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Executive pastor of Greenville megachurch arrested in Tennessee

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 1:36 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The executive pastor of a Greenville megachurch has been arrested in Tennessee on theft charges.

Jail records show that Pastor Jake Moore was an inmate at the Anderson County, Tennessee Jail.

The 37-year-old Greenville man was arrested Wednesday afternoon by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on a charge of theft between $10,000 and $60,000.

Moore has since been released on a $10,000 bond.

Moore is the executive pastor of the Ignite Church off Fire Tower Road, according to their web site. He is one of ten pastors listed for the church.

He told WITN via email that he was shocked to learn of the allegation “which relates to a disagreement with the leadership of a church in Clinton, TN with which I was previously employed.”

Ignite Church is off of Fire Tower Road in Greenville.
Ignite Church is off of Fire Tower Road in Greenville.(WITN)

He came to Greenville in January of 2020, the church said in his online biography.

An online profile says Moore was lead pastor of Milestone Church in Clinton from June 2016 to January 2020.

In a letter to church members, Ignite said a week after Moore began his new job, his former church contacted Ignite’s leadership, telling them after reviewing records that Moore mismanaged church funds. Ignite said it asked the Tennessee church for documentation, but said they never heard anything more from them.

Ignite says while they believe Moore is innocent of the charge and will be vindicated, they have removed his ability to make any financial expenditures or transactions with church funds.

The Clinton Police Department is handling the investigation into the theft.

PASTOR JAKE MOORE STATEMENT

“I was shocked to learn of this allegation which relates to a disagreement with the leadership of a church in Clinton, TN with which I was previously employed. I took immediate steps to return to Tennessee and address it. I am not guilty of this single charge, am retaining legal counsel in Tennessee, and intend to vigorously defend myself. I am very grateful for the support of the leadership of Ignite Church and look forward to continuing to serve its members and this community.”

IGNITE LETTER TO CHURCH MEMBERS

Ignite Church family we are writing to you regarding an important matter that has come to our attention.

As you know, Executive Pastor of Ignite, Jake Moore, is a valued and loved member of our church family. He and his family are such a blessing to our staff, our partners, and our church as a whole. Prior to hiring Pastor Jake, we engaged in an extensive interview and vetting process, as well as a thorough background check. Throughout that process, which included communication with his prior employers and references, everything came back clean.

After completing our background process, Ignite Church officially hired Pastor Jake in January of 2020. In his first week of employment at Ignite, his prior employer, a church in Tennessee reached out to Ignite leadership. After reviewing their financial records his previous employer alleged that Pastor Jake mismanaged funds from their church. Believing the best in this new member of our staff Pastor Jason asked that church for documentation or evidence to substantiate their claims. The prior church did not provide Pastor Jason with any such documentation, and they did not thereafter contact or otherwise follow up with him or Ignite Church. Pastor Jason discussed this matter in detail with Pastor Jake. Pastor Jake specifically denied engaging in any wrongdoing. He also spoke with his previous coworkers and everyone believed the matter was resolved.

Unfortunately, very recently Pastor Jake was charged with larceny in Tennessee. We do not know specifically what the charges relate to, but we believe they relate to the allegations from the prior church in Tennessee. In light of these charges, Pastor Jake voluntarily surrendered himself to the authorities in Tennessee. Pastor Jake was released on bond shortly after he voluntarily surrendered to the authorities in Tennessee.

We continue to believe the best for Pastor Jake in this matter, believing that he is innocent and will be vindicated. However, we have taken several precautionary measures, simply due to the nature of the charges against Pastor Jake, not because we believe there to be guilt or wrongdoing. We have removed Pastor Jake’s ability to make any financial expenditures or transactions of any amount with the church funds and we have also implemented further accountability structures surrounding Pastor Jake’s responsibilities with the church.

While this is difficult news to deliver, we believe Pastor Jake is a man of integrity and honor, and we are committed to support him and his family throughout this process.

If we receive any new information or evidence regarding the charges against Pastor Jake, or information which changes our view of his character, we will promptly update you. While we love Pastor Jake, if we receive concerning evidence regarding the charges against him, we will not hesitate to take further action relating to his employment with the church, as our primary goal is to love and protect the church.

Please be in prayer for Pastor Jake and his family, and all those involved in this matter.

In Christ,

The Ignite Executive Team

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