Due to the nature of emerging scandals and the CHC court case, it has been hard to keep up to date with information from the C3 Asheville scandal. We hope to keep alerting readers to the fascinating insights to this disturbing C3 scandal, analysing its history and future direction.

Last year we had Barn Sweetman (son of C3 Church Americas Overseer Dean Sweetman) comment on our blog. He naturally defended his dad Dean Sweetman over the way he handled the C3 Asheville scandal. What we were not expecting was a C3 leader informing Barn what actually happened inside the C3 Asheville mess. The C3 leader’s response is worth reading again. Before reading their response, we thought it was important looking at what Barn Sweetman wrote first.

Barn Sweetman wrote to the “lynch mob” C3 Church Watch:

Hi everyone,

My name is Barn Sweetman. Dean and Jill Sweetman are my parents. There’s probably 3,000 things I could say to argue against some of the ridiculous things that have been said on this blog, but it honestly makes me feel nauseous just thinking about it. Seriously, I challenge you to think about this for a second. Imagine your parents, hopefully some of the greatest heroes that were in your life, being verbally abused like this. Picture it in your mind for a few seconds.

Now imagine being 8 years old, living with your family that had next to nothing and then being sent to move from Sydney, all the way to Atlanta to plant a church. Now imagine over the next 18 years watching your parents, move heaven and earth, to try and build healthy, amazing, and powerful churches that actually change lives. Let me reiterate that… that actually CHANGE lives.

Then all of a sudden, they start getting verbally attacked by a lynch mob who literally have nothing better to do than to destroy everything that your parents put blood, sweat, and tears into.

It’s just shocking. The lack of compassion and grace that gets tossed around this blog is just sickening. You’ve literally created a breeding ground of doubt, fear, and hatred with the soul purpose of tearing down the church. You are literally contributing to the destruction of the image of Christianity. Congratulations.

And the best part about it? From what I’ve seen, most of you are Christians. Most of you flippin’ believe in the power of the cross and that it actually changes lives. Yet you choose to criticize the ones that actually carry the burden and spread the gospel. If you actually understood the amount of pressure and faith it takes to build just 1 church, I guarantee you, you would be disgusted with yourself right now. Disgusted.

I’ll finish my rant on this note. I’m sure you all had some reason to point fingers at your church or C3 for something that hurt you. Grow up, forgive the people that have wronged you and move on. The church will ALWAYS be built by imperfect people and if you can’t accept that, go read John 8:7. The goal is to spread the Gospel… not destroy it.

Think about it.

Source: Barn Sweetman, C3 Asheville Scandal – The Wolf & The Ostrich (Part 8), C3 Church Watch, http://c3churchwatch.com/2013/11/29/c3-asheville-scandal-the-wolf-the-ostrich-part-8/#comment-11718, February 16, 2014 at 4:22 am.

Dave wrote,

Hello Barn Sweetman,

First off let me commend you for honoring your parents. I also want to say although I’m sure I don’t completely understand how it must feel, I’m sure it hurts to see what you feel as your parents being attacked occurring on this blog.

That being said I want to present a bit of the other side to you. I think a lot of people are venting at your Dad Dean because they are in fact hurt. Hurt by Nick Dimitris and hurt by his handling of this situation. He is in fact in a position where he is supposed to provide help and “oversight” in situations like these. I’m going to present to you a few facts about his handling of the Asheville church and you can decide for yourself if you can see why some people might be hurt at his handling of this situation.

But before I do let me tell you how I know this and why I am qualified to speak to the situation: I went to C3 Asheville, I was a leader in fact I even lead certain aspects of the church. I have been apart of a few church plants now so I do understand how hard planting a church can be. I’ve also been involved in the “Spirit Filled” church most of my life and I was apart of the C3 movement for many years. I had high hopes as did many others for a good local church in Asheville, I served and gave to try to help in seeing a community of believers established in Asheville. I like many others eventually wised up to Nick Dimitris and went to your Dad and practically begged for help and I was turned away and told if I couldn’t support leadership I needed to leave. So that is what I did….

Now for a few facts on your Dad’s handling of the situation in Asheville:

1. From the time that the scandal of Nick Dimitris’s court case broke in the news Dean never set his feet on the ground in Asheville. NOT ONCE. He sent others(more on this shortly) but never came once to observe things for himself, to ask questions, to seek out the truth, heck possibly even to make sure all the members were okay and being cared for, maybe even pray with some folks…. I would certainly think that a matter this big would require quite a bit more attention and emphasis than he gave it. We are talking about people’s lives afterall and if what turned out to be true(according to United States Justice system)was true then the implications would be devastating to a church.

2. He did however send Steve Hickson who recommended Nick be immediately placed on Hiatus from a leadership role in the church.-This was ignored as were all of Steve’s requests on how the matter be handled.

He later sent Phil Beuchler who said and I paraphrase-”Nick is not fit by the definition the Bible provides us to be a leader”-This was also ignored as well.

3. Dean was approached by several members of staff and pastors at C3 Asheville asking for Nick to be sat and for help in this situation- They were ignored and I can’t remember the exact tally but at least 7 staff left because of this. A worship leader, a young adults pastor and a youth pastor all were gone within months. There are NO original staff left.

4. Dean also saw 2 sets of boards/elders resign because after their pleading for Nick to be sat his response was to stick with Nick.

5. The church went from over 200 people to less than 40 without 1 visit from Dean.

6. He allowed a man who had plead guilty in a bank fraud investigation serve and lead a church for over 2 years as the paper wrote article after article. How was the church supposed to grow when people think the pastor is a crook?

7. He never removed Nick(a convicted felon-that’s what you are when you plead guilty) until after he was sentenced to a year in jail. Even then I think he just said okay you’re not a part of C3 anymore but left the church still running..still no visit…Where is the care for the people involved in his actions???

8. He has never to my knowledge called and asked for forgiveness to any of the people who were involved in and hurt by C3 Asheville.

Barn, when I look at your Dad’s actions in this situation I can’t see any care for the people involved. I can’t see any humility(not listening to staff and pastors some he had known for years, not listening to seasoned elders in the body, not listening to peers-Steve Hickson, Phil Beauchler, not listening to boards he helped appoint, not listening to members and founding members). I can’t see that he cared at all about this situation truthfully and that’s what hurts. These people involved are sons and fathers and mothers and daughters themselves after all and they are a part of the body of Christ. You think it’s hard to plant a church….Try giving your all into a church plant and watching it fall to pieces and the body scattered because “oversight” is sticking Nick, not just once but time and time again, fallout after fallout. That’s what about 200 people just experienced and there is a lot of pain. Some have left the faith. Do you realize that? SOME PEOPLE HAVE LEFT THE FAITH because of this situation. Still many others are completely disillusioned and don’t know what to do. This situation has been DEVASTATING. I spoke with your Dad on the phone and I expressed these concerns and I couldn’t hear that he cared at all and that hurt. I don’t say these things to hurt you or your Dad but you need to know the other side to the story and he needs to be reminded of this until he turns to God in repentance.

Source: David, C3 Asheville Scandal – The Wolf & The Ostrich (Part 8), C3 Church Watch, http://c3churchwatch.com/2013/11/29/c3-asheville-scandal-the-wolf-the-ostrich-part-8/#comment-11819, Submitted on 2014/02/19 at 5:44 am.

What was Barn Sweetman’s response?

I’m sympathetic to you @David and what you experienced. I honestly think Dad could have handled this way better. But supporting a blog that purely desires to knock out a church movement isn’t the answer. You basically took your experience and assumed that every C3 Church is handled this way by doing that. You have to understand that Nick Dimitris deceived everyone… including Dad. Bringing out your pitchfork and going after blood isn’t the answer. If the church had been healthy enough to get through it and be supportive, despite who’s in leadership for the remaining time, there would be a healthy church standing today.

David don’t think that I don’t have a clue on what’s going on. I actually went up 3 times and helped with worship during the whole situation because they were running out of worship leaders. Each time I went up and watched has the congregation dwindled. It’s a very sad situation. But imagine the strength that could have come out of that church after the trial was over (guilty or not guilty) b/c people stood by in unity.

Responding to Berean’s comment “@ David – I hope Barn is able to absorb what you had to say, and come to a place of maturity accepting that sometimes fathers are not perfect and unfortunately not qualified to pastor.If anyone should step down, or stood down, at this time it should be Dean Sweetman. He has demonstrated by his behaviour that he is not qualified biblically.” http://c3churchwatch.com/2013/11/29/c3-asheville-scandal-the-wolf-the-ostrich-part-8/#comment-11824

Barn continues:

Really @Berean? I’m not naive. I know that the whole situation could have been handled differently. But you’re saying that he should step down because you think he didn’t handle a crisis in 1 church out of the 30ish he looks after? Really??? Your lust for vengeance and justice far out ways your thirst for grace. You’ve thrown the first stone without even looking at yourself. Have a little grace. Dad is by far not perfect, but if we build churches based on your standards, there wouldn’t be many standing. Once again, building churches is really hard b/c you’re dealing with people that are imperfect and have problems. Even the pastors. See some flippin’ reason before making ridiculous claims like that.

Source: Barn Sweetman, C3 Asheville Scandal – The Wolf & The Ostrich (Part 8), C3 Church Watch, http://c3churchwatch.com/2013/11/29/c3-asheville-scandal-the-wolf-the-ostrich-part-8/#comment-11843, February 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm.

In other words it is important for Dean Sweetman and C3 to keep convicted Nick Dimitris as a C3 Pastor “(guilty or not guilty)” because it is more important Christians need to stand in unity. Is this appropriate pastoral oversight by the “C3 Church Americas Overseer” Dean Sweetman?