A Promised Update


Several Texas Baptists have asked me why an update on the misuse of church starting funds was not given during the Annual Meeting. All of the details on this situation have been reported in the Baptist Standard, so there was not anything new to report. Here is a summary of the situation: An Oversight Committee was appointed by Bob Fowler and chaired by Jim Nelson to help the Executive Board monitor the progress of our staff’s response to the investigative report.  They made two reports to the Executive Board and these were reported in the Baptist Standard. The Baptist Standard reported after the last Executive Board meeting that all of the information we have from our investigation has been turned over since December, 2006, to the federal authorities in Brownsville. Our legal counsel in Dallas and in Brownsville have reported to the Executive Board that we have done all we can do that is feasible. We have stated on several occasions since last December that we would like to sit down with the authorities and personally convey our sincere desire for them to pursue this matter to a conclusion and our willingness to answer any questions they might have. We have, through our attorney, made sure they know how anxious we are for this to be dealt with. Our legal counsel advises us that to do more, to make a public show about this, would be very counter-productive and they advise us that we are doing all that we can or should do.  Several of us went to the Valley in November last year to visit with the three pastors who are accused of misusing BGCT church starting funds. We asked them to restore the money, and we had prayer with them. In one case there was an indication of willingness to restore funds; that pastor seemed to feel that perhaps $10,000-$12,000 might be about right. Our preliminary investigation suggested it was considerably more. Our referral of the matter to the authorities and the large difference in our understandings of the amount of money involved prevented, at least for now, any restitution of funds. In another case, the pastor insisted he had used the money appropriately and that he had strong satellite congregations and ministries throughout his area. In the other case, there were anger and threats, denials and promises to fight this in the courts if the matter was pursued. After several months of looking into possible actions, we took a report last May to the Executive Board that indicated we would continue to encourage the authorities to complete the investigation and that we certainly would continue to monitor the situation. We also, on the advice of counsel, indicated we would not pursue the matter civilly. We would not because the possible recovery of funds from these pastors would not exceed the legal costs that the Convention would incur. And we would not because the publicity would damage the churches of the Valley and the association and the Baptist name in that part of the state. The attention to this in the media would far outweigh any possible financial recovery and would probably be interpreted as a large Convention with offices in Dallas picking on three pastors in the Valley.  Furthermore, our visit to the Valley led us to the conclusion that while $1.3 million seems to have been misused and that there were “churches on paper” funded by our church starting dollars, that a sizeable amount of the $1.3 million, though not used as it should have been to start new churches, was used by at least two of the pastors to reach people for Christ and has resulted in their base congregations being quite strong and effective in reaching and discipling people. We are still encouraging the authorities to look into this and get to the bottom of it so justice can be done. With regard to First Baptist Church in Weslaco: We brought a full explanation to the Executive Board in September, and it was reported in the Standard. We had hoped to bring an updated and full report to the Convention, but the agreement we have reached in principle, could not be publicly discussed because the church has asked to have a legal document put in place. Our attorneys and their attorneys are working on the agreement.  Simply put, Jon has returned the money to the church and the church has agreed to return the money to the BGCT.  We are in the process of receiving the money from the church. I had sent a letter thanking them for wanting to restore the funds to our church starting efforts There were three new church starts, two of which remain viable. The difficulty arose because of a third church start that Jon Becker began as “a church within a church.” He did not fully inform his church that was what was happening. The church, perhaps using information that was not accurate from the pastor, used $26,000 of Convention funds to add to their pastor’s salary because, as he represented to our church starter, he was “pastoring” what he called a new church start to be spun off into an autonomous congregation later. But in the minds of most of the church, they had simply started a third service for their growing congregation at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. This is terribly unfortunate and has caused Jon Becker to lose his pastorate at First Baptist Church of McAllen and to return the money he had taken in salary. I hope this information is helpful. Every dollar any one of our members gives through our churches is precious to God and to every pastor. Every dollar given by any one of our churches or missions is precious to God and to me. I am deeply sorry that these matters happened and that it caused a crisis of confidence. But I hope this gives you assurance that we are doing all that we can to be good stewards of the money entrusted to us by the churches. 

Let me add this word, as well. Our new policies and guidelines outlined in our New Church Starting Manual will minimize the risk of misuse of church starting funds. Our whole process has been changed and improved. And if someone does try to inappropriately use church starting funds of the BGCT, we will be able to know it quickly and respond appropriately.


Paul Atkinson is our new leader of the Church Starting Team. He will be glad to provide additional information if you would like. This is critical for our churches and for the future of Texas and the needs of people who need what Jesus can do in their lives. With a state that has 10-11 million unchurched people, we continue to be a mission field in Texas as well, thanks be to God, as a mission base.  The last I checked there are 25 or 26 states in our USA that don’t have that many people in their entire population.

Perhaps that could be a topic for another blog:  Eleven Critical Elements in Starting New Churches.  I will either write it or get Paul to comment on this next week.  In fact, Paul, when you read this you might share the story about your motorcycle being the best witnessing tool you have had recently.

We are loved.



36 Responses to “A Promised Update”

  1. VB Says:

    Dr. Wade:

    First, thank you for responding. No doubt, nothing about any of this has been easy for you. It takes courage to speak out in this format.

    I have two questions:

    1. There is no indication that any of the “grant” money (convention funds) you mention being paid to Jon Becker from First Weslaco ever showed up on their financial statements. It didn’t go in and it didn’t go out. He himself said at one point that only three people in Weslaco even knew he was receiving the BGCT grant money. So how do you explain that the church (regardless of what information they had) chose to “add to their pastor’s salary”? Wouldn’t there be some record if that were the case and why would only three people be aware of such expenditures?

    2. When Jon Becker came to you (or whomever) with the notion of starting a church within a church that would spin out on its own, what was the precedent? You yourself just said that was when the difficulty arose. Had such an endeavor ever taken place and been successful before? What indication did you have that such a church start would be successful? The reason I ask is that there has been much made of the idea that Becker intentionally misled the BGCT and you allowed it. I’d like to give you a chance to clear that up if you will.

  2. VB Says:

    One more question:

    In the Standard article, which you indicate is accurate, there was a mention of Jon Becker going to you for an additional $3000 and keeping $2800 for himself. Do you have any comment on that?

  3. Paul Atkinson Says:

    Dr. Wade:

    The 11 Components of the Church Starting Experience are as follows…

    1. Church Planter Enlistment – Discover and involve Pastors and Church Planters.

    2. Assessment Process – Identify and evaluate the success potential of the new church.

    3. Prayer & Spiritual Vitality – Identify demonstrable maturity, growth and strong spiritual life in church leaders.

    4. Mentoring/Coaching – Create intentional relationships to befriend, teach and advise principal leaders.

    5. Core Group Development – Establish/maintain an essential group of people committed to the Church Start.

    6. Vision Development – Turn the God-given dream of a new church into a continuing resource of inspiration.

    7. Church Type – Create a unique identity for this new body of baptized believers via ministry and worship.

    8. Covenant Expectations & Doctrinal Integrity – Establish mutual understandings to clearly guide relationships, teachings and behaviors aligned to the Bible.

    9. Lay Leaders – Find key personnel, other than staff, to provide services or expertise necessary to New Church Start success.

    10. Training & Development – Equip all involved people to assume roles in the Church Start.

    11. Funding – Determine financial resources necessary for the Church Start.

    In the past our focus was almost entirely a grant funding style of church starting in which manytimes the Starter (BGCT employee) would meet as little as once a year with the Strategic Development Team (thats what we call it now)… I am at home and don’t have my old files so I can’t remember what they called it before… Anyway, it is a team that is made up of the Planter (new church pastor), Sponsor church rep. and a Association rep. usualy the Director of Missions. This team set a budget and goals for the new work each time they met. This then went back to the Dallas office for a review with staff and the church starting director would sign off on it and give it to the Mission Funding Group which met every other month and approved new covenants… THAT WAS THEN!

    Things are quite different… First, we are trying to move the church starting culture from a Grant funding style to a developmental/partnership style of church starting… notice, funding is only one component of the 11 components that we are trying to impact… We are starting more and more churches that are entering into a covenent relationship with us but have not requested funding as their presenting need… We tell church planters all the time… “Remember, the resources are in the Harvest.”. The Strategic Development Team (Starter, Planter, DOM, and all the Sponsor Churches note: We now encourage more than one church to partner together to start the new church) meets every 12 weeks and the starter leads a 2 hr. dialog about all 11 components… he (the starter)is looking for gaps so that the team can discover the best resources or development path to move the new church forward toward becoming self-supporting and fulfilling what God has called them to do… We have also started assigning coaches to new starts and the coaches meet with the planter monthly to encourage and give advice when needed (it can be lonely starting a church and the coaches help the planter know that they have another partner in the field) Note: This next year we will be needing to train about 50 coaches because we don’t have enough… I could go on and on so… Let me get to the point… We are in a much better place to insure that the past promblems don’t visit us again… because we have much more direct contact and relationship with the church planter, sponsors and Associations than ever before… more and greater verity of people are working with the new church than ever before… electronic reporting and record keeping which allows for more accountablity and the starter knowing were he left off with the church in their development plan… The MFG now meets monthly and no church can recieve funding without an approved adjenda. All of the church starters come together each month and check eachothers work….

    Please pray for my team and me as we are trying to be everything that is best about being a Christ follower and a Texas Baptist. All we desire is to start heathy churches that will let the people of Texas know how MUCH Jesus love them. Sometimes it’s that simple….

  4. Manuel Gautreaux Says:

    I take exception to the sentence by Dr. Wade that “The church PERHAPS using information that was not accurate from the pastor, USED $26,000 of Convention funds to ADD TO THEIR pastor’s salary because,….”.

    As I have stated before on this blog, The CHURCH BODY as a whole that meets at FBC-Weslaco DID NOT know that FBC-Weslaco was receiving money from the BGCT for the so-called “Family Fellowship” church start.

    It really angers and upsets me that Dr. Wade keeps wanting to imply that FBC-Weslaco Church Body knew more about what was going on then we did and we did things wrong.

    My request would be for Dr. Wade to stop imputing fault on FBC-Weslaco until evidence shows clearly that the church body was aware, agreed, and participated in this so-called church start (i.e., documentation: minutes from a business meeting).

    Otherwise, these implications from Dr. Wade will continue to cause damage to an already hurt congregation. Believe me, FBC-Weslaco wants to put this situation behind us and move forward and do the minister that God calls us to do. FBC-Weslaco is a strong church. A church that will continue to grow and overcome our current circumstances. A church that I love and will always take exception to anyone who causes hurt to the congregation.

    I take comfort knowing that all of our actions, good and bad, will be judged by our Heavenly Father, who is a just God. His Mercy and Grace endures forever. May His Name be Praised forever and forever.

  5. Manuel Gautreaux Says:

    Small correction to my post:
    line “…. move forward and do the MINISTER that God calls us to do”
    should read:
    line “…. move forward and do the MINISTRY that God calls us to do”

  6. David Lowrie Says:

    Dear Paul and Charles,

    Thank you for your sharing with us about the current situation in the Valley. Your comments have been quite helpful. I especially appreciated the 11 components of the church starting. Having been a church planter at one time and currently the sponsor pastor of a Cowboy church I took great interest in these guidelines.

    Concerning blogging on these kinds of issues, I appreciate this bold move on your part. We live in a changing world in which communication and conversations will be key. This forum has its limitation and flaws, but in the hands of good people I believe it can create an online community where facts and ideas can be communicated. Unity of vision grows out of what I call “feedback loops”. As you know for communication to be effective it needs to be two way.

    In closing I would encourage all of us to heed the words of James: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”.

    Thank you for reaching out to us. I pray this adventure will bear fruit for the Kingdom.

    David Lowrie

  7. David Says:

    Dr. Wade:

    Thank you for the information you share here updating readers regarding Valley happenings over the span of this year. That you and the convention’s executive staff have been judged by some during 2007 who either failed to read info provided in the Standard–or who simply failed to type an email inquiry directly to you–is very unfortunate. Maybe all will make “going straight to the source” a practice from this point forward–or, as Marv Know suggested during the recent annual meeting, subscribe to the Baptist Standard and then read it.

    Also, the disappointment shared above by our brother from Weslaco is noted–but incorrect. When the congregation I serve assisted in the start of a new church a couple of years ago, it was as a part of a “team” including: the new mission’s members and pastor, the local Baptist association, the BGCT, and our congregation. While the BGCT’s staff representatives made clear guidelines regarding use of money received from the convention for church-starting activities, those representatives depended upon our congregation’s leaders to help give day-to-day oversight to those activities–the convention’s staff could not be held responsible for that supervision, nor could those staff members be responsible either for what they did not know or were not told by our congregation’s leaders. From that perspective, the matter is being described accurately as “. . . The church, perhaps using information that was not accurate from the pastor, used $26,000 of Convention funds to add to their pastor’s salary because, as he represented to our church starter, he was ‘pastoring’ what he called a new church start to be spun off into an autonomous congregation later . . .” In my opinion, this clarification is important–the members of new churches being begun in Texas must provide the passion necessary for those congregations to persist and exist well into the future, and sponsoring churches must provide necessary support and guidance until those new missions can stand on their own. And, sponsoring churches leaders–ministers and/or laity–should provide adequate information to their fellow-members about the matter.

  8. David Says:

    Sorry–that’s Marv KNOX, not KNOW–though Marv is much “in the KNOW”!

    (And, in the last sentence above: “. . . sponsoring churches’ leaders—ministers and/or laity—should provide adequate information . . .”)

  9. Manuel Gautreaux Says:

    To David,

    I appreciate your comments on my reply. What you described as starting a new work: ” I serve assisted in the start of a new church a couple of years ago, it was as a part of a “team” including: the new mission’s members and pastor, the local Baptist association, the BGCT, and our congregation.” It should be a team effort and it should consist of the parts you sited.

    In our case the “new mission’s members” and “our congregation” were not involved in this so-called new church start. Why? Because our second service time was not considered a new church start but an extra service to help with overcrowding. Therefore, I considered my comments appropriate and correct.

  10. dhl Says:


    I believe the frustration of Mr Gautreaux and some others is not that Dr Wade is wrong to assume no ill-will on the part of the BGCT staff, but that by using words like “perhaps” there leaves some wiggle room that maybe the leaders and members of the church in Weslaco were aware of what Pastor Becker was doing with this start up. He maintains, and he is not alone, that they did not.
    The members of the new church cannot provide passion or anything else for a church that they are not even aware is a church.
    This is not an indictment on the BGCT or the church, but on the Pastor.

  11. rick davis Says:

    The information in this blog merely repeats previous announcements. It breaks no new ground and perhaps there is no new ground to break.

    The simple truth is we got taken because we were not paying attention, violated procedures already in place and now suffer the consequences. Trust is not eroded in this debacle. It is demolished. We will be years getting back up to standard. Some churches are irretrievably lost to us because of it.

    There is no good rationale for Valleygate or Weslaco or for the recent layoffs at the Building. All are separate tragedies melding into one dismal report.

  12. Manuel Gautreaux Says:

    To Rick,

    I think what you stated “the simple truth” is what it is and really not much more can be added. Unfortunate as it is.

    To DHL,

    I appreciate what you said. Frustration was a good word to describe mine and other feelings about this whole situation.

    May God be gracious and merciful to churches for His honor and glory…

  13. David Says:

    Brothers above:

    The point of my posting was—and is—that Dr. Wade and the BGCT staff cannot be responsible for anything they were not told, by whomever, about Weslaco’s efforts in church-planting, and it has been made fairly clear at this site and others that the majority of the congregation was uninformed as well—the church’s members apparently also were not told and are not responsible. The sensitivity regarding the matter is very understandable, but the comment to Dr. Wade is misdirected.

    Also: something else apparently not new is the offer of any constructive solutions not already in place to prevent future occurrences of the same or any commendations for the thousands of projects coming together successfully before/during/after same the time period being referenced. I agree: $1.5 million is an incredible amount of money to be misapplied as so much of it seems to have been; still, the comments and attitude above seem to go contrary to the idea being publicly propagated that things “ain’t so bad”.

  14. BT Says:

    How about this for a solution. Once all of the applications and relationships are established on paper, how about the person approving the checks being present at the sponsoring church’s business meeting. There, everything could be discussed. This would allow for accountability at the state level and church level. Accountability is the major issue in all of this. FBC Weslaco is saying they had no idea. I believe them. Everyone at the BGCT says that it is the church’s responsibility. That is an attempt to evade responsibility.

    Where does the paper trail lead? Who endorsed the checks if they were made out to FBC Weslaco? How were they deposited or cashed and not included in the financials of the church? Who is responsible to fill out the applications? Are all of the appropriate signatures there? BGCT officials, Director of Missions for the valley, trustees, pastor, business meeting notes, financial statements? What shows that the church knew of the plant?

    Even the smallest of churches have accountability. The BGCT had none? How naive am I?

  15. David Says:


    I think it’s great of you to ask the questions you do in your second paragraph above.

    Hopefully, you’ve copied/pasted those questions to that paragraph from a note you’ve already emailed to the appropriate staff member in the Baptist Building (remember: go to the source first, before airing displeasures/disappointments in a forum such as this; Matthew 18). In case not, here’s the best email address: paul.atkinson@bgct.org (Paul is a terrific brother in the Lord, and he leads the church-starting activities of the convention now—he’ll do his best to answer your questions; another, but less-appropriate, email address: david.nabors@bgct.org). As to the specifics of your suggestions: keep in mind that the BGCT seeks to start an average of 500 new churches during the present 5-year period.

    Again, no one in the Baptist Building is hoping that Texas Baptists WON’T contact the staff about these sorts of matters, and no one is hiding in the building with the hope of not being found by people with questions. No state Baptist convention anywhere has a better staff than YOUR convention—make the most of the partnership, and move forward together into the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

  16. David Says:

    . . . Sorry; I think that’s 300 new churches, rather than 500 churches—still, the most of any state Baptist convention, highly-commendable, and something to keep in mind in light of BT’s questions/comments above.

  17. BT Says:


    300 church starts in 5 years is commendable. That would be 60 per year or 5 per month. Surely there are enough people left in the Baptist Building to send out to the chuches to follow-up on church plant plans. Surely there are enough to visit an average of 5 church business meetings per month. I would guess they are not all at the same time! Accountability requires effort my friend. I offered a solution and as you suggested. The only one on this long page. You tell me it won’t work? What would be your suggestion?

    I believe the questions of the second paragraph above are the most basic of an investigation that was estimated to be complete by this time. We received an update, understanding legal formalities, and receive an explanation of, “The church, perhaps using information that was not accurate from the pastor, used $26,000 of Convention funds to add to their pastor’s salary …”

    There must be enough detail in a real investigation to know if FBCW was the actual recepient of the money and then disbursed the funds. There has to be enough detail to know who endorsed the check. To imply that the church should be paying the funds back to the convention is bold.

    This body (BGCT and FBC Weslaco) is hurting. Answers should not be withheld for personal requests. There are many more reading this blog for information and updates. Most don’t comment. But they are reading.

  18. wackypreacher Says:

    I think it is true that the way we do church planting and deal with the financial end of it needs improvement. The “old” way may have had some “gaps” in it that allowed the situations we are now dealing with. Whenever a pastor goes to a new church, there are “old” ways of doing things that need improvement, not that the old was bad per se, they just needed updating. I think that may be the case for the BGCT and church planting and funding.

  19. BT Says:

    Manuel Gautreaux,

    I am praying for you and your church. FBC Weslaco is living a testimony before our eyes. In the end, our Lord will be glorified! Keep running the race.

  20. David Says:


    Is there a way that I can set up a conference telephone call between you and the Baptist Building, so that the answers you are seeking can be gotten directly from the individuals who have that information? I honestly believe that that is a phone call you can make without the assistance of any other third-party person—but I am willing! Let me know. In any case, the direct dial phone number to Paul Atkinson (BGCT Church-Starter Team Leader) in his office is: 214-828-5217.

    Also, my reference to “no solution” was directed to another blogger in an earlier post, not to you. Otherwise, it appears that the new approach to church-starting funded by the BGCT—as outlined by Bro. Atkinson above—will be very adequate; if those steps do not work, however, I am quite certain that either Paul’s team itself will be able to fine-tune the approach or will solicit additional input from wise Texas Baptists such as yourself.

    As to the “perhaps” reference, I feel sure that Dr. Wade can and will state the matter more accurately when he or his staff is told more specifically by the local leaders involved—whomever they may be—more percisely what took place. Again, he cannot—as you and I cannot—be held responsible either for what he has not been told or for what others do.

    The sun is shining here, brother—enjoy the day that the Good Lord has made where you are, too!

  21. Paul Atkinson Says:

    Sorry, it has taken me so long to respond but I have been away from internet access… First, let me start with an understanding… I will always talk as straight forward about Church Starting as possible… If you knew my lifes journey you would understand that this way of communication (blogging) is not my strength. But I will do my best to communicate… I too have thought your solution to have a BGCT Starter at the sponsor church approval which could be 1, 2 or more churches on the covenant would be a good idea but this would slow the process down more than it is already…and what would we gain? That the sponsor church pastor told the truth and the church did approve a covenant as is signed and dated on the document? If, we have a wide spread problem like this we have much bigger problems… I, for one believe that most of our pastors have more character than to falsify documents… Therefore, we would spend a lot time and travel money to see that a document is signed as promised… do we also, attend the Associational meetings to be there when they approve the covenant too? I would rather spend that time and travel money in the first development meeting after the church was approved…Here is the process that we go through now parentheses () is who is involved … Application online (planter); Starter talks with planter (planter and starter); Meeting with all potential partners (starter, planter, sponsor churches, Association rep.); Assessment of planter (planter, assessing team); If the planter is a good match and assesses well then… Resource Development Team meets (starter, planter, sponsor churches, Association rep.) and develops a strategy with a vision, values, and goals… they also set a proposed budget with all the partners stating what resources they each can provide (BGCT must be less than 50% of the total resources)… THEN the covenant goes to each partner to be signed (planter, Association, sponsor churches, starter and finally reviewed by BGCT staff then to MFG for approval). We now assign a coach to meet monthly, and start meeting with the planter and other partners every 12 weeks.
    BT, our goal is to know the planter and all the partners well enough through relationships that the problems of the past don’t happen again. I have also asked our entire church starting team to visit a worship service of the new church plants from time to time, this encourages everyone. Call me if you have more questions… 214-801-7195 This is my cell phone and the best way to reach me I am on the road a lot….
    Peace to you, Paul

  22. David Says:


    A terrific answer—and from the BGCT’s resource person who knows!

    You and your team of church-starters are terrific Texas Baptists who serve the Lord very credibly and very earnestly (as does the remainder of the BGCT staff). I, for one, appreciate your taking the time—and going to the effort—to respond to the concerns expressed on this blog. I am tempted to inquire of you about how many of those posting above who have expressed concerns also have contacted you directly with their questions, as they have been encouraged to do; however, I simply will trust that it is each of them as necessary.

    God has blessed Texas Baptists wonderfully over our 100+ years of existence—there is no doubt! While the size of the unfinished gospel work in this state is huge, still we are blessed. The Lord Jesus Himself confirmed that His followers will have tribulations in this world (John 16:33)—unfortunately, many of those distresses will be of our own making. However, the likelihood that the Lord can use as well any state Baptist convention whose member churches, following trials and troubles, will stay stuck rather than recover and move forward together with the good news about Jesus appears improbable—so why let it be the BGCT? Why let it be any one of us?

    Everyone, take two steps hopefully and gratefully—and together—into the future to tell our fellow Texans how much God loves them! John 3:16

  23. Paul Atkinson Says:

    I have an idea… As most of you know we need strong healthy churches that are passionate about starting strong healthy churches to be sponsors… Will each of you prayerfully and honestly consider becoming a sponsor church? Remember, BGCT church starting partners with local churches and associations to start churches we don’t start them on our own… Here are our baseline criteria for sponsor churches… they are supportive of BGCT as exhibited by giving to missions through the cooperative program, they agree to start a church that will be a BGCT supportive church (we ask the new church to give 10% of their undesignated offerings to missions 7% BGCT-CP and 3% to their local association). We also ask that the sponsor will bring some resources themselves and will commit to attending the quarterly review meetings with the starter, planter and associational rep… I would love to talk with any or all of you about this… Maybe, even two or more of your churches could partner together to start a church… We need you now more than ever… Let’s talk! …. 214-801-7195 or email me paul.atkinson@bgct.org … We still have much to do… what do you think?
    Peace to you,

  24. David Says:


    Thank you for encouraging Texas Baptist congregations to experience all of what is termed “biblical church growth”—spiritual growth (increased individual and corporate likeness to Christ), numerical growth (people saved and joining churches), ministries expansion (more need-meeting done in Jesus’ name by ones who know Him), and missions advance (churches starting new churches; cf. Gene Mims’ “Kingdom Principles for Church Growth”—summary here: http://www.tarrantbaptist.org/default.asp?page=3320&action=getpage).

  25. Brady Says:

    While I do enjoy all of the good strokes everyone is giving everyone on here I feel like the basic questions are being ignored. How in the world did Otto steal $1.3 million dollars and noone knew it? Where in the world was the DOM??? I grew up in the Valley and spent a lot of time in McAllen and it was common knowledge that Otto was up to something–and something dishonest. There should have been plenty of safeguards in place to keep this from happening.

    The deal with Jon Becker is even worse. According to lots of sources (Jon being one of them), Dr. Wade wanted him to bring FBC, McAllen back into the BGCT fold. The BGCT staff can’t plead “we didn’t hear it so we didn’t know it”–its their job to know these things. Jon was getting way too much money for someone not to check into something.

    The culture in the Valley is one of payoffs and fraud so its not surprising that this happened but it is something that should have been prevented by the people in authority. A little accountability here would be a good thing guys.

  26. David Says:




  27. Paul Atkinson Says:

    The first question…Is anything but ignored… I would suggest you checkout http://www.baptiststandard.com and do a search and you can get all kinds of information on the how… As for no one knowing it… Part was the work load and physical size of the area the BGCT Starter had to cover Houston to the Valley to San Antonio and hundreds of churches… I think at the time the idea was have fewer BGCT staff so that more mission money could go to fund more church starts and depend on the written reports from the field to inform us what is happening. In that environment trust that all the partners where telling the truth was the key… Remember, the JB thing was part of that same era (before our new process that we launched in March of this year)… Brady, I hope I am misunderstanding your first sentence in the last paragraph… I really disagree with your statement…and feel it is way out of line… I will speak to “a little accountability…” It is a new day… of the 13 of us that makeup the present church starting team only 4 have been on this team for more than two years. We have a new process, a new team, and a passion to start strong healthy churches that will start strong healthy churches… Read the above comments on the 11 components in this stream.

    Hope this helps…
    Peace to you,

  28. David Says:


    Are you able to report whether or not Brady—or any other person blogging negative comments here—has contacted your office before posting those criticisms on this site? Biblically, I think that’s an important thing to do—despite the misunderstanding of the concept disclosed by some typing replies so far—and it’s important for the others blogging here to know about them.

    Despite anything that ever may take place among Texas Baptists—negative or positive—we are BROTHERS AND SISTERS in Christ, and are responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ for behaving accordingly. The public questioning of anyone’s integrity without having taken the steps that our Savior outlined in Matthew 18 cannot be termed “mature” in any sense of the word.

    I understand if you prefer not to answer my question, but that question also should be asked.

  29. Cory Says:


    You decry others for not “going to the source” first, yet you do the same thing, putting Paul on the spot to announce whether anyone came to him in private to ask questions before asking them on this blog. To me that is more detrimental than the original questions being asked. The bottom line here is, if you don’t want questions being asked in a public forum, don’t have the public forum, or at least state somewhere in the site guidelines that the blog is not open for questions or comments, but is just for disseminating information to the churches.

    I am all for treating one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. There are blogs all across this country having to do with Baptist churches and issues that need a lesson in the Fruit of the Spirit and Christian kindness. But I do believe there are people on here that desire honest answers and information.

  30. David Says:


    Thanks for your note—I’ll take your counsel into consideration.

    Now, re-read my postings: they’re concerned with individuals blogging here who publicly castigate individuals—brothers in the Lord—they haven’t first interacted with in accordance with the guidelines your Savior (I assume) and mine delivered to all of us. My position on this is one with which you should agree—not one for which I should be chastised. The “questions,” as you state, are ones of questioning the personal integrity of another and defaming individuals publicly, not of asking for answers about events among us.

    If someone blogging here or elsewhere unjustly criticizes you publicly before seeking to win you back privately if you are considered to have failed, I’d point out the wrong in that also. My defense is one of the principles of reconcilation when it’s needed, not specifically of individuals—though I certainly have done that and would do it for you as well.

    Otherwise, your position is not one with which everyone blogging here agrees. I hope that you no longer do either.

  31. Cory Says:


    Please show me where the following questions castigate any individual:

    VB Says:

    November 9, 2007 at 10:06 pm
    Dr. Wade:

    First, thank you for responding. No doubt, nothing about any of this has been easy for you. It takes courage to speak out in this format.

    I have two questions:

    1. There is no indication that any of the “grant” money (convention funds) you mention being paid to Jon Becker from First Weslaco ever showed up on their financial statements. It didn’t go in and it didn’t go out. He himself said at one point that only three people in Weslaco even knew he was receiving the BGCT grant money. So how do you explain that the church (regardless of what information they had) chose to “add to their pastor’s salary”? Wouldn’t there be some record if that were the case and why would only three people be aware of such expenditures?

    2. When Jon Becker came to you (or whomever) with the notion of starting a church within a church that would spin out on its own, what was the precedent? You yourself just said that was when the difficulty arose. Had such an endeavor ever taken place and been successful before? What indication did you have that such a church start would be successful? The reason I ask is that there has been much made of the idea that Becker intentionally misled the BGCT and you allowed it. I’d like to give you a chance to clear that up if you will.

    VB Says:

    November 9, 2007 at 10:31 pm
    One more question:

    In the Standard article, which you indicate is accurate, there was a mention of Jon Becker going to you for an additional $3000 and keeping $2800 for himself. Do you have any comment on that

    Cory continues: I don’t see anything wrong with these questions, do you? These are the original questions I was referring to in my post. There is nothing questioning anyone’s integrity or defaming anyone. It is simply a person asking questions that should have some sort of answer. Are you telling me Dr. Wade and Paul or whoever else would rather answer hundreds of emails than have the opportunity in this forum to answer questions?

  32. David Says:


    Your name appeared at this site this morning for the first time that I know of; if I’m wrong about that, I apologize. I’ve been posting responses like those I described earlier for a few days—when others began posting (before you today, as I said) blog entries of the sort I’ve indicated. Those are the postings I referred you to, brother.

    Again, and as I’ve stated before: legitimate and non-defaming questions regarding recent BGCT funding issues in the Valley are, in my humble opinion, fair-game at a site such as this supported by your CP contributions and mine remaining with the state Baptist convention. Blog entries which publicly call into question the character and integrity of a brother in the Lord prior to personal one-to-one interactions do not belong at this site. If you have failed to understand this—my point to you of earlier—please understand it now.

    In regard to the Valley funding issues, quite some time ago I asked my questions of Dr. Wade directly by email, and also personally earlier this year as a part of group meeting with him and other BGCT leaders; I am satisfied with the answers I received, believe them—and Dr. Wade—to be truthful, and refuse to believe as some seem to suggest that “going to the source” in this way was wrong. For those reasons, I’ll defend the Scriptures’ principles of reconciliation, and individuals including yourself, if ever it appears that is necessary.

    Regarding the BGCT staff and its receipt of emails: the staff probably receives as many as you mention every day. I serve one church and probably send/receive 25 emails each day; the BGCT’s staff serves 5700 congregations in Texas. And, yes: despite the hundreds of emails it might generate, “going to the source” still is the best way for what I describe in the first paragraph above. That, my brother, is not at all difficult to understand.

  33. Cory Says:


    I believe we really do agree. My original post only referred to the original questions posed at the beginning of this thread, not to any other comments posted on other threads which may have been egregious. I never said anything about derrogatory comments being OK. I simply pointed out that you seemed to do the same thing you were calling on others to do. If you want to know if anyone has contacted Paul personally, then contact him personally–don’t put him on the spot to answer that on the blog.

    And whether my name appeared on the blog this morning or 6 months ago, what difference does it make? How do you know I haven’t been reading all of this time, and just today felt compelled to comment? Frankly, and I say this in love, your tone to me sounds a bit condescending. You must think I am some young buck who hasn’t been around awhile, which is not at all true.

  34. David Says:


    Surely, you’re correct that we agree rather than disagree—and your reference to love is much appreciated. Were we sitting in the same room together today, I’m certain that our conversation would’ve been completed—at least on these matters—by the time The Price is Right was finished this morning.

    At the risk of sounding to you condenscending yet again, I’ll disagree that that’s how my postings read–and know that it certainly isn’t how they’re intended. As a fellow Texas Baptist with as much at stake in the matter, I’ve meant to take a necessary (in my opinion) firm and right stance opposed to some who—as I said to you and mentioned earlier—have misspoken about Dr. Wade and/or Valley matters based upon what I’ve learned personally about the situation. I’ve intended for my statements here to be well-worded in order to avoid their misunderstanding; I can’t be responsible for how those sentences are read—but encourage you to ask whether or not your judgment of them is accurate. I haven’t meant for any comment from me to become the main point of this thread. Again, if we were discussing this matter face-to-face today, you’d know that “condescending” is neither my intention nor my character. On that, one not-so-young-buck to another, you’ll simply have to trust me now.

    The original intent of this post was an attempt by Dr. Wade to explain Valley matters once more. I graciously suggest a return to legitimate, non-defaming questions or feedback about his note above.

  35. Paul Atkinson Says:

    David, Cory, Brady or everybody,
    Thank you, for your kind and sensitive heart that is concerned for me and others when you feel we are being mistreated or misunderstood. I really do respected what you are trying to do. It speaks well to your character.
    I cannot speak for others but as for me… I will be as honest and open with information as I have firsthand knowledge of (This is true public or private). I will not comment on what are the motives of others or what they are thinking (ask them). I will not get into personal attacks… I will try to keep my opinions to the facts this is my biggest challenge in my walk as a Christ-follower because, if you know me I have an opinion on most issues. So, If you are OK receiving information in this format and are OK that I don’t live in the Blog world and may not answer as fast as you may want… Then, ask what you want I will do my best to give you appropriate answers… If you ever get frustrated and want to talk to me real world because I am not communicating well… feel free to call me on my cell phone the number is 214-801-7195 Public or private my conversations will be the same. So, David it’s OK but thanks.
    At some point though I would like to know who I am talking to… that seems to be a limitation with blogging… but, that’s OK too if it helps you communicate.

  36. Cory Says:


    Thak you for your honest remarks and offer to speak both in person and on the blog.

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