3, 2006 Colleyville ..The following is the first in a
series of articles on the recent developments at the First
Baptist Church in Colleyville, Texas
reason four prominent Colleyville residents have been kicked
out of the First Baptist Church of Colleyville may puzzle
you...the names will likely shock you. "
over the perceived plans for a relocated
in four prominent citizens being removed from membership.
(l to r)
Joe Deupree, Patsy Smith, Skip Mattson, and
Danny Walker. Patsy Smith, still listed
as a Trustee of the First Baptist Church of
Colleyville, received a letter delivered by Fed Ex on
February 20, 2006 stating that,
"...you are being removed from membership." Click
All four members received the same letter on the same
on photo to enlarge
Mattson is a former corporate executive that
joined the church five years ago when he moved from
Tuscon. Danny Walker is a retired wealthy
entrepreneur and long time resident of
Colleyville. Joe Deupree is known for his
long time dedication to the historical preservation of
Colleyville and former President of the School Board.
Van Zandt was expelled from his church in Sharonville, Ohio
and it took 145 years for the wrong to be righted. Four
members of the Colleyville Baptist Church hope it will not
take that long for their plight to be examined by the fellow
members of their church congregation. In June 2005,
Harry Van Sandt, of Vancouver, told the congregation his great-grandfather was heartbroken when the church ostracized
him and expelled him in the 1840s for harboring run away
slaves. "To correct a wrong done many years ago always presents me with gladness and warmth of heart," he said.
The congregation gave him a standing ovation.
Guest preacher, Rev. Damon Lynch Jr. of New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Carthage, told the assembly he is proud the church took action to rectify its painful past.
"Just being sorry isn't enough," he said. "Change and repentance are necessary if we are to be part of the kingdom of God."
However, in the case of the "Colleyville Four," a
recent change in the bylaws seems to suggest that this group
is unlikely to have their case heard and judged by the fellow
members of their congregation.
marketing material explains the project as,
"Moving forward into the promised land,"
apparently located outside of Colleyville, and at
least four members will not be invited to come along
regardless of location. Attorney, Laura Smith
Lang, writing in response to Attorney Neal Adams,
representing the four members, states on August 22,
2005, "The Joshua Project has been
abandoned.." And concludes that the planning
committee no longer wishes to examine a
"relocation plan for FBCC." Of the
four members, Patsy Smith actually served on the
Click Here for a list of the committee.
a high gloss, bound, full color brochure, complete
with an interactive CD of a Dr. Frank Harber giving an
opening statement, members of the First Baptist Church
of Colleyville were informed in January 2005 that
Harber and the "Long Range Planning
Committee" ".. had begun "taking
steps to relocate our campus."
to see the letter.
Some members of the church strongly objected to the
thought of the 50 year old church being relocated from
its original home in Colleyville and responded by
passing out homemade flyers to present a different
concern about the loss of their church home resonated
with enough of the Colleyville congregation that the
"Joshua Project" failed in a church
However, following the vote, the leadership of the
church changed the bylaws removing many approval
rights from the congregation.
the 2005 brochure, the question of "Do we desire to
become a "mega-church"? is asked.
response to the "mega-church" issue, the
leadership seems intent to quash the concern, however
does place emphasis on the need to relocate because of
growth, in particular noting the number "2,000 or
church's attorney further wrote in August 2005 about the need
to "relieve space limitations to meet the growth at the
present location." "There have been no
definite determinations made about what steps to take at this
time. Among considerations is the possibility of
creating other "branches" or "satellite
locations" similar to those utilized by Second Baptist in
Houston, Texas," surmised Lang.
While seemingly interested in avoiding the
"mega-church" label, curiously Lang invoked the
example of the Houston church which is most commonly associated with two well-known
mega-church pastors, father and son.
The father is Homer Edwin Young, pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Houston, Texas. He is the father of three sons, Ed
, Ben (singles pastor at Second Baptist), and Cliff (lead singer of Caedmon's Call).
Ed is Edwin Barry Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine,
Texas, perhaps the best known mega-church in the area.
The Fellowship Church, previously Baptist denomination, is now
a huge non-denominational complex near Grapevine Mills Mall.
Harber has been the senior pastor of the First Baptist
Church of Colleyville since July 2001. On a web
site, for an organization called Got Life
Ministries, Harber's bio information states, "Dr. Harber is a leading expert in modern apologetics. In addition to leading a rapidly growing congregation of 4,000 plus members, Dr. Harber equips Christians across the country to share their faith with Christian evidences."
The primary reason for plans to relocate the
Colleyville church or, as now stated, to create
"branches" or "satellite"
locations has been attributed to the
"growth" of the Colleyville Church.
actual number of members of the First Baptist Church in
Colleyville has become a matter of dispute based on statements
by Barrett Johnson, an associate pastor leaving the church to
move to Georgia this month, who stated, in a bible study group
in October 2004, recorded on video tape, that the actual
membership was closer to 2,200. On Harber's bio
referenced above, the number of 4,000+ members is claimed,
while the Lang letter states, in response to the question,
"How many members did FBCC have at the end of the most
recent financial year," answers "3,141."
Local News Only.com has obtained an audit for year ended March
31, 2004 done by the firm of Rhodes Osiek & Company.
The audit states, "The membership of the church has grown
from eighty-nine charter members in 1955 to 4,748 members at
present." All of the most recent membership numbers
appear to reveal that the First Baptist Church of Colleyville
has actually had a significant membership decrease since 2004.
addresses "Teen Track"
search turned up another "affiliation" of
Dr. Frank Harber, in addition to his tapes, books and
other items available to the public. Harber is
listed as the, President of the the Institute for Christian
Defense. As of the date of this article no other
information was found and the organization's web site
states that it is being updated.
is seen at a 2003 conference in Kansas, City where the
site states, "During a break between speakers,
the crowd had a chance to purchase materials written
by Worldview speakers to take home and study."
Questions have been raised concerning the finances
surrounding Harber's ministry and its relation to the
Colleyville church by some members.
Dr. Frank Harber has been identified as a charismatic preacher
from the pulpit, some members have speculated that the flash
opening of the church's web site, that states, "reaching
Northeast Tarrant County, America and the World, "
reflects Harber's ambitions and goals. However, they
state, he has not been an effective pastor of the local
The conflicts over direction, lack of information, personal
finances, and bylaw changes have escalated to "Biblical proportions,"
at least in Colleyville, where Dr. Harber and his
"Leadership Board" of six other individuals
"removed membership" from four well known local
citizens. Included is, Patsy Smith, considered the
"matriarch of Colleyville," not only listed as a
Trustee of the Church, but who also is a Trustee on the Board of
Dallas Baptist University. All four have been guilty of
disagreement with Dr. Frank Harber and asking consistent
questions about finances, bylaw irregularities and a straight
answer on the intentions of Harber and his hand picked
the allegations of the egregious actions of the four
"de-churched" members is not specific, the letter
references Article 5 Section 2 C. The section
basically states that any member including staff member that becomes an offense by reason of immorality, non-Christian
conduct or by persistent breach of covenant vows.
may be dismissed from the membership of this church. In
an interview with all four members, they all insist that none
of these allegations are true and, in the case of Patsy Smith,
the statement that she was asked to meet with Deacons, Smith
stated was not a
truthful representation of facts.
Joe Deupree on a trip with the Bible Class group and
others, were still shown on the church web site.
four were members of a popular senior Bible study
group that not only bonded in class but frequently met
for other social events, luncheons after Sunday
services and even trips together. The adult, (50 years
old to over 80 years old) Explorer's Bible Class was
also singled out for what appears to be retribution
over the failed January vote due to their opposition
of relocation. On right, Joe and Jane Deupree
were still shown on the FBCC web site last week.
matter of fact, Joe Deupree, the elected leader of the group,
was "fired" by Barrett Johnson, as Associate Pastor,
in October 2005. However, saying he had done nothing
wrong, Deupree refused to step down and the class continued to
meet through February 2006. However, on Sunday, February 19th,
which happened to be the coldest day of this year's winter,
the senior class was actually locked out of the Colleyville
bible class, with members over 80 years old seen
above, were actually locked out of the First Baptist
Church of Colleyville on the coldest day of the
winter, February 19th, when their leader Joe Deupree
would not "resign" and the group, some 55
strong, continued to meet for their 8 am Sunday Bible
Class. While the group shivered outside the building,
they were told the group was a "non-entity"
of the church and they could not utilize the
facility. Previously the church had
cancelled the group's planned Christmas Party in
church facilities. One member of the group actually
donated part of the land that the current church
occupies today. The next day, after the February 19th
photo above, four of the group received a Fed Ex
telling them they had been removed from
News Only.com has conducted video interviews with the four
removed members, obtained video of a Bible Class disrupted by
a Church Pastor attempting to "fire" their leader
and the video statements of Dr. Frank Harber concerning the
initial plans to move the church. Members of Harber's
church have complained that financial information has not been
made available, the senior pastor is not accessible and even
fails to visit members in the hospital.
local Baptist preacher, who will be identified in the follow
up series, said,
"Knowing what I know now, and if I were in that community
(Colleyville) and I was considering a church home, I would not want
Frank Harber as my pastor. His influence has been damaged.
Ask people on the street, if you are going to a church and your pastor will not meet
with you one on one, does not visit his own members in the
hospital, does not minister but delegates others instead, do you want him as
addition, in the follow up, the question of illegal bylaw
activities at the church will be explored and actual video
statements from members.
It is noted that attempts have been made to obtain
statements, clarifications or input from the First Baptist Church
for this series of articles. The last attempt was on
March 1st with a telephone call to the church office.
The office stated that Michael Ray would handle all media
questions, however he was busy and I should leave a number,
but received no return telephone call.
LNO visited the offices late Thursday afternoon March 2nd,
however the offices were locked. LNO has been informed
that Dr. Harber no longer offices in the church offices on
Pleasant Run but from his home, this has not been confirmed
since no response has been made from the church.
LNO continues to provide the opportunity for Dr. Harber,
to respond to questions about the removal of membership
concerning four prominent members of the community and answer
questions concerning the church's specific accusations. Also
respond to other questions including why the four have not
been allowed to go before the body of the church and finally
to explore questions concerning Dr. Harber and the church's
finances and plans.