After being arrested on sexual abuse charges, Geronimo Aguilar left Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) about a year ago. Now, Joe Donahue—the pastor hired to fill his shoes and bring healing to the Virginia megachurch—is also on his way out the door.
"This man is the man God has raised up as the leader of the Richmond Outreach Center, and he will lead this ministry into the future," Jonathan Falwell, who has been acting as a consultant for ROC, told the congregation when they announced the former teaching pastor at First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Georgia, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"I'm telling you tonight, God has heard the prayer of the Richmond Outreach Center ... and God has said ... 'I will deliver you from the hands of every single person who mocked this church. And I will deliver you from the hands of every single person who laughed at this church.' ... There is a new day dawning for the Richmond Outreach Center, and that day begins right now," Falwell said at the time.
That day ended seven weeks later. ROC was not immediately available for comment, but Donahue is speaking loud and clear from a heart of confusion.
"My wife and I love the ROC," he wrote on a statement on his website. "We believed that God had called us to the ROC to lead the church to health, growth and to become a New Testament structured church. In the words of my 4 year old, 'We love the ROC family.' We still believe that God has called us to the ROC, to minister to the church family, the community and to repair a broken foundation."
Donahue says he understood it would be difficult but never anticipated anything like what has occurred since Thursday.
"Despite ongoing encouragement from the board of directors, and without warning, I was terminated," he says on his website. "I would have greatly valued a conversation. I love accountability and love to be sharpened. If I was leading the church in an unbiblical manner—I would repent and seek forgiveness. My hope was to repair and rebuild the foundation of the church, while keeping the ministries running."
Donahue then outlines his "9 Phases to Calming the Storm at the ROC," which you can read here.
"In 7 weeks, I realize I have no 'political capital' among the people," he concludes. "If I am the only one standing in the field fighting for the church—I will do it. The Church belongs to the Lord. Not to me. Not to the Board. Not to the members. It belongs to Jesus and He has revealed the structure of the church in the Bible—and that is good enough for me."
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