Clint Clifton leads the New City Network which is the church planting arm of McLean Bible. This is a post that looks at Clint and raises some questions about the founding of New City, and also asks as a part of the Southern Baptists is Clint prepared for the issue of sexual abuse?
“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.“
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
Psalm 95:6-7 KJV
This is Clint Clifton…
For the Southern Baptist Convention’s Send DC the New City Network is quite crucial. The Wondering Eagle is going to look at the leader of the Southern Baptist church planting efforts primarily in the Washington, D.C. area.
Who is Clint Clifton?
Clint Clifton guides the New City Network that does church planting primarily in Washington, D.C. area. He originally grew up in Palatka, Florida and after his conversion experience attended Peniel Baptist Church. Dannie Williams of Peniel has been a close mentor to Clint Clifton. Clint led worship at Pleasant Hills Baptist Church in Gordon, Alabama. From my research it appears Gordon is close to the Florida, Alabama state line. In 2001 Clint graduated from The Baptist College in Graceville, Florida. He then went on and earned a M.A from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The first church he co-founded in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is Pillar Church near the United States Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. Pillar Church is part of what is known as the Praetorian Project which focuses on church planting near military installations around the globe. From Southern California to Japan this network focuses on evangelizing the military. Clint then became employed by the North American Missions Board and became the Director of Send DC. In the course of time he also became responsible for Send Baltimore. Clint also leads the New City Network which does church planting through McLean Bible. Clifton has written a number of books to include, “Church Planting Thresholds: A Gospel-Centered Church Planting Guide” , “Praetorian Project: Multiplying the Gospel Through Military Church Planting” and “Church Planting Primer: Why New Churches Are Needed and How They Are Started.”
Launching the New City Network and Clint’s Role
From what this blog has heard Clint Clifton is the driving force behind new church planting at the New City Network. There is some confusion as to when the New City Network began. According to Clint’s personal webpage it began in 2012. However, when you look at McLean Bible’s website it states with authority that the New City Network began in 2016. This is how McLean Bible describes it:
McLean Bible Church has been a beacon of hope for more than 50 years. God has used our church tremendously to reach many in our city with the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, there is more work that lies ahead of us, and we recognize that we can’t tackle it alone. We need hundreds of mighty churches, all working together toward the same goal. In 2016, we launched our church planting network, New City Network, which aims to multiply and equip Gospel-centered churches in Metro DC. New City Network works with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to accomplish this vision, through MBC’s partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention.
So the question The Wondering Eagle has is when did the New City Network begin? Is it 2012 or 2016? This blog acknowledges that facts can be a challenge for many Baptists as many can live in their own bubble. But if someone could tell me when this church planting network began I would appreciate the information. According to a quick study of New City Network these are the following churches that are partnered:
- Washington, D.C. – 7
- Maryland – 5
- Virginia – 26
- Baltimore – 4
- International – 2
While Clint may be known inside the Southern Baptists for church planting there are still issues and questions that remain.
Clint Clifton is on the far right, Kenji Adachi from All Peoples Community Church is front center.
Is Clint Clifton and the New City Network Prepared for Dealing with Sex Abuse?
The Wondering Eagle believes that the most threatening issue inside the Southern Baptist Convention is that of sex abuse. Stories of sex abuse are hemorrhaging at an incredible rate. This blog is of the persuasion that due to the focus on the local church and autonomy that the sex abuse crisis is far worse than what has been seen in the Roman Catholic church. The issue keeps rearing its head even on the eve of the last national meeting. And that story is that of Christ Bragg’s daughter allegedly being sexually abused by The Village Church’s youth minister Matt Tonne. This story was broken by the New York Times. You can read more about this issue at The Village Church in, “What are the Take Aways From the Newest Scandal at Matt Chandler’s The Village Church Involving the Allegation of Matt Tonne’s Sexual Abuse of a Minor?” and “Christi Bragg Sues Matt Chandler’s The Village Church for $1 Million in Damages Related to Child Sex Abuse.”
But this issue also hits close to home as well for Clint. McLean Bible had an incident recently in The Rock Ministries. A volunteer, who works in law, lives in Leesburg, had tried to groom several individuals for sex abuse. The situation was handled poorly. And this blog has learned from a well placed source that the alleged perpetrator is still on the internal McLean Bible computer system. He is not flagged, he has not been purged and there is no warning about what he tried to do. Currently its possible for him to go to another location of McLean Bible and work with youth again. Is sex abuse a priority at McLean Bible? This blog would say no. And this information fits into the much larger national trend of sexual abuse inside the Southern Baptists.
But there is another perspective that raises a deep concern about the issue of sexual crimes, misconduct and abuse. One of the issues that this blog reported on was the sordid and disturbing story of Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis. While part of the story was dragged out by the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, The Wondering Eagle worked with those affected by the scandal to drag out more. What basically happened is that the worship leader engaged in voyeurism and the alleged manufacturing of child pornography inside a church. When caught he was quietly let go, and the church arranged for his victims to forgive him. He went on to another church and engaged in voyeurism there as well. You can read that story in, “The Sordid Tale of Rick Trotter, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian Church.”
The cover-up at Fellowship Memphis occurred from around the 2010 time frame until 2016 when it fully broke. According to a well placed source in the story a number of pastors knew about the cover-up and several elected not to go to law enforcement. They were afraid that the church would collapse and they would lose their paycheck. As to which pastors knew what and when, this blog has not been able to ascertain that level of detail. One of the church planting interns at the time of the cover-up is Kenji Adachi. Kenji Adachi eventually planted All Peoples Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia with the assistance of Fellowship Memphis. After this blog started to write about Kenji’s history All Peoples scrubbed most of the history with Fellowship Memphis. This blog has one deep concerning question, and this should also be Clint Clifton’s question as well. Was Kenji Adachi one of the people on staff at Fellowship Memphis that knew about the worship pastor’s voyeurism and alleged manufacturing of child pornography and did he stay silent on that issue? This blog would like to get an answer to that question. You can read about Kendy Adachi and All Peoples Community Church in, “An Open Letter to Kenji Adachi (Senior Pastor of Acts 29 All Peoples Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia on my Concerns about your Fellowship Memphis Training and Other Issues)” and “When a Church Plant is the Fruit of Sin. Looking at Aaron Nichols Mosaic City Church as Supported by Kenji Adachi’s All People’s Community Church.” Up above you see the Tweet with Clint Clifton praising Kenji Adachi as an outstanding church planter. This issue is too big to ignore and needs to be addressed. The issues of sex abuse and alleged criminal misconduct could be duplicating themselves in the New City Network under Clint Clifton’s watch.