Two years after his controversial firing from the multi-campus Crossroads Christian Church in Indiana, Patrick Garcia has resigned as the lead pastor of The Hills Church, created by former Crossroads leaders and members, after confessing to a monthslong affair with another woman.
“I wanted to inform you that I am resigning from my position as the Lead Pastor at The Hills Church. Ashamedly, for the past 11 months I’ve engaged in an inappropriate relationship, both physically and emotionally. The Bible makes it clear that one can’t lead a church while abdicating his first responsibility of leading the home. My family—especially my wife Savannah—deserves better than the husband she’s had over the past few years. The Hills Church deserves a leader of integrity who lives above reproach,” Garcia, 33, said in a statement released by the church on Facebook Sunday.
Garcia said he will undergo “a season of restoration so that the root of my brokenness and dysfunction can be addressed.”
“Let me be clear: No one is to blame for this repeated wicked behavior but me. My inappropriate relationship with this woman has been sinful, while undermining the sacredness of marriage and my ability to lead in a pastoral role. The only appropriate response here is repentance,” he added.
In 2018, elders at Crossroads Christian Church told congregants that they were forced to fire him because he is power-hungry, lacks wisdom and humility, and is resistant to correction.
"Patrick has indicated an ongoing desire for complete control without input from the elders up to and including the hiring and termination of staff without review. He's asked for complete financial authority. He's recommended the removal of multiple layers of accountability and has been resistant to coaching and has been resistant to counsel despite very, very, direct feedback," lead elder Matt Volkman told the church.
"He's been non-responsive to requests for accountability on performance metrics. In addition, Patrick has demonstrated failures in judgement and leadership. He demonstrates a lack of humility. He demonstrates a lack of maturity, he demonstrates a divisive nature with our elder board," Volkman added.
Garcia’s firing led to multiple other pastors being fired or resigning from Crossroads Christian Church in protest. Many members also followed them to start The Hills Church.
Shortly after starting The Hills Church, Garcia told The Christian Post in an interview that he was somewhat inexperienced and admitted to making mistakes.
"Am I an inexperienced leader? To a degree, yeah. I mean, I'm 31 years old. I was working with guys on the Crossroads board who had been elder longer than I've been alive. So sure that statement is true. But for leaders to get better, leaders have to be learners," he said.
"I have never claimed to be a perfect leader. I have made mistakes and I have flaws. But I am somebody who is determined to learn from my mistakes and to be self-aware, and to surround myself with a team that is smarter than me and has a different set of skillset than I do. And that was one thing that really attracted me to The Hills because this is a team that I not only know and I have worked with, but we complement each other fairly well and this is a team with a lot of integrity, loyalty; we've got each other's backs," he said.
Leaders at The Hills Church said in a statement Sunday that while they are disappointed by the challenges Garcia and his family are now facing, they are committed to his restoration.
“Our hearts are broken for the entire situation, and we as an Advisory Team and Executive Team are processing our own feelings much like each of you listening today, and we are seeking after what Jesus would have us do in light of this situation. What we know is that we are a church who fully believes that sin is destructive, and in the face of it, we respond as Jesus did — with a balance of truth and grace,” they said.
“We are going to give the families involved the space, time, and support they need in order to walk through this time with dignity, and the understanding that while we do not condone what has happened, we are not scared by their sin, and we will work for restoration from sin’s devastating consequences,” the church leaders added.
Darryl Marin, who resigned from Crossroads to follow Garcia to The Hills Church in 2018, has been appointed to the role of interim lead pastor.
“Our mission and vision are still the same, and we will continue to work [to] be a people that recognizes this mission is not about us, but about reaching our community in the name of Jesus,” The Hills Church leaders said. “We are proceeding with dignity for the families in mind, so understand that we will protect their privacy, and not entertain anything that will be disparaging to them or will get in the way of their path to healing from this very hard time.”