I write this open letter as a real life example of how you and crossing leadership have hurt and negatively impacted our family. There is a bloody trail of untreated wounds, that trail has left not only my family, but dozens of families hurting because you are a self-gratifying & predatory pastor who doesn’t care to be bothered by those who are hurting. I won’t say anything in this letter that I wouldn’t say to you in person. I don't have any confidence you will read this as you openly admit you are filtered from any criticism. I do continue to pray for you and it is my prayer that one day you will hear the cries of the many hurting hearts created under your stewardship. I encourage anyone reading this to challenge me if anything written is untrue in any fashion.
I’m not addressing you in this letter as a “pastor” because you do not deserve that level of my respect - your qualifications and actions do not line up with biblical qualification of what a pastor is called to be. Instead I will address you as a preacher; a preacher does NOT make you a pastor. See I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-6 which list the qualification for pastors: A true pastor would have compassion and would treat & care for the people who are hurting under his trust. My close observation of how you’ve handled my family (and other families) are not in accordance with the fruits of the Holy Spirit as stated in scripture. When my wife and I brought hurts, questions and concerns to you, you did not deal with us in love, patience, kindness or peacefulness. I witnessed how you tersely treated my wife when we came to you. Instead of acknowledging her hurts, you sharply denied her an opportunity to speak, and you told her that she had a problem with submission to authority! You demanded that she apologize for something she did not do; further, you threatened that if she failed to apologize, we would both be removed from our leadership roles! When we continued to raise questions and bring concerns, we were immediately removed as leaders. My wife is so hurt by your actions that she cannot trust church leaders. We are hurting and struggling to recover from the unresolved hurts that we experienced at the crossing and I know that Kim and I are not alone in our hurts as we have been sought out as Godly people to help others who have been victimized by your cultish actions!
In addition to the hurts you’ve caused us, we’ve also experienced hurt from Johnny (who you call a pastor & leader) and also from Diane who you employ as a counselor. While Kim and I were leaders at the crossing, we received information from several sources that Bridgette (another of your volunteer leaders) was spreading rumors and gossiping about Kim. Our apprentice leaders twice brought this issue to Johnny (our team lead at the time), as did we. Twice Johnny pomised to investigate and resolve it. Johnny interviewed several people and informed us that he was able to confirm the issue, and that Bridgett herself had admitted her own behavior. At that time Johnny told Kim how proud he was of her & how she was growing, and that she had become “an awesome woman of God”, and was proud of how she had handled the situation. Johnny assured Kim that a personal apology would be forth-coming from Bridgette, yet to this day, Kim has not received an apology from anyone related to the issue and Bridgette continues to serve in a leadership role at the crossing.. On another occasion Johnny directly lied to you about communication he had with Kim; a situation for which you made Kim apologize for something she did not do. While teaching a leadership class (attended by about 60 people), Johnny showed a complete lack of judgment when he pointed to and said of another “pastor’s” wife …“yeah, she has mouth herpes” Many in the room gasped in shock for her and exchanged disgusted glances! I can’t imagine how embarrassed and humiliated she must have felt! It is a well-documented rule at the crossing that a man and a woman are never to be in the same room alone with the door closed. Yet Johnny felt the need to confront Kim on a communication issue while she was alone in the crossing kitchen, he entered the room and closed the door behind him making my wife feel uncomfortable and very vulnerable, even trapped! Johnny’s behavior is immature and intolerable.
You also employ a counselor Diane. For blog readers, Diane is not licensed with the state of Minnesota as a “therapist”; she only answers to Eric Dykstra as her employer as “spiritual counsel” with it being stated “she has the hand of God upon her”. Diane has hurt many people by lying, manipulation & control and threats. Diane has called my wife (and others) “mentally unstable” and “toxic” and has “counseled” people not to talk to Kim. How can you justify these actions when she is supposed to be employed to be a person of wisdom, understanding and healing? Diane is self-righteous and judgmental and she cannot be trusted! - as documented in and e-mail written by the counselor regarding anyone who speaks up "you will be dealt with accordingly!” Do her words and actions line up with the fruits of the Holy Spirit, or do they line up with Eric Dykstra’s fruit of intimidation and control? I am aware of dozens of people who have been hurt by Diane’s inability to maintain professional confidentiality. It is interesting that you employ a vocal woman as church counselor, and that’s cool as long as she conforms to your “vision” and never questions you. You enjoyed having Kim around as one of your creative leaders, but when you were faced with concerns, issues and questions, you quickly found a convenient excuse to get rid of her.
For those who may not be familiar with my wife's story, crossing leadership dismissed Kim and me as crossing leaders because Kim “did not show honor to her employer” in a facebook post! Kim had posted on facebook the following: “I'm looking for guidance, working with a difficult situation and (I) want to do the right thing with all due honor and respect. I'm an encourager and teacher, I'm being told to just fire people and not give any chances for growth”. Kim had also called the church office and received advice that she should “be the light”. Kim received 13 very positive respectful & encouraging responses on facebook along with many messages sent privately. Saturday April 2nd 2011, Kim and I had a meeting scheduled to meet with Johnny regarding a person at the Crossing & her issues with gossiping about Kim and her treating volunteers poorly. The meeting was attended by “pastor” Kasey, “pastor” Johnny, Kim and myself......hoping this meeting would bring resolution, reconciliation and healing; instead we were told that because we were such prominent leaders at the crossing they felt Kim’s facebook post was not showing honor to my employer and effective immediately, we were “released” of all our leadership roles! We were told to “go, heal and come back in the fall.....the new improved Quick’s”. Eric, I learned that you stated at the next Crossing Community of Leaders (COL) meeting, the same meeting you references us as being “the nicest people ever” yet you used the toilet demonstration for the back door to be working properly, (hence the name of the support group “Back Door Ministries”), that before anyone is “released” they are given three warnings.......really? We were never “warned”, period! Your actions were swift and harsh!!! Instead of giving us the respect of talking to us personally (after all we worked our guts out and lent finance for your vision for 2 years under your leadership), you instead got Kasey and Johnny to do your bidding.
In the eight months since being told we were no longer welcome at the crossing, neither you , nor Kelly or any leader under your employ, have attempted to contact us to offer any form of healing. Many of the people who have communicated with us have told us of the communication from “pastor’s” at the church.....one pastor told a family friend that Kim and I had been called several times and that we weren’t returning her phone calls...... Kim has printed our cell phone bill listing all calls incoming and outgoing......the only calls made to the church were when Kim called in hopes of finalizing issues with the un-reimbursed expenses. There are no incoming calls from any of the numbers we know to be Crossing numbers, cell and other. I challenge said pastor to do the same. No one at the crossing has ever called to ask us how we are doing or to offer reconciliation or even prayer - no phone calls have been made to us!
Eric, let’s step back and take a look at the big picture: Kim and I were removed from leadership at the crossing church because of a facebook post which you felt was dishonoring to Kim’s employer. Isn’t it ironic that two of your “pastor’s” who were photographed (at a wedding reception at the crossing) distastefully posing and disgracefully grabbing their wife’s breasts as part of a public photo montage ON FACEBOOK, but were never disciplined nor removed from THEIR leadership roles?!?! What am I missing? Grabbing your wife’s breasts in a public photo is acceptable to you? If you don’t know which pictures I’m referring to, I still have the screen captures taken from a public Facebook posting and I would be glad to send copies to you.
Attendee’s at the crossing are told that a group of us left the crossing because of what happened between Katie Kennedy and her son Curtis and his marriage to Sharon Holland. This “event” took place after we were removed from leadership. Let it be known Kim was asked to participate in the wedding and to provide decorations and food, stated Kelly Dykstra told Sharon Kim is “genius” and would be ALLOWED to provide services for the wedding! Without any additional communication between Kim and Sharon, in communication with the couple and a request to hear our story from Katie to the new Kennedy union Kim went from “genius” to to being “mentally unstable”. How do you reconcile that communication?
Although we are deeply troubled and saddened that crossing leadership continues to manipulate Curtis into believing that he no longer must honor his parents, (See One Mother’s Journey blog) the truth is that we are in communication with parents who have been dealing with you (Eric) for over ten years when you first began to display defiance and lack of respect toward their concern’s. You continue to thumb your nose at those who bring concern’s about how you manipulate the scripture into what you want it to say. It is my experience that you are not concerned with teaching the uncompromised Gospel, but are more interested in padding your own pocket book by teaching a feel-good speech so as to appear relevant and attract seekers to ultimately grow your church & grow your vision so you can compete with Steven Furtick, who in your own words, is “younger than me, and has a larger church than I do”. In that same speech from the crossing stage you said “I am competitive and MY church will be larger than his church!” Do you deny saying these words?
Eric, you present the bible as if you are ashamed of the TRUE Gospel! You are so stuck in your own vision to grow your church; it has become an idol to you. You teach a Gospel lacking repentance, essentially making the gospel appealing so as to attract people and get the numbers in the door! "Nothing in Scripture indicates the church should lure people to Christ by presenting Christianity as an attractive option The message of the cross is “foolishness to those who are perishing” (I Cor. 1:18). There is no way to make it otherwise and still be faithful to the message! The gospel is unattractive to the world. It exposes sin, it condemns pride, and it convicts the unbelieving heart (Isa. 64:6). God does not require relevance, but God does require repentance!! Numbers shouldn’t matter most to you; the integrity of God’s word is the ONLY thing that should matter!
Eric, the wounds we’ve experienced at the crossing have been devastating in our lives. We gave our all to the crossing. We would get home from a long work day and then go to the crossing to volunteer our time as if working another full time job. We were leaders of three different teams under your vision. My wife and I revolved all our time together around the crossing. We were so busy doing what we were told do for your vision, and what do we have to show for it? The important lesson that I learned is that I should not have been as focused on your vision. The whole time, I should have focusing only upon the Bible and my own relationship with Jesus, and also making sure that I was protecting and my wife who was a baby Christian when we started attending the Crossing. No doubt I have been hurt by the crossing, but Kim’s hurts have been devastating to her faith and trust in the church as a whole. I take that upon myself because I failed to protect her and shield her from the wounds. God did not do this to my family but did allow us to go through it to develop and strengthen our resolve in Him. We will be stronger for having gone thru it. The wounds we experienced at the crossing are your responsibility and the wounds have been untreated for months! The longer these wounds are left untreated, the harder it will be to heal. The time is now and we need closure to these hurts. I write this open letter to you to tell you that I forgive you of all wounds you & the crossing inflicted upon my family. My prayer and focus is for healing to finally begin in our family. This is not a game – dozens of other families are hurting. There is SO much dirty laundry and it all needs to stop. People would be appalled if they knew.......really knew or could see where their tithe is going! Big give = bigger house for the preacher.......for safety reasons.......I wonder!
I will share the words I received in one of the dozens of message I’ve received, written by someone else who has been hurt by the crossing…. “we thought being at church, being involved there (at the crossing) would be the safest place, turns out it was a very dangerous place to be. We don’t blame Jesus, not one bit, We are thanking Him for opening our eyes, for keeping us safe from things that could have happened to us at the Crossing and for having hope, support, encouragement and help waiting for us when we left. What an awesome God we serve.”
To blog readers, if you’re part of The Crossing Church, (or recently left the crossing) and you are hurting........wondering how to heal from the hurts, I welcome you to e-mail the Back Door Ministries Support Group. The e-mail address is email@example.com. You can also find us on facebook. Back Door Ministries is a growing group focused on healing from spiritual abuse, not only from the crossing, but other area churches. The BDM group meets weekly and we can help you heal the wounds that come from the spiritual abuse you have encountered. This group is supported and ministered to by a true pastor and this group will help lead you to a personal relationship with the most loving Savior, His name is Jesus Christ!