Church Name: Lifeline Community
Senior/Lead Pastor: Bryan Hurlbutt
Address: 4431 Lifeline Lane, West Jordan, UT 84088
Denomination: Non-denominational/Reformed/Calvinist (See Question #4)
Preaching Style: Topical
Membership Requirements: Unknown (see Question #2)
Tithes/Compelled Giving: Yes
Financial Transparency: No (See Question #3)
Answered Questionnaire: No, Pastor Bryan declined to answer our questions
Online Services: https://subsplash.com/lifelinecommunity/media
Affiliations: Calvinism (See Question #4)
1. What is your church's official position on tithing?
There is very little language on the church’s website to suggest tithe preaching, but we do see a few signs that this church pressures giving and one absolute proof that they pressure giving.
Signs of Pressured Giving:
Beliefs - On this church’s Beliefs page, it says, “...We believe that only those who are thus members of the true and invisible Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church...” This suggests the church may have official memberships, and if that’s the case, they probably require members to give financially to the church on a regular basis. I have never seen a membership agreement that didn’t include financial support for the church.
Ministries - On the Ministry page, there is mention of discipleship at Lifeline being “intensive,” “structured,” and “long-term,” where they focus on multiple areas of Christian life, including “missional service together.” It also says that discipleship at Lifeline “entails commitment and desire to not only be poured into, but also to pour into others as well. As God continues to build our church, invest some time and energy in your own building block.”
This is all language that strongly suggests pressured financial giving. The proof we have of pressured giving is their sermon series entitled “Growing as One: Capital Campaign” from 2017. This is when this church began their campaign to finance a new building. If you watch the sermon “One Participation” in that series, Pastor Bryan Hurlbutt gives the congregation a “commitment card” asking congregates to commit a certain amount of money, or a regular payment plan in order to contribute to the building fund.
2. Does your church have official memberships, and if so, does it include a membership agreement or contract?
While there is no proof that this church has official memberships, the same language on the church’s Beliefs page and Ministries page can also be interpreted to conclude that the church may have official memberships. We will have to do further digging to find out for sure.
3. Is your church financially transparent or accountable to either the local church, a third party (such as the ECFA), or the universal church/public?
We see nothing on the website to suggest any kind of third party accountability or transparency to the Universal Church/public, nor did Pastor Hurlbutt mention it in his One Participation sermon where he asked his congregation to commit money for the church’s building fund. Since our questionnaire is being ignored, our answer to this question is ‘no.’
4. Which denomination does your church align with, if any at all?
This church doesn’t mention any type of denominational affiliation anywhere on the site, and their Google listing as well as Facebook page they are simply listed as a Church or Religious Organization. However, they have an entire sermon series on their Media page on the 5 Solas called “The Solas: Essential Truths for Reformation.” This suggests they are a Calvinist or Reformed Theology church.
5. Is the church's pastor available for questions or comments regarding the church's doctrines or policies?
It appears the answer to this is ‘no.’ Pastor Bryan has ignored my email and the church contact page hasn’t given me any response to my two attempts at contacting them. Pastor Bryan does have a Twitter account, which I am now following. At some point I will try contacting him there and see if I’m able to get a response there.
6. Is your church tolerant and accepting of differing non-essential doctrinal views, such as differences in eschatology or ecclesiology?
Once we are able to find a membership agreement for this church, we will be able to provide more information on this question.
7. Does your church require its members to be baptized?
We won’t know this until we can see a copy of their membership agreement.
8. Please describe what a typical service and/or meeting looks like at your church.
The closest thing we could find to a description of the church’s services is on their Service Times page:
“Please join us for refreshments, great music, and a passionate message. Dress is casual, so come as you are.”
9. How many people do you have on staff at your church, both paid and volunteer?
The church’s website does have a Staff page, which shows their leadership staff. They don’t, however, list whether the staff is paid or volunteer, or if they have other staff, either paid or unpaid.
10. What is your/the pastor's educational background?
Lead Pastor Bryan Hurlbutt has a Bachelor’s in Religious Education, a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology.
11. How does the church discipline its members with sin? Does the church have a discipline policy or official protocol?
We don’t have enough information to answer this question yet.
12. How is the pastor compensated (income, bonuses, benefits, etc...) and how is that compensation established (Ex: board of elders, church vote, etc..)?
Since the church stonewalled our emails, we don’t have the answer to this either.
13. What is the size of your congregation and any space or buildings used for church services or meetings?
Pastor Bryan’s Tweet from August 9th says: “First Sunday today in a brand new 29k sq. ft. facility…”
14. What is the pastor’s ministerial work history? Have they been the pastor of or on the leadership staff at any other church? Please list their past ministry work and their reasons for leaving those ministries.
We don’t know anything about Pastor Bryan’s work in ministry prior to his starting Lifeline Community in Utah. On the Staff page of the church website, it says, “After years of preparation and seeking the Lord’s direction, Bryan moved to Utah in 2004 for the sole purpose of founding Lifeline Community…”