Loot for Leaven – FiveTwo’s Inglorious Propagation

yeast MasterQuestion: What does $304,454 buy you these days? In one particular case, that amount facilitated 365 days worth of heterodox leaven.

It’s a fact that tax exempt organizations file tax documents that are open to public inspection. Therefore, open source inquiries can easily yield various financials associated with LCMS organizations. Such is the case for the FiveTwo Network in Katy, TX. A simple search yielded FiveTwo’s IRS Form 990 from 2013. Through contributions, grants, and revenue streams the FiveTwo Network grossed $304,454 in 2013. Additionally, FiveTwo’s expenditures for the same year were $280,544. Here’s a snapshot of the financials:


$139,549 from contributions and grants
$164,405 from Program Service Revenue
$85,154 from Wiki Conference Registration
$78,900 from Wiki Conference Sponsorships
$351 miscellaneous Wiki Conference revenue
$500 unspecified income
$304,454 Total Revenue

Expenses: Numerous – see Form 990 part IX for details. However, here are a few items:

$46,181 compensation of 4 “officers” associated with FiveTwo
$23,501 Travel
$77,698 Conferences, Conventions, Meetings
$36,083 Leadership and Development
$24,973 Programatic Catalyst
$16,325 Contract Services
Numerous additional expenditures….
$280,544 Total Expenditures

Why does any of this matter? All of this is important quite simply because the FiveTwo Network is a well-funded shadow synod within the LCMS that’s backed by the Texas District. Yet, FiveTwo openly acknowledges that they’re not bound by the borders of the Texas District. In fact, FiveTwo’s website clearly identifies twenty “Locals” that exist outside the ecclesiastical boundaries of the Texas District. Everyone in the LCMS needs to be aware of the momentum that this dangerous movement has.

While it’s virtually impossible to acquire exact amounts that the Texas District is allocating to the FiveTwo Network, one need to look no further than the Texas District’s website (Texas Partners in Mission – TPIM) to clearly see that Rev. Woolsey’s movement is supported as a Church Planting effort. Additionally, TPIM clearly indicates who has the final decision regarding resource allocation:

Q:  Who makes the decisions on how funds are used from Texas Partners in Mission?

A: The District President and the Board of Mission Administration make those decisions.

Much has already been stated about the numerous departures from Lutheran doctrine and practice that characterize the FiveTwo Network. However, one area requires additional scrutiny. The FiveTwo network utilizes a Board of Directors consisting of Rev. Bill Woolsey and six other members. One would think that a Church Planting initiative that’s backed and supported by the Lutheran Church (remember, a district is to function as the “synod in place”) would be distinctly Lutheran. Oddly, one of FiveTwo’s Board Members, Will Mancini, is not Lutheran at all, but he is a pastor. Pastor Will Mancini, a self-proclaimed “Vision Coach”, is a rising star in Church Growth Movement circles and he holds a key position on FiveTwo’s leadership roster. As one digs into Pastor Mancini’s theology it becomes apparent that his beliefs stray far from Lutheran doctrine. Here’s what their website says about Pastor Mancini:

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision and Create Movement.

Will’s style blends the best of three worlds: process thinking from the discipline of engineering, communications savvy as an ad agency executive, and practical theology as a pastoral leader. His education includes a ThM in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Penn State.

Additionally, here’s Pastor Mancini in his own words:

As referenced above, the title of one of Mancini’s books is, “Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement.” The foreword is by Max Lucado! The title alone should be cause for concern. (Published by Jossey-Bass; copyright by Will Mancini 2008)

The plot continues to thicken.  On Feb 22nd Rev. Woolsey made the following comment on his Facebook page:


Today I shared with CrossPoint that over the next few months I would be transitioning to full-time leadership of FiveTwo, allowing someone else to take over the role of sr leader of the ministry my family and I joined with seven families to start 18 years ago. We’ll still call CrossPoint home and I’ll occasionally help out as leadership desires, but going forward I am all-in leading FiveTwo, the network we launched 6 years ago. This will be an exciting leap of faith…but one I’m convinced needs to happen. We appreciate your prayers for us, for FiveTwo, and for CrossPoint, as it goes through a season of transition. More details to follow soon!  -Emphasis added

While much focus of late has been on the Matthew Becker case, we shouldn’t forget the many other areas of heterodoxy in our church body. FiveTwo continues to thrive and spread throughout the entire synod. Rev. Woolsey is now going to step away from his call at Crosspoint Community Church in order to focus his efforts exclusively on FiveTwo’s push into your neighborhood.  It also appears that the Texas District’s leadership has taken on the task of spreading false teaching to every other district within our church body.


Loot for Leaven – FiveTwo’s Inglorious Propagation — 12 Comments

  1. The video with the Mancini fellow could pass as an SNL parody. Just a word salad of bullsh!t buzzwords and methodological sophistry. He has been on “a journey”, what he means is that he’s lost his way in the forest and comforts himself with magical thinking (and getting those he has led into those wooda to buy in to his fantasy).

    His errors are far more pernicious than the blatant denials by snotty academics like Becker.

  2. The problem is, if you cannot remove an obvious cancer like Dr. Becker’s dissention, how can you guard against more insidious and subtle deviations like 5/2?

    And one other thing about this, I’ve heard people say things like “Well, God will still preserve His church no matter what.” That is true, but that’s not an excuse to tolerate gross deviation from confessional doctrine.

  3. Programatic Catalyst = the guy who pours gasoline on your vision casting fire (after having siphoned it from your car’s gas tank.)

  4. “Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity.” Are you kidding me? His business model, church growth jargon is just the opposite of “God-given clarity.” It is incoherent! What he speaks comes directly from the foolishness of man’s heart, not from God. However, if you talk to the 5-2, CG, TCN crowd they pat you on the head and sanctimoniously tell you, “You just don’t get it.” They feel they have discovered a superior model for the church and those who disagree just are not smart, hip or cool enough to get on board with them. Also, “His pastoral experience includes leadership development responsibilities at Clear Creek Community Church and Faithbridge UMC.” The Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions tell us to mark and avoid false teachers and to reject and condemn false teaching. By being ambiguous in its confession, 5-2 is whole heartedly embracing Unionism as well as spreading false doctrine.

  5. Upon further review, this makes me angry. My barely 300-member LCMS church helps to support 13 (and growing) confessional Lutheran “church plants” in Ukraine. Recently, these churches, who are reaching the lost everyday, asked us for the grand sum of $5000. These funds went to repair the seminary (restore heat to the classrooms) and helped with the salaries of 2 pastors and 3 vicars. When I think what $24,973 could bring to the hurting people of Ukraine…

    Back in the day of the USSR breaking up, LCMS and Lutheran Church Canada divided up the countries of Eastern Europe. Ukraine went to LCC. Because of this, our mission efforts receive zero financial assistance from Synod or any related organizations, such as LWML. We are blocked from even applying.

    It’s okay. God has richly provided (and will continue to do so) through Lenten dinners and penny drives from the Sunday School kids.

  6. Q: Who makes the decisions on how funds are used from Texas Partners in Mission?
    A: The District President and the Board of Mission Administration make those decisions.

    So the District President supports this. The Board of Mission (LCMS Board of Mission?) supports this. Once again no oversight from Synod on doctrinal matters. Be prepared to hear about how wonderful the fivetwonetwork is at the next synodical convention and how much they have raised and cowo churches be planted, blah blah blah..

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