Why We Are No Longer Acts 29

by Chase Davis & Matt Patrick
Like many churches over the past two years, ours has been walking through a season of rebuilding and reevaluating our particular philosophy of ministry. Our elders have been working hard to develop our own vision and mission plan to serve our congregation as we seek to bring theological clarity to The Well Boulder. We are glad to build up the unity of the body of Christ in this way and are excited for what the future holds for The Well Church in Boulder, Colorado. This year, we are planting our fourth church plant in the Vail Valley and have purchased a building in Boulder for our church. We are so thankful to God for his continued grace. He is doing incredible things in a place where few believed it possible. Praise God!

Part of our reevaluation has included our relationship with the Acts 29 Network. Matt Patrick was initially recruited as a church planter into the network in 2007. We have been associated with the Acts 29 Network since 2011, the same year we planted The Well Church Boulder. We have been glad to partner with like-minded churches and have experienced great joy from the friendships and brotherhood in the network. However, due to various concerns with the direction and leadership of the network itself and its effect on our church-planting efforts in Colorado, our elder team has been praying and reevaluating our relationship with Acts 29. If you’ve listened to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast (or the better, in our estimation, Cultish podcast), you may have learned of certain flaws among the leadership culture at that Acts 29 church. We share some of those concerns. We have also become alarmed by systems within Acts 29 that have led to things like women preaching and the promotion of transgenderism within Acts 29 churches which go against both Acts 29’s distinctives and biblical truth.

We are not alone in our concerns around these theological issues. Other churches have recently left the network because its leadership has not provided clarity on such matters. For example, you can read Coram Deo’s recent letters to the board, which went unanswered. You can also read Garden City Church’s letter highlighting concerns regarding a lack of financial transparency and not being an example that we wish to follow. Another red-flag concern we had was with the sudden firing of the Director of Global Partnerships, Shaun Garmen, from Acts 29. For churches in Acts 29 West, Shaun had been a stabilizing presence and his abrupt firing seemed odd and eroded trust with many churches.

We have brought our concerns to the attention of leaders in Acts 29 over the past two years through many phone calls and town halls. We have also questioned, sincerely, how our required 2% annual giving to the network is being used and have found no more clarity over the matter than when we first inquired. We had also requested to see Acts 29’s bylaws, but we were told that they are “in-house documents.” In our conversations with network leaders, including vice presidents and regional leads, we made concerted efforts to communicate clearly and honestly and with charitable hearts.

On January 17th, 2023, and without warning, our lead pastors Matt Patrick and Chase Davis were summoned into an unplanned Zoom call with two Acts 29 Network vice presidents. They informed us that they were removing us from membership in Acts 29, effectively immediately. They claimed the board of Acts 29 unilaterally determined we are no longer a good fit for the network. We were not given any specific examples of what that means, and there were not any prior conversations about us not being a good fit prior to this meeting.

Our removal from Acts 29 is not due to any failure on our part morally, financially, or with respect to divergence from theological commitments or alignment with the core values of the Acts 29 Network. We tend to agree with their conclusion that our church is no longer a good fit within the network, especially given the way this decision was made and communicated.

Over time, churches and networks change. Because of a lack of theological clarity in Acts 29, we wanted to ensure that our church had the best opportunity to gain clarity. We share the sentiment in Garden City’s letter, authored by Justin Buzzard, that as Acts 29 became less clear and transparent, we felt a conviction to become more clear and transparent. We recently launched a podcast to share more of these ideas, and you can look forward to more candid conversations regarding our approach to ministry in Boulder, given the tumult and changing world in which we live.

We are glad and thankful to God for our time in the network. We have forged friendships and partnerships for spiritual edification that are lasting. We are hopeful that Acts 29 will heed the concerns and questions being raised publicly by former members.

Our exit from Acts 29 will not affect our ministry in Boulder. Acts 29 is a church-planting parachurch ministry and is not designed, nor intended, to offer oversight to local congregations. It is not a denomination and does not hold any ecclesial authority over churches other than affiliation. Four years ago, we established an oversight board for The Well Boulder to provide better accountability on health and direction for our church in order to meet a need that Acts 29 was not designed to meet. We also established The Well Collaborative in order to plant churches with deeper partnership and collaboration than a parachurch ministry could offer. Our relationship with The Well Longmont is as strong as ever, and their leadership has been a great encouragement to us.

We are excited for all that God has for us now and in the future. Our church is not just surviving, we are making moves in Boulder and around the state to advance the kingdom of God. People are being saved, ministry leaders are being trained, and churches are being planted. The enemy would love to distract us from our mission to proclaim the gospel and make disciples. As a church, we will not be distracted and we are more hopeful than ever. God has been so good to us and we will continue to be faithful to Him.