To VBM missionaries and the pastors, churches, and parents who support them:
Many new facts have been discovered and come to light over the past few months revealing serious corruption and massive coverups. These documents, testimonies, and eyewitness accounts have been collected and made available in one place for the purpose of awareness and accountability.
Vision Baptist Missions [VBM] processes millions of dollars a year of God’s money given by God’s people, for God’s work. VBM also has thousands of churches and tens of thousands of Christians who put their confidence in them to be an honest and ethical Christian organization that assists churches’ missionaries to advance the gospel around the world.
Donors and supporters need to seriously consider if they want to continue a ministry partnership with Vision Baptist Missions and the Our Generation Training Center given the alarming information available below regarding VBM leadership and organizational problems.
Top 7 Most Concerning Things:
- Illegal activities
- Mishandling donor funds
- Harmful and dangerous teachings
- Covering up abuse/abusers and sexual assault
- Corrupt leadership with little to no accountability
- Deception and dishonesty for money and reputation
- Continuing to support and allow the narcissist cult leader and abuser who ran from VBM and church discipline and who was disqualified from public ministry to still teach, preach, and mentor VBM/VBC members "under the radar"
Hear it from their own mouths
Vision Baptist Missions leaders and Pastor Trent Cornwell were caught on video covering up and lying about the “external independent” investigation regarding allegations of abuse (sexual, child, physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional) by former president Austin Gardner among many other serious allegations in order to prevent an honest investigation of themselves from removing them from power. Below is a compilation of uncovered Marco Polo videos from during the investigation.
You will notice certain themes come up regarding VBM leadership from different people spanning across the years leading up to Austin’s departure and continuing from his absence until today.
- Using and abusing people
- Cult-like and toxic organizational culture
- Narcissism and nepotism
- Lies, deception, and gas-lighting
- Manipulation and threatening
- Objectifying women
- Burying negative stories, hiding damaging testimonies, and covering up serious sins
- Angry, brutish, and scornful (hating reproof or correction) behavior
- Silencing dissenters, discouraging truth seekers, and forcing people out
- People pleasers and lovers of money and power
What you have here is:
- Information and testimonies about Austin Gardner the founder of VBM (who was disqualified from public ministry, ran from church discipline, and yet continues preaching and leading people astray [including VBM missionaries and VBC church members] including testimonies which were not included in the investigative report. Please note that the integrity of the independent investigation is under question. He continues to teach and train VBM missionaries and VBC church members “under the radar,” yet with VBM leadership’s knowledge and silent support. See Austin's new Alignment Ministries and his secret Society of Mentors here. In his previous email ministry updates, he claims that 100 people support him (for $1,000 per year per person = a total of $100,000 per year to be their mentor). You can find more details about his Society of Mentors in the uploaded files.
- Documented evidence from many people regarding VBM president Jeff Bush's serious patterns of sin, many of which Austin Gardner his mentor was found unfit and disqualified from ministry for
- Corroborating testimonies that demand real accountability for these Executive Directors: Jeff Bush, Travis Snode, Mark Coffey, Jason Holt, and Mark Tolson, who exhibit many similar characteristics of Austin Gardner. Questions surround their decision to set up a 5-member Board of Directors after 16 months (and 2 weeks after being notified of this website). They have still not admitted any specific wrongdoing besides just writing down 15 Core Values and updating some policies. It appears as though multiple VBM Executive Directors knew Austin would be disqualified for ministry but decided to investigate only one of the 25 accusations brought against him by Becky E.
- Many stories and voices of those who have previously been mistreated, ignored, silenced, or buried including multiple victims sharing how all of the Executive Directors have taken part in abuse of some kind similar to their mentor Austin Gardner.
Upon further investigation, you will also find:
- Sinful patterns and tendencies
- Questionable and concerning ethical and moral practices
- Illegal activities that are condoned and encouraged in regards to handling money (tax evasion like Austin Gardner but also specifically using 1099’s with bare minimum reporting turned in once a year rather than quarterly; expensing things away without receipts; investing money externally from VBM with Chris Gardner at Edward Jones, improperly labeling and trying to write off as “ministry expenses” money that was actually designated for setup funds, ministry projects, etc.
- Training VBM missionaries to raise money by deceiving King James Only churches by saying that “VBM missionaries only use the King James Bible in English;” however, missionaries also use the ESV or The Message Bible, etc. when they are not in those churches. For example, Jason Holt used The Message Bible in English to encourage the directors in group chats.
- VBM recommends missionaries raise a minimum of $10,000 per month of support. There are many missionaries who have well over $10k a month of support, including several directors who have anywhere between and upwards of $14,000 - $19,000 of monthly support, yet they use the non-profit status of the mission board to claim to the IRS that they live "below the poverty level."
- Chris Gardner (and John Gardner) coached VBM missionaries on how to lie in order to receive upwards of $1,000,000 in life insurance policies thereby committing insurance fraud.
- Jeff and Mindy Bush continue to teach missionary wives to make sure to not wear pants for orientation pictures or marriage retreats with special speakers so that VBM missionaries do not lose money from churches with different standards. It is widely understood that women can wear pants as long as it is not on social media, which might cause VBM missionaries to lose monetary support.
- Unhealthy or harmful teaching for years and years, much of which has been documented in nearly 300 notes across the span of 6 recent years. Sometimes the teaching was so noticeably disturbing that multiple times the weekly Facebook Live streaming for Friday Classes was disabled until things quieted down per Jeff Bush’s instruction.
- Stories of the wives of the Executive Directors also participating in and perpetuating the culture of toxic gossip, control, hypocrisy, deception, critical spirit, and slander from multiple witnesses from multiple group chats or private interactions with them.
- Mark Coffey going into tens of thousands of dollars in debt by wracking up credit card charges on ministry projects for Austin Gardner and other misappropriation of funds by the Executive Directors.
- The Spring 2022 edition of the VBM Handbook and Policies includes several dangerous and very concerning open doors for abuse of power by the Executive Directors. VBM missionaries were required to agree to the handbook by March 31, 2022, or risk being asked to resign and forced out. It was subsequently posted on the VBM website and dated April 21, 2022. See 11.3.3 and 11.3.7 and section 13.6 among others
- In the highest and innermost ranks, unconditional loyalty to Austin and his men was prized more highly than integrity before God.
- Photo evidence of general director Travis Snode purchasing and handing out beer in a pub in England.
- Jeff was previously aware of sexual assault among Our Generation Training Center students who also attended Vision Baptist Church yet did not report the individual or the incidents.
- VBM missionaries would regularly be encouraged and pressured to participate in "Team Splits" using church and individual donor money given to missionaries. The leadership of VBM would present a project they wanted money for, and people were shamed or embarrassed behind closed doors for not contributing monetarily. (For example, about $20,000 was needed to buy one of the pastoral or missions staff a new vehicle, so 40 missionary families agreed to split the cost around $500 each to buy Jeff Bush a vehicle or to pay for Austin to fly around the world. The team splits were presented by leadership and provided for by missionary support, then expensed and written off as "ministry expenses.")
- It is regularly taught in the women's split sessions for marital advice that having more sex will solve nearly all your problems. The woman just needs to give her husband more sex, and he will be nicer to her. See here for one of many testimonies of this being taught.
- VBM missionaries helped pay thousands of dollars for the independent investigation and lawyer fees using donor funds from churches and individuals.
- After Austin's disqualification from public ministry by Vision Baptist Church, he was still invited to speak, preach, and teach at other VBM/VBC members' ministries in countries around the world (i.e. South Africa, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, etc.)
- Jeff Bush silencing missionaries and controlling prayer letters
It is interesting to note:
- Pastor Trent Cornwell of Vision Baptist Church [VBC] is brother-in-law to Mark Coffey (Executive Director and Africa Field Director). Trent simultaneously served as one of the 8 VBM directors during the investigation of Austin Gardner before the Pastoral Advisory Committee [PAC] for VBM was officially formed and before Trent, Robert, and "Bradley" were removed from the Executive Directors. Trent went to college or interned with the VBM Executive Directors and was in the innermost circle around Austin along with the other Executive Directors. He was also aware of many of the concerns that others had previously tried to express to Vision leadership prior to and even after Austin’s departure from VBM. "Bryan," "Alan," "Tim," "Bradley," and many others had tried to warn VBM of its own leadership tendencies (other than just Austin Gardner), yet after Austin was disciplined by the church and subsequently left it, nothing seems to have been clearly communicated to the church or mission how Austin should be treated according to Matthew 18.
- The 15 pastors on the PAC have absolutely no authority or vote in which to influence or keep the Executive Directors accountable. They just meet quarterly with the Executive Directors to provide spiritual advice and pastoral opinions. The pastors are selected by the very organization that they are charged to hold accountable. Click here for an example of a hand-picked member of the PAC and his views about Austin and VBM leadership
- Many are unaware that though they share the same name, Vision Baptist Church and Vision Baptist Missions are completely separate entities locationally, legally, financially, functionally, and administratively. Also, the majority of VBM missionaries are also VBC church members.
- Vision Baptist Missions is no longer just a local church ministry out of VBC but is now a parachurch non-profit organization which even though it identifies as Independent Fundamental Baptist yet has received and continues to be open to receive funds and partnerships with churches from other denominations (i.e. the Southern Baptist Convention, Bible and Community churches, Non-denominational, Assemblies of God, etc.).
- Not only was Pastor Trent Cornwell in the innermost communication circle with Austin Gardner, Jeff Bush, and Robert Canfield for many years but Trent is also the local church pastor of all of the Executive Directors (Jeff Bush, Travis Snode, Mark Coffey, Jason Holt, and Mark Tolson) and their wives.
- After Austin Gardner left Macedonia World Baptist Mission [MWBM] and started VBM, he used the private and exclusive Our Generation (OG) email ring that included VBM missionaries, MWBM missionaries, and others loyal to him. After some missionaries tried to confront Austin about his sin problems, the OG email ring was shut down, missionaries were secretly removed, and the VBM email ring was created. Until the August 2021 allegations came out, the new email ring also included MWBM missionaries as well as VBM missionaries loyal to Austin. After Austin’s departure from VBM, it seems he has been using newer email rings with his Society of Mentors and Alignment Ministries, which include some VBM missionaries and VBC church members along with others who remain loyal to him.
- Any mention of "Jefe" is referring to Austin Gardner. Jefe means "Boss" in Spanish and was used in reference to him in Peru and carried over to those who were loyal to him. The closest followers were conditioned to use this term in referring to him or addressing him.
- Chris Gardner is Austin's eldest son and seems to have a pattern of deception and problems with money that also seriously affects VBM missionaries and VBC church members. Austin Gardner ran to Chris' church to escape church discipline while still being disqualified from public ministry according to Vision Baptist Church.
- Most of the testimonies and statements collected and still being uploaded are from former VBM missionaries who were also VBC church members at one time, many of which were with Vision Baptist for a decade or more.
Suggested testimonies and order to begin with first:
- Letter to PAC and future BoD
- Beware Jeff Bush
- Your Original Inquiry
- Initial Response
- Becky's open letter to VBC and VBM
- Joint Statement by 17 former missionaries and interns
(The [NEW] badge indicates content on this site that was not previously available publicly.)
Here are some questions that have been grouped together and provided for consideration as you examine the pages, witness documentation, and testimonies included on this website:
Questions about Austin Gardner: Since Austin Gardner was disqualified and deemed unfit for ministry by the Vision Baptist Church special committee, publicly stood before the church admitting his sin, and then before taking the steps to be restored back to public ministry subsequently ran from the church discipline process to continue doing ministry under his own non-profit with little to no accountability...
- Why did Jeff Bush offer Austin Gardner an office at VBM while Austin was still disqualified from public ministry?
- Why are members of Vision Baptist Church allowing Austin to preach and teach in their ministries?
- Why are VBM missionaries still allowing him to train and mentor them for ministry and using ministry funds to support Austin’s secret society?
- What, if anything, has VBM leadership communicated internally to VBM missionaries about Austin Gardner?
- Why did VBM leadership (who are also all members of Vision Baptist Church) post “Innocent – Not Guilty!” posts defending Austin while not communicating that he was disqualified from public ministry by the church?
- Why has VBM Leadership, who is guilty of many of the same things that Austin was disqualified for, not been held accountable?
- Why has the statement from VBC about Austin not been clearly communicated to supporters, missionaries, and churches?
Questions about Vision Baptist Missions Leadership:
- Why do the VBM leaders who were complicit in many of these stories of abuse, sin, and deception continue to hold leadership positions at the top of the organization without facing any accountability?
- Why would VBM leaders who desired true accountability primarily choose pastors to serve on their Pastoral Advisory Board who were mostly sold on Austin Gardner and VBM leaders’ innocence?
- Why did it take VBM leaders 16 months after Austin Gardner left (and approximately 2 weeks after they found out about this website and started getting numerous emails and phone calls) for them to finally create a Board of Directors consisting of only 5 members?
- Why have so many VBM missionaries felt the need to resign and cited the unresolved sin issues within the leadership of VBM as their reason for leaving?
- Why is VBM leadership unable to provide a clear and specific list of what they say they have addressed from their own wrongdoings or the specific issues that have been called out within the organization?
- What has Vision Baptist Missions or VBC done to care for those who have experienced abuse (mental, emotional, or spiritual) by its leaders?
- Given the many former VBM missionaries who have attempted to speak up about abuse within the organization... Why has the President, General Director, or any of the Executive Directors not admitted to lying about or covering up allegations of abuse from not only Austin Gardner but also from VBM leadership as a whole?
- What are the specific problems or specific changes that VBM or VBC leadership admitted to or has taken ownership of other than just that “Austin is gone now” and “we are growing and making changes”?
- If Austin was disqualified for ministry, should his closest disciples who do ministry like him and exhibit many of the same character issues also be examined regarding their own ministry readiness and qualifications for public ministry in light of the many corroborating testimonies against them?
- What specifically on this home landing page is false?
Questions for Vision Baptist Church: Why do you endorse…
- Why do you continue to support and endorse Vision Baptist Missions publicly?
- Under what circumstances would Vision Baptist Church ever consider discontinuing its ministry partnership with Vision Baptist Missions?
- If any of the VBM or VBC leaders have been found to be acting in ways that are biblically disqualifying, will they be required to step down or be removed from their public ministry and leadership positions by their church?
Click here to read the VBM president's (Jeff Bush) first recorded response to this website dated December 2, 2022.
Click here to read what Jeff Bush and Travis Snode believe to be the solution and problems with VBM (structural changes) originally posted on December 19, 2022.
Click here to read what Jeff Bush sent only to the VBM missionaries as a statement of VBM's relationship with Austin Gardner which was originally sent on December 20, 2022.
Please note that VBM Executive Directors have already begun attempting to silence multiple victims secretly pressuring them to remove their testimonies as well as covertly attempting to delete pages from this website.
Click here for the full list of the current VBM missionaries.
For others who want to share their own stories to bring awareness and accountability, please consider going to the Survivors of Austin Gardner page--which is not affiliated with this website--or feel free to contact this email [VBMexposed@protonmail.com]. Otherwise, you can attempt to create your own profile and submit a request directly through this website.
If you prefer to remain anonymous but still want to share your story, you’re welcome to do so here.
This is far from complete, and some pages could be greatly improved. Thank you for your patience as there are still many documents, exhibits, and testimonies that have already come in that still need to be uploaded.
- Initial video testimony and accusations by Becky E. released August 2021
- VBM's Timeline, Public Statements, and Investigative Report
- Philip's Timeline and Exposing VBM's Scandal
- VBC's Public Statements
- Austin's public video defense
- Other testimonies collected by Survivors of Austin Gardner
- Becky's response and open letter to VBC and VBM
- The full list of the current VBM missionaries