Don McClure Speaks On His History with Potter’s Field Ministries
The Phoenix Preacher has acquired a letter written by Don McClure outlining his experience with Mike Rozell and Potters Field.
We publish this as part of our journalistic mission.
It is with true sadness and struggle that I sit down and actually put to writing a letter I have written in my thoughts many many times. I have been approached by a number of you concerning PFM and where I see it now. I will try to explain things from my perspective.
My history of attempting to help Mike Rozell
Several years ago there was a board member of PFM that removed himself and he was a man that I greatly admired and had been surely the greatest supporter of PFM. The supporter is a man of character and spiritual maturity as well as his wife and I attempted many times to help them recover their relationship as they had been friends since high school with Michael. During these times I heard of Michael and his anger and controlling behavior. I attempted many times to help them restore their friendship which went back to high school. The supporter often told me that there was another side of Michael that I had never seen.
As time progressed I heard that two wonderful young ladies who had served the ministry were separated in a dramatic way in Florida and left to find their way home to Montana. Michael explained that they were controlling and demanding. To this day I wish that I would have contacted them and heard their story. They are Dawn Marie and Amy, and their heartbreaking experiences with both of the Rozells have been well documented on blogs and social media.
Here and there I would be approached by pastors and leaders asking me if I knew what kind of a person Rozell was as they had bad experiences with him and they would tell me that Michael was using me. And I would respond that I was in the ministry to be used and I was aware of his immaturities and was there to help him, not realizing how severe the real issues were.
As has been well documented by the Rozells in their book and in their stage performance, Michael had a history of raging, but as time went on I was hearing more and more that his rage and sudden uncontrolled outbursts were not just in the past, but, in the present.
I am sure that you are aware of this behavior as it has been well documented on the blogs
My history of discovery of the severity of Mike and Pam’s behavior
Then, perhaps 18 months ago two other interns left the ministry and I received a call from their pastor and he was greatly concerned that there was cult like behavior going on at the PFM ministry and I assured him that I didn’t think so , but, I agreed to look more into it as the stories from those two interns seemed too credible to me and I knew them personally. When I followed up with them they told me of how protected I was by Michael when I was in Montana and the interns were told not to bother me. When I looked more and more into this I began to hear of terrible fits of anger that Michael displayed at the interns in a meeting that went on for hours of virtual non stop yelling and rage. When I confronted Michael and Joanna on this, they said that Michael was loud, but, not abusive. This led to more inquiries and then anger from Michael towards me for investigating and agreeing with the pastor to look into it. In a phone call to Michael, with Pam on the call as well, Michael grew angry and yelling and controlling to me telling me to stay out of it and I told Michael that I was going to hang up if he didn’t stop which he didn’t so I told him I was done with PFM and hung up. There are other matters concerning Michael and medicine, but, I will not explain further here.
Soon after that my granddaughter and her husband who were working with PFM spoke to my son about the inner issues at the ministry which were shocking. Michael had told them not to speak to me about any problems they had with the ministry, but, to speak only directly to him. Because they have integrity, they kept quiet to me. I was filled with many feelings and concerns as I realized more and more that I had been flat out lied to over and over. I was angry that these interns had experienced these things as now I was fully aware of long beat down sessions called “hard discipleship” where staff and interns were literally brought to tears after sometimes 6-8 hours of non-stop yelling and cult like tactics. I was angry at myself as I had sent one of my grandsons to the ministry and he left frustrated but never explained why. It was only during my deeper investigation that he said that Michael came and told him daily that he knew he had a severe problem with porn which he denied and thought Michael himself had severe problems. I was angry at myself because I had also sent another grandson to the ministry and he was actually in Africa at the time. I was angry with myself because I had my dear granddaughter serving there and they were experiencing this perverted behavior in a ministry and I had supported thinking it was equipping young people to serve in missions and go back to their home church.
My history of my separation from PFM
After many confrontations with Michael that also involved Joanna and Steve Miller and Steve Venable and realizing that there was no change after many promises and even times where Michael would weep and beg forgiveness and promise changes, but, there never were, I wrote the strongest email I am sure I have ever written anyone in my life. And separated myself from them completely at that time. Then Michael begged Pastor Joe Focht to intercede and we and I spoke at length with both Steve Venable and Miller. At that time we were basically aware only of the prolonged beat down yelling sessions, dictatorial behavior and accusing people who left the ministry of all sorts of corrupt behavior, but, that was so out of Biblical behavior that we wanted Michael to step down for a year and put someone else in leadership while he seek some help. Michael flatly rejected that saying that he would never step down after he had said that he would submit to our council.
History of separation from CC
During the process I spoke to over 40 of the interns and students that had left spending approximately 150 hours on the phone. I traveled to meetings with pastors and parents and past interns and flew to two such meetings. Joe Focht spoke to 17 past students and interns and was sickened by what he heard. Also during this time, Michael and Pam were blaming me for being against them and telling people that they never had Matthew 18 offered to them. That was most certainly not true. Matthew 18 was fulfilled many, many times to no avail. In the course of these conversations I became aware of many vile conversations between Michael (and Pam at times) and young girls that were sexual in nature which have since been restated on the blogs.
At this point, in what little defense there is of Michael, two attorneys informed us that there was nothing illegal about a pastor yelling for hours at a person and accusing them of all sorts of things as long as the person is free to walk away at any time and he can speak to her of moral issues as long as he does not actually make a sexual advance on them which in our discussions did not appear to happen. But, as a Christian, obviously these things are not acceptable on many levels.
At some point during all of this a leader of an online blog was told initially that I was trying to destroy Potters Field Ministries and with only that information he accused me of wrongdoing. But, as he investigated further he was told that Pam Rozell asked people to contact him in opposition to me. It ended up backfiring as many dozens of past staff and interns found out about the blog and it took on a life of its own where people that had been deeply hurt from different years and locations all suffered the same terrible things. The number of them was truly staggering and sorrowful. Being a father, a grandfather and great grandfather, everything in you will protect your own. My sorrow was added to in that it was many wonderful young people who were deeply affected.
Tragically, Michael and Pam have never shown any sense of repentance that I have personally heard about. I think it would help the healing process of many if they did. I spent a huge amount of hours with people they hurt. I wish they would spend the same amount of time asking forgiveness for causing them to stumble. It would truly help.
I also had a meeting with Pastor John Randall and a Pentecostal pastor who was one of PFM’s long time board members. We spent hours with him as he took complete notes of what seemed to be 6-7 pages of specific details of many individuals hurt. We told him that as a board member he had a legal responsibility as well as a spiritual responsibility to follow up and he told us he would and would get back. He never did. Later I was told that he resigned from the board after he was evidently exposed over some moral grounds with a woman. I was also told that the reason that he perhaps didn’t follow up was that he (as rumors go) had a similar problem at PFM. Dawn Marie also told me that years ago she gave the same list of experiences that she gave me to that very board member to no avail.
After my departure Michael appealed to Pastor Rob McCoy in Thousand Oaks to please step in. As I understand it Rob agreed to help if Michael stepped aside and Rob would save what he could of the missionary support and Michael agreed. Pastor Rob went to Whitefish and when he realized all these people with such deep wounds he informed the newspapers and a radio station and others that the ministry would be closed down, the properties sold, and the money would be dispersed correctly as to the needs of the young people and legal matters and past taxes (if I understand that part correctly).
It was not long until is seemed the publicity died down a bit and some pressure was lessening that Pastor Rob met direct resistance from Michael to the degree that Pastor Rob could no longer process any of the commitments he publicly made and, being outnumbered on the board (including the Pentecostal pastor who I believe was still there) Pastor Rob had no option to leave.
So, why am I answering your email?
First of all may I say that there are many blessed memories and experiences for many people who have had the PFM experience and I am included in that group. I helped as requested to put together a school to equip students. Sadly, it never became what it could have but being under the Word of God is good and many have good memories. Many young people found good, healthy and hopefully lasting friendships and fellowship. I helped form the internship program for the students to get good foreign missions experience and many have good memories there as well. I pointed PFM to Entebbe and many other churches jumped in and there is lasting fruit there as well.
The main flaw of the PFM experience was the heart of the leader.
Perhaps Michael and Pam felt that it was there place to delve into the past sins and even the thought life of the students.
Perhaps they thought that discipleship was tearing people down rather than building them up.
Perhaps they thought that pouring all sorts of money into properties and a ranch complete with an indoor riding arena was the right plan for future ministry. That is what they told me stating that it was making a profit and could support missions. Something that I understand proved to be untrue.
Perhaps he thought that calling 11pm meetings that could last a couple of hours for a staff that already put in hours of overtime for the day was team building?
Perhaps having young people work 60-70 hours a week and then work on a day off if they got one was equipping future leaders.
And the list could go on and on. Sadly, it looks now that Michael and Pam were skillful in keeping this a well kept private behavior from the churches, pastors and ministries that supported and sent their young people there to learn Christian service. But, I have never in about 50 years of ministry have ever seen anything like this. I have spent years working with ministries and at my age have thought I was pretty discerning. I sure failed here to see it. My small comfort is that Craig Linquist was somewhat deceived as well, although he saw it before I did. My own son, a Calvary pastor was deeply committed to PFM and was initially upset with me when I realized the true situation and then he too figured it out. He fooled Pastor Rob McCoy who tried in love to help PFM only to realize that as we all learned it seemed to many that Michael and Pam were willing to say anything to keep their activities going unchecked. How much I still pray that they stop saying so many many people are lying and that they would first go to the Lord and seek forgiveness and then spend whatever amount of time and effort it takes to seek out those they have hurt. It seems rather hypocritical to lead a ministry that seeks to help children all over the world while you have so many you have deeply hurt, stumbled and confused at your doorstep.
To this day, I don’t know of a person that Michael has reached out to seeking forgiveness or displayed any behavior of repentance. I have been told by a woman that was financially left with great losses with her dealings with the Rozells that “Don McClure is the devil incarnate”. They have told many that I was out to destroy them. That is not true. I spent years trying to help them as did others. They destroyed themselves. My wife and I loved them and counted them dear friends even after we realized their two different worlds. I still have them on my daily prayer list along with others.
I am writing you because I understand that there is a lady attorney who has told the newspaper that the things written about the Rozells are “to be taken with a grain of salt”. I truly wonder what sort of woman could read the hundreds of blog statements by so many witnesses and then call these girls anything but deeply hurt and not realize it adds to their hurt to suggest they are lying.
I am writing you because I have been contacted by past interns that they have been contacted by the Rozells and Joanna and Jan Miller that they need to come back and serve again and that all this stuff was lies and distortions.
When this matter was being dealt with on the blog I was grateful that the hurt people were finding each other.
I do owe a apology to a couple of people that I believe I may have grouped early on in the blog with the Rozells that I have spoken to. But, have since realized they are good men. One is Steve Venable. We have had many conversations since and wept together over it. By other accounts, he was not there for the beat down sessions and corrupt counseling. The other is Austin. I believe that he saw things but PFM was the only ministry he has ever known. Austin confronted Michael and the board and was ostracized from the inner circle for it. He and Shannon have moved on and are healing as well. They are good people that I think just got caught in a mess.
But, now the thing many feared has happened. Rozell is back in ministry and will no doubt find a way to reinvent himself and survive. It seems the Rozells will never go away. Together Mike and Pam seem to have truly excelled in a platform ministry and because the Word of God does not return void, many around the country blessed from a distance.
I am writing you because I hear that young people are being drawn back to PFM through phone calls that all is good and there are many lies out there
I still keep to this day on my prayer list over 40 wonderful young people by name that one day I sincerely pray are more than healed, but, that the Lord will have fully “restored unto them the years eaten by the cankerworm”
May the Lord bless and encourage you
If you know of any that want to support the missionary support in Africa that PFM dropped and be assured that the money is truly getting there contact
Rob McCoy or Craig Linquist
Calvary Chapel Godspeak
Malcom Gladwell’s book “Talking to Strangers” explores this idea of people who get away with lies because those around them can’t conceive that any malice, injustice, or unethical behavior could be taking place. There is a default to believe people, particularly when we think they are our friends and colleagues.
I can only hope that future victims of spiritual abuse will one day be taken more seriously. In spiritual abuse, the burden of proof is often staggering, accusations are moving targets that are too often easily dismissed. Those who try to expose the injustice normally pay for it the rest of their life. All I have to do is speak the name Michael Newnham in most Calvary circles that I am familiar with and my point is made. I am not alone in that experience.
God bless Michael Newnham for placing this letter here… and He will, no doubt
rages and the Christian walk are incompatible, not to mention lying about the character of another
The cankerworm is Mike Rozell. This is truly horrific – that a man of such evil and devious character could have fooled so many. His wife, knowing all that happened, helped him hide his sin and was an accomplice! I still don’t understand why these poor young Christians interns would submit to such a sick authority figure and tell no one, not even their parents, what was happening to them. They were lambs led to the slaughter. We must find out how this was able to continue for so long, so that it never, ever happens again. My two children attended Calvary Chapel churches from birth to around 15, so I know that some of their past Calvary Church friends must be among the many exploited and injured young people that were treated so horribly by these two sick wolves. I will continue to lift these young Christians up in prayer for healing and blessings. I hope they have found some measure of peace by sharing their experiences here and supporting one another. Thank you to Michael for providing them this safe space to begin their healing journey.
“Perhaps they thought that discipleship was tearing people down rather than building them up.”
“Perhaps having young people work 60-70 hours a week and then work on a day off if they got one was equipping future leaders.”
Wow, Don, really? Is that not how you tried to run things? [especially that last quote]
Let me bring some clarity, as someone who volunteered for them for seven years. Lies, deceit, cover up, all from the master manipulator leader of the cult. We were lied to about the hours they worked, about the wages they received, about EVERYTHING. And these were young beautiful Christians who wanted to serve The LORD and give of themselves. After they were there for awhile, more and more was asked from them until they were in so deep. And then the master manipulator and his team got them to confess sins and they immediately were told to mike, who used them as threats. They were all forced to sign Non disclosure agreements, and those who left were firmly reminded of what they signed. They were told that if they said ANYTHING bad about the “ ministry” they would “hunt them down, they would tell their pastors and families, and they would never do ministry again. You all need to read about cults. I am sickened as I write this because I didn’t know sooner. I loved each one of these young people. They came to our house often and we fed them and gave them a time of relaxing and fun and now o realize we gave them a safe haven. You have heard so many speak out, but I have heard many many more who are still to afraid to speak out. Want to run away and get on with their lives and never hear anything about Potters field again. And while we loved these young people whole they were hear, no one would ever say anything bad to us because they were explicitly told not to and they were threatened and afraid. When they would leave we were always told it was on good terms or lies. Even after they left the young people would not tell us the truth because of their fear. You could blame me for being there and not seeing it but I am telling you these are MASTERS of MANIPULATION. Read about cult leaders for a better understanding. If anyone wants to talk to me I’m available.
Thank you, Barb!
Barb is one of my heroes…has been in the fight for the interns from day1 and never faltered.
A feudal lord (Rozell) with his serfs.
Their opium was religion.
So he knew about this behavior for years and never thought it was “bad enough” to do anything. Sigh…
He brings up his granddaughter and her husband not talking about what Rozell was doing because they were ordered not to speak about it: “Because they have integrity, they kept quiet to me.” This wasn’t due to their “integrity.” It was due to the power an control by an abusive authority figure.
He doesn’t seem to get it. It’s all very sad.
I’m so glad Don M. is finally speaking up again. I am hoping that the Calvary Chapel leaders are done supporting and enabling PF and the Rozells , once and for all. I always had a bad feeling about Michael Rozell, but I kept seeing churches and their leaders fawning all over him and giving him a venue and money making opportunities. Now I understand why I felt that way and I hope that he is never again allowed to abuse others the way he has done in the past. Thank you Michael for speaking the truth and calling out these abusers!
I, for one, am very concerned about their re opening of Mudman. This may not be the venue for this concern, but then what is? Unknowing people will make them solvent again if something is not done to stop them.
WHO ARE THESE BOARD MEMBERS???
Don McClure was the highlight of my time at PFM. I was incredibly blessed by his teachings of the Word.