Mark Altrogge is beloved throughout Sovereign Grace Ministries. He is also known throughout the worship world for his incredible songs. Last night, Mark told the church in Indiana, PA that 3 of the 4 pastors including himself voted in favor of severing ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries due to an erosion of trust in Sovereign Grace Leadership.
My spiritual roots are in Indiana, PA. I led a campus ministry while doing my undergraduate studies and returned after I graduated from seminary in 1979 and became the first pastor of this church. I was already friends with Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney at the time.
The church joined with Covenant Life Church in 1980 in an informal cooperative effort to plant churches. In 1982, Jenny and I were sent out to CLC in order to start Sovereign Grace Ministries. The church in Indiana, PA is the oldest church in SGM after CLC. Mark and I have been around for 33 years. I was privileged to train him and we were the best of friends. I know the decision to leave is an extremely hard one for him to make.
Over the last three decades, the “little” church made a “big” contribution to the ministry of SGM. God raised up many key leaders who relocated to serve in other SGM churches or with SGM itself. But dearest to my heart is that extraordinary group of people from the early days that remain in the church. They too support this decision to leave though they have loved SGM for decades.
I should add that a lot of good people in the church provided feedback that Mark, Joe and Bob took to heart in deciding to leave. They were actively involved in the process, not just supportive of the pastors' decision.
Sovereign Grace Church in Cleveland is the third oldest church in Sovereign Grace Ministries in a convoluted way. Larry Tomczak started the church in 1982. It left in 1997 primarily over differences regarding Reformed doctrine. SGM started over. Two weeks ago, Darren Lander, the senior pastor along with the entire leadership team, recommended the church leave SGM. They have asked the congregation for feedback and should finalize their decision to leave by the end of March.