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Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Monday, January 07, 2008

Rick Godwin & Eagle's Nest Christian Fellowship: Spending raises questions

The Falling Away SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS [Hearst Corporation] - By Abe Levy - November 21, 2007 Pastor Rick Godwin constantly presses his flock at Eagle's Nest Christian Fellowship to give generously for a new $36 million megachurch under construction on the North Side at the same time he spends tens of thousands of dollars of church money on luxury items for himself. When he flies, it's first class or private chartered plane. He stays in high-end hotels and buys expensive gifts for some of his church associates. He can watch the Spurs from an AT&T Center luxury suite and play golf at the exclusive Club at Sonterra. In 2005, an independent audit done at the church's request questioned similar expenditures, such as spa services massages and vitamins for Godwin, and warned that changes were needed to bring the church into compliance with tax rules for religious nonprofits. Accounting changes were made, Godwin recently told church members at a regular business meeting, and a new tax compliance audit has begun. This year, financial records show, the church spent $143,000 on charter planes from January to July. For a ministry consulting trip that included his wife and another church couple, Godwin charged Eagle's Nest more than $11,000 for a week's stay in a luxury resort in Hawaii. While in London, Godwin stayed at the elegant Berkeley Hotel in the Knightsbridge area at a cost of $4,500. As gifts for his church associates, Godwin charged to the church $2,600 for an Armani suit and accessories and $2,518 for a Cartier watch. Godwin wouldn't grant requests for an interview with a San Antonio Express-News reporter about church finances, including his travel and gifts, so it's unknown whether he has reimbursed the church for any of these expenses or accounted for them as compensation, in keeping with the 2005 audit recommendation. A reporter did contact several longtime church members upset by some of Godwin's spending habits, but they said they have felt intimidated to say so publicly. A growing church As pastor since the independent church's inception 23 years ago, Godwin, a former Baptist minister who trumpets the motto "Real, Raw, Relevant," has built church attendance to as many as 3,000 for its three weekend services. Now located near U.S. 281 and Bitters Road, the church promotes itself as a break from traditional denominations, offering rock-style worship music and multimedia presentations. It's evangelical but cuts against the grain with a nonjudgmental approach, even on topics such as homosexuality and alcoholism. It also promotes racial diversity in its membership and leadership. Last year Eagle's Nest took in nearly $6.5 million in income and launched a fundraising drive for its new church on 68 acres along Marshall Road in rapidly growing North Bexar County. Expected to open in May, it will be among the largest churches in the city, with a 5,000-seat sanctuary, a food court and Central Park Mall's former Venetian carousel, for which the church had a separate $100,000 fund drive. Among the amenities for Godwin, a speaker at national and international Christian and business conferences, and his wife, Cindy, the executive pastor, will be a two-car garage and a private elevator leading to executive offices in a separate wing. - - - 'Giving fatigue' As word has spread within the church about some of Godwin's expenses, a growing number of members have been calling the church with questions. Godwin has directed most inquiries to finance committee members and elders. Some church members say they have "giving fatigue" from numerous pledge drives. In recent years, the church has launched drives to pay off the loan for the existing church building and pave and light the parking lot there, buy the land for the new church, buy the children's carousel for the new church and construct the building. In recent weeks, they have been asked to buy the first 2,500 chairs in a $300,000 drive. To counteract such feelings, the church has broadcast video announcements on its large screens in the sanctuary, using parody and contemporary music. A man with devilish-looking horns on his head and burning flames behind him speaks in one of the videos, saying he's glad to see church members dislike giving money for new church building funds. - - - - http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA111807.01A.church.2a4b302.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 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