Destiny Church ministers and leaders are heading to its Brisbane branch after more than half the congregation – including its pastor – walked out.
Bishop Brian Tamaki, who founded the church in New Zealand in 1998, is expected to be among those heading to Australia this week after the resignation of Pastor Andrew Stock.
Members of the Destiny Church in Brisbane, who were at Sunday’s service, contacted the Herald yesterday.
It is believed Pastor Stock – who has been at the Brisbane branch pulpit for about three years – withdrew from his role because a newly introduced covenant went against his beliefs, a member said.
“He decided it was time [to withdraw as pastor]. He believed the covenant was wrong. It is simple – if you know you are sinning, you don’t want to be preaching from the pulpit.”
The member said the covenant told members to “give it heaps” as they worked towards a $3 million project which included building a $1.3 million budget to go towards putting Bishop Tamaki on TVNZ every morning, from Monday to Friday.
The covenant also encouraged members to go without coffee, takeaways and Sky TV for up to seven months to help give more in their church tithes.
The church member, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions, said up to 70 people of the just over 100-strong congregation followed Pastor Andrew Stock, after a four-minute speech, as he walked out of the church with his family.
The church member who contacted the Herald said many in the congregation felt the covenant was going against the Gospel.
“It was a money-making scheme. All the people who make covenant with Bishop Tamaki have to buy a $300 ring.
Former members of the Destiny Church say it is nothing more than a money-making venture.
Those who walked out say they believe the church is no longer following the Gospel.
Since then former members have supported the walkout and say the church is a money-making cult.
Pastor Stock, his wife Helen and a significant part of the Brisbane congregation walked out over several issues, including money and a new covenant which they say went against the Gospel.
Church spokesman Richard Lewis says the church has a big vision.
“These kinds of comments are nothing new and we go about trying to build our vision as any other church in the country does and it costs money to do it.”
Former churchgoer Agnes Granada says she left the church in Auckland because she was “getting uncomfortable”.
She told the newspaper making the $300 signet ring a compulsory purchase led her to believe Destiny is not a church, but a money-making cult.
She says God is spiritual and Bishop Tamaki is doing things materialistically.
Another member says Bishop Tamaki, a self-appointed bishop is moving away from the true faith and setting up his business empire.