Indiana's largest megachurch, and America's 15th biggest congregation, the Family Christian Center, is now facing a new foreclosure case for a bank debt of more than $600,000.
Citing information from documents filed in Lake Superior Court last Tuesday, an nwitimes report said the First National Bank of Illinois filed the mortgage foreclosure case against the church, senior pastor Steve Munsey, the Internal Revenue Service and Sutton Place Condominiums. The church owed the bank $604,447.02, as of Jan. 4, according to the court records seen by nwitimes.
The Christian Post searched for the court documents on the county website, but the dockets were no longer available.
CP also reached out to church officials for comments on Monday, but the only response came from a receptionist who declared, "We are not in foreclosure!"
Both the IRS and Sutton Place Condominiums are listed as defendants in the foreclosure case because they filed liens against Family Christian Center. Sutton Place is owed $5,700 in unpaid association dues and the IRS has outstanding federal tax liens against the church amounting to $53,790.34, according to the nwitimes report.
An earlier investigation conducted by the publication claims that Family Christian Center was spending millions of dollars a year on leadership pay and perks like travel, meals and jet fuel while it fell behind on mortgage payments.
In 2011, the Evangelical Christian Credit Union based in California is also reported to have filed a foreclosure case against the church after it defaulted on the mortgage payments for its worship center at 340 W. 45th St. in Munster, Ind.
Family Christian Center was reportedly bringing in about $10 million per year and had a $98,000 monthly mortgage payment at the time the credit union filed its foreclosure case, according to court documents. It now brings in $7.3 million and has a $72,000 monthly mortgage payment.
According to mortgageorb.com, Pastor Munsey only informed his congregation of the 2011 lawsuit last summer, explaining that he never told them earlier because he "really didn't know what to do but trust God."
The church's most recent foreclosure case connected to four condos was filed due to non-payment of mortgage and property taxes. Its loan with First National Bank of Illinois has been in default since Sept. 1, according to the complaint filed Tuesday.
According to the church's website, the Family Christian Center has been a part of the Indiana/Chicago community for more than 50 years. The church is led by senior pastors Steve and Melodye Munsey. It has a national reputation for its innovative use of visual and dramatic arts. The church is 18,000 members strong and growing.
Munsey has produced written works such as Jesus of Nazareth which has been seen across America and has authored several books. He has also appears frequently on television..