Micahn Carter
Associate pastor Micahn Carter and his wife, April, have resigned from Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama following allegations against the pastor. (Photo: Church of the Highlands / Screengrab)

Megachurch Pastor Resigns Amid Accusations He Raped His Assistant in 2019

By Sarah Einselen

A pastor accused of raping his former secretary has resigned from an Alabama megachurch after the woman went public with her story.

Micahn Carter and his wife, April, resigned from Church of the Highlands in Birmingham “recently,” local media reported today. He had joined Church of the Highlands for “ministerial restoration” in 2019 after resigning from another megachurch, Together Church in Yakima, Washington. The reason for his resignation from Together Church wasn’t made public at the time.

“In 2019, Micahn Carter’s Pastoral Overseers from Washington state asked Church of the Highlands to assist them in directing a ministerial restoration process for him,” a Church of the Highlands statement published by AL.com said. “Highlands agreed to do so, and since then we have been working with Micahn and his family.

“Recently, Highlands received correspondence raising new allegations about events that occurred over two years ago in Washington state. When we shared this information with the Carters, they resigned from their positions on staff to work through these issues themselves. Highlands is no longer involved in the restoration process.”

A former secretary at Together Church, Mary Jones, published a blog post July 21 alleging the church’s pastor had made sexual advances toward her, then raped her, in 2019. She resigned, and the pastor confessed to “an affair” days after the alleged rape, Jones wrote. AL.com and others identified the pastor as Micahn Carter.

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An email to Church of the Highlands staff leaked to Do Better Church, an Instagram account run by church abuse survivors, showed the church asked staffers not to “engage in the online conversation” and to direct questions about Carter’s resignation to the church’s senior leaders instead.

Carter was introduced as the speaker at a July 2020 Church of the Highlands service and described as having been on staff for 13 months. Neither his resignation nor alleged misconduct at Together Church were mentioned.

This wasn’t the first time Church of the Highlands has begun a restoration process for a pastor accused of sexual misconduct.

Dino Rizzo joined the Alabama megachurch’s in 2013, a year after resigning from another megachurch, Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, over an inappropriate relationship. AL.com reported at the time that Church of the Highlands agreed to bring him on for a year of supervised ministry under senior pastor Chris Hodges before full restoration to ministry.

Rizzo is now part of the church’s senior pastor leadership team and executive director of the Association of Related Churches, which he helped found.

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.

 
 
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27 thoughts on “Megachurch Pastor Resigns Amid Accusations He Raped His Assistant in 2019”

  1. I wonder if a factor at play here is the way we’ve adulated the world in annointing our ministers as ‘leaders’ and neglecting the biblical language of ‘minister’. Even biblical words such as overseer, pastor, administrator, place the minister in a congregation of mutually serving brothers and sisters. The worldly idea of ‘leader’ plays into the pandering to pride of a made up aristocracy. It has to stop. Our leader is Christ, whom we all follow and brothers and sisters.

  2. “And when you go into the cities beware the spirit of sexuality”, said Jesus to His disciples NEVER.

    What this wolf should have is a fitting for a prison jumpsuit. And why do churches keep sending known wolves off to wolf reform school and restore them, still wolves, to prey, not pray?

    1. From the still at the top, the clothing and pose come across as “Aw-Shucks Casual Kind of Guy”.

      Looks more like a stand-up comic onstage than anything else.

      And quit calling these guys “Wolves”; find another, better descriptor.
      Wolves have more class than that.

  3. Despicable sin all brushed under the carpet by the Yakima team while sending the rapist to be “restored”. Apparently neither church is aware that scripture is clear that pastors and elders are to be “above reproach”, just for starters.

    Micahn Carter should be in prison with a sex offender status yet they secretly sent him off for a year of supervised ministry before full restoration?? Wickedness abounds in both churches!

    Scripturally Micahn Carter lost his right to ever preach again at the first abuse. Such arrogance of church leadership in both places – what other cover-ups have they helped with?

    I pray now for Mary Jone’s healing and her courage to expose brings his other victims forward because it’s highly unlikely she’s Micahn Carter’s first victim.

  4. The cover up is extreme.

    Together Church in Yakima seems to have vanished without a trace — to protect those with power, of course.

    If Together Church was one of the largest multi-site churches in eastern washington, what happened to all the people?

      1. I agree, it is odd, but probably pretty common actually… lots of churches for various reasons, choose to hide what they truly are… (eg Southern Baptist affiliates that try to hide that with, names like “Together” etc)
        My unscientific observation, but it seems most churches in the mega-churchy, charismatic or independent bucket engage in this kind of “marketing”, in order to start and maintain the business… I doubt any consciences prickle a bit anymore because it’s so acceptable… (connected to american evangelicalism’s #1 doctrine… the end justifies the mean; in this case the goal of making a numbers blessed mega-church justifies anti-transparency, evasion and cover-up)

      2. From what I can tell online, Together Church recently rebranded as Champions Centre Church.
        Once again, ChEKA rebrands as OGPU which rebrands as NKVD which rebrands as KGB which rebrands as FSB…

    1. CarlyJo Edwards

      I am a former member of Together Church. And what happened was largely covered up and not publicly disclosed to most of us. Most of the congregation continues to attend the church service that’s now hosted in the same building. They just changed the name of the church, to Champion Center, and the Pastor isn’t local anymore. His sermons are streamed live across the many huge television screens that line the front of room from whatever location he is actually at. I have since quit attending this church. It is incredibly sad because although Mican and his ended up being completely fake and predatory, the members of the church by and large are fantastic people that are changing their lives for the better and genuinely devoting their lives to Christ where that never felt like an option before. I greatly disliked the hugeness and impersonality of the church though, and have since then moved to a much smaller church that can actually remember my name when they talk to me. My boyfriend never liked Together Church though, stating that the whole thing seemed and felt like a cult and correctly predicting that Mican Carter and his family were “hiding something horrible”. Since he has an intuition that is eerily spot on most of the time, we decided then and there to look for a Church that better suited us.

      1. Carlyjo,

        “My boyfriend never liked Together Church though, stating that the whole thing seemed and felt like a cult”

        can you describe what aspects were like a cult?

        1. Delinda Sowder

          Scottie Day,
          I can answer that question you directed at CarlyJo, if I may?
          We were members of that church from 2017-2019, it was 100% a cult – why?
          Well…..
          1. No one was allowed to question Micahn, or the staff, ever. If they say differently they are lying – as we were in Leadership and their Leadership school.
          2. We did so and we were shunned and lied about by our Campus Pastor.

          I’ve always read in the past “If you wanna know if you’re in a cult, leave and then watch how they treat you.”

          We saw how they treated others upon leaving but I never believed they would do the same to us – I was naive in my Christianity as we still consider ourselves baby Christians…which I know are the easy ones to prey on.

          I can also say, I wish this would have never happened to anyone but we are so thankful we are gone from that place as now we are more healthy in our minds and our marriage. We have time to have lives now…and it feels pretty amazing breaking away from such a place.

          I know what the Bible says about holding preachers/pastoral staff to a higher standard and I’m a firm believer in God having the final say and final justice.

          Wether he is guilty or not, is not for us to decide (me and my family) we want to support and love Mary and then pray for Micahn to repent and tell the truth.

          We don’t condemn him as it’s not our place – I want to make that clear….I hope I’m conveying that. Mary matters to us & we just continue to pray for him.

  5. This is just a case of a brood of vipers helping other snakes to get back in the business of devouring the sheep. There is nothing new in this at all. God complained about this to the prophet many millennia ago. And it still goes on wherever there are narcissists addicted to living as emotional vampires sucking the life force out of others.

    ““What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD. Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them.” Jer. 23:1

    God has judgment reserved for these snakes. It will be poured out upon them. It is only a matter of time, not if…

  6. Forgiveness and restoration is a Christian virtue and expected to be practiced by believers. What I don’t understand is the push to put somebody back into vocational ministry after huge moral failures, we are not required to do that.

  7. I do not understand why churches engage in “ministerial restoration” projects for people who by their actions have disqualified themselves from ministry.

    He admitted adultery. However, if you read the victim’s blog post she states that the “pastor” told her she had a “spirit of sexuality” around her. Evidently she needed to own the role she played in her own victimization.

    Her allegations, if true, mean felonies were committed, and a predator is still free to victimize again. While God forgives, He doesn’t always protect us from the consequences of our sin, nor should He. Hopefully, this man truly repents and is willing to face whatever consequences might arise from his actions. Hopefully he never assumes the office of pastor again.

    1. Shawnele Surplus

      Because a rapist told his victim that it was her fault – that she had a “spirit of sexuality” – does not mean it’s true. It does not mean that she needs to “own the role she played in her own victimization”.

      While it is always possible that a woman sends a vibe that indicates interest, from this woman’s own story it is clear that she did not encourage his advances. AND, even if she did indicate an interest, he was married. And a pastor. And apparently old enough to be this woman’s father. ALL reasons to keep it in his pants. ALSO, if she did have this “spirit of sexuality,” why didn’t his wife or anyone else notice it? Why did he allow himself to be alone with her?

      Anyway, I appreciate most of your comment. I just wanted to point out that we shouldn’t accept a rapists victim-blaming excuses as fact.

      1. @ Shawnele Surplus

        My attempt at sarcasm failed. She shouldn’t have to accept anything that he did. His invoking a so called “spirit of sexuality” sounds like something Benny Hinn invented. Anyway, my apologies for not being clear.

        1. Shawnele Surplus

          Ahh.. Sorry for missing that!

          Sadly, there are many that would legitimately claim what you sarcastically poked fun at. I apologize for mistaking you for one of them!

          1. I understand. In my head it was sarcasm. Unfortunately it didn’t come out that way when I posted it.

      2. .. a rapist told his victim that it was her fault – that she had a “spirit of sexuality”…

        “Spirit (i.e. DEMON) of Sexuality”? REALLY?

        That sounds like some sort of NAR/hyper-Charismatic Woo Woo. Like a Witchfinder-General of the Burning Times smelling out DEMONS and WITCHES in every closet and under every bed. Like they’re some sort of high-level Cleric or Mage in Live-action D&D. (Stick with pencil, paper, and funny dict like I did. It’s safer.)

        Anyone remember when “discernment” meant “seeing the reality beneath the surface appearance” instead of smelling out “DEMONS! DEMONS! DEMONS! SHEEKA-BOOM-BAH! BAM!”?

        And come to think of it, wasn’t the guy who wrote the Malleus Malefecarium (the Witchfinders’ handbook) really kinky about Demon/Witch Sex? Used to “interrogate” accused witches in juicy detail about their sex lives with the Devil? Like he had a “spirit of sexuality” himself?

    2. Always ready to RLMAO at churches and the sheep who support rapist and swindlers in the guise of “forgiveness”. Step away from the church and do the exact same thing at a non church function. It’s called A CRIME. They need to be arrested and have a trial and if found guilty go to jail. To all you wonderful godly forgiving people who make excuses for the king and his or her knights. I’m sorry I meant pastor and staff you are the creators of these monsters and don’t kid yourselves. Your hands are as dirty as there’s.

      1. “There are two kinds of injustice; the first is found in those who do an injury, the second in those who fail to protect another from injury when they can.” (Roman)
        C.S. Lewis
        — The Abolition of Man

  8. One thing about these type of ministries and churches. You can commit all sorts of sins and be restored to the upper echelon of church leadership. You could be caught having relations with a goat behind a barn and you would be placed back in leadership a year later. There are only two sins they will not forgive. One would be to disagree with their “theology???” The other would be to question their leadership.

  9. “Recently, Highlands received correspondence raising new allegations about events that occurred over two years ago in Washington state. When we shared this information with the Carters, they resigned from their positions on staff to work through these issues themselves.”

    Even assuming the new church thought it was an affair, not rape, why would they bring such a one on staff? Shouldn’t being on staff happen after any process is completed?

    I hope I’m mistaken, but this resignation sure echoes that of Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill. Hopefully, Mr. Carter’s working out these issues himself doesn’t mean starting his own church.

  10. This has got to stop! It is idiotic to think that a “fallen” pastors can be put back into a pastoral position to be restored. They are disqualified from being a pastor as per 1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1. If they are going to be “restored” they need to get out of ministry, get a job and become accountable to individuals and “restoration” is a long, long process. I am absolutely convinced from Scripture that this “restoration” will not be to official pastoral ministry. One has permanently disqualified himself from any official pastoral ministry as per biblical qualifications. It doesn’t mean they can’t have a ministry, but not official pastoral ministry. They have betrayed a sacred trust.

    Consider the absurdity of an individual who was embezzling at one bank and is fired. So the bank president calls up another bank president and asks him/her to help restore the embezzler by putting him back into a position handling money. I am personally aware of an individual who worked in a bank and took money from an account. He came clean and was fired. He received Probation Before Judgment. He is prohibited from working in the banking industry for the remainder of his life. By God’s grace, he has been restored and now holds a very good position in another industry.

  11. Most of these megachurches are all show. They reek of showmanship. They are personality led. I think we need to have multiple small churches where people are accountable to one another, have a heart after God, pray, seek the lost and deny themselves. We need to get back to the simplicity and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Stop the show! The Lord is at hand.

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