There’s a rumor circulating that Senior Pastor Steve Wingfield has suspicions that the GoFundMe account (established to help pay legal bills for the five former members of FCCF being sued by the church) is fraudulent! He maintains that this has happened in the past and has expressed the intention of contacting a local Chief of Police and the FBI.
As rumors go, this one is pretty far out there. Everyone can see that the process is fairly transparent.
The name on the GoFundMe page is plainly visible to the public. The names of most of the donors (who are members of FCCF) are also visible. Because the GoFundMe page has had little media coverage, the only way church members know about it is through word of mouth or contact on Facebook.
The funds are disbursed by other members of the church and have been used soley to offset legal fees. Unless you have fairly deep pockets, coming up with $1,000 or $2,000 for a legal retainer is way outside most household budgets. Without the GoFundMe account, some of the defendants might have a tough time getting an attorney to represent them.
But, that might be part of the game plan when the defamation suit was filed. If the critics do not have the cash to defend themselves in court, then they will be silenced. The fact that church members would pool their resources and defend the whistle blowers was probably not part of the game plan.
It sounds like the senior pastor should get different advisers. At least find some that don’t grasp at straws.