHOO. Hey why not just pay people to come to church? I've heard that somewhere before. hmmm....

Anyhoo...LATERS!

Edit: As you can see in the comments below there has been a firestorm of malcontent with Brad Liebe on issues unrelated to this post. As of April 7, 2013 it appears Mr. Liebe has resigned been fired due to adultery with his sister-in-law. I hope Pathways can recover and move on. I still recommend the book "So you don't want to go to church anymore?" By" Wayne Jacobsen (http://www.jakecolsen.com/) as it deals with a similar issue in the book.

96 comments:

  1. Hi there Chad-

    My wife and I began attending Pathways with the same concerns that you expressed. However, after attending for a while, we have truly found a family there.

    As in college, when I went to UW-Madison - which had 45,000 students - I found then that I fit into a small sub-set of the students as friends that I had made connections with. I have made similar connections after a few times at Pathways and with some involvement in groups.

    If you would like to talk about this in person - positive or negative impressions are ok with me (I'm willing to discuss differing opinions) - please call me at 920-213-6198. I'll buy you lunch to tell you how I navigated this "mega-church" situation and found something special.

    Best,

    Mark

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  2. Chad,
    You might be interested in knowing the following about the SR. Pastor at Pathways Church.

    The people of Brad Liebe's current congregation at Pathways Church in Appleton, Wisconsin need to know about his history of embezzling huge amounts of money from his former church in Florida. Mr. Liebe was employed at First Assembly of God Church in Ft. Myers, FL for over 15 years. He started out as a youth pastor and over the years rose to become the Sr. Associate Pastor. The SR Pastor's name is Dan Betzer. About three years ago, Pastor Betzer announced his upcoming retirement and he recommended Brad Liebe to replace him as SR Pastor of the church. The congregation voted and Mr. Liebe was nearly unanimously elected to become the new SR Pastor when Pastor Betzer actually retired which was to be about a year after that. This is a large church with approximately 5,000+ members. Within a couple of months after his election to become the upcoming new SR Pastor, it was discovered that Brad Liebe had been using church funds for his own personal use. He was fired immediately and an internal and external investigation was started. He was NOT turned over to the police or charged at any time however. All of this was handled internally within the Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield, MO. A lengthy investigation ensued and the external auditors came to the final conclusion that Mr. Liebe used upwards of 3/4 of a million dollars of church money for his own personal use. That's nearly $750,000 dollars! Thereabouts anyway. The investigation only looked at the last two years worth of the records. It was alleged via the rumor mill that he had been stealing money ever since he started at the church as a youth pastor many, many years ago. No one knows for sure about those figures or if they even looked back that far. He was offered to be allowed to go through the Assemblies of God "restoration" program for "fallen" pastors and he started that program for a short while but, later, quit. He did lose his license to preach under the Assemblies of God. However, his father is (or was at that time anyway) the State Director for the Assemblies of God in Wisconsin. The next thing you know, Brad Liebe has a new job as the SR Pastor for Pathways Church in Appleton, WI where he still works today possibly fleecing his current flock. He has allegedly been required to pay back only $200K of the stolen money at a pitiful rate of some $200 per month. The congregation of this church has the need and the right to know about these details of his past. Be warned Pathways Church members! He is a wolf in sheep's clothing fleecing the flock. A hireling of the worst kind. Your pastor is a scoundrel and a thief. God will certainly forgive Brad Liebe IF (and that is the big question) he TRULY repents from his heart. However, be aware that, according to scripture, he should never be allowed to pastor a church again ever because he can no longer EVER be considered above reproach. See 1Tim. 2:3,7 (must be "blameless" and have a good report) and 1Tim. 3:8-12. Persons within the church who become guilty of serious sin or moral transgressions disqualify themselves from the office of pastor or deacon in the local church. Someone didn't do their homework when checking out Brad Liebe's references.

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  3. Wisdomseekerprov4,
    I've been trying to scour the Internet for references to what you have said here. I am very interested in verifying this info, can you post a site or resource or news article that I can verify your story with? A lot of the facts, particularly names, places, locations, and timelines seem to match the verbal pieces I have heard here over the years, but without a secondary verification of what you have said he did, I don't know if it's wholly true or not.

    You can contact me at IIllIlllII@aol.com (copy and paste for best results)

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  4. To my knowledge, there was never anything publicly posted such as a news article, etc. because this was kept very hush-hush within the church family. It was NOT turned over to the authorities at any time. Instead, it was handled internally within the Assemblies of God headquarters and their lawyers in Springfield, MO. The Sr. Pastor at First Assembly in Ft. Myers did tell the congregation about it. However, as it turned out they were not totally transparent about the figures involved. The congregation was led to believe it was about $200-$300K involved(which is bad enough)when, in fact, the external auditors came up with the figure of more like $700K before the investigation ended. The Council (Board) members and everyone else at the church who was involved in the investigation were forced to sign a gag order in the end so they are not allowed to discuss it any further. However, as you can imagine, in a church of that size (or any size for that matter), information does leak out anyway. You just cannot hush up 50 or more people. What I have told you is totally true and accurate but I don't realy know of anything published publicly that will back this up. I do know that the staff at Pathways were recently notified about this by someone else and so now they know about it too but I'm sure they are very busy doing "damage control" to hush it up even further. In the end, the truth always comes out and as the Bible says, "be sure your sins will find you out." The sad part is that the innocent church members have been left totally in the dark about who their pastor really is. There has never been any sign of sincere repentence on Mr. Liebe's part. He ducked his head and read an apology letter of sorts to the congregation (at all 3 services) before he left the church in Ft. Myers but only because he was forced to do so. He never looked up at the congregation even one time. He left in total shame. But, in the end, he comes out smelling like a rose I guess because he is now the Sr. Pastor now (not the Assoc. Pastor) of his very own church and he is living in his home state again near his family and friends and I'm willing to bet he's making a very substantial salary plus benefits. It reminds me of that television show called "I Almost Got Away With It." Almost but not quite becaue God is fully aware and judgment day is coming.

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  5. Wow I never got notified of the comments on this post. I'll have to check some settings.

    Wisdomseekerprov4: I am appalled, yet not surprised if what you say is true. However, It will be difficult to prove. Remember the scripture says do not bring an accusation unless by the mouths of 2 or 3 witnesses. So unfortunately I will have to file this under my memory as "keep eyes open for more evidence but do not use as proof".

    It is unfortunate that the structure of the modern church allows for this type of this to happen. I would encourage you all to read Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola and Seek out God's original intentions for His Church.

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  6. @Mark: I am glad you found a way to get some good out of your experience there. I find it somewhat a shame that one should have to try so hard to get something good out of it. I don't believe the Lord intended it to be so difficult.

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  7. It seems the accusations Wisdomkeeperprov4 made were accurate. At least up until he insinuated that Brad Liebe was still embezzling money to this day. One thing that should be brought to light is that Brad wasn't the only one doing it but rather took the fall for all of them. This does not excuse his actions and wisdomkeeperprov4 is right when he quotes the scriptures disqualifying Mr. Liebe from pastoral duties. The higher concern to me is that Pathways knowing this was not able to follow God's instructions for the church in disqualifying Mr. Liebe from serving in way he has been charged to do at Pathways. I understand forgiveness and so on an so forth but God is pretty solid in his instructions and therefore the board at Pathways' judgement is highly questionable. I would think that anyone attending should consider this situation seriously.

    In Christ,

    Chad Kennow

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  8. Funny you should mention "Pagan Christianity." I just ordered it the other day.

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  9. Ooh, you are so in for a treat! Let me know what you think of it when you're done.

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  10. I will. I can tell that I'm going to like it already (just got it) by looking at the chapter headings. Have you ever read Charles E. Newbold, Jr. He has an excellent book called The Harlot Church System. You can get it free from his website. He will mail it to you or you can read it online. http://www.christineboudreau.ca/newbold/index.html

    That's the web site to order it. I also highly recommend a couple of his other books: The Crucified Ones and His Prescence In The Midst of You. Easy to read books; not too long. You can order them all at the same time. He is not trying to make a dime off of this. Just trying to get the word out there about what's wrong in the system today. I believe you would especially love the one about the harlot church SYSTEM. It's the system that is broken. We are not even close anymore to the original new testament "church." It's important to remember that we don't GO to church; we, as Christians, ARE the Church! Wherever we are.

    In addition, you may enjoy a website called Safeguardyoursoul.com. It's Todd Thomasella's site. Go to it and check out the books on the first page: Deceivers & False Prophets Among is good. Then click on ARTICLES and scroll down the left side. You will find tons of good articles on all sorts of topics. Todd is not afraid to name the names of the false preachers/teachers, etc. out there that we need to be aware of. Also, BEWARE of too for that matter. He too has rejected the church system and is in a home fellowship. Home fellowships can also get equally messed up though (people want to control them, etc.) so you even need to be pretty picky about which one of those you might get involved in if you become interested in it. Usually it's best to just get a few of your own personal like minded believing friends together in your homes and fellowship, do Bible study together, pray together, eat together, etc. You know - just like in the early church days.

    Happy reading and studying. It's a journey to Truth. Today's typical, traditional church structure is just not cutting it.

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  11. Thanks, I'll keep my eyes open for those sources you mentioned. I try not to stray too far from the Scriptures in my studies but I do like to skim the net for others who have the same thoughts as my own.

    Unfortunately many of the disillusioned crowd are very angry and it shows in their tone of writing. It really is a red flag to me. Always remember, we are not the judge, God is. If we do as we ought individually. And continue to remain accountable to God alone, we will all fall in line with the Gospel and it's message.

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  12. Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola & George Barna is fantastic! All Christians should read it. It really helps one understand why all of this structured "church system" stuff just doesn't feel right. Because it isn't right! We are so far off from the original New Testament churches that it isn't even funny. I think I'll read some more of Frank Viola's stuff. Where or where can I find a good house church????? I just can't really get into modern day churches anymore but I do want the fellowship of like-minded believers in the true New Testament style.

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  13. Glad you read it! Glad it was an encouragement to you. I don't know if you live around the Appleton area or not but we meet when we can. Besides that if you live somewhere else you can can out this website...http://www.site.house2house.com/

    It has a listing of many "house churches". Thanks for reading!

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  14. No, I live in Ft. Myers, FL. Former member of First Assembly of God church where Brad Liebe was the Sr. Associate Pastor. I was there when all of this stuff happened. I will check out the web site regarding house fellowship groups. Thanks for the info. I loved the Pagan Christianity? book. Great resource. I plan to order some more of his books today.

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  15. I also attended Fort Myers at the time this all happened. Everything stated here is true. Brad stole a lot of money and never did follow through in truly making things right. How can a church hire a guy after all this..it beats me. Good luck Pathways.

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  16. Thanks for reading Grant. I also appreciate the input. When I think about how the Lord can allow this to happen the only conclusion I can come to is that based on the warnings Jesus gave in Revelation to erring churches that He would remove their lamp-stand...I have to conclude that organizations who allow these things to happen and are even still around the Lord has zero influence in anymore. These modern infrastructures are not governed by the Almighty and it shows. One cannot seriously think that God would allow this to continue among His own people. No, these "churches" are NOT run by God.

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  17. Chad, thanks for having this blog and bringing this information to light. Interestingly, this weekend the family and I attended a pathways "event" and they announced the church had hired Brad's brother (front line ministry, ushers, etc). Brad made comment that his brother worked with him in Florida. Just wondering if anybody can confirm if Brad's brother was involved in anyway with the embezzlement. The family and I are looking at different churches in the area and compiling as much insight as possible. Thanks.

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  18. Yes, Brad's brother did work at First Assembly in Ft. Myers for a short time. Maybe a year or so at most. Was youth pastor I think. He was just suddenly gone one day. No official reason given from the pulpit. Certainly didn't look right. Everyone assumed he was fired but we don't really know if that's a fact or not. Nepotism is never a good idea in any organization.

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  19. I meant also to say that we really don't know if Brad's brother was also involved in the embezzlement or not. Not that I know about anyway. He was long gone before it finally "came out" and Brad got caught. Of course, the stealing had been going on for years so I suppose it was going on when Brad's brother worked there but have no idea if he knew anything about it or not. He probably didn't but who knows for sure.

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  20. I think it is unfortunate that Pathways 'as a whole' was attacked here. I have been to all of the other mega churches in the valley, (I don't consider them mega, I am just using your term) and the same can be said for all of them where amenities are concerned. The nursery, and other childrens areas need to have their check points for safety. (unfortunately) The areas for each age are wonderful, and I believe equal to the other churches in our area. I think it's great for kids to learn about Christianity in a fun, safe atmosphere. Kids today need as much 'good stuff' in their life as possible. Coffee shop? Same in the others that I am aware of. I don't think that these extras are negatives. If I had the opportunity to attend churches like this in my growing up years, I would have been more inclined to go. The stiff ways that they preached back in the day, and even today in several denominational churches leave a little to be desired. (for me at least) I feel blessed to attend a church where the WORD is taught straight from the BIBLE, word by word.It makes so much sense now, where before, it was more of a ritual without a lot of meaning for me. I hope that you have found a church for yourself that gives you (and your family) what you need spiritually. If not, I pray that you will keep looking.....

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  21. Does anyone know if the board of directors or the staff at Pathways knew of this BEFORE Brad was hired? If the church in Ft. Meyers were concerned for the kingdom as a whole they would have reported this and taken their lumps. I suspect they hushed it up because an IRS audit of a 501(c)3 dealing with embezzlement would have endangered their tax exempt status. I'm not convinced even for a moment that they kept this quiet for anyone's good but their own.

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  22. I've turned off Anonymous comments because I can't tell who is saying what. Please people at least use a first name...even if you have to make one up. :\

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  23. Pathways, the church, is not being attacked. This is simply a method of trying to inform the congregation of the truth about the pastor's previous history at another church. We believe the people, the average person sitting in the church, has the right to know the truth and then make their own decisions about whether or not they wish remain under his leadership.

    I believe this was all kept "under the table" so-to-speak in order to protect Brad as much as possible. Remember, the SR pastor in Ft. Myers treated Brad as if he were his second son. Brad claims that the SR pastor knew about this stuff and allowed it to go on. He insinuated that he knew "things" about Pastor Betzer and that he would "tell all" if the church turned him over to the law. Yes, it was a threat. However, I also have been told that the Sr. pastor DID indeed call Pathways and told the church what had happened in Ft. Myers. Who knows who he talked to or how far it went though? Who knows if that's even a true statement or not? I do understand that someone at the highest levels in the church were told and that Brad was hired anyway. It helps when your father is the State Director for AOG. Lots of influence and lots of persuasive power. Nobody seems to care so much about the "people in the pews" and what they might think about it all.

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  24. Wisdomseekerprov4 said: "This is simply a method of trying to inform the congregation of the truth about the pastor's previous history at another church."

    That's not completely accurate as to the intentions of this blog.

    If anything it just shows there are gigantic problems in the modern church and any denomination or congregation that decides to model themselves after these ideas should beware of all the problems that come with it.

    Let me be clear. I do not believe that Pathways is an organization that is blessed or ordained by God in any way. I am certain there are members there that feel as though they are fulfilling some kind of spiritual obligation by being members there. They no doubt feel they are contributing to the Lord's Body. But they would be wrong. I do not say this of Pathways only. I believe it is true for most if not all modern "churches". God is not in a box on Sunday. In my opinion the place where God is least present in...is the modern church building. It is the place where people are more judgmental of outsiders. It is the place where people are more divided from the rest of the Kingdom of God than at any other time during the week. Heck, at least when you are at work you more than likely are working along side other people who may be children of God as well. Only difference is you might not know it or you may not be aware of any differences. No, God is not in a box, cannot be put in a box and will resist any effort to try and place Him in a box. Wake up people....the Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU!

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  25. Exactly! WE are the Church. The Ekklesia; the "called out ones." The "church" is NOT the building, the pastor, the name on the door, the denomination, or the programs/entertainment. The PEOPLE (the true remnant of believers) ARE the CHURCH. Pathways is not the church. It's the TRUE believers WITHIN Pathways (or any other place in the entire world - not necessarily a building) who is the Church. It's the PEOPLE who ARE the CHURCH! Very few seem to understand this really basic fact. Is it any wonder? We have all been taught over the years by the "pastors" that the building is the church and that you must be a member of "it" - whatever "it" is. NOT TRUE! It is also NOT true that simply going to church or having your name on some church membership roll book makes you a part of the Body of Christ either though. Neither does tithing or doing good works by the way. It's all about your own personal relationship with Jesus. Have you made him your Lord as well as your Savior?

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  26. Chad, what did you find to back up what Wisdomseeker says? Not that I'm doubting you Wisdom, but like you, Chad, I like to be able to see evidence to back something. Lots of people say lots of things, lots of people believe lots of things, but I need some sort of evidence to go on. No offense Wisdom, and I do hope that you understand.

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  27. No offense taken SideshowT. Not a problem.

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  28. A friend that goes to that church, I think feels pretty disappointed and sad and is wanting more to go on about this. So, any info anyone can give me for her would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for understanding Wisdomseeker. :>)

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  29. http://wisdomseekerprov4.blogspot.com/2010/10/spiritual-wisdom-is-good.html?showComment=1316313497634#c4253500322622389940

    Here is another blog where all of the details are also listed. Between what's written here on this blog (Chad's blog) and what is written on the "wisdomseeker" blog above, there's not much else left to be said. Put it all together and make up your own mind whether or not you believe it. No one would ever be able to just make up all of these very specific details. The reason it's all being told is to help you innocent victims at Pathways. No one should have to go through what we have all been through. It's just outrageous. There is no excuse for it. It just proves how broken the church "system" is! It's a serious case of "spiritual abuse" and should not be tolerated. Brad should be serving "TIME" in the "Big House" rather than serving (I use that term loosely in this case) as your pastor. It's not about retribution or revenge; it's about saving a large group of innocent people from a predator!

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  30. I have a friend Sideshow, of 30 years who knows the family and has confirmed some of what has been said here. I know absolutely nothing first hand of the situation other than what you read in my post on this church. Sorry.

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  31. http://appleton.craigslist.org/rnr/
    See above link for comments from Pathways members. Just search for Pathways and look at comments from 9/14 to 9/19. There are many.

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  32. All of this just angers me!!

    No one has proof that Brad has done anything wrong at Pathways. No one. This is carry over from Florida. Yes, Brad did somethings wrong and made some bad choices. He has paid the price for it. Dearly. He has the board at Pathways monitoring him. He has stated that in front of the church body. Don't you think given Brad's history (and yes they knew) he has plenty of accountability??

    Christ the Rock has been under a similar attack from a lot of people in the valley, in the country and around the world. There is a website devoted to bringing them down. This is judgement, gossip and an attack directly from Satan. These emails and posts on Craigslist about Pathways are playing right into Satan's hands.

    I'm a recovering alcoholic and believe me when I say that I could list out all of the times in my life that I have done wrong. Made bad choices. Are people going to spread gossip (read Romans 1:28-29) about me?? I have been forgiven and given a clean slate from GOD. Not from my peers. From GOD. So has Brad. Until Brad gets up in front of the congregation and admits to wrong doing we are commanded by God to not judge (Mt 7:1) and not to gossip. I went on a missions trip with Brad and it was lead by a Pastor that was passionate about God and a man that has been humbled by his past mistakes.

    It saddens me that junk like this is going to poison peoples minds and may stop them from attending Pathways. Think of the person that attends on Sundays that hasn't accepted Christ as their personal savior. They read gossip like this and stop attending. They don't get saved. Satan wins. People spreading this gossip will be judged in the end and I don't believe it will be a pleasant experience.

    We all need to do whatever we can to put a stop to this.

    Jeff

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  33. Jeff...You're anger and their frustrations about all of this just proves the point that an Elder/Pastor (Yes, the terms are interchangeable) should be 1. above reproach 2. have a good reputation in the community and 3. Not a lover of money. Obviously Brad doesn't fit the qualities God Himself has set forth as being required for one desiring the position which Brad holds. The fact that he still continues to call himself a pastor when he is anything but...regardless of any current wrongdoing is deplorable. Is he forgiven...sure (provided he's repented) does he deserve a "second" chance? Not really. The damage is done. This is the cost of sinfulness. I'm sure he'll be redeemed at the resurrection. But for now in this life he is no longer qualified to be a Pastor/Elder/Bishop according to God's Word. Brad can call himself whatever he wants but the only one's he's fooling are himself and the crowd at Pathways who seem to think that there are no consequences in this life for the sin he's done. Like it or not that's that.

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  34. Jeff, you are grossly mistaken on a couple of important factors. According to the Bible, Brad is to NEVER act as a pastor again. The scriptures supporting this fact have already been referenced. And about "judging", you should go back and study those scriptures again. We are not to judge a person on the subject of their salvation. If you are caught cheating on your spouse, are you not an adulterer? If I call you out as an adulterer, it is NOT judging. It is labeling your actions. Actions that you chose to commit. If Brad was caught embezzling, then he is a thief. No amount of prayer, introspect or pleading to God for forgiveness will change that fact.

    Brad is in direct violation of the Word of God by acting as a pastor. Of that there is no argument.

    The man you went the missions trip with is a liar. He can never be trusted as a pastor again. If he chose to ignore one piece of scripture, what is stopping him from doing it again?

    He needs to step down from his position at Pathways. End of story.

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  35. Hopefully this will help: This is my first post to this site. My spouse and I left First Assembly of God Ft. Myers due to the Brad Liebe embezzlement and the abysmal way it was handled by the Sr. Pastor. Liebe was outed 2-3 weeks after 97% of the membership (including us) had voted him in to take the Sr. pastor position at the end of the yr. We were fools. Why didn't we see the red flags? The Sr. Pastor promoted him for 1 yr. We didnt even get a chance to consider anyone else. It was stated to our congregation that with the majority of the monies he remolded 2 homes, etc. What a huge mess he left in his wake of being fired. This incident forever cured us personally of attending a "mega" church again. Granted, this type of thing could probably happen in a smaller church, but in a large church there are millions of dollars moving through annually. It is readily available. I have also since come to understand that in mega churches the pastors have hefty expense accounts. I take HUGE issue with the person who references his Fl. antics as "mistakes". Excuse me, but being a thief is not a "mistake", it's a felony in this case. Its spiritual abuse and fleecing God's flock. Obviously his charm, tears and attractiveness have taken their toll on you too. He has no business being a pastor over God's precious flock. Ive read in other post that he bought an upscale home in your area. He must have the best of the best.I also heard he recently took his family on a vacation to Hawaii. Is he driving another BMW like he did in Fl.? Do his children all have IPADs now? They were given the best toys money could buy. It was publicly stated in an open meeting by one of his past secretaries that he stole Angel tree money to buy gifts for his kids back when he was a youth pastor. This dear woman went up the chain of command to report him but no one took her seriously. I was there when this was stated by this woman in tears, along with hundreds of other members. What I'm saying is that he had secret life and a method that turned into a criminal lifestyle. Pathways congregation has a right to know these things.

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  36. I think it's best to not remain bitter about this whole thing and continue to find out what it is the Lord intended for the church on earth and work towards restructuring and restoring ourselves to NT principles and ways of doing things that are scriptural and God Approved in order to never let these things happen again. I blame the Modern church structure more than I blame Brad Liebe. Don't get me wrong...I blame Brad for all his actions but it would have been humongously less of a temptation if the modern church was more like the NT church.

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  37. and more difficult to accomplish. If even possible.

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  38. I have heard these accusations against Brad Liebe before and spoke with him directly about it. He states that the old senior pastor of Ft Meyer's First Assembly and many of leaders of that church were jealous of how he brought the numbers up in the church so drastically so they plotted against him. I was under Brad Liebe's leadership for close to three years and I have little good to say about it. He has deceived many including the leadership under him at Pathways. My membership was withdrawn from Pathways after I moved six months ago to a location only a half an hour away. Brad could not handle that he no longer had control over me. We exchanged many emails where he has made comments to be about how I was "venomous" and I was "wolf in sheep's clothing"! I was no longer welcomed on the church's property and if I were to come back without his permission I would have a restraining order put against me. That was again directed to me this Saturday as I drove to attend their 6pm Saturday night service. Within minutes of me stepping into the church foyer I was greeted by the Youth Pastor where I was walked outside on the side of the church (he did not want others to hear us talking) and asked to leave. If I did not leave I would receive seriously repercussions including a restraining order. I did leave, but was drawn back completely by the lack of the love of Christ this church really does fail to show yet preach so much about. Brad never liked that I was so direct towards him and told him how I felt. He more so did not like it when I went public about how he treated me behind closed doors. I came to Brad for help and he only caused me deeper wounds that have made it hard for me to move on to another church.

    A little side note about Brad is he owns two big beautiful house one in Waupaca, WI on Spencer Lake and one in Appleton, WI near Pathways church. Both ranging the the high six digit ranges. He bought the one in Waupaca short after his termination from First Assembly.

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  39. I came across this blog because I was going some research into Brad Liebe and his embezzlement charges and have a few thoughts.

    I’m not quite sure of this blog’s purpose. Though I only read a few of your blogs about visiting churches it seemed as though you had an agenda when visiting Pathways. Drive down to Chicago and visit Willow Creek Community Church (http://www.willowcreek.org/) to get a taste of what a “mega church” is like.

    Brother, the generalities of your statements about this place concern me because I still have relationships there and know for a doubt that these people are serving God. You stated, “A lesson everyone should learn when visiting churches like Pathways is to not let the glitz and glamor suck you into thinking it is something it's not.” Well, I’m telling you that it’s not and I think you have to check your own heart about the reasoning for such statements. Just because it is different from what you “like” and doesn’t fit your “style” of worship doesn’t make it wrong. Everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to worshiping God. This church was started as a “small groups” church with a celebration at the end/beginning of the week. Its intention was to be a place to “fit” for those that do not “fit” anywhere else.

    In regards to all of the other comments about Pastor Liebe’s past transgressions, I can assure you that he hid them during the hiring process. Not only that but it seems as though he is doing serious damage to the internal structure of Pathways. There are good people in there and my heart breaks for them as I pray.

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    1. They are by no standards serving God in the way God called us to do. I have talked to many youth over the last year and they have shared their stories about how they were driven out of the church by Brad and the youth pastor. Due to their experiences they no longer attend any church. I have also talked to a few adults as well and they continue to state that Brad is up to no good and they do not want anything to do with Pathways because of Brad and his judgmental deceiving ways.

      Brad has also brought his brother Brandon Liebe onto staff as well within the last year. Everything is about Brad and how he can benefit for him and his family. Not helping others and saving souls for Christ.

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  40. I would like to know what "agenda" you think I have. I could care less for orthodoxy. My blog posts regarding my visits to local churches is nothing more than what it looks like from my perspective. TBH, I didn't know anything about Brad Leibe or Pathways before going (other than that Brad was a friend of a friend and this friend had attended there for a short while). I went in with absolutely no preconceived notions. And if you read my post again I'm pretty sure I stated that for a moment I even considered taking my family there until I observed some things I myself felt were a little alarming. The comments about Brad are other people's contributions and I cannot control what others post (Well, I can but choose not to under a personal fairness rule.)

    Your statement, "Just because it is different from what you “like” and doesn't fit your “style” of worship doesn’t make it wrong." is unfair and unwarranted. I never said what they were doing was wrong. Nor did I say it wasn't what "I liked" or that it wasn't "my style". I just disagreed with their methods and publicly questioned their motives. Everyone these days seems to feel so judged when people have a different opinion or POV. If my report left you feeling like what I observed was not what you envision Pathways to be then that is for you to continue to investigate and determine whether what I said was true for you or not.

    I would love to visit Willow Creek if I ever find myself there and if time were to allow me to. However, my purpose is to review the congregations in the Appleton, WI area, as that is where I live. I haven't visited any other congregations since Apostolic Truth Church because I have been busy with my own studies as well as paying more attention to my family (Wife and 2 little boys).

    You said, "Brother, the generalities of your statements about this place concern me because I still have relationships there and know for a doubt that these people are serving God. You[Chad] stated, “A lesson everyone should learn when visiting churches like Pathways is to not let the glitz and glamor suck you into thinking it is something it's not.” Well, I’m telling you that it’s not and I think you have to check your own heart about the reasoning for such statements."

    I'm not sure what part of my statement you quoted offended you. Nor do I understand your reply of "it's not". What is it not? My statement merely suggested that the "glitz and glamour" was not what this church was intending to be about. I was pointing out the danger of this "glitz and glamour" distracting from their stated mission. Many churches fall into this trap and end up spending themselves out of existence. I would posit that there is a much simpler method we can read about in the New Testament that would avoid all the "Churchianity" of the modern church where more of that money which is spent on the "glitz and glamour" could be used better for benevolence (i.e. relieving needy saints. 1 Corinthians 16) <...cont'd>

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  41. Regarding your statement, "Its intention was to be a place to “fit” for those that do not “fit” anywhere else." This saddens me. The fact that anytime anyone has a qualm of some kind with the group of Christians they first meet with, they go off and start a new church leading to further splintering the Lord's body. Which is utterly shameful IMHO. If Pathway's original mission was/is as you say then they are not part of the solution but a continuing part of the problem. As are most if not all modern churches. I have not singled Pathways out intentionally apart from any other modern organizational church. Every denomination and congregation for that matter is guilty of this on some level or another.

    I could probably write a book in response to your post but I think my point is made. You can't have it both ways. Whatever church you attend it's because you didn't like the way others have done it. If there was nothing "wrong" with what those other churches were doing then you would have stayed and made it your own. But instead you left because you didn't like the way they worshiped God. This is just a given fact of any Christian who chooses a church. We must remember that Christ built ONE Church.

    Anyhoo, thanks Joey for coming to my blog and contributing in the comments. This post seems to be the one that gets the most traffic. I appreciate the fact that you addressed the post in your comment as most people seem to just want to "out" Mr. Liebe. Which, if you noticed, I had not addressed AT ALL in my original blog post. Simply because I was unaware of it.

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  42. Some of the money that Brad ripped off from the church went towards trips, and gifts for his family ... the Dudley's. Guess what? He was having an affair with his sister in law - Kelly Dudley the entire time. It not only took place in Florida, but It continues at his church - the affair and the ripping off.

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    1. Any proof or anyone else that can corroborate your story?

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    2. Well, of course these things would be hard to prove if people deny it - which Brad will probably do.... but I do think this will all be public soon.

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    3. Surely you're not the only one who knows unless you are Kelly Dudley yourself. Care to come clean?

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    4. Looks like the story finally came out. Brad resigned today after getting caught having an affair with his sister in law Kelly Dudley for the past several years.

      Delete
    5. My wife and I have been going to Pathways for a over a year now. There are some truly talented people, musically as well as in their preaching. It is a big church, as I, myself, grew up in a simple church community. My wife enjoys it very much. There were was an odd connection between Brad Liebe and his wife, we felt, but then again, a person can only speculate and hope all is okay with their relationship. They didn't usually sit together, show affection what so ever - cold to one another? Yet, they were both heavily involved with the church and, honestly, Brad is a great preacher. He came across as a deeply spiritual man, humorous, and well received by the congregation. I enjoyed his wit and his look back at moments in his life where he was down and out, and given a second chance. He seemed very genuine. And then came today....
      We felt something was a bit off the past two weeks as Brad was missing because of "personal matters." Hmm... we thought. Then today the church was fuller than usual, there were more prayer people available up front during the service, and Brad and Jana were absent. Odd, yet unexplained to this point. I felt he was too friendly towards the women and wondered, and yet Jana never looked happy. His jabs of humor towards her in his preaching wasn't good either. It came to light he was having an affair with another woman while on a retreat with the other pastors of the church. Evidently, it happened before, again and again. So he was OUT. It was quite a sad moment for all that believed in him, knew him well, and thought highly of him.
      And then there was all this in this blog

      SIGH

      My wife in I are shocked by all this. It is a shame. The man needs help. He should NEVER pastor a church again, as great as a preacher he is, too moral corrupt. We feel greatly for his wife and family. How totally awful to get dragged through the mud, once again.
      It always seemed strange to us that a man that could preach so well, and be so warm, would lose his job as a senior pastor in Florida, say he was nearly penniless, and God opened the door to Pathways. He seemed very grateful.
      Pastor no more....

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    6. Well, the truth is out. Hopefully everyone including Pathways can move on from this.

      Delete
  43. Um, exactly...who are you, Mr./Mrs. Anonymous? That you would know about an affair that is apparently being denied by those involved? And since you're so knowledgeable, can you name the 5 children and 2 other spouses who are WAY more affected by this situation than you while you air it anonymously on the internet like a gossip rag? There's making someone accountable and bringing things to the light, and then there's reveling in spreading gossip and tearing down the fallen like you've never failed. I love how Christians so often feel that discussing other people's sins openly is somehow their right. This is online- permanently there to be hurtful to the rest of the people already suffering through this. May YOUR sins always remain a secret between you and God and may YOUR family never be dragged through the dirt for your transgressions... I'm not defending Brad's, and possibly Kelly's, actions but unfortunately yours are indefensible, too, gossipmonger. (1 Corinthians 6:10- I hope the New Testament reference is acceptable here since apparently only Jews use the Old Testament?? Sorry if I misunderstood what the blogger meant about the Malachi reference above but that's how it came across.)

    And I'm not just referring to the comments. This entire blogpost was a pointed attack and I'm quite shocked at how you'd take the time to publicly post about a church by name you went to once with the sole intention of being nothing but negative and rude with no real necessity. And you have entertained this line of commenting on your own site as though it's any of your business. I'm SO very glad that your profile only says "Christian" and that the rest of these vultures above speak in Jesus' name, too, so that the rest of us can be lumped in with you in the world's view of Christ followers. As if scandals like the ones being discussed don't taint our credibility enough, we then have to incur the damage of those in the Church who turn it into a feeding frenzy for the defamation-hungry who won't be satisfied til everyone is humiliated. Thanks for that...way to go.

    Don't bother with a string of insulting or haughty responses, I won't be checking back. I just had to see for myself that someone had the gall to so flippantly reveal to the world something as TRAGIC as an affair in a heedless blog comment. "I do think this will all be public soon"- well, yes, it is- because of you. I'm disappointed and saddened right now on so many levels...

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    1. I appreciate your comments Storm Cloud Eyes. The anonymous "commenter" above has posted of their own free will. I believe if you read my response I am somewhat skeptical of the accusation myself. The original blog post was nothing more than and honest first impression of the Church. I'm not sure how you feel it was a pointed attack. It was what I experienced and my opinion of that experience. If you read the whole original blog post I mentioned NOTHING about Brad's money issues as I had no idea about them in the first place. It was others who came here and posted about it when I first became aware. As for the Malachi "issue" if you read it and took it for what it was it was merely that a statement regarding what it is that should compel us in the New Covenant to do anything. If we want to return to the Old Law that Jesus nailed to the cross then by all means but it will not do anything to press you forward and if you commit yourself to a defunct legal system that Christ abolished in 70AD then you are on your own. Christian's are no longer bound by such. And to return would be to return to the "beggarly" things. We are not under the Mosaic covenant but rather Christ's Covenant. That is all I was saying. I felt it was a stretch for Pathways to compel their members to give 10% according to a defunct legal requirement.

      As always I appreciate you coming here and voicing your concerns. If you would like to discuss these issues more feel free to post here or e-mail me at chad at kennow dot net. I've nothing to hide and no ulterior motive. I speak to what I see. That sometimes rubs people the wrong way. I'm open to correction but not to "hit and run" accusations. I do appreciate your sentiments towards the anonymous poster that made a "baseless" accusation. I hope they return with some evidence or return with an apology. I won't hold my breath though.

      People are free to post what they want of course aside from marketing ploys and spam. I am not one to censor or stifle open discussion or debate. Through adversity comes innovation and growth. We can learn as much from the "bad" examples as we can from the "good" ones. God forbid we continue on in a society of "ear tickling" "shallow" faith.

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    2. Update: well...that settles that. :\

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  44. Hey, well meaning but gullible people of Pathways Church ... ask Brad to take a lie detector test to prove he didn't have an affair with his own sister in law. He will not do it. He is guilty. At this point, even his dad the District Superintendent in the Assemblies of God knows about it.........

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    1. I'm not sure it's very appropriate to post baseless accusations unless you would like to reveal who you are. You need to add some credibility to your claim or else I'll be forced to remove any future posts about the issue.

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  45. Actually, these are not baseless accusations. This relationship with the sister in law has been reported to the Assemblies of God and to the board of Pathways Church.

    By the way, here are the emails to the board of Pathways. Very interesting, that Steve Tripp - who is employed by the district and works for Larry Liebe is on the board of a church pastored by a dismissed Assemblies of God Minister.

    JJ.eaton@me.com

    dchippeaux@laserquest.com

    jsmith54949@newrr.com

    kbeutler@new.rr.com,

    cczn.cherne@worldnet.att.com

    maryboegh@excite.com

    steve@wnmdag.org

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    1. Does anyone have any copies of any emails to provide a paper trail of who knew what when?

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  46. It would be interesting to see an audit of the Pathway finances, specifically money spent on the Dudley's (Assembly of God missionaries - sister in law).

    I'm sure denial isn't cheap.

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  47. I have been attending Pathways for over two years, for a year now I have been involved in aiding some of their ministries.

    I have read through the blog post and many of the comments and frankly both have left me feeling very frustrated with the close-mindedness of many of the statements.

    Concerning the blog post;
    Pathways is not a "mega Church", by definition a mega Church as 2,000 or more attendees, and many consider mega church to be over 10,000 people. Also, mega Church often has slightly negative connotations, calling Pathways something it is not, that has negative connotations, is not accurate or fair.
    I found your comparison of the "sales tactics" to be insulting... simply because people show themselves in a pulled together, and professional manner doesn't mean they're trying to sell you something. They took the time to show you, a single guest, around the Church... they don't hunt you down for some kind of commitment to join their "club", no, when you found a friend they allowed you to fellowship with them unimpeded by their presence.
    The "glitz and glamour" sentence, I feel it is extremely important and culturally relevant to have a presentation that looks well put together. Insulting a Church for being esthetically pleasing is an absurd idea to me, we are called by God to be BETTER than the world, so why should our Churches be any less than amazing? I feel Pathways does this very well without being wasteful of resources.
    Your statement about the finances was both naive and judgmental. Pathways is a large Church with many, many, many ministries. From building a 1/2 of a home every year with Habitat For Humanity to association with inner city ministries in Milwaukee. I know you think it's super legalistic, but assuming one adheres to the 10% tithe model Pathways should be taking in $86,000 a week in tithe alone (1500x$43,000x.7/52). Simply because a number is large, doesn't mean it's wasteful or wrong. Rich ≠ greedy.
    Pastor Brad's preaching isn't for everyone, he is very fast paced and he openly admits on a weekly basis that he is "ADDDDDD". However I personally appreciate his fast pace because I feel too many Churches are too dry in their direct presentation of the Gospel.

    Concerning all of the commenters;
    You guys should be ashamed of yourselves! Countless comments openly gossiped and spread rumors! There are SO many passages that speak directly against gossip, slander, and speaking malice yet you get all over Pastor Brad's case for not being "above reproach"! How DARE you! Accusing Pathways and pastor Brad of sending people to hell! You disgust me! Even Paul notes that if people preach the Gospel for selfish reasons that we shouldn't stop them... at least the Gospel message is getting out! But I assure you, this is not the case!
    Pastor Brad has openly stated his shortcomings before the congregation multiple times (especially when I first started attending), admitting to purposefully mishandling money and now having a number of accountability partners who have full access to all of his financial records and bank accounts. He also meets weekly with local pastors, has mentors, and Pathways has a board who he actively asks for their advice.
    Pastor Brad is a HUMAN, who has faults and idiosyncrasies... he frequently speaks of his shortcomings and those shortcomings have humbled him, making his preaching down to earth and relevant. Every week he has a call to salvation and people pray to receive Christ.

    Everyone, STOP the gossip, stop the evidence-less accusations of continued scandal, and stop proving what so many unbelievers hate about Christians... that we're a bunch of hypocrites who are out to get each other! Let he without sin cast the first stone!

    Sincerely frustrated and disgusted,
    Nathan Sheppard

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  48. Hi Nathan. I appreciate your candor. And thank you for addressing your opinions about my initial post. That initial post seems to be something many who come here ignore and proceed to vent their frustrations. While I can empathize with their frustrations I don't condone or condemn anything anyone writes in the comment section. It is not for me to judge them. As for my comments I have to apologize that you took personally my perspective and viewed them as a personal attack. While the actual definition of "Mega Church" may be that of a congregation of 10,000+ you must realize that Pathways is one of the largest church organizations in the area. They're atmosphere and order of services mimic that of larger congregations who ascribe to the more pop culture style of mega churches. My comment about their "sales tactics" was all encompassing. You are correct that no one went out of their way to hunt me down as a new face in the assembly but that doesn't change what their purpose is in their position. Sales tactics are Sales Tactics regardless of the connotation. As you read I did not so much care that they left me alone but i continued to venture out on my own. I thought it was worth noting though since I actually thought about the implications while it was happening and it did leave an impression on me whether good or bad. Your issue with my "glitz and glamour" remark seems a bit misguided. Indeed the Father calls us to be better but you seem to misunderstand what the Father considers "better". Does He prefer a king arrayed in royal cloth and on a Golden throne or a King laying humbly in a manger? Does He prefer His children wasting millions of dollars on huge temples or does He prefer His children to feed the hungry and visit widows and orphans in their trouble? I think you may have been digging a bit too deep at this point to find issues with an honest review of a single man's experience. Perception is truth my friend. As for your defense of the finances I couldn't care less. A majority of what it brought in on a weekly basis is wasted on useless material. In all honesty one must admit that all that is needed for Christians to assemble and worship is merely 4 walls and a roof and depending on the climate those are at times not even needed. Also Brad admitting he has "ADDDDDD" as you so elegantly put it does not help his case for eldership at all. Check the qualities required by Paul to be an elder and then use that as a mirror for Brad and if you can still honestly say he is qualified then that's great for you. Personally I don't think Mr. Leibe garners the qualities necessary to shepherd a flock of God's people but that is not up to me and it definitely was not my focus in the OP. As to your rebuke of those who posted...well...they can defend themselves if they so choose. As for his preaching skills I also couldn't care less about how well one speaks. As long as there is a string of thought that can be followed I'm good. To be completely honest I actually take issue with pulpit preaching in general anyway. There are very few instances if ANY at all in the NT where there was that type of preaching happening during assemblies of the saints. Paul had discussions with people and you'll see that the original greek words used for "preach" as in..."Paul preached until daybreak" for example, are literally meant as he "reasoned with them until daybreak". but that's a whole 'nother issue. :)

    Thanks again for your reply. God Bless.

    In Christ,

    Chad Kennow

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  49. "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone" is all I can say. We are all human, tempted by all sorts of sin. Our enemy knows us well and knows that someone falling can lead to others becoming bitter with church or religion. Satan knows this and would like to see those in power fall the worse. In this case it is working. "There is none righteous, no not one." Even Paul said he does the things he should not and does not do the things he should. We have got to stop pointing fingers at people who are just that.....human and full of sin. Each one of us falls to various temptations or we wouldn't need Jesus - His sacrifice would have been for nothing. Who am I to judge Brad? I was there, I attended First Assembly of God in Fort Myers and I was hurt and disappointed, but I forgave as should the rest of us.

    How many times should we forgive? 7?.............you know the rest.

    Maybe we should all refresh ourselves with the 10 Commandments and the 7 deadly sins and ask how many do we commit on a daily basis.

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  50. Secondly, doesn't the Bible warn against speaking ill about a man of God? Isn't all authority given by God? Who are we to decide how many times God will give Brad Liebe a chance.

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  51. You might have a case if the modern church were using God approved methods of determining who leaders in the church are. In this case I guarantee the methods used were far from scriptural and the standards used were not from God. Unless you are suggesting that Pathways and the Ft. Meyers AoG are somehow different than most if not all modern church organizations. When someone says Brad is not qualified, that is a given. But the fact is, very few individuals in leadership positions in the modern church are actually scripturally qualified.

    Laura don't fall into that trap of being accused of being judgmental. It is the word of God who judges. The fact that I or you or anyone else reminds us or points out what God said on the matter does not mean that we are the judge. At most we are the messenger. It is God who judges. I would not point out any sin if God had not stated first that it was sin. Am I judgmental for pointing out that a man having an affair with a woman who is not his wife is an adulterer? No, God said it was adultery and condemned it. I am simply pointing out and reminding those who have either forgotten or are unaware that God already addressed the situation.

    Thanks for the comments.

    In Christ,

    Chad Kennow

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  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. why did you delete your comment? Were you mistaken?

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    2. I wanted to wait a little longer to confirm what I had read. But it turns out that this Kelly Dudley, the woman that had the affair with Brad Liebe, was also in a relationship with another Pastor. Pastor Tommy Sparger of North Point Church (Springfield, MO) resigned in July 2012 due to "moral failure" He confessed to the congregation of his affair that had lasted a year. The name of the woman was not disclosed at that time. After he left, the board had discovered the financial trainwreck he left behind. The church was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, with no explanation as to where the money went. Tommys wife posted yesterday when it was revealed yesterday about Brad Liebe. She wants to reach out to his wife, since she has been there. Someone commented saying Kelly Dudley name, and she said a simple "yes" confirming it was the same person. What a shame that this woman has been able to hide behind who she is. These men have publicly confessed their sins. And are paying the price for their actions. And where is she? Where is her public confession? Why is she not being blasted as well?? 2 pastors in less than a year. Makes you wonder!

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    3. Well there is a different standard. The two "pastors" are given charge over the spiritual well-being of the flock. Kelly Dudley was not. The two "pastors" were SUPPOSED to be qualified shepherds. They lied to attain the position and then abused the position. The fact that they "fell short" is no excuse for them as they were called to a HIGHER standard. They were to be an example to the flock. They were SUPPOSED to be seen as the one's to look to as an example for Christian Living. Kelly Dudley was not elected/appointed/called to that position of authority or leadership. While her sin is EVIDENT. The punishment will be and should be greater for those who held those positions.

      "“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." Mark 9:42

      God forbid I should ever find myself on the deserving end of the same stick. But it would be my punishment too should I ever commit such an atrocity.

      Regardless, This all speaks more to the problems of the modern church in general than just about Brad or Pathways. Read, "Pagan Christianity?" By: Frank Viola and "So you don't want to go to church anymore?" By: Wayne Jacobsen and you begin to see what I mean.

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    4. also....

      "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."
      James 3:1

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  53. Chad it looks like the post were right. Brad Liebe was fired (announced yesterday morning to the church) as Senior Pastor of Pathways Church for having an inappropriate relationship with another woman who was none other than Kelly Dudley. Seems right that the truth is finally coming out about this man. It seems the words he directed at others such as "you're a wolf in sheep clothing" and "you're toxic" are nothing other than the truth about himself. I hope every church sees him as he truly is and never hires him again. Fired from his last two positions as Senior Pastor... I think that says a lot!

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  54. Dawn and Chad ... 2 things:

    1. Tommy never mishandled the money. He started that church & helped make it what it is today. In fact, he consistently gave over 25% of his income back to the church.
    2. Kelly was an AG missionary.

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    1. I'm not sure what the 25% giving is intended to prove. And Kelly being a "missionary" is kind of a made up position, so each church/denomination will have their own expectations or standards for that. If the church was in debt as stated when Tommy left then obviously some questions need to be answered for those asking. Just to be clear, I am not asking those questions. But again, the fact that these things are even issues highlights the problems with the modern church in general. Like I said, this is not a Brad Liebe or Kelly Dudley or Tommy Sparger or Pathways or North Point problem, it's a modern church problem. And until the Church wakes up and changes it's ways these problems will continue to persist and more and more Christians will continue to be disillusioned due to these things among others.

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  55. The Dudley are missionaries for Convoy of Hope to my understanding unless Brad lied about that too.

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  56. I have been with this church family since I was an infant. I know I'm probably not as old or as wise as any of you, but I can say one thing... This whole blog is terrible. Think about it. Gossiping and dissing a whole family who has the same beliefs as you? Come on now. You can't step into a church and look at it's income or weekly budgets and say it's not a house of God. I walk into other churches willing to understand what they do and how they do it. Sure, Pathways is different than other churches. But once you get down to it, we are all doing the same thing. Worshipping and learning about our lord. It's so frustrating reading through all these terrible comments about my real home. And throwing Brad under the bus? Oh goodness. Those of you who posted and go to Pathways, don't you remember being told that it doesn't need to be put up on the Internet? Goodness. I'm 16 and I know better than that. Sure, Brad has made some huge mistakes. And yes, leaving the church was probably best. But did you think about how much all this junk on these silly blogs is going to affect his kids and wife? These are my friends. And I'm sure you have all had friends make mistakes. And I plan on sticking with them through it. This family showed me how to love God through all my troubles. And brought me to God when I didn't know where to turn. This family may be shaken, broke, ashamed, and embarrassed... But this family will always remain loved and supported.

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    1. Thank you Mechelle! I agree with you 100%. I love Pathway's and have been going there for 3 years and will continue to go there. My heart goes out to Brad and his family, and I for one, will not judge anybody for anything they have done.

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    2. Mechelle I'm sorry that you don't like my blog. I hope no one forced you to come here. Also, I hope that you don't think that my blog is about Brad. This post in particular was just a review of my experience visiting pathways. What others posted here is their own. I leave those comments up simply because it paints further a picture of the overall issues that face the modern church. Thank you for your comments and I bid you best wishes on your journey. :)

      In Christ,

      Chad Kennow

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  57. Can I just ask where you found this info? I grew up in Brad's youth group in FL...just wanting to make sure the info is correct. Thanks.

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    1. Sorry TBF. I don't know which info you are referring to or to whom you are directing your question. Would you be able to be a bit more specific?

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    2. Well...I know about the embezzlement....I know that is true. But, the affair...how do you know that's true and that it was with Kelly? I'm not shocked...just really sad...I didn't think he would go THAT low. What is your source? I'm not doubting you...just would like to be sure.

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    3. they announced in church a couple of weeks ago about the affair but they didn't say who with. I have no idea where/how the part about Kelly got started or if it is even true.

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    4. Yes it is apparently common knowledge now with Pathways parishioners. Thanks Jules and thank you TBF for visiting.

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    5. Ok...thanks. It's all so sad and frustrating.

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  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I understand your frustration. Thank you for removing the comment though. "Be angry and do not sin." and all. :) Have a bright day. :)

      In Christ,

      Chad Kennow

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  59. If you're a Christian, pray for Brad.
    If you're not, pray for yourself.
    Read 1 Corinthians 13:2-3, repent for your slander, and move on.

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  60. Thanks for stopping by Greg. Could you clarify who the comment is directed at. I'm not certain anyone slandered.

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  61. I just wanted to post something to clear up a couple details I came across while reading this.

    1) Brad Liebe's younger brother Brent was at First Assembly of God in Fort Myers Florida in the Masters Commission program there in 2000-2001. He was not involved with anything that happened with Brad's leaving that church.

    2) Bard was a youth pastor at First Assembly of God for a number of years, but then actually left for a couple years to work in Copenhagen, Denmark. They also started a Masters Commission program while he was there. When he left Denmark he came back to Fort Myers and was given the postition of SR Associate Pastor, being placed above Pastor Charlie Brown who was seemingly not happy with the postion after taking over for Pastor Bill Campbell in 2002. (I know this because I was an intern at First Assembly at that time).

    3)Pastor Dan Betzer, the Senior Pastor of First Assembly of God Fort Myers is a great and forgiving man. He was friends with Jim Bakker before his scandle and remains his friend now (or at least last I knew). I point this out because Pastor Betzer truely believes that a man can change. I see this being why the church decided to keep it an internal situation, after seeing the mess that was made with Jim Bakker. I also think (this is an educated guess as I know most people involved) that Pastor Larry Liebe (Brad's father and the head of the district for Wisconsin and Northern Michigan) would not have just reinstated his son's credentials on a whim. I believe that he would have spoke with Pastor Betzer as well as the leaders of the AG in Springfield before doing that. In fact I don't think he actually has the authority to give them back if they were taken away by the head office.

    I hope this clears up some details. I also beg you not to let this drag down the work that God could still do in him and through him. It is not our place to decide what ministry (if any) Brad does. Please don't look for conspiracy and wrong doing at every turn, it is a waste of time and can detract from what God is trying to do. Pray for Brad, pray for me, and pray for wisdom and understanding.

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    1. Thanks for the info Justin. I'm not sure that changes God's clear instructions that a man must be blameless, have a good reputation, and mustn't be a lover of money to be a "pastor"/"bishop"/"elder". I doubt Timothy or Titus while following the directions given by the Apostle Paul to appoint elders in every city would have even considered a person with a background like Brad's for the appointment of pastor.

      Also, I agree that people shouldn't run with it. There are many reasons Brad should never again hold the position of pastor. That doesn't mean he's been rejected by Christ. He'll just have to find another way of serving in the Kingdom. Obviously "pastor" just isn't his calling.

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  62. God has been speaking to our church about the reform needed and coming in the churches across this country:
    1 Peter 4: 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    In addition to the church corruption God has been prophesied about here in Appleton, he is speaking about the "removal of the citadel", the mega-churches here that are building their own kingdom instead of following God.

    As it relates to Pathways, there are clandestine meetings that have been in the works for some time now, to build up this "citadel". A lot of money and a lot of power is still at stake with Pathways, and the AG has their hands all over this, planning on "rescuing it" for their use.

    Many of these local prophecies, such as the ones for Christ the Rock, have already been unfolding in precise detail:
    http://www.shoutsofjoyministries.com/fox-valley-prophecies/christ-the-rock-community-church-prophecies/

    This is what God is saying through Joie about the AG's plan to take over Pathways:
    http://www.shoutsofjoyministries.com/pathwayschurch-appleton/

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  63. Also this post is important for background information on Pathways:
    http://www.shoutsofjoyministries.com/speak-to-the-citadel-to-be-removed/

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  64. Interesting stuff Craig. I don't know for sure but I think my mother-in-law knows this Joie lady.

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  65. http://www.manta.com/c/mx47gkp/kk-b-financial-services-for-seniors

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  66. The topper for Brad Liebe is that he now has started a financial counseling service back in Fort Myers for senior citizens. Brad's website states "To this end, Brad started a business called KK&B Financial Services for Seniors and has seen this business continue to grow and benefit individuals as they are preparing for the retirement years as well as the generational transfer of assets." Probably from their pocket to his. I am honored to have been one of the few who voted against Liebe for senior pastor.

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    1. I heard about this. Sounds pretty sketchy to me too. But I suppose it's none of anyone's business anymore. I suppose if people in Fort Myer's know about this they may want to warn the locals.

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