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Tommy Sparger | Carry On

Published: 509 days ago

Carry On

Today, on June 30, it has been one year since I stood before my church and resigned. I can’t believe it has been a year. Honestly, there were moments that I didn’t think I would make it this far.

I have decided to start a blog. To be honest, I am not sure where this blog will lead. Like my life, this blog will be a little unpredictable and played out as it goes along.

In the story, “A River Runs Through It”, Norman Maclean’s dad says “You like to tell true stories, don’t you?’ he asked, and I answered, ‘Yes, I like to tell stories that are true.’
Then he asked, ‘After you have finished your true stories sometime, why don’t you make up a story and the people to go with it?
Only then will you understand what happened and why.
It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us.”

In this blog, I guess I just want to talk and express myself, so that if nothing else, I will begin to understand “what happened and why”. It is a funny thing to know and love someone and have him or her elude us. It is quite another thing to elude oneself. I guess that kind of sums of my last couple of years ….. I eluded myself.

Here are a few things that I do know with certainty:

This has been the hardest year of my life.

My family, though it has been horribly hard, is starting to heal.

Everyday I live with the sorrow of hurting the staff, volunteers, and wonderful people of North Point Church. I see North Pointers all the time around town and work and many times I will personally apologize. You guys are so gracious. Please know that I love you with all of my heart.

Not that it is much consolation, but it is important for me to tell you North Pointers that it wasn’t a lie. I believed in every last word I preached. All of the outreaches, baptisms, prayers, and changed lives in the community – It was all real! I had good motives for starting North Point and at no other point than my last year did I live a hypocritical lifestyle. I believed in it with all of my heart and soul. I just got turned upside down. I wanted to confess sooner and was trying to find a way to confess sooner. I just didn’t know what to do. I do want you to know that I wasn’t taking any money or doing anything illegal. I confessed face to face what I was guilty of.

I will try to unpack some of the process of what went through my mind then, this last year, and now as this blog progresses.

I am guilty. Guilty of being a human. Guilty of sin. Guilty of mishandling the influence that God gave me. My last year has literally been hell on earth processing all of this………….

But I do know what I would say to me if I were not me. I would say:

“Jesus didn’t come for people that have it together. He came for the broken. He came for the forgotten. He came for the rejected. He came for the sinners. He came for the losers. He came for you! Feel it or not. Believe in it or not. Jesus’ gifts and callings are forever. Jesus isn’t done with you; he is only really beginning.”

I would say this to me and I would believe it to the core of my very soul if I were on the giving end and not the receiving end of this conversation.

But here is the rub; right now I don’t feel it and only half believe it. It has been hard. My family and I have lacked a support system for an entire year. For most of the year I worked on Sundays and we haven’t really been to church. When we could make it to church, it just felt weird. Sort of hopeless. I felt like people were looking at me. I felt like there were no answers. No hope. Going to church made me miss North Point. My family and I have sort of lived in exile.

I drank too much this year. It killed the pain. I am starting to get control of that. I am starting to think there is hope. I am starting to get that old feeling again. It is hard to explain, but it is the feeling you get when you fight a bully. There just comes a day when you have to do it. Instead of crying about why Christianity and church seemed so indifferent to me and irrelevant at the very moment I needed it the most, maybe I should be fighting to change it. To make it more like Jesus.

You see, the difference between you and me is that all of my shit was on the evening news. Yours isn’t.

I owe the church. I screwed up big time, but I will not let this be my last contribution to the thing that I am increasingly bothered by, but Jesus loves very much. So, if I do nothing else before I die, I want to pay back what I took. I want to help the church be there for the next broken sinful loser, like me …….. I want the church to be like Jesus. My last year at North Point, I was nothing like Jesus. So I look forward. I will fight. I will rebound. I will carry on when it would be so much easier to just give up. I will do this for that rare moment when that one person that had no hope or belief, might be introduced, not to religion, but to a carpenter – To a man – To a God. To the most amazing and fascinating being that has ever lived. At the intersection of this one we call Jesus, that hopeless person, and the absence of religion, politics, and agendas ….. there is only a changed life.

So I conclude this first blog post with some very beautiful lyrics:

“Carry On” by Fun

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows
To know you can never look back

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

122 Comments.
  1. Mark Lawrence says:

    Your quote, ” ….. there is only a changed life.” That’s all that matters when you cut through all the “stuff” we have attached to being a Christian. You are a changed life. I am a changed life. Change is not always instantaneous. More often it is a process. For me personally, it has sometimes been slow and usually painful. I have spent the greater part of my life riding a roller coaster of hypocrisy, alcoholism and fear. Still, today I am a work in process…a changed life. My church I attend is People’s Church in OKC. When you leave our campus there are signs that simply say “More changed lives”. That is Pastor Herbert’s dream and mantra. So, from an old dog who keeps learning new “tricks”, keep changing Tommy and as you do your life will continue to change and grow. The result of that will be “more changed lives”.

  2. Aaron says:

    welcome back, Tommy.

  3. Laura says:

    Beautifully written and i believe you will do it! Please know I’ve thought of you and your family often and prayed for you.

  4. Kendra says:

    I just want to say how glad I am that you started your blog. :)

  5. Matt Loveland says:

    Glad to see you back and writing! I believe that God has some big things in store for you guys! I understand its a journey and there are things you are still dealing with but keep pushing forward. Find that fire that you had. The Tommy that had allowed God to speak to him and and had pushed him to start North Point. Because of your obedience I have grown to the person I am today. North Point has allowed me to grow and take a journey with no rush. Your impact as a man to this community is not lost. It’s a tough road to be sure (and I have no idea what you must be feeling) but I know that God is not done with you. The fact that you have a breath tells me it’s FAR from over. Who knows what or where God calls you…keep your ears open. Remember what God used you for. That is not lost. You are not lost. Thankful for your transparency and that will lead to healing. Know that you will be and have been in my prayers. Love you man. Excited for what God has in store!

  6. Stephanie Basham says:

    Thank you, Tommy. I think of you and your family often and say prayers of protection that I should have been saying more often prior to a year ago. When you shared your news a year ago, my first feelings were of shock, hurt, sadness, anger, and disappointment. Then I said to my husband almost immediately, “we have not said enough prayers for Tommy. Who has a bigger target on his back for Satan than Tommy?” (obviously there are many others but it is what I said) You changed so many lives for the Lord and no one can take that away. I sure am not able to throw a stone. I am glad you are seeking the Lord to help you fight this fight against Satan and not just allowing him to take more away from you and your family. Rachel and your children are amazing and I will continue to pray for healing and protection for all of you. I continue to pray for all pastors and churches as it takes a community of prayers to protect them all. I look forward to reading more of your journey. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Mike Hastings says:

    Tommy,
    My name is Mike and I have attended NPC for about 6 years now. Over the last year my families attendance to church has dwindled. The day that you confessed to what was going on my son was baptized at Freedom Splash. To tell you that my wife and I were not heartbroken by what happened would be an outright lie. It has changed our life and made trusting any church very hard. We are now as you are just trying to carry on. Though you and I only met in passing at NPC, I loved you man and what you were (and I pray still are!) about. Tommy I 100% forgive you man! I have screwed up more times in my life than I care to count so I don’t judge anyone else! Thank you so much for being the vessel tha God used to help me get through a devorce and drug addiction. One of the hardest times in my life! My life was changed forever by God through NPC and YOU! I hope this blog continues man and if you ever need a friend I would be honored to be there for you!

  8. brett west says:

    Tommy,glad to see you back out in the public ,somewhat.My family moved away from Springfield in April of last year so we werent there to see everything play out on the news.I just wanted you to know that North point Church under your guidance was the best thing that ever happened to my wife and I in our journey with God.Despite what was going on with you,God was still using you in a very good way to touch other peoples lives.Gina and I havent found a church here in West Virginia that comes close to being able to compare to what we had at NPC.You did great things,dont forget that.We’re here for you,if you ever need anything.God bless you.Stay strong.I cant wait for the next blog installment

    • Kathy Dean says:

      I would just have to say that NPC is in Springfield because of God not because of one man.

      Tommy, I am so glad this difficult year is behind you and you can look forward to the future. We are all sinners and God does not judge one sin worse than another. Tommy, you have been forgiven now you should forgive yourself. Don’t look back to see what was. Look to the future and see what can be. You are blessed to still have your life, wife and your children so many do not. We all have a purpose in life and that purpose changes continuously.

      SEEK

  9. Chuck Cowan says:

    Tommy, I’m very excited to see you and your family are healing. I remember a guy once saying that god will not give you challenges that we can’t handle we just need to keep the faith (you were the one who preached that)  Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?  Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
    With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.  Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

    Love you Brother!

  10. Kayla Hatch Martin says:

    This. This is good.
    Just let me know when I can house sit again so Sam & I can cuddle. I know he misses me. Team Sparger for life! Love you guys.

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      Sam misses you big time. Can’t remember … did he throw up or poop in your car? I know it was one or the other. Miss you and your family Kayla

  11. Hope Martin says:

    I am so glad you are blogging. Myself and family have missed you and your family at North Point

  12. Cathy McCoy says:

    Thank you Tommy for being so real. You are loved and appreciated. Know that you and your family are loved and have been prayed for a lot over the past year. We will continue to lift you guys up as you go on this journey. May God speak more and more to your heart. We love you.

  13. Betty says:

    So glad you’ve started your blog. I know God isn’t done with you. You will continue to touch people by sharing your story, your pain and struggles and how God continues to heal you and your family.
    I am a North Pointer and miss you and your messages. Praying for you and your family as you “Carry on”

  14. Carry On….. We miss u Tommy… In my book you were forgiven the moment u asked Jesus, & excepted responsibility for your actions… We all fall short, some of us worse than others, thank God His grace is enough for all of us. I know your heart Tommy, I know what you preached was not a lie, & I know God has great things planned for you and this blog. I commend u on the courage it takes to speak this honest, & I know God will be able to work through you to not only heal you, but heal those around you that will be touched by your courage to speak this openly..:). Wishing & praying for all the best to you & your family.:)

  15. B. Walker says:

    I believe you once preached on all sins being equal and forgivable. Everybody is at different stages in there walk with God. Just because you reach the closest of the for types of relationship does not mean you won’t fall. God is perfect and you are not God, so who are we to hold you to that standard. Your store is sad and knowing the hurt of that personally melts my heart for your family, however this happens way too often and it’s never publicized as your faults were. I personally can say I was never hurt but sad. You not being at north point was like a death of a sudden accident. I kept going hoping for it to be normal but nobody his my soul with their message like you did. Your sermons got me thru some of life’s worst times. I had you have not found comfort in church, feeling that all are looking at you. Being on the outside I can say when people saw you it was encouragement, joy, happiness, hopeful!! We all fall its just not shared with the world. “Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our lives.”(Author unknown). When my daughter was baptized she only wanted you to do it. That was the biggest day of her life and you made it perfect by just doing what you do. Don’t let the bad moments over shadow all the great life changing moments you’ve had and given!!

  16. Denny says:

    You will eventually come to a point where you get tired of beating yourself up and fall into the arms of a merciful God. You are always in my prayers! : )

    • Sharon G. McCallie says:

      Obviously you still have a ways to go. Your statement: You see, the difference between you and me is that all of my shit was on the evening news. Yours isn’t… is proof you are still whining & trying to blame others. Your behavior was on the news because you are the one who contacted the news in the first place. I remember you whining about no news coverage at a previous time. Well you got news coverage and now your are complaining about that. Never happy!

  17. Beva Bryan says:

    Tommy,
    Speaking from many years of living and struggling with fear and shame, I kept the doors shut and not allowed the sunlight of the Spirit to enter into my world. I struggled with alcoholism for many years until one day I found others that were struggling also. They told me to surrender to a GOD of my understanding and to let others love me until I could love myself. That was the changing day in my life, almost 26 years ago..
    Just a few years ago, I lived down the street from NPC on Norton Rd and I could hear the music coming from the church but I never went in. One Sunday, my son invited me to go to church with his family. Little did I know it would be NPC on Norton Road. Little did I know both of my sons, their wives and 7 of my grandchildren would be accepting Christ as their Savior and YOU, Pastor Tommy, would be doing GOD’s work.

    What I have learned over the past 26 years is to LET GO AND LET GOD! To go back to the people that helped me and let them love me until I could love myself once again. I learned that GOD doesn’t leave me, I put GOD on the back burner until I need him. I ask GOD every morning to show me HIS will for me and to give me the willingness to follow HIS directions.

    Tommy, what I would suggest to you and your family is to come back to NPC and let the people, your true friends, welcome you back and to love you and your family. The support is their, it’s just the fear and shame that is blocking you from the Sunlight of the Spirit.

    I left the church a little over a year ago (but NOT GOD) and 3 weeks ago I was in a state of confusion, not knowing which way to turn. As I was driving to an unknown destination, I asked GOD to show me where to go. Suddendly, I found my car pulling into NPC-Norton Rd parking lot. I heard the music, went inside and the sermon of the day was about DREAMS. It was the first week and I was under such a spell I haven’t missed a Sat. evening YET. GOD works in mysterious ways, we just have to be willing and patient to hear His message.

    Just a few things I heard yesterday was:
    Don’t give up, Don’t live as a victim, don’t punish people or close people off,
    GOD did not bless you for you, he blessed you for others!!!

    I’ll see you and the family next Sat. evening AT NPC-Norton Rd!
    Prayers coming your way for you and the family. :)

  18. bob mcgurty says:

    Tommy, you know I love you. Thanks for sharing this blog, sounds like the Tommy I know.

  19. Ginger Brake says:

    Good to see you getting back out there. You have been sorely missed. God has a special plan for you. I have no idea what it will look like, but I know it will be exactly what you and those around you need, for that is the way our God works. He uses broken vessels to reach broken vessels, then fill us all with exactly what He needs for such a time as this.

    Prayers for you and yours as we do this thing together.

  20. Kari says:

    This is beautifully written and it’s good to hear from you again. I have thought about you several times over the last year and strangely enough, just the other day which led me to this blog. All I know is that I was listening to your sermons 5 or 6 years ago on iTunes before I ever stepped foot in North Point. I finally convinced my husband to come with me to church in 2008. Your messages made my husband, a man who had never gone to church or really even believed, find a relationship with God and we were both baptized at North Point in November 2008. Despite what has happened in your personal life, we will always see you as the man who unknowingly encouraged us, people you didn’t even know, during hard times and led us to God when we needed Him most. You made us feel like we belonged at church even after the way we had lived in the past. For that we are forever grateful. I have wanted you to know that and I’m glad I can finally tell you. May God bless you Tommy.

  21. Trina Cowan says:

    WOOHOO!! So glad you are back! You know that I am a Sparger Fan and love you all very much. Glad to see that you are in a good place with your rock of a wife beside you. Always praying for you and can’t wait to go on the next journey with you all. I hope to see more of you and your family. If you ever need anything do not hesitate to ask. Love ya!

  22. Diane Spangler says:

    Welcome back! We all fall short, no one should be judging, no one likes to be judged! Thank you for being so honest, I admire you and your family. God has good plans for your life and you will continue to reach the lost and broken in only a way you can :)

  23. Jordon W says:

    Tommy,

    I became a Christian in 2010 and started attending NPC in 2011. Honestly, the church scared me shitless. I wasn’t sure I wanted a part of it. I always had much more resistance (when I was an atheist) to Christians than I did Christ. Then I found NPC and your preaching. So thank you for your contribution in showing me there are churches where I belong. I’m about 18 months away from graduating Bible college, and I realize it’s my generations turn to clean up the messes that sometimes the church makes. So thanks for giving “us” hope.

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      Thanks Jordon. Honestly, after this last year, the church scares me too. Keep doing what you are doing and maybe you will have a church that I can come to some day.

  24. Elizabeeth says:

    I am so happy to see you’ve started a bog! My family & I have thought of you and your family often in the last year. Honestly I was more upset with how things were handled by the church than by the news of what took place. In my opinion, while yes disappointing, at the end of the day you’re just a man. You’re not Jesus on earth and I never expected perfection. I respected that you stood before your congregation and were honest and real. What transpires in your marriage is ultimately between you, Rachel and God. Yes, we expected more but really my heart broke for your family to suffer this painful time in the public eye.

    Exile is a perfect word. That’s how it has felt to some as well. All of your sermons were gone. Your online presence was gone. We all knew your family had to come first but it felt as if the powers that be had zero interest in you coming back to NPC ever. Due to health issues I had been streaming the sermons previously because I wasn’t able to physically attend. Now that I am able I don’t feel comfortable going to NPC. “We don’t care where you’ve been but where you’re going” has been the theme. Evidently that is true only if you are not the Pastor. You did so much for the congregation, for the community and when the going got tough it seemed we as a church bailed. Not the kind of church I want to be a part of.

    Perhaps it would have been too hard for you and your family to continue to come to NPC. But there were a large group of people who did not want to exile your family and wanted very much to support you during a difficult time. I don’t know what transpired behind the scenes but it certainly felt as if you were dropped like a hot potato. That seemed so terribly hypocritical.

    All this said to say I’m so glad to see your presence in some small way. My family is still wishing you and your family well and we haven’t given up on you!

  25. Andy Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love you, Tommy! Keep your head up…

  26. Kevin Rusenstrom says:

    You will be those things, continue on the journey!
    So proud of you young man!

  27. Ashley tucker says:

    Tommy, this is awesome. You obviously have an amazing gift to touch people’s lives. Please Carry On! Love me some Spargers!!!

  28. Ginger says:

    I am glad your back too! I have been praying for you and you family many times this past year. I was also in the middle of the same type of situation and have watched as my family tries to heal. Even though I am an adult and my parents have been married for 30 years, it all came as a shock and affected our entire family greatly. What I do know is that God is working on all of our hearts everyday. He has made us stronger through all of this. I have more admiration for my mother to stick with him and work on their marriage. Even though things will never be the same, we are all going onward together with forgiveness. I have been a northpointer for 6 years and have always loved to hear you speak. I will be looking forward to reading more from you!

  29. Ivy says:

    Proud of you. As someone once told me, ” don’t suck.” This didn’t suck.

  30. Jason says:

    Tommy, over 12 years ago I was thrown out of ministry for an addiction to porn. They handed me a severance check and told me to never say I worked there. All these years later, they still can’t say my name in the building. When they had a retrospective of the radio station’s first decade, they actually edited my voice out of recordings so that no one would hear it.

    And while I wasn’t on the evening news, I did have hundreds of people wonder why I suddenly wasn’t on the radio any longer and had to endure the humiliation fo explaining over and over. I lost basically anyone who said they were a friend. In fact, if a pastor hadn’t taken me to lunch every day for two weeks and said “don’t kill yourself until I can take you to lunch tomorrow” I probably would have done it.

    I say that to say I’m here and to a degree I understand a little of what you’ve faced. If you ever need to talk or someone to just be there, I’m here. I go to Restoration Church and if you ever want to pop in there, there’s a seat beside me. Just look for the guy sitting alone staring at his Kindle.

    And I’m not saying this because you were once “the man at NPC.” Frankly, I don’t give a crap about that. I wasn’t a big fan of NPC while you were still there. You’re just someone walking a road that I’ve traveled and if we can’t offer a hand back to pull you forward into healing, there’s really no reason for any of us who’ve been broken to exist.

  31. Matt Stewart says:

    No matter what . . . Lori and I will always love you, be your friend, and support you . . . always. Happy for you dude :) IHOF!

  32. Sandy Anderson says:

    Easter Sunday 2005. The first time my husband and I had been to church in 2 years. The only reason we came was because our daughters begged us to come. We had been thrown out of the church we had attended for 10 years because we refused to sever ties with our daughter who was a Lesbian. I had made up my mind that if that was what church was all about I didn’t need it anymore! The message you preached that Sunday morning was “It’s Friday Now But Sunday’s Coming!” It was the beginning of a series and we came and finished the series. North Point was different and you were different! We were accepted and didn’t have to put on a face when we came to church! Fast forward to the “Changed Life Celebration”. I carried a sign that told a part of my life that no one, not even my husband and children knew about. That sign said “Rape Victim” on one side and “Healed Survivor” on the other side. I had carried that secret with me for 37 years. It was the fact that you were real when you preached that helped me to have the courage to be a part of the celebration. You helped me to understand that bad things happen because we live in a stinking world. It was because of that I was able to get up there and hold that sign. My whole world changed when I walked off that stage after the 12:30 service that day! From day one that my daughters started going to North Point they told us over and over that North Point was different and it took them 2 years to convince us to come and try it out! They believed in your preaching and what the church stood for and they still do to this day! You made a mistake and it affected a lot of people but don’t let it destroy you or your family! There are many of those “Changed Lives” that you were instrumental in changing that are praying for you and your family! None of us will ever be the same but we can be better if we just trust God to lead us through this darkness to the light on the other side! God Bless and Love in Christ!

    • Corbin James says:

      I see Tommy still taking the credit for what God did at NPC. Maybe that is why Tommy got sent to the back of the line to start over.

  33. Debra says:

    Tommy,
    I started at NPC when it first started, made some great friends along the way, I moved away, but kept up with the church, was sad to hear, but your not the only one it happens too, people are human, and we all fall short, YOU MADE ME SEE WE ARE ALL ON THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER! God don’t shame us, only we do and other people!, but mostly us, we are harder on ourselves than other people!
    LET GO AND LET GOD……..HE IS ALWAYS THERE WITH OPEN ARMS TO CATCH YOU WHEN YOU FALL! CARRY ON!

  34. chastity says:

    this is awesome.. so glad to see you coming back to touch peoples lives… keep up the blogging and those lives u touch and have touched which has been thousands upon thousands will keep lifting you up in prayer

  35. Ted says:

    Tommy…great blog, guy! Having been on the “inside of the system” of church for more than 40 years, I fell in love with NP because it was refreshingly outside of the mainstream bible-bangers that so many of us are fed-up with. I’m thankful for the Lord’s CONTINUED hand upon your life, heart and purpose in this life! I’m even MORE confident that He is restoring that which the enemy desired to destroy from day-one! We are ALL with you and are anticipating an even GREATER expression of His power in ALL of our lives as He begins a fresh-start for you! Something I always say to people is so true of each of our lives…is simply this…”My prayer is not that I will ever walk on water as Jesus did…but as Iet older, I merely hope that God teaches me how to swim with less effort!” Tommy…we All LOVE YOU…and joyfullylook forward to the next NEW CHAPTER FOR ALL OF US…WITH GOD…HIS MIGHTY PRESENCE OF GRACE …AND YOU…AT POINT! Say…I have a verrrrry cool rockin’ pair of shoes for you, too, buddy! LET’S GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!! Love ya’! :-)

  36. Graceanne says:

    I remember back when my mom was desperately trying to get me into a church that I liked. We tried a new one every Sunday and I thought it was so stupid. I just wanted to be 18 so I wouldn’t have to go to church anymore. It was when my mom was talking to her most conservative bible belt friends that they suggested North Point.
    I didn’t think such a cool church could be in such a boring place with such strict beliefs. I actually listened when you talked and didn’t zone you out like I did all my life with other pastors. I tried to hide my excitement from my mom after my first North Point service. I didn’t want her to think I actually liked a church HOW LAME. Hahaha. Tommy I miss you all the time and I love you! You were like a dad to me and a lot of other people. The way you taught reached people like me that never thought in a million years they would call themselves a Christian. You got me out of the dark place and now we as a church should be doing the same thing for you. I’ll always support you and I’m so glad you’re blogging. I’m praying for you stay strong.

  37. Rodney and I have always had only love and admiration for you Tommy. I pray that your family and you come visit us at Restoration Church again soon. God is not nearly finished with you Tommy…He has only just begun! God’s blessings to you and your family.

  38. Cambria says:

    Tommy,

    I grew up in church here in the bible belt. My older sister came out when I was 10 & our church told us to choose between her and them because she was living in sin. We chose her & left. The next church we went to was full of hypocrites as well. When I turned 18, I decided that I wasn’t going to be a hypocrite also and until I could live by all the rules, i would walk away. Church had taught me that you have to follow all of these rules to get Jesus to love you & it was too hard for me to always follow the rules. I failed, then I felt guilty. I had been out of church a few years and one of my friends kept harassing me about this new church in town. She said ts different than other churches. I said “Yeah, right!” She wouldn’t shut up about it, so finally I agreed to go. I was NPC. That week, you preached a message about hypocrisy in the church. Talk about a sign from God that I was in the right place. I still was conflicted about God because after 18 years of the God of Wrath being preached to you, it is hard to understand a God of Grace. I still wasn’t ready to obey the rules. I was living with my boyfriend & partying a lot but i kept coming back to NPC. Over time under your leadership and the openness of NPC, I was able to see that I had been basing my view of God on what Christians did. Through the Word of God you shared each weekend, I opened my heart to God again. I accepted that I had failed God and that I would again but that he wouldn’t be disappointed, he would be waiting with open arms for me to turn to him. Instead of trying to obey the rules, I built a relationship with him. My little sister and I got baptized together and that was an amazing event in our lives. She helped with the opening of the East Sunshine campus and then a year later I helped with the opening of the Nixa campus. I believe in the mission God gave you to open NorthPoint and I have never once doubted that you believed what you shared.

    You mentioned in your blog that you hope to use it so “I will begin to understand “what happened and why”. I have asked God that question as well, as I am sure many people have. While attending NPC, I was in a relationship that was messed up, to say the least. It was verbally, emotionally and toward the end, physically abusive. When it was over, I didn’t understand how any good could come out of it. It had wasted part of my life and I was angry. I got involved in groups and about a year later, started my own group. I have built some great friendships out of that group but the most profound moment was during a weekend getaway we had. We were going to do this exercise where you share what you admire the most about the others in the group. I thought this was going to be dumb. I am not the person that “shares their feelings” So it comes to one of the girls and she looks at me and says, “Cambria, I know that I am going to be okay because you made it through and you are okay.” That one statement right there gave me my answer of why I went through what I did. It didn’t make the situation I had been in, any better but I was finally able to file it away in the past and not dwell on it, it no longer defined me. I know that God will give you your answer as well, when you least expect it.

    If I had never attended NorthPoint and I had seen your story in the news, I would have said “There goes another hypocrite” but I have learned over the last several years that pastors are people too, people who struggle with the same situations the rest of us do. Because you were so open and honest from the stage from day 1, I was able to see the situation for what it was, someone who made a mistake and needed God’s love and grace not human condemnation.

    It may feel cliche at this moment but God is not done using Tommy Sparger to speak his word so lives can be changed.

    I will never forget how God used you in my life to make a difference.

    • I really enjoyed reading what you had to say and felt it was real and was from your heart. May God bless you as you continue to follow in his steps. God got your attention and now he wants to use you to touch others.

  39. TK says:

    Grace Mercy Love Forgiveness…………….all the years that I have known you I have heard you speak so many times on that and show it to others………….now it is time for others to speak to you and show the same thing to you…..

  40. Jeremy Vanderburg says:

    Hey Pastor Tommy,

    I just want to say thank you. You were the only youth pastor I ever had that cared enough about my brother to call and hang out with him.

    Jeremy Vanderburg

  41. Shirley Grimes says:

    Tommy, you have always and will always be a very special friend to me. You have always and will always be in my prayers.

  42. Becky says:

    I take a completely different perspective on this, being a non Christian with family members who attend NPC. There are few things in life more predictable than what happened here at this church. You are simply a flawed man studying a flawed book( no offense meant) leading broken people in a way that inspired so much hope and enthusiasm that you became bigger than God in your congregations eyes. So you fell, and that is where the church should have shown what it was you were trying to teach the whole time. Christ would have been there in the aftermath, not just the storm. So in my humble opinion, it is not you who needs to ask forgiveness of the people, but the people who need to ask forgiveness of you for placing you in the impossible position of being perfect. Your family and your divine is all you need worry about, the rest will sort itself out. I mean no disrespect as those who have posted obviously love you still. I would just rather attend a church where a minister is allowed to be human without having to feel like he needs to hide if he stumbles…. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be anyway?

    Outside looking in.

  43. Lea Ann Paulie says:

    I am glad I read your blog. I have wondered how your family was doing. Prayers are with. You know, none of us is perfect and we all make mistakes. God forgives us, when we ask for forgiveness and He forgets it. We have to learn to forgive our selves and let go and move on. You can’t change the past, but you have a say in the future. Make it good! This morning I heard this song on the radio-”God’s not done with me yet” Our Christian walk, is a daily walk that we learn from as we go. God has not left you and your family or forgotten you, He is walking right beside you, waiting to carry you, when you call out to Him. God bless you and your family. Don’t give up on God, cuz He has not given up on you!!

  44. Jane Lund says:

    Tommy, I don’t know if you remember me, but that is ok. I have not been back to NPC and the things I have heard of the doings of people who do go to NPC, does not make me happy, very sad and scared to step foot back into NPC.
    We are all humans and as long as we learn from are wrongs, that is what matters, God has a better plan for you and your family.
    I plan on seeing you and your family in a new church, with new direction.
    God is LOVE, not a punishing God.
    No one has the right to judge.
    See you and your family in Church
    Jane
    P.S. Keep up the good work :)

  45. Tammi Stokes says:

    Tommy, I am happy to hear that you and your family are starting to heal. All people make mistakes, we are only human. The first day we attended NPC you were preaching about the life you had growing up, the dysfunctional family. You were telling my life story. I thought church was full of hypocrites but I felt an instant bond with your very real speaking. We kept coming back. I did feel something was off the last year but I thought it was me. It took a lot of guts to stand before your church and say what you did. I have nothing but respect for you and your family for sticking by you. The only hurt I felt was for you and your family. I wish you could have stayed, to me that is the Christian thing to do. Forgive and carry on as you have said. Why couldn’t you stay? Everyone makes mistakes. I personally would have had no problem with you staying on as lead pastor. That is what made NPC different, we welcomed sinners. I felt like it was more hypocritical for you to be outcast. I felt a little lost and was a little disappointed with decisions that were made. Thank you Tommy for being real and for starting this blog. May God continue to use you to reach others. As you said…Carry On!

  46. Michelle says:

    I hope you continue. You have a great message. Thank you for being real.

  47. Mindy Having says:

    Tommy,
    Matt and I have thought of you and Rachel often. You are prayed for and loved. I know the last year must have been incredibly tough, but God has it all covered. He’s on your side. Please email us if you need anything! We are here for you and your family!!! mweno@hotmail.com

  48. Kalli Appleton says:

    My mom and I have went to NPC for 4 years now. We are both so very grateful for you and your preaching. You’ve always said that North Point is all about changed lives and I thank you for changing our lives. We love you and are so appreciative of what we learned from you!! Thank you Tommy and Gid Bless.

  49. Janet Graham says:

    So glad to see your blog, Tommy. We have prayed for you this entire year; we too can’t believe it’s been a year! I will continue to pray for you and your family! God is not done with any of you!! I can remember a time in my life where I told God I could not do anything about the choices I had made for 20 + years but I could make different choices for the next 20 ! Well that’s been that’s been 26 years ago! I am so glad God did not give up on me and I am so thankful that I feel I can still be an influence. Because I understand where I have been, I can hopefully be a light to someone going through the same situations and I want to be aware of those opportunities!!!
    Like you said that weekend, “don’t you dare give up and turn your back on God because of one person’s mistakes.” Down don’t you dare give up!!!! You have had a support group, we just have not known how to help and be there.
    We love you and Rachel and your boys very much; don’t every think any differently!!!

  50. Linda Patton says:

    I was thrilled when I read that you would be starting a blog. Thank you so very much. I will be reading every entry. Probably won’t share much because I wouldn’t know what to say. I miss you at NPC. I don’t understand why they had to remove all your sermons. It should have been for us to decide if we wanted to hear them or not. God doesn’t talk to me very much, but He told me what was going on and I started praying for you everyday. I knew exactly what the “special meeting” was all about. The only thing I can say is that we all should have been praying for you all along. You should have asked for that pray. All pastors should ask that the congregation keep them in their prayers constantly. I am so glad that your family is together and that you still have your faith. I am sure that God is not finished with you in ministry.

  51. Ryan Fisher says:

    Glad to see you taking steps and finding your voice again Tommy. You and Rachel played a huge role in our lives through our time at NPC and if it wasn’t for you guys and your vision and efforts there we may have never made the jump to plant a church ourselves. We’re grateful for our time in Springfield and for your leadership during that time. We’re praying for your family and looking forward to seeing where your journey goes from here. Jesus can handle it. ~ All about changed lives…

  52. David Norman says:

    Tommy-
    I enjoy your enthusiasm , your honesty and your teaching. I look forwrd to reading your blogs. Always stay strong and keep moving forward.

  53. Lynette Butler says:

    Thank you, Tommy. I really needed to hear from you. There’s nothing you said that I didn’t already know in my heart. I just needed to hear YOU, not about you. That past year has been difficult for everyone. But, the past is past. Moving forward. God Bless. I look forward to your next post.

  54. Patty Marshall says:

    Welcome back Tommy. So happy you are sharing with us by way of this blog.

  55. Karen Hope says:

    Tommy:

    I have missed you, and hearing from you. My daughter and I have been praying for you and your family for the past year. Jesus said he who is without sin cast the first stone, please don’t beat your self up. If your wonderful wife has forgiven you, you need to forgive yourself. I am sorry that you and your family had to go through this past year alone, many of us did not know how to reach you after your online pages went down. Doesn’t mean we didn’t ask about you, and think of you often. I believe that God has big plans for you, if you will let him use you. Keep the blogging you. Praying Gods blessings on you & your family. Love in Christ! Continue prayers for all of you.

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      I took my facebook and twitter accounts down — but I am not the one that erased all the sermons — church leadership did that. I will admit that on this end it felt a little strange to be completely erased.

      • Sharon McCallie says:

        I don’t know why you would find it strange that church leadership would take your sermons & any other info down. You are the one who brought media into this and it backfired on you. I posted previously but you did not approve my post or allow it to be seen on your blog. You monitor what is on here so only the good shows. Kinda like you ran NPC & your family – only let them see what you wanted them to see – not the sex and alcohol Tommy. I wish your wife would have her own blog without your input or control.

  56. Randy says:

    Tommy, I was not, am not a part of NPC however I did catch a service on occasion when I needed to go to an early service in that area.

    I was amazed that your personal failure made the evening news, shocked really. How is sin become so public, God knows. One thing I do know is that God does not remove a call…I do believe that God has His call on you. Thanks for sharing.

  57. Vicki says:

    Tommy so glad your healing with your family.It will take time but we have a loving God.We are all sinners everyone falls even Pastor’s we are human were not perfect and never will be.I loved each and every service I attended at NPC when you were there.I have moved on to a new church in Republic,Mo Destiny Church.If your ever out this way come visit we will all welcome you with open arms.So glad you started a blog.Love in Christ,Vicki

  58. Stevie Ray says:

    During the ice storm of ’07, it reminded me of how I was raised- be thankful for what you have, not what you don’t have.
    You brought the Word of God to a BUNCH of people! Only God knows how many, but even one would be enough. Your inspiration and delivery of the Word of God helped me through a really rough period of health problems, and helped my daughter come through some really rough life problems. And I could only bet there’s a bunch more folks out there that would say the same thing.
    You can bet we pray for you and your family, and glad that God sent you. I hope you can find His peace again, because you showed a whole bunch of us how to find it. God Bless you and your family, and I pray his Angels all around you and yours! In Jesus name, Amen

  59. Austin says:

    Tommy…you’re the man. The fam and I all miss you! Here’s to the comeback!

  60. Lynn Mcgrath says:

    God bless you and your family Tommy! So glad you’re back!

  61. Ray & Tressa Anderson says:

    Pastor Tommy,

    My wife and I are glad that you are healing and moving on with your life, We are thankful that your family has remained intact and is healing. We have been praying for you, and your family since the sky came crashing down on you and your loved ones.

    We can only imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes with such a meteoric rise to such lofty places, and the temptations Satan placed before you. No mortal man is immune from the trips, snares and traps he sets for us. And as you stated the day you confessed before the flock, you are just a sinner. And I say, amen, ain’t that the truth? You are just like every other human being that has been, currently is, and ever will be on this planet!

    You fall from grace came at a time when we were in the process of moving from Springfield to a small town in Oklahoma which is right across the state line from Ft. Smith, AR. We found a small church which is connected to lifechurch.tv and Pastor Craig Groeschel and his video sermons.

    We believe we were blessed to find it. In many respects the format is similar to NPC. And to us, Pastor Craig and his team’s teaching, ministry style, and goals are much like NPC was under you and your staff’s leadership.

    In closing, we would like to welcome you back, even if from afar. And like the phoenix, you shall rise from the ashes because of the Father’s love, grace and mercy. The prodigal son once again returns to the Father to find Him running toward him, with open arms saying, welcome home my son.

    Peace/Shalom,

    Ray and Tressa

  62. Jen says:

    Tommy, your journey is your business, but I believe God uses our lives as a testimony more than our words and I am happy you have chosen to share. I am thankful your family is still together and you did not lose everything and everyone you loved over one mistake. Unlike some people, I don’t believe you are complaining and never happy, I believe you are being real and dealing with your emotions and expressing yourself in an honest way. Sometimes as Christians we are made to feel we must always be happy, blessed, and never experience “hell” here on earth and so we bury our emotions and fake it for the congregation and take our pain and pour it out on others in the world or try to numb it with anti-depressants, alcohol, or other secret coping mechanisms to keep up appearances. Our feelings and emotions change and sway from day to day, but that is also something you taught us to recognize. Even though we may not “feel” like God is there, we must hold fast in our hearts and minds and “know” that he is and continue to trust in him. Feel what you feel, but know God is beside you and will help you through it. I appreciate the honesty and your openness to the public, it is a real testimony of how our real God is working in your lives. I believe your family and faith will be restored with time and pray you will each be stronger for it. If you choose to continue disclosing this intimate personal journey with others, it may be a light for some who feel apprehensive entering a church’s door. Life’s trials can rock you to your very core and make you question everything you thought you knew. I am still evolving and changing and coming to terms with what is real and who I am and what I believe about the God that I know and love after my own earthquake. I can tell you though that he is more real to me today than seven years ago which I would have never thought possible and I have realized he is not containable in the small box that he is sometimes presented in. I pray you and your family find this to be as true as I have. Good luck and God bless each of you as you continue on the path he leads before you. Love in Christ to you all. :)

  63. Brian Barkhoff says:

    God is so good to us! His grace and love endures forever! I’m certain God has and will be glorified through you for many years to come! I love your heart and pray for you and family! Walk by faith, not by sight!

  64. Sherie Randolph says:

    I read your blog twice. I’ve struggled with…should I say something or not? Will it be encouraging or chastizing? What would God want me to say? I surely hope that it is encouraging and uplifting. I am not without sin. God knows I could never cast that stone. I don’t have to tell you that sin carries consequences. I’ve heard my dad say over the years…sin will take you farther than you were ever willing to go and sin will cost you more than you were ever willing to pay. How true that statement is. I know I’ve lived that statement, more than once in my life. I’m still dealing with the consequences of the sinful choices I’ve made in the past. My choices weren’t broadcast in the news. But what’s worse than the news? Knowing I let my heavenly Father down. Boy, that one is really really difficult to deal with. I find myself constantly apologizing for the same sin over and over. In reality, I know that I confessed a long time ago for what I did. In reality, I know that God’s word says that it has been taken care of. I guess I’m hard headed. Even when we (as Christians) do the right thing by bringing our backpack of sins to the feet of Jesus and asking him to carry our load and cleanse us, when we are ready to get back up off our knees, we reach over and pick up that backpack of sins and burdens to carry on to another day and we repeat the same thing over again. This is Satan’s work, keeping us busy trying to atone for our sins when, really, Jesus already did what he said he would do. Wash them white as snow! I am sooo guilty of this cycle. Although we can confess and receive forgiveness, it doesn’t erase the consequences. It saddens me to hear you say that you are still looking for THAT church, you know, the one where Christians act like Christians, yeah, the perfect Christian church. I’m not sure you will ever find what you are looking for, Tommy. If you are looking for Christians to be perfect? If a man after God’s own heart can’t be perfect then why would you expect the rest to be perfect? I guess my point in responding to your blog was simply this…haters are gonna hate…our faith isn’t in the people of this world…it is in Jesus Christ…and He is perfect! Next time you kneel at Jesus’ feet and unload your backpack of burdens…please don’t pick it back up when you get up…mercy, grace, and forgiveness is what you should pick up! Much love to you and your family, Tommy. We are all a work in progress. Do we sometimes judge others when we shouldn’t? sure! Do we fail to be good Christians? absolutely! But God’s not through will us yet! Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in Tommy Sparger will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

  65. john p hilton says:

    tommy i started attending NPC in august 2010. my sister wanted me to go. my son isiah was baptized there in october 2011. i have been involved in church for 49 years off and on.i want you to know that you were the most wonderful pastor that i have ever known. my sister hadnt been to church in 15 years because of hypocritical church leaders. because of you and joe my sister is a changed person ( 100 % ). i am a changed person. my whole family is so grateful for what you did at NPC . i want you to know that you are just another human like me. we are all full of sin and make mistakes. god will never disown you . i want you to know my family is and has been praying for you . you hang in there because god loves you. god bless you and your family.

  66. Chris Davis says:

    Tommy, so glad to hear that you and your family are healing. Northpoint Church came into my life at a time when I was seeking something greater and the way you spoke when you preached actually reached me, I thank you for that. I will continue to pray for you and your family, I would love to see you visit NPC sometime. Miss your teaching and God Bless.

  67. Debra G. says:

    When I lost my wonderful husband of 26 years at the tender age of 43, I knew God and my church would sustain me through my grief. But one year later, I did not have the same sentiment. I was alone, felt rejected by my church, and started making poor choices. I felt my church let me down, but looking back now-I wish I would have sought out more help before making poor choices. I had always been the “perfect Christian, wife, mother, daughter”….and now I was a failure in everyones eyes. Four and a half years later I am still facing consequences of 2 years of poor choices, although I never quit loving God or going to church. But in my heart I was angry at God for taking my husband, angry at the Christian world for expecting too much perfection from me and feeling judged by them. Now, I am learning to just let go, sometimes hour by hour. I wont be a victim, but I also will allow only God to judge me, not man; even the best man. It is humbling, and I believe I am a less judgmental person now than when I was the “perfect Christian”. We dont ever wish these trials on others, and I do have regrets that I would love to take back, but in it all-God has never left and has and will continue to use my inadequacies for good. You and Rachel have been through a huge trial. But as you continue to trust in God, God will use you in ways no one else could accomplish. Youve lived through a huge storm, some of it self-caused, some of it by people you trusted and loved. Try to remember they are human. Just like your sin/inadequacies, based on their life experiences they may feel they are “holding you accountable”. I have learned judge myself like the Old Testament, love others like the New Testament. Satan wants mostly to destroy families. You chose to fight for your marriage. The legacy you leave for your children and other Christian couples will hopefully be long lasting and positive, and a daily reminder that we have to give our lives to God on a daily basis. Hang in there. This trial will soon be over, you will be stronger, ready for the next spiritual battle. God is using you even now! Love you brother and sister in Christ.

  68. Penny Lee says:

    Tommy,
    I don’t know you on a personal level but I considered you my pastor. I was baptized by you and my story is truly a story from the bible. I always believed in God, but never had church and/or pastor to call home until one day in my life when I hit rock bottom. One Sunday morning I decided to go to NPC, scared to death that the roof would collapse when I walked in, but by the time your sermon was over,I was touched by the Holy Spirit, left that Sunday morning a changed person. I have never looked back since. I thank you for helping me find my way and find God and pray that one day you will be my pastor again. That day on June 30th was a shock to the whole congregation. I cried but I think it was on a selfish level knowing that you were not going to be there at NPC. I’m glad you started this blog. I have often wondered how you and your family are doing. My prayers are with you through this tough time. God is not done with you yet.

  69. Bob Weiman says:

    Your “Uncle” Bob loves you, Rachel and your boys, and wish we could be there to support you.
    Come see us some day in Cali.

  70. J says:

    I’m very happy to see that you have started a blog! I hope that the responses you have received from this blog post have been encouraging and this proves to be a positive experience for you. I’ve been going to North Point for 5+ years now and in that time I’ve become very fond of you and your family. Thank you for the contributions you have made to North Point and this community in the time you have lived in Springfield.
    I want to echo what you said in your blog post about the difference between you and me. My many failures aren’t on the evening news fortunately. How much harder this must have been for you all to have to deal with this so publically. It literally makes me ache when I think about what life must have been like for you and your family this last year. What life must be like for your family now… I don’t have words to say.
    You may recognize me if you were to see me but I’m sure you don’t know me personally. Regardless, I can’t help but feel guilty for not reaching out to you and your family this last year…thinking back I could have sent an e-mail, or a letter of encouragement, or offered an invitation to buy you breakfast or something and I never have. I passed along encouragement through mutual friends but that isn’t enough. I routinely would think about you and say to myself “I should do something” but never follow through and I’m sorry for that.

    So please take this as an open invitation for coffee, breakfast, whatever. Please continue to write, and fight, and rebound, and carry on friend.

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      No worries mate! I got myself in my own mess. I guess, in retrospect, what would have helped us would have been a sort of “Church Christian Hospital”. Probably sounds weird, but what I mean is intense counseling, love, accountability, and community.

      When leaders stumble, they just need help. Isolation does not help them and even coffee with a friend is no help. They are bleeding out and need an emergency room.

      In my case, I was in pain and I think that sort of drove people away. I was a jerk. People in pain are not pleasant.

      It is all good — and I think it is healthy to have the conversation — not to dwell on the past, but to move forward — and to know better what can be done in the future.

      Listen, I love North Point. I met Jeremy. Great guy! I will probably share a few things on this blog about my journey and they are in no way meant to hurt NPC – but I will be honest about my feelings and process.

  71. Becky says:

    Tommy, just read and shared your blog, it brought tears to my eyes. I want to share something with you but do not want it to be posted, can I trust you not to post replies that I may not want posted?

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      I reckon

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      Unless of course it is really good — then I will share it anyway — then of course everyone will know I am a tool — I don’t know, I am sort of torn here! jk – I will send you my email address.

  72. Patty Salinas says:

    Tommy you are in my prayers. I too have been through alot in the last few years. Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed. God has helped me through several things. Just keep your head up high time does heal a broken heart. Love you Guys!

  73. Lisa Varner-Steuber says:

    Tommy,

    It is so good to hear from you. I have often wondered how you and your family were doing. One of my favorite things about listening to you speak was you admitted that you were not perfect. Some people expect perfection from their leaders, I feel that is very unrealistic. You have a gift that God gave you to touch people and teach them. I hope someday you will get back to what you do best. In the meantime, please know that so many people love you and your family and realize that nobody is perfect. Except for Jesus of course!

    I look forward to your next blog,

    Lisa

  74. Teresa says:

    Dear Rocker Guy with a Heart After God,
    I don’t know if this will matter one iota to you after all you have endured, and all you have yet to conquer, but I don’t know if I would have ever known how to fill that restless void in my life had it not been for accidentally stumbling into NPC and hearing you talk about real, relevant, life-changing stuff. Because before then, I just didn’t get it. And since you left, sometimes I still don’t, but at least now I know I will never be satisfied with thinking, “Yeah, whatever…I just don’t get it.” I have visited countless churches, avoided churches altogether, slept in some, rolled my eyes at people who called themselves Christians, avoided Christians altogether, and never really got what people meant when they said things like, “It’s a God thing.” Really? Who is that, and why are people so hyped about the whole deal?

    Enter Tommy Sparger, at a really low down, scraping the bottom of the barrel time in my life when nothing at all made sense to me. I heard you. I didn’t sleep through what you said; I wasn’t bored, no eye rolling; it even kinda started to make sense, and then…whaddya know. I started to get it.

    So whether you got turned upside down, made mistakes (who hasn’t?), found yourself someplace you never thought you’d ever be and your life in shambles, know this: the thing is, Tommy Sparger, lives were changed. Mine, for one. And for that, I will be forever grateful. If you think just anyone has the ability to stand up there and reach people, think again. I hope you do carry on, because I know that somewhere there is someone waiting for someone to reach him, to show him how to change his life. Someone who doesn’t get it. Someone like me. Waiting for someone like you. Carry on!

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      It is people like you that make me think that I might actually return again ….use my gifts again ….. thank you. I am proud of you.

      • Walker says:

        You defiantly have a gift and that is something nobody can take! If you were to return to a church sometime I am certain it would be full. You have changed soo many live and soo many families. My husband had not been to church since he was a boy. After we met I took him to NPC and after one sermon from you, we got in the car and he looked over and said “I think we should go to church every week”. After you were gone nothing was fitting. So we decided to sit down as start reading the Bible then discussing what we read. Not gonna lie all the thee’s, thou’s, and art’s get in the way :p
        I do think your life is more testimonial than something a bunch is sinners should judge. It’s like and alcoholic becoming a sponsor after years of sobriety, that’s not hypocritical!! It’s called being real, I’m human, I messed up BUT this is what I learned, so learn from me. I’m proud of you for finding your ground. I’m also proud of your family for being right behind you. Clearly everybody reading your blog is here to support you all

  75. Ted says:

    Tommy…(from my earlier post…ps…)…I’m with Teresa!!!! GO FOR IT!!!! (“Guitar Ted”). Love you, guy…always have believed God’s work in and through you…always will!!!! Let the rock-throwers retreat to their “religidiculous” glass houses and leave the rest to the work of God’s grace and healing power in the hands of us “non-pharacritical” common people. The same type that Jesus died for…me included! HUUUUUUGE HUGS TO YOU AND RACHEL!!!! :-)

  76. Tommy, several years back I was on a day ride when I stopped in un-planned, and found a very welcoming church. Although I’ve stayed in the back ground here at NP, and after being away from church for most of my life I found a home. Being raised in church, and coming from a broken home that effected the church that we grew up attending, has shown me a side of Christians that I’m ashamed of, NO ONE
    should EVER be shunned from Gods house, and understanding, with forgiveness should always be at the forefront not judgment. The bible is riddled with people that have sinned from Adam & Eve to the thief on the cross beside Jesus, and God has forgiven all. You have changed our families life so stand tall, God still wants to use you. Our prayers are with you and you family.

  77. Jody G says:

    I have often wondered how you spend your Sundays, after the church was such a huge part of your life. How you worship, where you worship, if you worship? Knowing God is your support group made me feel better. You are only human, we all make mistakes. Would love to hear your messages of Christ again. Bless you and your family. :)

  78. Ruth says:

    In retrospect a church should have a voting board not controlled by or chosen by the pastor. Too much power in the hands of man is never a good thing. Too much pressure, influence and power given to one.

    Doesn’t the A/G have a place where pastors can go for recuperation/emergency services and follow a path back into the ministry?

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      North Points board is obviously not controlled by the pastor & it is a voting board.

      The AG has what they call a “restoration” plan. It is a complete joke – It did me more harm than good.

  79. Tiffany Jones says:

    I wish God’s punishment for you would be to put you back at NPC working Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun, 3 services a day!!

    Have you thought about getting a small group together to start preaching again and then moving up from there? You could have coffee with friends and be surrounded by support??? Just a thought…

  80. Joe P says:

    Tommy,

    I attended North Point off-and-on several different times while I was living in Missouri. There were things about the church I loved, things I didn’t, but one thing was always certain: your love for people and your desire to see their lives transformed.

    I was saddened to hear of what happened. By the time I did, I no longer lived in MO, so I didn’t have to deal with seeing it broadcast. I cannot imagine the pain you must have endured. Yes, sins have consequences, but regardless of failings I’d never wish that sort of torture on anyone. I am so grateful to hear that He sustained you–and your family–in the midst of all this.

    Don’t give up, Tommy…remember…the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. He is not finished with you yet, brother–not by a long shot. What the enemy has intended for evil; your destruction and the destruction of your family, I truly believe God will not only reverse, but He will make your latter days greater than your former, if you trust Him.

    Be blessed, brother, and be encouraged.

  81. Jennifer Armstrong says:

    Tommy,

    What was the 3 person board to do, in your opinion? Do you think that they should have had you stay on as pastor? It CLEARLY was heartbreaking for at least one member of the NP board to see you live out this past year or so. I certainly don’t believe that those individuals meant any harm to you.

    What is the A/G restoration program like? What makes it a joke? (I’m asking because I honestly don’t know.)

    Glad you are choosing to share your thoughts. I will be sharing mine as well if that is welcomed.

    Thanks,

    Jennifer

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      No, I didn’t ask to be kept on as Pastor and I never thought I should be — that is not what any of this is about. I willingly resigned.

  82. Jennifer Armstrong says:

    I never said that was what your blog was about. I asked because earlier in a reponse to someone else you said the NPC board was “obviously” not controlled by the pastor. I thought that was referring to the fact that you resigned under their leadership.

    I will assume that the restoration program is a joke in ways you aren’t willing/ready to share yet.

    I will also assume my thoughts aren’t welcome as that is sure how it feels. I’m not an A/G “worshipper”. Never have been. Ask my family. I am deeply flawed. Again, ask my family. I struggle in ways that many have no clue. My comments are simply curious and I shoot straight. Please let me know in a response if my questions/thoughts are welcome or not.

    Jennifer

  83. Sandy Anderson says:

    Pastor Tommy, After reading your blog and all of the comments my head is spinning! I am so sorry that you and your family were pushed out and left to go through everything without any support. The truth is I am sure that there would have been support there if we would have had any idea where you guys were or had any way to get letters, cards, or emails etc. to you. I gave one of the staff members a card with a letter in it to give to you and Rachel and ask her to please see that you guys got it and she just shrugged her shoulders and walked away. Then I got online to listen to your messages and they had been wiped clean! No messages, no information about how the church was started by you and Rachel, nothing!! All of a sudden North Point Church just formed out of thin air!! I was and still am angry about the fact that the board just decided to wipe out the history of North Point and the history that you and Rachel started! Those messages online helped people and in my opinion were Bible based and should not have been treated like they were no good because you had resigned. Your ImPact book was not available. That made me the most angry because the ImPact program has reached so many people and truly changed many, many lives. The board just started wiping Tommy Sparger from North Point and we as a congregation had nothing to say or could do nothing about it! In my opinion the board played God and was not approachable about anything being done! If I could have asked them I would have ask them which one was without sin to cast the first stone? I have been and will continue to pray for you and Rachel and the boys. Don’t give up! There are people who care. God Bless

  84. Donna B. says:

    Tommy, You used to be my Sunday school teacher at James River years ago, and I always enjoyed your message so very much. I only went to NP a time or two (after you were already gone), and wasn’t really that impressed. I too, slipped away from God and I’m slowing working my way back to him. I hope to read more of your blog–as it seems to encourage me to keep pushing forward. I wish you and your family the very best in your healing process. Just remember, Grace is free–if it weren’t, none of us could afford it!

  85. Kellye Muncy says:

    I truly appreciate how transparently you shared this past years journey….thank you!
    Keep walking forward trusting in God’s plan and purpose, don’t ever give up on Him or the abilities He has given you….CARRY ON!!

  86. Stacy Hord says:

    I read this with tears in my eyes. Thank you for allowing us to share in your journey. Many of us are traveling that road too. Keep writing – it’s anointed. :)

    • Tommy Sparger Tommy Sparger says:

      Thank you Stacy … I think it is like death. We don’t like to look at it because we come face to face with our own mortality. We just deny it will ever happen to us.

      When Christian leaders sin we have to look away, otherwise we will be reminded of our own human condition.

  87. Michelle McCoy says:

    Tommy, I hope you know there are and were so many people wanting to help or be a support for you but didn’t know how to reach you or if it was even appropriate or what you wanted. Please know that you have changed the lives of so many people and because of you (God too – but you truly are the one that lead them to God) so many good things have happened and continue to happen. There are so many people that miss you and want to be helpful in whatever way possible. We are all sinners and all broken. It was never expected that you would be any different or that forgiveness and grace was not something that you were also allowed.

  88. Stephane counts says:

    Good evening. We met very briefly once but I listened to your sermons multiple times. I heard the ‘big news’ through the grapevine vs the news. I have to say I never thought any thoughts of hatred or malice. I instead had thoughts of sadness and sympathy, for you and for your family. And I had prayers. Here is the deal. You are no deity. You’re no superhero. You are a human whose calling is to spread God’s word and who gave in to sin. Do you have reparations to make and wrongs for which to atone? Sure! Sheesh, we all do. My point here is this (and I know it may not be worth much): there are many of us out here that have been saddened and disappointed but who also see you and your family for what and who you are — individuals who deserve grace, mercy, love, and prayer. So that’s what you all get from this end. Thanks for starting this blog. Good luck, much love, and many prayers to you and your family.

  89. Sarah Jane says:

    You’re only human. Some of us who are not in public positions do not worry so much about the scrutiny of our sins. We get to sin in private and in turn don’t get the opportunity to repent and work for change. Or the guilt to push us to be better people. I like your blog.

  90. Josh says:

    I just wanna give you the biggest hug. I was directed to your post on loving gay people (A+, btw) and since then, I’ve been reading your blog, reading your story, and I just wanna give you the biggest hug. I was raised AG too and I just got so immensely sick of all the bullshit that abounded in these Pharisaic cultures. Still am, truth be told, but God’s breeding in me a forgiving heart (albeit partially against my will). But anyway, just wanted to spread my respect, love, compassion, and appreciation for you the best I could. God bless ya

  91. katyburks28 says:

    Tommy, you have no idea how much you and your family meant to me. I saw Rachel today and then remembered that you had started a blog.

    Even though I was in 8th grade when I started going to North Point, you had completely changed my life for the better. Way more than I could ever imagine. I came back to God. You helped me understand who I was, and who I wanted to become.

    When David first told me what happened, of course I didn’t believe him, but then I got the email, and went to the service. My heart was broken. I just wanted to quit everything. I didn’t want to go to church anymore. I struggled with my journey in Christ.

    To hear that you are doing so well with everything you have been through is even more motivation for me.

    I thank you for all you have taught me through out the years.

    I miss you, your family, and Sam too :)

    Thanks again,
    Katy

  92. Tommy, I just ran across this and I do not know how I even got here, but I have sat and read all of the blogs. I commended on only 2 because I knew that they were done with truth and compassion. I do not want to say the wrong thing but I want to be real and truthful. I had many emotions stiring in me as I read all of them. It was very apparent that many came to the Lord because they did come to a place where they were safe and the Holy Spirit could bring them to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can see that many lives were really changed. People are not stupid and they know when they have sinned and done wrong. They just do not need people judging them so they can get up. They are down on themselves enough so they need encouragement to get up and stay up. That is why we are at NPC. People need a place where they can come and start over again. NPC was that place where many felt the love of Jesus and then they told others. That is why the church grew so fast. You said it so many times that they were safe and that they did not have to talk like us, look like us or be like us. Then they could relax and receive what the Lord had for them. I love to share the Lord with others but it was hard to get them to come to church when they knew that they were judged and condemned. I would bring them in and they would run them out. Many people from this area drive all of the way to Springfield to church and most are still going. We can not worship a leader because we can cause that person fall. I hate what happened but those without sin can throw the first stone. I should have prayed for you more, so please forgive me for not praying for you and fighting the enemy from luring you astray. Someone attack me about NPC and the situation about my pastor and what he had done. I responded with, “those without sin can throw the first stone.” King David was a man after God’s own heart and look at what he did. He even had someone killed. But King David suffered for his sin and you, your family and the church have all suffered, BUT God has new mercies for us everyday. NPC was good ground and what was started is still continuing. What God starts he finishes . We miss you all and every once in a while I will see David and I go to him and encourage him. Want him to know that he is so welcomed. One thing that Jesus is against is religion and we can not worship our church, our denominations, our doctrines, our hymals, our pastors. When we get to heaven our denominations are not getting throphy’s so they may as well get their eyes on Jesus and be more like him. Some have ran more off than they have brought in. Just want you to know that we love you all and are praying that you will have the mind of Christ and keep your eyes on Him not people because people will let us down. May God bless you as you continue to heal. I do not believe that God is finish with you so get completely whole and he will open a door that you could not have even imagined. God will take what satan meant for harm and turn it into good. Love and prayers for all of you. Jeanie Lovewell

  93. Taco Jonny says:

    I’ll be honest. I wish I could have gotten to know you more. North point was growing like a weed and your “stardom” along with it. I mean, I was a freakin intern and the only thing you ever said to me was “make sure those kids don’t play with the cameras.”

    That day when you resigned was one of the most surreal days of my life. If I write a book, that day could take a whole chapter. You were either a really shy guy, you don’t like talking to people, or you thought way too highly of yourself. It’s the “lower the pastor in from the locked office in the sky” that still makes me hate what I see in the church today. Young people such as myself walk into North Point for the relevance, but the whole time many of us (including the 100+ people I brought in over the years) felt disconnected. I know you didn’t give your email out to receive hate mail, but when I friended you on Facebook I got a message from your assistant. Hello! My name is Jonny and I work for north point church!

    So, your resignation was complex for me because it was the least of my worries. I would have loved to have a beer and dream with you. Still would.

    I do see good things for your future. It’s one hell of a story.

  94. Taco Jonny says:

    By the way. Still love and have recollections of sermons where you get pissed off. Those were the best!
    - Crap Happens (after Joplin tornado)
    - Some churches throw parties, others throw fits.
    - The church cannot be exclusive!

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