Joel Peeples UPdate: Jericho City of Praise locks him out (video)

UPDATE 4/18/2012:  Pastor Joel Peeples was fired from jericho (video)

I posted last week that a Judge ruled that pastor Joel Peeples had no financial control over the Mega Church, Jericho City of Praise Finances.   Now it appears that the Board is trying to take control over the Church by alledgedly locking out the Pastor this week. This situation has many members really upset and calling for the resignations of board members

While the Board is denying locking out Asst. Pastor Joel Peeples, stating they had some problems with theft of video equipment and had to change the locks, the audio/visual manager said he is unaware of any theft and many members believe that the Board is trying to push Pastor Joel Peeples out of the church his mother, Betty Peeples, served as shepherd for years.


Now after watching that video, it is clear to me that all is definitely not well in the City of Praise.  This does pose a good question though, should nepotism play a part in a determining a Pastor’s successor?  Meaning, should a Pastor’s son or daughter automatically be expected to assume the  leadership role as pastor when their parent decides to retire or transitions?

In the City of Jericho’s case however, it appears that Pastor Betty Peeples did in fact want the Board to have control over the church’s future and not her son.  The Afro Newspaper is reporting:

The two sides made an attempt at mediation, but that effort failed exposing Peebles to rumors about his mother’s confidence (or lack thereof) in his ability to lead, as well as questions about his personal finances after foreclosure proceedings began on a property he owned in Baltimore.

Peebles contended the church rightfully belonged to him, but his mother left the church’s finances to the board of trustees in a secret will.

The AFRO has obtained a copy of that will in which Betty Peebles outlined the steps her son needed to take to receive any portion of his trust.

“Joel must place himself under the spiritual tutelage of the Pastor of the Spirit of Faith Christian Center, currently Dr. Michael A. Freeman, at the sanctuary location determined by the Pastor, for not less than one year or more than two years as determined by the Pastor (which may be extended if additional time is required to pursue a doctorial divinity degree.”

My take on this article is:  Joel, your Mama said ” you are not ready” to you from her grave and gives you clear instructions on what to do to prepare yourself to lead the people of Jericho.  You are not entitled to be the Pastor of Jericho City Cause your daddy and Mama were pastors of Jericho City of Praise.  Humble yourself, get your education and then seek to lead the people in the Jericho City of Praise.

This story does pose a good question though, should nepotism play a part in a determining a Pastor’s successor?  Meaning, should a Pastor’s son or daughter automatically be expected to assume the  leadership role as pastor when their parent decides to retire or transitions?

I would love to know your take on this situation post your comments.



  • Apostle Otis Walker

    Hello church lady. It seems that there are a few thinngs that the church dont realize when it come to such matters. 1.) the church/ or building, Ministry should be a seperate situation from the personal estate. 2.) the pastor cannot not name the successor, it should be done PRAYERFULLY, by the board of trustewes or deacons, hopefully they are Spirit lead board members like the deacons in the Acts of the, really the conditions maybe valid for his personal inheritance ,but the church is not his inherritance(Joel Peebles,) it belongs to the people ,but the pastor should not be voted in by a congregational government. many ministries operate like this but its an error , according to the principles of church government Remember god wanted to his people to be under a theocratic Government but the peopl insist on a man . When man governs out side of divinity the people aare ruled by emotions , therefore , this is why we shoudnt have members vote .Leaders are to prayerfully installed or consecrated the pastor. Church lady keep in touch with me as you follow its progress.Blessings! Apostle Walker,

    • Thanks so much for the insight Apostle, and yes I will call on you more often as we follow this saga. It is good to know that we have Apostles to lead and guide us on the forum.

      Thanks again,

  • Elaine

    Apostle Betty told the congregation that she had prepared Pastor Joel to take over the ministry. She frequently said that success without a successor is failure. Pastor Joel has preached to thousands every Sunday for the past 20 years. Although he was Assistant Pastor his 8am service was larger than Apostle’s 11am service. Pastor Joel is a humble man. He is well educated with a B.A. in editorial journalism, a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a Master’s in Divinity. Apostle had confidence in his ability to manage business in that she nominated him to be head of the Jericho Residences Board of Directors. This board has authority over assets in excess of $50 million which exceed the budget of all other Jericho properties. This confirms that Apostle had no issues with Pastor Joel’s business ability.

  • Elaine

    Jericho is a nonprofit. Betty Peebles did not own it. She could not give the church to anyone. Her will mentions nothing about the church. Only her personal assets. This case has always been about the long standing true board of trustees of which Pastor Joel Peebles is a part of vs six employees who claim they were put in place by Apostle Betty before she died. Their lawyer and public relations person are trying to muddy the waters. They have spoken to the press and have put their spin on things. Pastor Joel has not spoken to the press. The Afro took their story from the Washington Post which has inaccurate information. The initial argument was that Apostle only wanted her son to preach and lead the congregation spiritually not handle the business aspects. After the ruling they changed the locks with police present and did not give him a key. They want him out so they can control the churches’ assets worth over $136 million.
    This board consists of 6 employees.
    – The church secretary (co-chief operating officer- no degree)
    -The grounds/facilities manager (co-chief operating officer -no degree)
    -The bookkeeper-Chief financial officer (obtained her GED at 35 years old. and testified under oath that she didn’t know how much money is in the bank and she doesn’t file reports. She only “count the money.”)
    -They collect the money, count the money, and write Checks on the account. As the Board of Trustees that oversee themselves as employees. They gave themselves $20,000 raises shortly after Apostle died. They all drive luxury cars.
    -Apostle Betty had cancer that had spread all over her body. She had a stroke and other medical problems. She was a very sick lady. She had a tracheotomy and suffered during her last days. She was both physically and mentally incapacitated. These employees say they were put in place during the last months of Apostles life. NONE OF HER FAMILY OR RELATIVES WAS PRESENT WHEN THESE CHANGES TOOK PLACE. Apostle was outspoken. Nothing was said to anybody. They lay in wait and surfaced after she died. THIS IS A CHURCH MATTER. IT NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN COURT. The members have spoken WE VOTED THEM OUT ON SUNDAY. If they do not release control of the churches assets we will file a MEMBER’S ACTION SUIT AGAINST EACH OF THEM INDIVIDUALLY for breach of their fiduciary duty to the members of this non-profit and request that the court immediately remove them. This fight is between the 6 employees and the members of Jericho. Pray for the Jericho family as we fight spiritual wickedness in high places.

    • churchlady

      I will defiinitely keep you in prayer and post your side of the issue at hand. My
      Hand. My Moma always said there r two sides to every story

  • Edward Jones

    I’m sensing some bad blood brewing from this. Confusing as it may be, one thing is clear to me: they clearly want Joel Peebles out of the picture, and call it needless worrying, but I sense a bigger conflict in the wake of all this.

    I have much respect for Pastor Joel, and sense he has the heart for the role. Whether I feel that he should lead isn’t my call to make, but still, something wreaks about all of this… and I don’t like it.

  • Uri-Civ

    This story can be a bit confusing to some however, The Apostle’s intention indeed was to pass on the church to Pastor Joel. Now about whether or not Nepotism should play a part in choosing leadership, I’d say no if the person inheriting it isn’t at all ready, however this is not the case for Pastor Joel. He’s been representing great leadership for a long while now.

    • churchlady

      Thanks so much for providing us with some insight to what is going on. And, yes, this story is a bit confusing to say the least.

      Thanks again for posting!

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