The interim pastor at Resonate Church in Indiana that was founded by Davey Blackburn admitted they were poor stewards of church finances and revealed that they ultimately decided to dissolve the church because of dwindling membership and an inability to find a successor to continue the ministry.
“This decision was not made lightly but was deemed best due to several factors. We do not have the right successor to lead and pastor and additionally we have experienced a decline in attendance and financial support,” John Berry, interim pastor since Blackburn’s abrupt resignation a week ago, said in a statement to The Christian Post.
Some three years after the murder of his first wife Amanda inside their Indiana home and a year after he remarried, Blackburn announced his decision to resign from the church he founded.
“It’s with a heavy heart, a nervous apprehension, a trusting spirit, and yet an excited anticipation for the future that I must announce that Kristi and I are stepping away as the leaders of Resonate Church. We are doing this in order to answer a call God has placed on our lives to help people from all over the world find purpose in their pain through Nothing is Wasted,” Blackburn said.
A week later, on Sunday, Berry presented a dissolution plan to the congregation that was highlighted by Amy Smith, a sexual abuse survivor advocate, and fellow activist Traci Mosby, who shares at the Pink Haired Devil on Twitter. Mosby was at the church on Sunday.
The plan showed that the church had liabilities of $73,817.97 and cash totaling only $38,154.48. It also showed that the church would sell off its worship, production, and other valuable equipment owned by the ministry to offset the deficit. Any funds remaining from the sale is expected to be donated to a church or nonprofit that is yet to be determined.
In a recording from the meeting highlighted by RTV6, when a church official, identified as Berry, was asked if any funds from the church were misappropriated, he denied it but admitted they had been poor stewards.
“Absolutely not. Money and donations that came in the form of tithes and from the outside all went in. There are multiple checks and balances for every check that was written out of the church or coming in. There was no misappropriation whatsoever. There is no money that went places it shouldn't be. What we were not as a church is good stewards of what we had if you want to know the truth,” he said.
It was only a year ago that Berry, who formerly pastored at Liberty Baptist Church in Spring Lake, North Carolina, told friends and family on Facebook that he was moving to Indiana to be God’s answer to Blackburn’s prayers.
“Many of you have heard our family is moving to Indianapolis this week. Some have asked why? Some have asked, why would you move to Indiana where it’s so cold? Where you’re so far away from family? Where you’ve never been before? Here’s why! Take some time and listen to why we are trusting God in this,” Berry said in January 2018.
“About 2 years ago Pepper and I began praying he would use our family to make a difference in His kingdom on earth no matter where we are. We positioned ourselves with open hands, knowing this could be life changing but hoping it wouldn’t mean we had to leave. Then God. Then God heard the prayers of a pastor in Indianapolis and began making a way for the Berry’s to be the answer."
His wife, Pepper, revealed in a post on Facebook a week ago that her family’s future is now uncertain.
“This picture is a memory from one year ago today. We had just emptied all our belongings here on Earth into a home in Indiana. And today I can’t help but wonder what God is doing and what his plan is,” she wrote in the post which included a photo of a moving truck.
“I’ve just determined in the midst of this I’m not gonna know the long term in my life and that is what God wants for me and I have to be ok. How can I live open handed if I have an expectation in place? So I just think it’s a day by day/week by week blind trust of a good and faithful God. That kinda trust is so outside my security but so inside the Word and the call of my life if I truly believe God to be who he says he is."
John Berry said he will be helping Resonate Church members find new places of worship.
“We believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, activated through the local church, is the hope [of] the world. We are committed to helping people in our church family find and become part of new church homes where they can be a part of corporate worship, serve the Lord and take next steps in their relationships with Jesus,” Berry told CP.
Blackburn and his late wife, Amanda Blackburn, moved to Indianapolis in January 2012 to plant Resonate Church. Prior to that, he had spent four years on staff at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, under then Pastor Perry Noble. On the morning of Nov. 10, 2015, while Blackburn was away at the gym, police said his late wife was shot three times, including once in the head, during a home invasion. She succumbed to her injuries the following day along with her 13-week-old unborn daughter, Everette "Evie" Grace Blackburn.
After Amanda’s death, Blackburn recast the vision of his church.
“She believed nothing was wasted and anything could be restored into a treasure. Now the vision of Resonate has taken on a deeper level and reach. We now spend every waking moment following Jesus in His plan to restore this tragedy into something beautiful. We've seen hundreds of people give their lives to Jesus as their personal savior since Amanda's death,” the church says on its website.
“We're on a mission to turn Indianapolis upside-down for Jesus and we believe it is only just the beginning of our story. Our story is played out in the light of a greater Story – Jesus’ Story. Scripture tells us in Jesus’ story that Nothing is Wasted, even the most tragic of situations."