Founding pastor removed from the ministry he loved
CCSP Special Church Body Meeting Sunday 06/25 @ 12:30 About Pastor Danny’s Resignation
06/22/2017 Last Updated
Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg has announced a special meeting to inform the church body of Pastor Danny’s resignation.
Unfortunately CCSP only announced this event during yesterday’s evening service. And so far have only posted it to their Facebook page. They have NOT announced this important meeting on their official website.
Chances are, the heat being put on them by this website and Facebook groups forced their hand. Please share this blog post with anyone you know that goes to CCSP.
Make no mistake. In our opinion, this was a planned Hostile Takeover. It is also our opinion that Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg (CCSP) insiders used PastorServe to conduct their review of Danny Hodges because the church and Danny Hodges were unknown to PastorServe. Insiders could be untruthful to interviewers with no repercussions.
Calvary Chapel St. Pete should have used the Calvary Chapel Association (CCA) to settle this inter corporation dispute. CCSP is well known to CCA including pastor Danny Hodges. However, in our opinion, insiders wouldn’t be able to pull this hostile takeover off if CCA had mediated the dispute.
In a nutshell, it’s obvious that CCSP insiders wanted Danny Hodges out of the way. They did not want Danny’s son Jarius taking over as senior pastor in 5 years. With Danny gone they could run the church however they saw fit. Dirty non-profit business done under God’s house.
Update 06/24/17: CCSP has apparently deleted their notification of this special event from their Facebook page. And there is still no mention about it on their website.
We should show up regardless to hear what they have to say. If you’re planning on attending, be informed of the truth beforehand, as spinning might be attempted.
CCSP is having a meeting for everyone at the church Sunday after services from 12:30 till about 1:15. We watched tonight’s service online, curious to see if they would mention Danny. They said there would be an announcement at the ending.
At that time, they mentioned that Danny and Wendy had sent a letter yesterday. Did not say what it was about. Just said that many of you may have seen something about it on the Internet. Then Ryan announced the meeting for Sunday. Said something like if you consider yourself a member here and want to know more, come Sunday at 12:30.
We suggest you read both Pastor Danny and Wendy Hodges resignation letter. And the letter of support sent by CCA Don McClure to CCSP. Both letters are in this blog post. Possibly print out both for a reference.
Statement from CCSP on June 25, 2017. Official ministry video is here.
Dear Calvary Chapel Family,
We Love Danny and Wendy Hodges and have been deeply impacted by their ministry at Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg. They have been a tremendous part of this church for the last 34 years and we celebrate all the things God has done through them.
Beginning in November 2016, some serious concerns arose concerning Danny Hodges and his leadership at Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg. These concerns caused the Ruling Elders (Board of Directors) to investigate the work environment of the church with Danny’s permission. They began to interview the Pastors as Danny had instructed, then he changed his mind and asked them to stop the interview process. The Ruling Elders advised the Pastoral Elders to meet extensively with Danny Hodges and confront the issues they personally believed to be sinful patterns in his life (I Timothy 5:19-20). They began a series of meetings with Danny where they outlined their concerns. Danny deflected the issues they brought to his attention. On Tuesday, January 24th Danny Hodges instructed the Pastoral Elders to go to the Ruling Elders if they believed he had disqualified himself from the Biblical qualifications of eldership (Titus 1, 1 Timothy 3, I Peter 5). Nine of the twelve pastors believed that he had disqualified himself and delivered that letter to Danny Hodges and then to the Ruling Elders outlining their concerns.
Both Danny Hodges and the Ruling Elders agreed to seek a third party to come in and assess the situation from a non-biased position. Together, Art Dykstra and Dave Dodge, Danny’s personal accountability partners, researched many resources. On February 17th, 2017 they recommended PastorServe to be the third party due to their extensive experience, good reputation, training with Paul Tripp and Peacemakers Ministries and work with other Calvary Chapels. All of the pastors, including Danny Hodges, agreed to accept their assessment and recommendations to the Ruling Elders and submit to the result. After conducting interviews with all parties involved, PastorServe gave a report to the Ruling Elders stating, in their judgment, that Danny did not meet the elder requirement of being someone who is “above reproach” when leading Christ’s church. (I Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6). PastorServe’s recommendation was that Danny Hodges step down from the position of Senior Pastor and enter into a restoration plan, which includes ownership of sin, reconciliation, and next steps. Danny Hodges initially rejected the recommendations and announced his retirement during the Easter Weekend Services.
Danny Hodges seemed to have a change of heart on Friday, April 21, 2017 when he communicated to the Ruling Elders that he was willing to submit himself to the restoration plan and do whatever necessary to reconcile. In light of this change of heart, Danny Hodges signed a covenant to enter the PastorServe restoration plan. The following weekend, Danny Hodges wrote a confession of his own volition that did not cover all of the issues, but did at least demonstrate ownership of a number of them. We believed this was a good beginning for an ongoing process of restoration. He shared his confession through a video with the body. He acknowledged there had been a drinking problem in the past and that he had displayed sinful tendencies that he was not aware of at the time, causing him at times to abuse his authority and hurt the very people who were there to serve with him. He also took personal responsibility by saying, “My overindulgence during this period cannot be blamed on ministry burnout or anything else for that matter, it was self-medicating, but was nevertheless the feeding of my sinful nature, it was sin.”
Upon Danny’s return from his Israel Trip in June 2017 the Ruling Elders asked Danny to give an “All in or All out” decision based on his behavior and interaction with PastorServe while on the Israel trip. On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, Danny Hodges sent an email to the Ruling Elders, Pastoral Elders, Shepherding Elders and all of the church Staff that he and Wendy were leaving Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg and would no longer continue with the restoration plan that he had previously agreed to. In that email he cited, “ministry burnout” as the reason for his past misconduct and called into question the integrity of PastorServe, as well as bringing accusations against the leadership of Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg.
The Ruling Elders have accepted Danny and Wendy Hodges’ resignation. We love Danny Hodges and his family and are deeply saddened by the pain and division these circumstances have brought to our entire church body. We pray that God continues to bless Danny Hodges and his family and deal graciously with them concerning these matters. Our heart is to heal personal relationships with Danny.
We are committed to maintaining verse-by-verse teaching through the Bible and Spirit led worship. Jesus has promised to build His church. The Pastors and Elders are committed to follow Him, the Great Shepherd of the sheep,(I Peter 5:4) in caring for His flock and proclaiming His Gospel here and throughout the world. Let’s continue in loyalty to Jesus. His call to this body remains, “Follow Me!”.(Matthew 4:19)