Leaders at Saddleback Church have come out in defense of Andy Wood, the soon-to-be senior pastor of the church, after allegations were made against him of overbearing leadership.
Following Wood's annoucement as Rick Warren's successor, a former staffer at Echo Church, the church which he currently leads, made comments about Wood's leadership on social media.
But according to a statement by Saddleback Church sent to Religion News Service, Wood had already mentioned the allegations during his interview process and this lead to Saddleback asking Vanderbloemen Search Group to look into the case.
"Our elders have now received a preliminary second report from The Vanderbloemen Search Group, clearing Pastor Wood from all allegations,” a letter sent to the congregation read.
Vanderbloemen Search Group was given video footage, emails, text records aand other evidence gathered by Echo Church's own investigation into Wood's allegations. Echo's investigation it's in a standby after "they tried to reach out to the former staff member and have yet to receive communication back".
In a statement to Religion News Service, Wood said that Echo Church “would be happy for any current or former staff members to share their working experience at Echo with Vanderbloemen as a part of their investigatio," adding, “We want to do everything we can to help the truth about these allegations come to light.”
Wood is expected to oficially become Saddleback's new senior leader on 12th September.