Let me first state that it is curious to me why the ministry pressures some employees to attend services and not others. I was given an inordinate amount of pressure and threatened with dismissal, even though I was attending church elsewhere. I questioned Frances as to why I would receive this pressure when clearly there were many in the ministry who were non Christians and did not attend church at all. I was told that it was a different situation as they did not attend church anywhere.
Plainly in the Swaggart’s eyes, it is better to be a non-Christian and not attend church anywhere, than to be a Christian and attend anotherchurch. The following article shows that this has been a historical pattern with this particualar ministry.( Mishel)
Advocate Reporter Greg Garland:
Family Christian Academy administrator J.R. Heisch says he was dismissed by evangelist Jimmy Swaggart because Heisch wouldn’t pressure teachers at the academy to attend worship services at the ministry. “He (Swaggart) told me he didn’t think I was supportive of the ministry,” Heisch said. “The main rub was that I just wasn’t getting the teachers out to the services.”
Officials at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries did not return calls seeking comment on Heisch’s account of his dismissal. Heisch said Swaggart fired him Thursday afternoon.
“I’m hoping by this (speaking out) that some of the pressure will be taken off the faculty,” Heisch said. “They have enough pressure just teaching the kids. Morale is about as low as it can get.”
Heisch headed the Family Christian Academy, which has 630 students enrolled from preschool through the 12th grade, for seven years. He came to Baton Rouge a year after the school began with preschool and kindergarten students.
Heisch said he started getting pressure from Swaggart‘s son, Donnie, late last year about some of the 36 academy teachers and 20 other academy staff failing to regularly attend worship services.
Heisch said the staff is expected to attend Wednesday evening and Sunday morning and evening services. They also are supposed to periodically attend nightly prayer meetings held by the Swaggarts, he said.
“They believe our teachers should set an example by attending,” Heisch said, adding that Donnie Swaggart has put “relentless pressure” on him to force teachers to attend services.
But Heisch said some teachers have felt uncomfortable attending services at the ministry since Swaggart‘s latest brush with scandal. Heisch said he would not pressure them to go.
Swaggart was discovered to have a prostitute in the car with him when he was stopped for a traffic violation in Indio, Calif., last October. He had picked up the woman shortly before he was pulled over by police.
“After Swaggart‘s moral failure in October, very few of the faculty and staff would attend Family Worship Center,” Heisch said. “Frances and Donnie Swaggart spend most of the service looking over the congregation noting who is not in attendance. Notes would be written to those people to be in the services.”
Heisch said many of the teachers attend services at other churches.
“I kept trying to convince Donnie that a good, growing, vibrant church school could still be a complement to the church whether teachers attended services (at Family Worship Center) or not,” Heisch said.
Heisch said he personally lost confidence in Swaggart after the evangelist’s second “moral failure” in October. He said, in any event, he was planning to leave when the school year ended.
“I was in hopes I could get the kids and the faculty through the end of the year,” Heisch said. “I was definitely leaving at the end of the year.”
Heisch said many faculty members have told him that they plan to leave Family Christian Academy when the school year ends. He said some parents have already enrolled their children in other schools.
Heisch said he enjoyed his seven years at Family Christian Academy, but said he believes Swaggart‘s ministry will continue to decline if changes are not made in the organization.
“If they continue doing what they are doing, I think it will continue to disintegrate,” Heisch said.
Heisch, who holds a master’s degree in education, said he and his family likely will move from Baton Rouge in the wake of his dismissal. He said he intends to seek other employment in the educational field.
Copyright 1992 Capital City Press, Baton Rouge, La.