Statement from Pastor Thompson on Tytel’s private meeting with church members on 052020
May 20, 2020
Dear Ashburn Family,
On May 19, 2020, emails were sent to selected members of Ashburn Baptist Church, without my knowledge, with a personal invitation to attend a private, unofficial, online meeting:
“We wanted to invite you to an informational meeting for those members who would like to keep Ashburn Baptist the congregationally led church that it has been since it’s founding – per our church’s constitution. This meeting will be led by Bro. David Montoya. It has been organized by concerned members of Ashburn.
This meeting will be tomorrow night (Wednesday – May 20) at 7:30 p.m. The link to use to log in is: meet.google.com/vhc-kfp-sjf.”
This meeting was arranged by Vernon Lyons, Jeff, and Martha Tytel. Vernon asked David Montoya to moderate the meeting. The meeting was intentionally scheduled during our normal weekly Midweek service at 730pm. Furthermore, none of our deacons or myself were originally invited to this private meeting, nor would we have attended, since it was intentionally scheduled during our Midweek service. Wednesday, three of our deacons received last minute invitations. I was never invited, although most of the discussion surrounded my leadership. Ultimately, the meeting was attended by around 15 people.
To be clear, neither myself, nor any of our deacons would have attended such a meeting, because Jesus Christ commanded grievances and offenses to be dealt with one on one and privately first (Matt 18). This meeting clearly violated this principle, since none of these individuals attempted to address their concerns directly with me, the one whom their offenses were directed.
Although the stated purpose for the meeting was to discuss their concerns that Ashburn remain a “congregationally led church”, this was a false pretense. The true agenda of the meeting was the planning of attempting to add deacons, of their choosing, to ultimately sway the influence of the deacons, because they disagree with a recent decision made by the deacons and myself, particularly as it relates to Vernon Lyons new role. Vernon also directly called three different men and asked them to consider being willing to serve as deacons. Vernon also asked Dave Montoya to call other church members and muster support for this initiative. This is a gross overstep of authority, as it is the pastor and deacons, both biblically and constitutionally (Art. VIII, Section G), who search out qualified candidates, in accordance with biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3). Additionally, it is an egregious act of discord to “electioneer” for a church office for personal gain.
The meeting lasted for over 2.5 hours and devolved into slander and gossip about what was called “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of our pastoral leadership (including Joshua Burks) and our deacons. This is unconscionable! This is a wicked violation of everything moral, ethical, and Christian, to think that people could have such disdain for God’s ordained leadership. All of our deacons are unquestionably, faithful, godly men who have served our church for decades, many under Vernon’s leadership multiple times in years gone by. Thankfully some who attended rebuked the group for their gossip and refused to be a part. This surely grieves the heart of God.
God called me to Ashburn 2.5 years ago, and I have now led our church for 1.5 years. It has been by far the most difficult, and frankly, distasteful years in all of my ministry. I have had to lead our church through a difficult transition, as well as navigate the fiery darts of Satan, who has managed to successfully devour some among us. It has become painfully obvious that there is a small group of scorners who reject the will of the church, which voted to receive me as new Lead Pastor by 98.5%, to replace Vernon Lyons. This same group of individuals have attacked me and accused me in our public meetings, relentlessly on social media, and privately behind my back. The attacks come like waves, week after week.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
Eph 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Rom 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Rom 16:18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Proverbs 22:10, Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.
Please hear me! This continued behavior is a reproach on Jesus’ church, and it has to stop! God cannot and will not bless a church embroiled with strife, quarreling, and abuse. We know this. We have all sensed this. We have a mission and I am zealous for God’s mission. It is too important. Time is too short.
I am asking our church to unite around this mission. Not me, but Jesus. Not my agenda, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s why we exist. It is why I moved my family from Tampa, Florida 2 years ago. I humbly ask, that if you cannot join this noble effort, then Ashburn might not be the right place for you. You can disagree with a decision, but you do not have a right to continue sowing discord and division among the brethren.
We desperately need a fresh view of the wonder and miracle of our salvation. We need to renew in our minds, the tremendous sacrifice of Jesus to purchase our pardon. We need to empty ourselves of our entitlement. Ashburn is not a country club with benefits, it is an assembly of sinners saved by God’s grace, and we are nothing more than bondservants, carrying out His will.
May God deliver us, purify us, and revive us from our sin.