Updated: May 31, 2020
Basic Church Information
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/freshlifechurch
Online Sermons: https://www.youtube.com/freshlifechurch
Worship Services: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dtZgpwo6As
As usual, we were completely stonewalled in our attempts to get answers to our questions with this church, just like with most others. While in the beginning, we were able to get someone to respond to us via Facebook Messenger, after several attempts to get answers, we were eventually ignored entirely.
Leaving us, once again, to try and answer the questions ourselves. So let’s do it, church checkers!
1. What is your church's official position on tithing?
While it isn’t clear on the website itself whether or not this church preaches tithing, and their give page does very little to pressure giving, there is plenty of evidence that this church does in fact preach tithing, and strongly pressures giving in general.
Our first piece of evidence comes from a tweet that pastor Levi Lusko made back in November/December of 2016 as part of a sermon series he was preaching at the time called Blood & Thunder. If you go to Levi’s twitter feed, you can’t go back far enough to see the original tweet itself, but an anonymous source has sent us his print screen, and we’ll share it with you here today:
Digging deeper, if you go to Fresh Life’s Messages on their website and watch/listen to the Blood & Thunder sermon series, you can listen to a whopping five sermons which all center around giving your time, money, and resources to the local church.
More specifically, the second sermon of the series, “First Blood”, has a message description that goes like this (emphasis mine):
“The generosity of God came first in Christ's sacrifice, so we honor God first in our finances as a response to Him.”
Once you complete Fresh Life’s “Crash Course”, you are then invited to take “Final Steps” into becoming a part of the Fresh Life Impact Team. That final step is signing an agreement and committing not only to agree to their code of values and statement of faith but also to be active in the church by joining one of their Impact Teams AND agreeing to a set of rules and requirements as a member of their church.
One of those requirements is giving regularly to their church. The last requirement at the end of their “Honor agreement” states:
“I will support the testimony of my church by attending church and small groups faithfully, by living a godly life, and by giving regularly.”
You can find this statement by reading the Final Steps Form yourself here.
2. Does your church have a particular set of rules or requirements that members must follow or abide by in order to retain their membership status with the church?
As mentioned in the previous answer, the answer to this is yes. Once again, read the Honor Agreement for yourself. Not only must you agree to this church’s statement of faith and code of values, but you must commit to being active in the church, attending church, joining one of their Impact Teams, living a “godly life,” however that looks to them I don’t know, but also giving regularly to the church.
3. Are you transparent with your church's financial information? How much does your church bring in through donations and tithing, and how is that money distributed?
Since we were completely ignored when trying to ask these questions, all we can assume here is that the answer is no. Fresh Life hasn’t provided any financial information on their website, they don’t appear to be part of any financial accountability organizations such as GuideStar or the ECFA, and I highly doubt anyone knows this information besides Levi Lusko and those in top leadership positions at this church.
4. Which denomination does your church align with the most, if any?
We were unable to find any denominational information on this church, but their Google listing has labeled them as a non-denominational church.
5. Is your church's pastor available for other questions or comments regarding the church, its doctrines, etc.?
Certainly not on the internet. I’ve tried calling the church HQ in Montana, PM-ing the church’s Facebook Page, and emailing two separate addresses, one that I was given by someone on their Facebook Page, and one listed on the church’s website. If you go to Levi Lusko’s FB Page, there is no way to contact him directly. If you go to his personal website at levilusko.com, there is no way to contact him there either.
I suppose if I waltzed into his church in person one Sunday morning and managed to somehow speak to him in person, I could say whether I know this for sure, but so far, I don’t think I can answer this with a yes at all. There have been attendee comments on social media that suggest it's impossible to speak with Levi Lusko personally, even right after a service at the church.
6. How is your church's doctrinal flexibility and tolerance? If a member has a disagreement with the pastor or leadership on a certain doctrine, how is it handled? Does the church change its position on doctrines fairly often, if at all?
Based on the fact that this church has an Honor Agreement with a statement of faith and code of values, I find it hard to believe that disagreeing with this church’s doctrines in one area or another is tolerated at any level. Until someone decides to answer our questions, however, we can’t know this for sure.
7. Does your church require members to be baptized? What is your church's official position on baptism?
I don’t see any hint of required baptism on their website or in their Honor Agreement. My guess is that they don’t require it, but rather encourage it to new members who have not yet been baptized.
8. Please describe what a typical service and/or meeting looks like in your church.
I couldn’t find anything describing what a typical service looks like at this church. You can watch their sermons for yourself on YouTube, or on their website, but I don’t see anything much different about their services worth mentioning. One distinction I do see, however, is when you click on any particular location on their website to see the service times, they called them “experiences”, not services.
Additionally, their sermons are topical, not verse by verse studies through the Bible.
9. How many people do you have on staff at your church, both paid and volunteer?
We couldn’t find this information either. While this church has planted at least 12 physical locations, we can’t find any staff information whatsoever. All we know is that pastor Levi Lusko is the pastor.
10. What is the pastor's educational history?
Neither the church’s website nor Levi Lusko’s website mentions any kind of educational history whatsoever. His Facebook Page doesn’t mention any kind of educational history either.
11. How does the church discipline its members with their sin?
While we couldn’t find any information on the church’s website regarding this, I think it’s safe to assume that they do have a sin discipline protocol due to the fact that they have an Honor Agreement that everyone who wants to be a member of this church must sign. I see no reason to sign an agreement like that unless there are consequences for failing to meet the requirements of it.
I look forward to checking into this church deeper to find out more in this area, but for now, we don’t know the answer.
12. How is the pastor compensated (income, benefits, bonuses, etc.)?
While this church has clearly stonewalled our efforts to find out this information, there’s no doubt that pastor Levi Lusko lives lavishly. With over 12 churches planted and no doubt all of them flex the same Honor Agreement with the same giving requirements, every member must give regularly to their church.
The main Facebook Page for this church, which is in Kalispell Montana, has over 22,000 likes and follows. If we’re looking at this one location alone, Fresh Life easily as over 5,000 members, but who knows how many total members this church has with all locations combined?
Based on these numbers, I think it’s safe to assume that he makes somewhere close to half a million dollars a year, or possibly even more. There’s no way of knowing without the figures themselves, but since the average pastor earns $100k per 1,000 members of his/her church, that is our estimate.
Additionally, Levi Lusko was one of the pastors featured on an Instagram page called PreachersnSneakers, where preachers wearing expensive shoes are featured for their stylish kicks. According to the second image in the post on Lusko, these Nike Blazers can sell for as much as $600.