Destiny split triggers exodus

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Brian Tamaki
Brian Tamaki

Destiny Church ministers and leaders are heading to its Brisbane branch after more than half the congregation - including its pastor - walked out.

Bishop Brian Tamaki, who founded the church in New Zealand in 1998, is expected to be among those heading to Australia this week after the resignation of Pastor Andrew Stock.

Members of the Destiny Church in Brisbane, who were at Sunday's service, contacted the Herald yesterday.

It is believed Pastor Stock - who has been at the Brisbane branch pulpit for about three years - withdrew from his role because a newly introduced covenant went against his beliefs, a member said.

"He decided it was time [to withdraw as pastor]. He believed the covenant was wrong. It is simple - if you know you are sinning, you don't want to be preaching from the pulpit."

The member said the covenant told members to "give it heaps" as they worked towards a $3 million project which included building a $1.3 million budget to go towards putting Bishop Tamaki on TVNZ every morning, from Monday to Friday.

The covenant also encouraged members to go without coffee, takeaways and Sky TV for up to seven months to help give more in their church tithes.

The church member, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions, said up to 70 people of the just over 100-strong congregation followed Pastor Andrew Stock, after a four-minute speech, as he walked out of the church with his family.

Destiny Church spokeswoman Janine Cardno said the church was now going through a process.

"The church like any employer is bound by confidentiality and has to work through the processes required."

In regards to the issue of the covenant, Ms Cardno said: "We are no different to any other church who is fundraising for building projects or [with] community outreach efforts to donate to, if people so desire. All contributions are always purely voluntary."

The church member who contacted the Herald said many in the congregation felt the covenant was going against the Gospel.

"It was a money-making scheme. All the people who make covenant with Bishop Tamaki have to buy a $300 ring.

"You might think I'm stupid for going into the church in the first place. But I [only] found out it was a cult after I went in."

The member said it was widely known that all Destiny Church pastors had to sign a contract.

In that contract, it said if they were to withdraw as a pastor they were forbidden to pastor at any other church for two years and their new church could not be less than 50km from a Destiny Church.

- NZ Herald

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