OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Senior Pastor Grant Pankratz has resigned from his position at Church of the Harvest after more than 2,000 people signed a petition calling for the church to close in light of numerous members’ stories of physical, mental, and sexual exploitation.
Church of the Harvest was founded in 1989 by Kirk and Nancy Pankratz. Their son, Grant Pankratz, was promoted to Senior Pastor in March of 2018.
Years ago, the church added a school, a camp and eventually a two-year program they call a college, where interns pay to come, learn and work.
Last week, a former intern sounded the alarm on Facebook.
There are 4,900 comments on the post, including hundreds of allegations of misconduct.
Grant Pankratz has been the lead pastor for two years.
However, according to church attendees, Pastor Grant has been absent from the stage for the past six months.
His father, founder Kirk Pankratz, has been preaching.
Kirk Pankratz addressed the allegations last weekend from the pulpit.
“I know, church family, over the last 72 hours there have been a lot of concerning and disturbing issues that have been posted on social media. We are very aware as we see that happening. I want you to know we are working with outside professionals that have already started working with us in our church,” said Kirk Pankratz.
KFOR was unable to confirm official roles for either Kirk or Grant Pankratz as the church did not return our calls, and the “Meet the Team” section of the church website has been taken down.
Leaders are now promising transparency and accountability.
On June 19, Kirk posted a letter on the church website announcing the resignation of his son, Grant.
As most of you are aware, this past week has been very trying in the life of our church. We have endured intense criticism.Pastor Kirk Pankratz
Throughout the history of our church there have been some challenging issues as well as staff and leadership problems that we have had to deal with. Yes, we have made some mistakes along the way and for that I am so deeply sorry.
For those of you who felt you were unheard or uncared for, I am greatly saddened that we failed to fully understand your pain or respond quickly enough or in the best possible manner. I am sorry.
This past week some individuals have gone on social media and posted some incredibly hurtful, unfair and simply untrue things about me, our family and our staff. Then a few former disgruntled employees and interns sent those complaints – some which were unfounded, unsubstantiated, and misleading to the local news media to report. This has resulted in some of our members and staff leaving.
We have begun investigating the allegations to see which issues are legitimate, which concerns are true and what needs to be addressed immediately. This takes time and a careful process is being followed as we have brought in outside experts to assist in this important task.
As of Friday, Grant has resigned from the church staff and tendered his resignation from the Board of Directors at Church of the Harvest.
I want you our church family to know, our heart’s desire has always been to serve the Lord, and to love people regardless of their problems, their status or their past. We are all sinners saved by His Grace.
I pray that during this time you will give us the grace to move forward, the patience to be thorough in our investigation and forgiveness in areas that we have failed.
I love this church and our community dearly and have poured my life into helping people find Jesus.
Thousands are calling for the church to shut their doors through a Change.org petition.
One victim tells KFOR she plans to file a civil lawsuit.
Edmond police and Oklahoma City police are both investigating the allegations after she filed a report this week.