Minister removed after confession of sexual misconduct

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Olathe Daily News, Nov. 13, 1991.

An associate of an Olathe church has been removed from his ministry duties after a confession of sexual misconduct involving two area parishioners.

Bob Jones, an associate of the Olathe Worship Center of the Metro Vineyard Fellowship of Kansas City, confessed Saturday to sexual misconduct with two women, who attend a Vineyard church in the Kansas City area, said Kenn Gulliksen, North American coordinator for the Association of Vineyard Churches. Jones, 63, was removed from his church duties for an undetermined amount of time, Gulliksen said.

While ministering at the churches’ national headquarters in Anaheim, Calif., last weekend, Jones was confronted with allegations of the incident by several close friends, Gulliksen said. The two women, after confronting Jones with their concerns about the possible impropriety of the incident, brought it to the attention of church leaders in Kansas City. When confronted, Gulliksen said Jones confessed to the allegations.

“He was ministering here in California on Saturday,” Gulliksen said. “He was very effective and helpful. He’s a sweet guy. Separate from the incident, he’s a sweet guy.”

Jones, whose Kansas City area phone number is unlisted, could not be reached for comment. An official at the Olathe church refused to comment and directed all calls to the Kansas City office. Repeated calls to the senior pastor in Kansas City were not returned.

Gulliksen would not elaborate on the incident, other than to say that during the past six months Jones had “delved into sexual misconduct” but that it did not involve sexual intercourse. Jones, who is not an ordained minister, has been with the Olathe church for about a year and a half and in the Kansas City area Vineyard churches since 1983, he said.

Jones is considered a nationally recognized prophetic leader by the church. The incident occurred while Jones was ministering prophetic teachings, his supernatural gift of knowing and preaching the words of God, Gulliksen said. Usually these situations are done with several people in attendance, including a church pastor. This incident did not occur in that context, he said.

There are 900 ministers and 100,000 parishioners in the 320 Vineyard churches across the country. Six of those are in the Kansas City area, with three in Kansas and three in Missouri. About 400 people attend the Olathe church. Those who attended morning services Sunday in the Kansas City area were directed to the Grandview, Mo., church for the announcement about Jones, Gulliksen said.

He said the church follows the religious doctrine that when a leader falls into sin, he should be rebuked publicly so that the others may take warning. Because of Jones’ national visibility and ministry, the National Board for the Association of Vineyard Churches in Anaheim, led by John R. Wimber, issued a letter Tuesday to all of its churches explaining the incident.

“The sins for which Bob has been removed from ministry include using his gifts to manipulate people for his personal desires, sexual misconduct, rebelling against pastoral authority, slandering leaders and the promotion of bitterness within the body of christ,” the letter stated.

Gulliksen said the women still loved and regarded Jones and had not planned to bring criminal charges. He said Jones said he felt like he repented and had taken care of the issue in his heart. Church officials hold Jones accountable for the incident and not the two women.

“Their dependency and Bob’s weakness combined to create the situation,” Gulliksen said.

The church is seeking private counseling for Jones, his wife and the two women, said Gulliksen, who will personally oversee the counseling.

“Bob will not be free to minister until he is fully recovered,” Gulliksen said. “It’s not like Jimmy Swaggart who overnight said, €˜Now I’ve sinned and I am back in charge.’ ”

This is the 12th incident with similar accusations against a Vineyard church leader since 1974 when Gulliksen and his wife founded the church in Los Angeles, Gulliksen said. All 12 leaders were removed and counseling was provided, and frequently paid for, by the church for the leaders and the victims, he said. After years of counseling, six of those 12 have returned to ministry positions of lesser standing.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Olathe Daily News, USA
Nov. 13, 1991
Pam Sollner

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