An Open Letter to Sam Jessup (Communications Director of The Bridge Fresno on Why This EFCA Church Must Close)

An open letter to Sam Jessup of The Bridge Fresno. This letter explains why The Bridge Fresno needs to close and why its a sin to attend, support and give money to this EFCA church. As The Bridge Fresno is not just having Bryan Loritts speak, but also scheduled to have Ricky Jenkins of the Fellowship Memphis scandal in Tennessee also speak later in July 2018. This is a church that needs to be closed. 

“The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.”

David Hume 

“Corruption has its own motivations, and one has to thoroughly study that phenomenon and eliminate the foundations that allow corruption to exist.

Edward Shevardnadze

In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is!

Isiah 12:4 NLT

***Sam Jessup is the Director of Communications for The Bridge Fresno. He has held that job since July of 2005. Sam is responsible for all the social media at The Bridge. Prior to that he was a Yearbook Representative for Walsworth Publishing for Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. He has also worked in marketing positions in Texas. According to my research he comes from El Paso. He picked up a Bachelor of Applied Science  in Liberal Arts and Mass Communication from Texas A&M University Texarkana where he attended from 2001 until 2003. Currently he is getting a Masters of Business Administration from California State University Fresno. He is on track to graduate this fall.***



This is an open letter to you that has been on my mind the last couple of days. In the past I have written open letters to Andrew Smith and Jeff Loven. I am going to work through The Bridge staff as the situation develops. Today I am going to explain why The Bridge needs to close. Why it needs to shut its doors for good. Hearing about Bryan Loritts planning to speak there shocked me. Plus now I understand that you are bringing in Ricky Jenkins who also played a role in the Fellowship Memphis scandal just stuns me. You can read about Ricky Jenkins role in the scandal in the following post. “John Bryson’s Fellowship Memphis – The State of the Church as Assessed by The Wondering Eagle.” Who is next John Bryson or Rick Trotter? After all would you have a problem with someone making child pornography inside the restroom at The Bridge Fresno? If that doesn’t bother you, you can bring Rick Trotter on staff. Granted you would have to explain to the congregation that you have a sex offender working at The Bridge. 

I was devastated to hear that you were bringing in Bryan Loritts. I started to write about Fellowship Memphis two years ago. You see Sam, I write a lot about Acts 29. I do so because there is a growing relationship between Acts 29 and the EFCA. The key person in that area as I understand it is an Acts 29/EFCA pastor in the Bay Area called Ryan Kwon. You can read about him in, “The EFCA and Acts 29, Looking at Ryan Kwon of Resonate Church in Fremont, California; Plus the Issues with James Walden’s Riverside Community Church.” So in writing about Acts 29 I get emails from people around the United States. One morning I got an email from someone formerly of Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis in Tennessee. It was from someone who was illicitly recorded while using the restroom. You know in writing this blog I have learned things I never knew that are dark. For example subjects such as domestic abuse, child porn, reckless endangerment, etc.. The email so shocked me that I was stunned. I was driving to church and pulled alongside the road just comprehending what I read. So I committed and promised people that I would write about this issue until Fellowship Memphis closes. And I have been writing about this issue since. I have clashed with some of the staff of Fellowship Memphis. You can see Bryan Loritts comment on some of the posts I have here at this blog. But never in a thousand years did I think that this would touch my former church where I was baptized and had my first Bible study in a church. 

Sam when I was helping my Mom in what would be a terminal illness you guys screwed up big when you ignored a prayer request. Your email to me was jacked up at the time. You were sorry that I wrote the post, but you were not sorry for how a church acted. The apology was bad but I also didn’t want to let that get in the way. My memories of Fresno Evangelical Free are positive and solid when I was there. When I write this blog and interact with people from the EFCA around the United States I explain my history with the EFCA. That image of The Bridge Fresno has changed. When I think of who you are bringing into the church and putting in the pulpit its really time for this church to be closed. Why? First of all you are putting a wolf in the pulpit and exposing him to your congregation. The fact that you are putting someone questionable before your congregation troubles me deeply. It should trouble anyone who cares about the faith Sam. Second when I see how The Bridge Fresno responds to this situation it makes me wonder. Would you guys do the right thing if your staff learned that a child was sexually abused at The Bridge Fresno? Would you go straight to Fresno Police immediately? I don’t think you guys would. You guys are more concerned with your reputation than doing the right thing. If you guys did the right thing then your reputation would glow. But that is not what is happening here. So if you don’t believe a writer then what about the Memphis news? Why would you dismiss news stories from the Memphis Commercial Appeal? The Commercial Appeal is the equivalent of the Fresno Bee. They have written about this issue in articles like this one, and more which you can see  here and here. Why won’t you guys practice due diligence? 

Its time for The Bridge Fresno to close. To attend The Bridge and give money to that organization is a sin. To ignore this issue is a sin also. The #MeToo movement is coming to the EFCA. Its appeared in the Southern Baptist Convention. But these issues in the EFCA need attention and its my goal to write about them. To be on staff at The Bridge and look the other way on these issues are wrong. You know Sam I spent so much time in Bible studies reading and discussing Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You probably have also. And at the time when you need to speak up you stay silent. It makes reading Bonhoeffer a moot point. Does it not? I am going to work at getting people away from The Bridge Fresno. I have already been approached by a number of people who have asked questions who are members of the congregation. If you guys can’t do the right thing, then its time for you to close. Right now faith is about a paycheck and money. It is not about the Gospel. Honestly? I wonder if you and The Bridge Fresno knows what Christianity is about? Here’s why I say that Sam. You and The Bridge Fresno are actively enabling people mired in a video voyeurism and child pornography scandal from Fellowship Memphis. You are not telling them to repent and go back to Memphis and make things right. To the contrary, you are enabling them in running. Bryan Loritts and Ricky Jenkins are running. Nether should be in ministry. They are acting like Jonah and you are helping them run. If you guys knew the Gospel you would stop this behavior and change course. Faith is not about words alone, but also action. And The Bridge Fresno is failing in that area. 

I would love to be proven wrong Sam. I honestly would. But I don’t have high hopes for your church. Again I would love to be proven wrong. The next time I write an open letter it will be addressed to Richard Parr. This post will follow you beyond The Bridge. Hopefully when you go to another church that church will find this and ask questions about this situation.  

Very Respectfully, 

David Bonner