I write to you with a heavy heart. This past weekend, a man named Keith Daukas publicly accused me of wrongdoings related to his internship with another church. He was a member of our church for nearly a decade and I truly appreciated my time with him and his family here in Gilbert.
A number of years ago, our pastoral team recommended that Keith pursue an internship with an SGC church in Colorado. He agreed and we sent him off with our blessings. After a while, we began to receive reports of his life and ministry not going as planned but also were encouraged to hear his new pastors were committed to stewarding his internship.
Unfortunately, not every internship results in a call to pastoral ministry and this is where Keith’s recounting deviates from the truth. As it pertains to us, he has accused me of interfering with his ordination process. He has also accused me of neglecting him while he was in Colorado.
I want to be absolutely clear about these matters. Although you may not know Keith or what he has communicated, his accusations misrepresent the truth and must not be left unanswered.
Regarding the accusation that I interfered with his ordination process, the truth is that I contacted him twice and not once. Both times were to fulfill my role as a voting member of our region. Each pastor in the region is instructed in our Book of Church Order to “question the candidate as they see fit to validate that there is no heterodoxy or scandalous sin present in the candidate.”
My first contact with Keith regarded multiple unpaid personal debts with individuals in Arizona. I explained that until these matters were resolved, I could not support his approval for ordination. Financial integrity is an essential qualification for an elder. Keith agreed, sought forgiveness, and repaid the loans. His response was commendable.
My second contact with Keith regarded his harsh treatment of a woman in our church. At the time of the incident, I communicated my concerns to him. Years had passed and I asked for an update. I wondered how he would handle the same situation today. Keith responded with “I definitely look back and wish I had done things differently” and then proceeded to explain himself. I appreciated his response.
Regarding the accusation that I neglected Keith while he was in Colorado, the truth is that I was unable to provide what Keith wanted from me. Keith never expressed a desire to hear from me regularly. Before he left, we had agreed to a plan where he would speak monthly with a member of our pastoral team. However, Keith canceled those appointments so often that it was obvious that he was uninterested. And Keith never requested regular time with me. I readily admit that my care for him was not perfect, but I was not in a position to determine the course of his internship or provide the pastoral care he desired.
On the contrary, I wholeheartedly commend the pastors who led and cared for Keith in Colorado. His internship was less than ideal and we all hoped for a different outcome. Yet I trust in the Lord’s providence as Keith and his family chose to end his internship and return to Arizona.
Please know that I find no pleasure in defending the truth by correcting someone publicly. I wish Keith and his family abundant grace in the years to come. Please join me in praying for them and, as always, contact me if you have any questions.