A few years ago I became aware of a network of churches called Association of Related Churches, or ARC. This church planting organization runs on the Seeker, Growth-By-Numbers model and started in 2000 with six founders: Greg Surratt, Billy Hornsby, Rick Bezet, Chris Hodges, Dino Rizzo and Scott Hornsby.
The ARC website used to list the big-name pastors in its membership, but those names are no longer public. Wartburg Watch’s 2014 article A Closer Look at Pastors in the ARC lists these members, many of whom were serving at the time as board members of Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church. His wife Holly Furtick writes blogs at ARC:
- New Life Church (Conway, Arkansas) Rick Bezet
- Church of the Highlands (Birmingham, Alabama) Chris Hodges
- Life Church (Edmond, Oklahoma) Craig Groeschel
- Celebration Church (Jacksonville, Florida) Stovall Weems
- Champions Center (Tacoma, Washington) Kevin Gerald
- Seacoast Church (primarily South Carolina) Greg Surratt
- Gateway Church (Texas-multiple locations) Robert Morris
I wanted to pass along a lengthy and well-researched article, Profile: Association of Related Churches (ARC), by Clint Adams over at The Earnest Layman. I’ve also embedded Clint’s new podcast in which he reviews a sermon by Pastor Rob Ketterling, pastor of River Valley Church, a multi-site megachurch in Burnsville, Minnesota. Ketterling is part of the lead team of the Association of Related Churches (ARC).
Here is a brief excerpt, and I hope it prompts you to do more research if you or your loved ones are part of an ARC church:
“Considering ARC is basically worldwide, I’m convinced this is the largest virus not named Rick Warren that has been unleashed on the church (at least in the last century or two). The founders Stovall Weems, Chris Hodges and Dino Rizzo are narcissistic false teachers/heretics who have absolutely no discernment. Furthermore, the church plants that come from ARC don’t give any hope; discernment, sound biblical teaching and good news for sinners are absent from those places. In fact, Hodges’ Easter sermon from 2019 was a contestant for “Worst Easter Sermon Of The Year.” Already there is a problem because the doctrinal fidelity of some of the pastors behind ARC is compromised.
ARC’s own website states that it is “not only a movement, but a collection of many ‘tribes’ — all with a focus to see a life-giving church in every community in the world.” These “churches” aren’t giving life; they’re giving poison. Their claim is garbage because their doctrine is garbage.
At this point, much damage has been done, for ARC churches are everywhere. Nevertheless, this article absolutely fails if, despite all the exposing, it offers nothing for a corrective. Forgiveness is still available for all the “pastors” involved in this movement. The corrective must start from the top, though (specifically the five founders that are still alive)…”
You can also do a search for an ARC plant or family member church in your area.
Upcoming Church Plant
ARC Family Member
Are you a member of an ARC church, or have you recently left one? Share your thoughts in the comments section.