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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GLBTrghts ()
Date: January 28, 2010 05:56AM

CGJ- yes would have been nice to meet you as well, sometimes I wonder who you are actually because I am sure we either knew each other or knew people who know one another. I too noticed that Mike didn't say anything and didn't get up there with his brother and sister. I thought that odd at the time, but now not so much.

FCG- I am sorry to hear about your parents although glad you were able to intervene at some level. I never really liked Mike and Cindy, something was always not right to me but I never knew what it was until now.

As far as the memorial was concerned I had assumed they had used that church due in part to the fact that the elder Riches had what I thought was a long history on that property/with that building but now I am not so sure? Anyway I am so glad this forum is here and I too hope that people find the truth before they too get sucked into it.

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: reb_lund ()
Date: March 17, 2010 04:10PM

I have been involved with this church in a couple of different forms, and am very familiar with alot of the topics discussed in this forum.

1. City Central, the 'quasi-leadersip' (as a previous poster called them), and a fair amount of research:
It started with an unsettling feeling I got when I met Chris Hippe at an event that he was leading. I hadn't met him before. First impression was...charismatic, well groomed, clean cut, and an exciting speaker to listen to, but in watching him I couldn't let go of that he seemed to lack one thing that I really got used to in a church energy of love and excitement for Christ in his eyes, and in his teachings. One on one conversations demonstrated a lack of patience and kindness as well. In church, an element of power/authority was thrown in.

2. Demon possession and 1/2 of the congregation walked out during service:
I wasn't there, nor wouldn't have a clue about it, except that Chris talked about the story more than once in front of me. He specifically said that they "lost 1/2 of their congregation when a clear demonic possession had presented itself and taken over right then and there". I've gone to church my whole life, and I just can't imagine...think about what catastrophic events would have needed to take place for anyone to walk out on the service, let alone 1/2 of them!

3. Original design teaching, and prophetic prayer:
This is a team that prayed with me for God to tell them what my original design is so that they can relay this to me. Oddly enough, each time they were told something completely different about me. I went into this wondering if I was bipolar...halleluah! The truth shall set you free!!!...........???

4. Freedom classes...these were the subjects taught:
Strongholds, generational sin, releasing entitlements and personal rights.
Wait a minute...doesn't #1 and #2 contradict themselves? They pray for ME to learn all about how God made ME, and then I'm taught why I am/have been in sin for embracing it. Lucky I have them to teach me how to rid myself of these answers from God! *contemplation* I being prepped for submission?

Proved to be too much for me to just sit on and not atleast do a little investigating.... call it lack of faith if you will, but I think it leans on the contrary...

Did you know....
Church orginaztion started with Warren Riches under Duane Wells in the 70's.

Warren's son (Mike) marries Duane's daughter (Cindy).

Mike Riches and Brian Brennt (from PLU) start New Song, etc.

They have falling out (2008?), both change churches, and have both since moved again, but this time out of state for Brian(Hawaii) and out of country for Mike(London UK).

Both still teach Original Design and prophetic prayer with their Freedom books and manuals they co-wrote. Mike and Cindy changed the name of it back to Jesus Ministry, but with an umbrella heading of "THe Sycamore Commission" (.org). Mike and Cindy's new church in the UK adopted their teachings, which caused many members to leave the new church.

I've not met any of the above people so I was thinking these were older people...mostly because of how many times they have changed churches names and orginizations, and that this much damage everywhere seems like it would have taken decades to incur.
Wrong...although Mike has a couple years on him, Brian and his wife still have kids under 10! That's not old!

Brian Brennt left the leadership of City Central in the hands of Chris Hippe (a car salesman that is currently 34 years old, went to PLU, and his father is a Lutheran pastor in Federal Way), Aaron Barker (is a singer/songwriter and has an album under the label called "City Central Records", same age as Chris, went to PLU, his father was a Lutheran pastor in Yakima), Bruce Buskirk (an attorney from the same town as Brian Brennt in OR), and now includes his son Ryan Buskirk (same age as Chris and Aaron), whom moved from same town in Oregon to Tacoma to be a part of the church.

Catalyst Training School's top instructor listed is....Chris Hippe.
Freedom Classes instructor is....Chris Hippe.
City Central's church service..... who sits up in the front row all by himself like most pastors do...Chris Hippe.

Facebook has a plethera of information....specifically who's friends with who.....
Chris Hippe and his wife
Aaron Barker and his wife
Brian Brennt and his wife
The Buskirks
Warren Riches
Mike and Cindy Riches
and even Gabriel VW from these posts are all intertwined and friends with eachother

My issue is this: With their ages, they haven't had nearly enough life experience at this point to be even know what to do with the power and authority they have. They also don't seem to be even close to being spiritually mature, they only just attended school in 2007 for their Faith studies. (none of them are labeled 'Pastor', what are their crudentials exactly? I don't see them listed anywhere) This is incredibly dangerous in my eyes! I can understand them not seeing that, but what about the Brennt's and Riches? Shouldn't they have had better discernment than to leave a couple of college buddies in charge of directing a church and ALL of it's minestries? Apparently not. Could this be some sort of underground secret PLU group? In many, many way this orginization screams red flags and cult like behaviors. The material alone is pretty extreme. It leaves me wondering what the real intentions are of some (not all) of the leaders.

This whole situation truly terrifies me. For the people of the congregation and for the leaders alike. I don't think that anyone involved sees the potential hazard this kind of environment creates (and in some cases, already has).

NLT is the version that seems to be used most at City Central, so I will quote from it....

Job 13: 7-10 (NLT)
Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguements for His sake? Will you slant your testimony in His favor? Will you argue God's case for him? What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool Him as easily as you fool people? No. You will be in trouble with him if you secretely slant your testimony in His favor.

Proverbs 6: 16-19 (NLT)
There are six things the Lord hates-no, seven things he detests. Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who poors out lies, a person who sows dsicord in a family.

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: sawdust ()
Date: April 28, 2010 01:14PM

Sorry to say I was not at Clover creek Bible Fellowship the day 1/2 the congregation walked out. I do think I have information that may have led up to this. It has been a while ago and memories are not too clear, specifically the dated, but I will try to be as accurate as possible.

I begain attending Clover creek in 1996. I found Mike Riches to be a Charismatic, young Pastor who gave the message in a clear, understandable way. Warren Riches, Mikes father seemed to be a devoted Christian who had a care and understanding of everyone he came in contact with. I thought I had found the truely spiritual Church I had been looking for.

Around September 2000, They had a Dr. Ed Murphy, Author of "The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare" give an all day seminar, the main topic was demonic powers and possesions and how to get rid of them. Mike changed after this. More sermons about demons, Talk of newly possesed members ect. One morning during the service, a young woman approached the stage. Mike flew into rage, pointing his arm at her and yelling at her as she was satan, telling the being that possesed her to leave the building. Instances like this happened more frequently and I became concerned.

Mike stated he had visions, That Clover Creek had to increase the size of the church building to accomadate the hords of people from Pierce County that would be comming to hear the word at Clover Creek. The building was added onto and remodled, but the sanctuary seating was not substantially increased. A lot of money was however spent! I noticed attendance at church declining at this time.

Then comes Brian Brent, Chris Hippi, and new ministries begin. Darrell Kalberg arrives as praise team leader and is almost immediatly funded to open the Crossing. This is at a time when they are having trouble paying the mortgage on the improvements to the church building.

I left in 2005. I felt that the climate of the church had changed 180 degrees from the time I started attending. The bottom line was it was difficult to continue attending.

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: cgj ()
Date: April 30, 2010 12:31PM

Sawdust, I know you are trying to be accurate, but Kalberg had nothing to do with the mess, and he wasn't "the" praise team leader. He lead worship now and again and ran the Crossing when is was simply an outreach to the needy (when it was located near the church, not in it's current location). Please please please don't drag people into this who are not involved.

You are right about Mike's so-called "words" about a sort of build-it-and-they-will-come attitude towards ministry. But he said the WORLD would come, that we didn't have to go anywhere because "they" would come to "us"...which is contrary to the Great Commission, but that's par for the course with Mike et. al. And I remember the day the woman was "rebuked" by Mike...all I felt was confused, but it still took me a couple of years to stop ignoring the red flags. We left the same year you did, and fortuantely many of our friendships have lasted, for which I'm so grateful.


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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: sawdust ()
Date: May 01, 2010 12:46PM

To cgj:

I did not intend to bring Mr. Kallberg and others into this mess. I was only to trying to give a time line as I remembered it. I had no intentions of slamming anyone. To this day, I believe, that Mike thinks he is doing the right thing! I just do not feel the same.

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: newmama10 ()
Date: May 04, 2010 10:50AM

I don't know who you are, or anyone here for that matter but I was impressed by what you knew about the church. I left, well aprox. 2 1/2 years ago now and I am still targeted by certain church members who try to get me back to the church because it is "right" etc. It is a little scary that they can not let me go. Granted I do not regularly attend church any longer or even practice the christian faith. What I find disturbing though is that they still see the "church" as the "one true church". What is even more scary to me now is that they don't even call themselves a church any longer, however I suspect they are tax exempt. There are a lot of shady things, and from what it seems they continue to get shadier and more cult like. I fully believe that they are 100% a cult at this time.

Brian Brennt recently came back from Kona for a short visit that involved preaching. I know this because I still have periodic contact with a couple people still involved. I find it extremely hard to believe that Mike and Brian still believe what is going on or has gone on is legitimate. It kind of reminds me of the whole debacle with BCTI a few years ago. That was weird how Mike and Brian basically helped those men from escaping any consequences for that whole thing. Any way though I have a lot of bitterness to still work through but I do not think that they are innocent and "accidently" misleading people. They are smart, they know what they are doing. That is what is so scary!

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: FCG ()
Date: May 23, 2010 04:00AM

WOW. I haven't been online for awhile and just read this thread. Sounds like a soap opera only it's true. I have a additional information and a question. So we know that Mike Riches said build it and they will come. So when the elderly couple gave him a million dollars to complete the addition to Clovercreek (fact) even though the Church had already raised the money and it disappeared when 1/2 the congregation walked out the year before; then the church has an unveiling ceremony of the new addition; a month later Mike announces that he is going to leave the church but will be back occassionally to preach; then they sell the church for 6 million dollars (?) to Real Life; Mike rents the old lutheran church downtown; then it becomes Destiny; then comes Kurt somebody; Mike now has places in Gig Harbor and the UK and travels the world; there doesn't seem to be a church now; where did all the money go???? If you look on the Mike Riches thread, it sounds like he is doing the same in the UK. How sad that these people get away with this. The Lord will always be in control and He will be their judge. FCG

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: newmama10 ()
Date: May 25, 2010 12:17AM

FCG- Thank you for some interesting thoughts. I remember when all of that went down, and I remember that I was pretty young (early 20's) and while I thought something was not right I was not in a place to question. We were led to believe/taught to follow...really blindly and that Mike and Brian heard from God and to trust. I know that is one big reason a lot of people I know left, it started with some uncomfortable financial issues that people could not get answers to and when they asked the leadership about were promptly shut down. I remember one of the key moments for me that led me to leave. It was a sermon that Brian preached, oh probably 3 years ago now. I had already been feeling in my spirit I did not want to tithe because I was uncomfortable or something with what I felt were the financial irregularities. For instance, I remember Bruce Buskirk standing up and trying to guilt us into giving more money. At the same time the Brennts were living in a very expensive house, driving very expensive cars and traveling all over the world. But back to the sermon, Brian was preaching about how the Lord "told him" to buy wheels for his Honda, on the same night Bruce stood up like always and what I would call begging, asked for money. Many people gave it to them. It was extremely disturbing to me. There were people in the church going hungry and in desperate need and if they went to the church for help were told there was no help to be had, while at the same time all this lavish spending was going on. I knew a lot of what was going on financially because I helped out a lot in the office in those few years. I was not on staff, but had most of the same priveldges that being on staff had. I knew more than most what was going on and it did not sit well in my spirit. So anyway, this is very interesting to me. I always wondering how they afforded to have and do what they did. Maybe now this is the answer. I am profoundly grateful I am out of there.

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: hopeful1 ()
Date: May 26, 2010 04:59AM

My church in the UK enthusiastically embraced Jesus Ministry teaching a couple of years ago. I do not understand why the biblical basis of it is not questioned more in evangelical churches. Maybe the promise of "freedom" causes critical faculties to disappear, or maybe it is the personal effect of the Riches. I was trying to find out more and found this forum - very interesting reading and very disturbing, as my church is far from the only one in the UK. I found a dozen Church of England churches (evangelical ones) doing Living Free/Freedom Prayer, several Vineyards, and a number from other evangelical denominations and independent churches, also a para-church organisation with Mike Riches teaching material.

I am finding the whole thing very depressing and I am feeling very cut off as I cannot find anyone else who shares my disquiet, apart from my wife although it may be that some of the people who have left recently felt the same. It has made me question the whole basis of my belief.

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Re: New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: sawdust ()
Date: May 26, 2010 10:54AM

To Hopeful1

Mike Riches is a very dynamic speaker who has the ability to motivate people into his way of thinking. This could be good or bad, depending on what Mikes motives are. To this day, I am not sure. After I left Clover Creek Bible Fellowship, where he was pastor, I spent a time away from "Organized Religion" and enjoyed a time of self study of the word. I was friends with Mikes father Warren, and took comfort in Warrens many quotes. You are saved by three things: Grace, Faith, and nothing else!.... "The Bible says it, therefore I believe it!"

Keep the faith! Our God is awsome!

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