Questions Remain Over Traverse City Pastor’s Resignation

West Side Community Church is Traverse City’s closest thing to a mega church. And they’re without a main pastor after he resigned. The case is in the hands of the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department who is investigating what they call “financial irregularities.”

The pastor gave speeches on tithing and encouraged congregants to make an annual “harvest offering” of more than their typical periodic offerings to the church.

No, they’re not government officials, but pastors still hold positions of trust.

If I recall correctly, he was at another church in town before starting West Side. I believe the split from that church was less than amicable.

Pastor John Clark has not been charged with any crime.

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14 thoughts on “Questions Remain Over Traverse City Pastor’s Resignation”

  1. Not sure where the author of the article did any slandering, Jim. I was at New Hope when Clark departed, and I can tell you firsthand, it is true that it was “less than amicable.” And some of us know about Clark from way back. He’s not the most upstanding person to be a pastor. So, maybe you don’t know all there is to know. Just because you don’t know some of the facts doesn’t make someone else guilty of slander.

    1. John Clark brought more people to God than you can count to ‘AL’. His imperfection was what made him perfect as a man that made common people who felt unworthy of God’s Grace and Forgiveness feel worth more than hopeless or worthless in the eyes of God. He used to emphasize and serve entire sermons about how imperfect he was. That made me personally feel like I was worthy of Grace, Love, and Forgiveness, not only from God but from myself and from others (I think anyone who ever met John and heard him speak was made to feel the same).

      People who have actually experienced hardship and pain and life could relate to John and know that there is hope for all. His words echo in my head after over 20 years “Come as you are, don’t ever feel like you aren’t dressed well enough of you’re not enough to come fellowship and worship here.”

      The “Harvest Offering” referred to here used to be taken at his old church as well. It was clearly explained to the congregation that this would go to help pay the pastors along with other appropriations. You can’t pay God directly, you can pay his vessels on earth and trust they do what’s right with it. I can also promise you that all the appropriations were decided not solely but one person, but a board.

      I was also at New Hope when he left to start West Side… his departure was more than amicable. The staff and congregation sent John off with nothing but hopes of success for him. If you did personally than that’s on you, not on how he left.

      Get your facts straight, it’s too bad you can’t tell John you were wrong as I’m sure he read this from. A message from a member of his congregation, before his passing.

      1. Ben, trying to protect a favored person by mocking or tearing down another person whom you know basically nothing about is foolish at best. You don’t know me. Your anger is misdirected. Criminal charges were about to be brought on Clark, following an investigation. It’s sad that he took the easy way out and did himself in. Instead of trying to protect another man’s tarnished image, because you may be feeling your faith faltering under his imperfection, instead turn to the scripture and read the words of truth from the One who never changes and never lets you down. Jesus had a lot to say about false teachers and hireling shepherds who harm His sheep. It’s time that church people stop the “hero” worship. Pastors put their pants on the same way everyone else does, and more accountability is required of them, as well. I didn’t say that. God says it.

  2. Everyone is an upstanding citizen until they’re not. I will say that John is entertaining when he preaches. The real issue for me is that it has been over a month and everyone is acting like nothing happened. Typical church cover-up type stuff here. I understand that they can’t release certain info legally, but at least say something. Most of the congregants are irritated.

      1. What was the announcement since we missed it?
        We’ve been puzzled and a bit irritated too. Kind of weird how everything is so hush hush yet his son is there preaching away. 🤷‍♀️

        1. Things are so hush-hush in too many churches these days because parishioners are not be taught how to follow scripture in times like these. Everyone wants to protect their leader, even when he appears guilty. It’s fine to protect until further info proves guilt, but the way many parishioners go about it in too many churches (include the church staff, too often) is to circle the wagon like rabid dogs, as if their “man of God” can do no wrong. And that’s the opposite of what scripture says. Pastors and teachers are held to a much higher standard and accountability, and that’s what a God has to say on it. I’ve seen way too many child molestation cases in churches where the elders turned a blind eye and even sent the perpetrator to another church, and then acted like nothing happened. And to make those matters worse, too many of the parishioners just turn a blind eye, like sheep, and just keep enabling their church “authorities.”

          News is out now that Clark is dead from a single gunshot wound. That is terribly tragic, but it doesn’t solve the issues that were set forth. And it appears to indicate he couldn’t handle his guilt and took the easy way out. Yet, it isn’t easy, because now he has to talk to God about it all. It’s time to start having more integrity about our church leaders. The scripture warns about the horrible consequences of sin and disobedience. We need to care more about what God says and thinks than we do about the men we worship at church, even though we like to deny we are worshiping them.

  3. Pastor John was doing God’s work in his role as Senior Pastor of the church he founded.

    Sometimes good people do bad stuff. He has a wonderful family who may suffer from his bad decision. God bless them.

    1. Pastor John was doing God’s work? How is conning his congregation out of hard-earned money while (allegedly) embezzling the same, God’s work?

      Too many con artists hide behind the veneer of organized religion.

      1. He was doing God’s work I was referring to leading people to Christ. Of course I wasn’t talking about the current situation.
        We need to remember he hasn’t been charged with anything.

      2. “Too many con artists hide behind the veneer of organized religion.”

        It is documented fact that one of the top 5 careers chosen by high-functioning sociopaths is the office of clergy. And they know they can hide well in those places, because too many people act like simple sheep and protect these men at all costs, thinking they are obeying scripture, when scripture gives plenty of warnings to men who are bad pastors–many who should never have been pastors at all. The book of Titus even gives us a very detailed list of disqualifications for men who shouldn’t be pastors. One of the qualifications in Titus 1:7 is that an elder “not be greedy for money.” Just because a man calls himself a “pastor” doesn’t mean he has been called by God.

  4. The editor and Al are complete morons they have no right to speak of things they know nothing about. John was guilty of one thing and that was trusting people he should not have trusted. This whole situation was a well thought out and executed plan by an individual and his wife. They had their intimate knowledge and access to any information needed to set John up. They did not act on this until they did not get what they wanted. When the truth comes out many people may be shocked but I feel the vast majority will not be. There are some very sick and evil individuals out there who think only of them selves and their own agenda. As for the self-righteous hypocritical statement that John Wasn’t worthy of being a pastor, have you ever heard of Grace? Through John’s repentance and God’s grace he became something more than he ever imagined he would be. Unfortunately most of the people posting on this site will never be a fraction of what he wise. And I will have to say whoever thought of this stupid site about Traverse city trash is actually the ultimate trash in my mind. Rest in peace John and thank you God for blessing us with such an amazing person!

    1. The typical action of one who has no argument is to resort to personal name-calling. You might want to look up the actual biblical meaning of “moron” (hint: it’s defined in the original Greek wording). And, surely, even you believe in the freedom of expression of others on any given topic. You are exercising your right to it, after all. Please do not make excuses for Clark. He chose to do whatever he did. There may be other guilty parties involved, as time may show, but Clark played his own part. It’s called free will. “Grace” has nothing to do with allowing or excusing men who should not be pastors. The word of God, starting with Titus chapter 1, gives God’s qualifications (and thereby, disqualifications) of those who would be pastors. If the modern day church were more familiar with what God actually says about these thing than what men say about it, and emotions and feelings say, it would be in a much better position. But as it stands now, the modern so-called church is open to judgment. And in some places it has already started, as church doors are being closed and hireling pastors are being revealed.

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