The Association of Related Churches (ARC) is facing criticism for claiming that payments to ARC from its member churches are voluntary.
ARC is one of the largest church planting organizations in North America.
In an interview in October 2021 with The Roys Report, ARC President Greg Surratt denied a report that a former ARC Church in Florida was forced to pay ARC 2 percent of its tithes.
“There is no legal agreement that ARC gets 2 percent ...” Surratt stated in the interview. “Once (an ARC church) is planted, it’s its own church. And they are encouraged, if they want to, to give toward planting new churches. But there is no legal, you know, whatever on that.
“I can say that churches choose to give, you know, whatever they want to, towards church planting with ARC,” he said.
However, The Roys Report found two contracts between ARC member churches and ARC, which showed that ARC gave each church an initial loan between $30,000 and $70,000 to launch, according to the two contracts – one from 2013 and another from 2019.
Both contracts stated that the church must pay ARC 10 percent of its tithes and offerings until the loan is repaid.
The contract then said that after the loan is repaid, the church must “send an on-going amount of 2 percent income of monthly tithes/offerings to ARC for future church plants.”
The 2013 contract referred to the payments as a “membership fee.”
The 2019 contract said ARC would have “first rights to the existing assets of the church” if the church was unable to pay the balance of their ARC investment.
Any “sponsoring church,” which acts as a co-signer on the loan for the church plant, will also “be obligated” to repay the money, the contract says.
Surratt did not respond to requests for comment from The Roys Report.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/RobertCrum
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.