Pastor of PAC asks about identity, demands, and settlement

Email Thread with Pastor Ryan Crowder who is one of the hand-picked members of the Pastoral Advisory Committee.

Pastor Ryan Crowder has since resigned from Vision Baptist Missions’ Pastoral Advisory Board in January 2023.

Reasons are unknown

Meet Ryan Crowder

The Email Thread

Ryan can be seen asking for the identity(s) of those behind this website, their demands, and the possibility of some kind of settlement.

You will notice a stark lack of ownership or determination to hold the VBM directors accountable.

Please note that the PAC still has no real authority or ability to keep the VBM president and directors accountable.

  1. Ryan Crowder: "Who is this?"

  2. Re: "Who is this?" on December 8, 2022 [In response to his original question, "Who is this?"]

    "Hi Bro Crowder,

    This is a concerned Christian that recently saw Jeff Bush’s response to the website posted online

    Also, I do not think VBM leadership has communicated to the pastors of the PAC how serious this issue is.

    Not only has 10’s of thousands of emails gone/going out but the website already has 45k views in a period of a week and there are messages coming in from pastors and people from around the country every day.

    I sincerely hope that Jeff Bush’s email is not indicative of the attitude in which the PAC views the testimonies and documentation collected on the website

    Sincerely, A Concerned Christian"

  3. Ryan Crowder on December 8, 2022: "Hi Concerned Christian,

The website is remarkable. Incredibly thought-out and I like the layout as well as the flow. I would like to take your concerns seriously, however, I don’t like to deal in mystery. I would like to know who I am talking to. The fact that you aren’t willing to share your name has me hesitating and proceeding with caution. The PAC is not influenced by VBM or any other entity in the counsel we provide. At the end of the day, we care about truth. We advise according to the Word and hold those accountable to the best of our ability.

Whoever you are, and I sincerely hope you tell me who you are, I am curious what resolves this for you all?

What would satisfy your group? What helps everyone move forward?

Is it VBM dissolves?

Is it those listed on the site quit the ministry?

Is it a public recognition and apology?

Can we get everyone in a room? On a Zoom call? To deal with all this?

If truly repentant of these things exposed, is forgiveness available?

How do you all move forward?

Sincere question


Bro Crowder"

4. Response to Ryan on December 12, 2022:

Hi Ryan,

It is clearly understood that the PAC has no real ability to keep the VBM president and executive directors accountable without a true Board of Directors in place for over a year. 

However, I would like to address your 3 main questions:

  1. Who are you talking to? - For obvious reasons, I choose to be identified as a Concerned Christian. There are many concerned Christians who also feel the same way I do.
  2. What are the demands? - Nothing, just read the website and do what you believe is right. Why is it that you seem to be more focused on the messenger or method of delivery rather than the message which quite honestly is much more important?
  3. What helps those behind the website “move forward”? - This question presupposes that something is needed in order for us to be appeased, happy, or to take down the website. The website is not in response to feeling personally wronged or grieved. It is clearly stated on the home landing page that the website is for awareness and accountability. It is also not coming down. 

Perhaps you and the pastors on the PAC could help the president Jeff Bush (and the Executive Directors) understand the gravity of the situation so that he might actually care enough to read the testimonies of those who have been abused by VBM leadership on the website which already has about 50k views in less than 2 weeks. 

Based upon his private response to a pastor regarding the website, Jeff makes it appear as though he has not deemed the website or the many testimonies of abuse and corruption important enough to even merit his reading the home landing page. -

Ignoring the website, hoping it will just go away, or sweeping multiple testimonies under the rug may not be his best course of action. Over 25k churches/supporters [including all churches in the IFBMT database] will be getting multiple emails about the website.

If I may, please allow me to provide you with some questions for your consideration that many other concerned Christians are asking:

  1. Questions about Austin Gardner: Since Austin Gardner was disqualified and deemed unfit for ministry by the Vision Baptist Church special committee and then subsequently ran from the church discipline process...

    • Why would Jeff Bush offer Austin Gardner an office at VBM?
    • 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?
  2. 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 does VBM still not have a Board of Directors in place to hold the president and executive directors accountable for their actions?
    • 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 have 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?

Lastly, here is one of my own personal questions:

If everything summarized on the home page is true, what do you think should be done with Vision Baptist Missions?

Thank you for taking the time to seriously consider my response. 


A Concerned Christian"

5. Ryan's reply on December 12, 2022:

  1. For obvious reasons, name them (the many concerned Christians) and yourself.  You have the names and emails of pastors and whoever else. Is there a petition that has been signed by those affected that I have missed?  This cover of “Concerned Christian” is not working for me.  I realize that doesn’t matter to you but nonetheless as a person who deals with people, I’d like to know who I’m dealing with.  Does your name discredit you?  A brother or sister in Christ that won’t share their name with a brother in Christ is concerning.  Are we not part of the same family?  Why are you choosing to respond this way?  I honestly don’t know the obvious reasons so spell those out for me if you don’t mind.
  2. My decisions aren’t swayed by my emotions.  I choose to strive to do what is biblical, instead of what I believe is right.  Of course what is right to me should always be what is biblical, but in consideration of the natural inclination of sin and self, the direction must always be through the Bible.  I got no problem with your method.  You could purchase a prime time slot on the main stations of television to broadcast this thing beyond a website and email or have a Netflix documentary made on it.  But yes I would focus on the messenger, because that matters.  I can check out the JWs and the LDS folks website but I know their messenger so I don’t go there to get help or updates on world events nor do I believe they have the Gospel in mind as they labor.  Trust should matter, so until I know the messenger why should I trust their message.
  3. Got zero issues with awareness and accountability.  More of that is needed in our society from the top all the way down to the bottom.  I was just curious as this stuff just keeps coming.  We have personally seen none of what’s described in the lives of these people.  So the portrayal on the site may have at one time been true and validated by witnesses but today is not seen.  So if they were that way in their teaching and behavior, they no longer present that as far as we can see.  Leave the website up til Jesus comes, makes no difference to me.  I was asking about moving past this time of VBM expose to the world.  I would understand if the behavior continued.  What is written isn’t who they are now, so if grace has come and these men are sorry and repentant and are trying to move on by sending and training missionaries; will there ever be a page or tab added to the site that says it's all good now.  VBM is back on track and worthy of support?  

Is there a situation where the VBM exposers say VBM was once like this but not any more? Where you say “their house is in order” and they can be trusted again?  

Kinda like when a bad pastor leaves a church and the church gets a good one.  They have to work on their name in the community.  That was once a church you would not recommend due to the chaos and poor leadership that was once there but now things are in order and its a great place. We don’t bury that history.  It’s part of the story.  But it should be looked at with fear and great reverence so that it doesn’t ever get back to that situation again.  

I’m not that intelligent as to have presupposed agendas behind my questions so thanks for thinking far past my questions than me.  I’m simply trying in my own way to be helpful to both sides to bring about whatever is needed for the sake of the Gospel moving forward.

With the understanding of my responses being twisted or misunderstood, I’m a little hesitate to respond to anything below your attempt to address my 3 main questions…. I will attempt so at a later time as I read carefully and pray.  Several concerning things that you said and I don’t want to read to much into what seems to stand out to me.  

But I do appreciate your time in responding 



Meet Ryan Crowder

The Email Thread