top of page

Church Check: The Fellowship in Sandy, Utah

Basic Church Information

Church Name: The Fellowship

Senior/Lead Pastor: Sarah Rudd

Board of Elders/Leadership Staff: See the Church’s Elders & Staff Page

Address: 615 Sego Lily Dr, Sandy, UT 84070

Phone: (801) 572-0211

Email: admin@tf-sandy.org

Website: https://tf-sandy.org/

Social Media Pages:

Online Services: https://tf-sandy.org/messages/


Church Specifics


Denomination: Pentecostal/Charismatic (See Question #4 Below)

Preaching Style: Topical

Worship Style: Pentecostal/Charismatic (See Question #8 Below)

Membership Requirements: Yes

Tithes/Compelled Giving: Yes

Financial Transparency: Partial

Affiliations: Unknown


Red Flags of Abuse and/or High Coercive Control


The only red flag of potential abuse and/or high coercive control I’ve observed with this church so far is the fact that they were unwilling to answer any of my questions for this church report.


Transparency is important when determining whether a church is potentially abusive, exploitative, highly controlling, or trustworthy. However, this doesn’t mean this particular church refuses to answer these questions for individual church members or individual visitors of the church inquiring for their own personal knowledge on these matters.


Check for yourself by asking the leaders of The Fellowship any of our questions you’d like answers to. If they’re unwilling to answer the questions from their own members or attendees, this would be a red flag of spiritual abuse and exploitative behavior.


One other issue that might point to potential secrecy or deception from this church is the fact that when I registered on their website to be an online member, my application was rejected. I filled out the application for registration to the website after my attempt to ask questions was rejected as well.


When registering to be an online member, they ask for a reason for wanting to become an online member of the church’s website. My reason for wanting to register: to read their “Prophetic Blog” and learn more about the church. I wonder if that had something to to with why I was rejected. Being rejected gives me another red flag, but it’s possible it was just an error and unintentional on the church’s part.


Interestingly, when I tried to log on even after I found out that I was rejected for online registration to the site, it allowed me to log in and a member and read the Prophetic Blog anyway.


Also, while I have heard dozens of accounts of abuse from people within more Charismatic churches, this doesn’t mean all Charismatic churches are therefore spiritually or in other ways abusive to people. However, just as with other denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention, Calvinism, and the United Pentacostal Church, the specific doctrinal views of Charismatic churches can lead to spiritual abuse in that they might require members to exhibit certain signs of the Spirit within them, such as speaking in tongues or healing the sick. This can lead to deception, exploitation, and other forms of spiritual abuse.


Charismatic churches are also prone to teaching the “Health & Wealth” gospel, which claims we are blessed materially, physically, and financially when we tithe or give more money to the church. This is spiritually abusive for exploitative reasons, and I found a post on the church’s Prophetic Blog that suggests they believe this teaching. The post was from a few years ago, so it may be out of date and it's possible that the church doesn’t teach this anymore.



Ultimately, the biggest signs that a church may be abusive is their denial of personal liberty of each Christian in Christ and the elevation of man to places of spiritual authority and power over others. There are several places on this church’s website that emphasize freedom, and the Fellowship also doesn’t restrict leadership positions to men only, or the highly educated. These are positive signs that this isn’t a spiritually abusive church, but if they teach the Health & Wealth Gospel and refuse to answer questions from people, these would be red flags in the other direction.


All of that said, as usual, I encourage anyone attending this church to walk themselves through Dr. Steve Hassan’s BITE Model and Influence Continuum to make sure they aren’t being abused by their church.


Influence-Continuum-2019UPDATED-1200x1038-converted
.pdf
Download PDF • 145KB

BITE Model of Authoritarian Control Handout Oct 2 2020
.pdf
Download PDF • 124KB

Questionnaire


When I initially contacted The Fellowship by email, they responded quickly. The staff member I spoke with via email said she would take my questions to the church staff’s next meeting and they would decide there whether to answer my questions.


After a few weeks and no response from the church, I followed up to see if they’d decided yet. They had decided to decline to answer my questions. Even after I asked if there were any questions they were willing to answer, while not answering the ones they didn’t feel comfortable with, they ultimately ignored me.


This is the information I could gather from my research into the church. If you have information that we’re missing on The Fellowship, please contact us to help inform your fellow churchgoers in the Sandy, Utah area.


1. What is the church’s official teaching on tithes and offerings?


The post from the Prophet Blog I referenced in the Red Flag section of this report suggests that the church does in fact teach that tithing is a mandate for Christians today. There is nothing else on the website that tells us their position on this issue, but there may be sermons we haven’t heard from the church that do.


We will update this answer after listening to more sermons. If you’ve heard a sermon from this church that teaches tithing or mandated giving to the local church, please reference it in the comments below, or contact us so we can update our answer accordingly.


2. Does your church have official memberships, and if so, what is included in the membership agreement or contract?


This church may have official memberships, but we are unsure. When you go to their website, there is a “Members'' drop-down menu with a member homepage and log-in page. While it’s possible that anyone can register to become an online member on The Fellowship’s website (I tried but was rejected as already mentioned), it may also include becoming a member of the church. There isn’t any more information on the website that answers this question for us.


Since the church declined to answer our questions, we don’t know what official membership in the church entails, if they have one. If you know the answer to this question and have documentation or other forms of proof that the church has official memberships, please contact us so we can include it in our report for local churchgoers.


3. Is your church financially transparent or accountable to either the local church, a third party (such as an auditor), or the universal Church Body/Public?


An anonymous attendee of this church has shared that the church does in fact provide financial information to donors of the church via regular email updates that show how the donor’s money was spent in the church.


Since, however, they were unwilling to share anything with us regarding transparency, or even answer the question, this means they are not transparent with their finances to the universal Church Body or the public. Therefore, we see them as only partially financially transparent.