Former staff, deacons, and members of a 2,000-member Texas megachurch associated with the Calvary Chapel movement are accusing the senior pastor there of lies, bullying, manipulation, blacklisting former members, and abuse of power.
The whistleblowers say Ron Hindt, senior pastor of Calvary Houston and member of a regional oversight team of the Calvary Chapel Association (CCA), was confronted numerous times in a Matthew 18 way. This involved going first to Hindt and then to others.
They add that many people have asked the church board and the CCA to hold Hindt accountable for his abusive leadership, but Hindt remains in both positions.
Meanwhile, 14 of Calvary Houston’s 17 paid staff and two missionary couples have resigned or were removed by Hindt in 2019 and 2020, according to former Calvary Houston board member Doug Hoffman. At least 25 deacons have also resigned, said former deacon Brian Fontenot.
The concerns and testimonies from the former staff, deacons, and members are captured in 220 pages of testimonies, emails, texts, and other documents obtained by The Roys Report. We also have been given 14 hours of secretly recorded meetings involving Hindt and former staff, deacons, and missionaries.
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Hindt’s son, Matt Hindt, told The Roys Report his father fired him for defying a “blacklist” of former members and staff that current staff can’t contact. Other former staff and deacons report that just “liking” an excommunicated member’s Facebook post prompts repercussions from Hindt or his wife, Yani Hindt.
Matt Hindt said his father secretly married Yani in 2014, months after Matt’s mother died, but lied to the church about it. Matt said his father and Don McClure—a CCA Leadership Council member and director of CCA’s Calvary Bible Institute—then enlisted Matt to perform a “publicity stunt” wedding to quell criticism.
The younger Hindt added that both his father and McClure covered up Matt’s own sexual sin. Matt has since repented of infidelity and been reconciled with his wife.
Ron and Yani Hindt did not return calls for comment about these and other accusations.
Recordings of several meetings from 2019 and 2020 show that Ron Hindt verbally attacked those who have opposed him. Hindt used terms like “divisive,” “avenger” “enemies of Christ,” “disloyal,” “utterly insubordinate,” “deceitful,” and immature “millennials”—though many of those who left were from older generations.
Hindt also attacked critics for changing their theology to “plurality of leadership” and other “dangerous” beliefs instead of the typical Calvary Chapel Moses model. This model calls for elders to support the work of the pastor, not criticize it.
In a recorded meeting on Jan. 19, 2020, with current church member Zach Davis, Hindt alleged his “whole board wanted to fire everybody on staff.”
Evidence supporting Hoffman’s claim is on a recording obtained by The Roys Report of an Aug. 4, 2019, meeting between Ron Hindt, his administrative pastor Frank Possert, and Hoffman.
Cameron Dorsey, the high school youth director whom Hoffman defended, said he’s told CCA members about his concerns regarding Hindt.
As recently as December 2020, church member Jill Norton reported Hindt to the CCA for “abuse of power.” She cited “a(n) unrepentant pattern of lying both to and about others . . . as well as abuse of power demonstrated by removing or firing those who disagree with him or seek to hold him accountable. . . .”
Rick Coburn, a Calvary Houston board member and a CCA leader in 2019, told The Roys Report that he considered the reports to be about “conflict,” not abuse. Coburn did not call for an investigation, but he said the CCA leadership knew about the situation.
Coburn retired a couple years ago and Hindt replaced him in regional CCA leadership.
Other Calvary Chapel pastors’ failure to publicly rebuke Hindt has been disappointing, said Matt Curran, who led the men’s ministry until he resigned in 2019.
“They just stayed out of the situation to protect their own positions,” Curran said.
One pastor, Calvary Chapel San Angelo Pastor Robert Bigouette, has spoken up. Bigouette told The Roys Report that Calvary Chapel isn’t a denomination, and the CCA doesn’t have the authority to remove pastors. But they are hiding wrongdoing, he said.
“If nothing else, at least do I Timothy 5:19, to openly rebuke and bring leaders into accountability,” Bigouette said. “Everybody’s trying to hide everything when the church is supposed to be completely open.”
Secrets, lies, and a “first exodus”
The unhealthy dynamics began shortly after Hindt’s first wife, Kym, died in May 2014, former members stated in written testimonies.
“I started to see a different side of him that I had never really seen before,” said Charlie Quiroz, one of the church’s original members and a pastor for 20 years at Calvary Houston.
Quiroz had counseled Yani Perez and her ex-husband, Jon Mough. He and other former members told The Roys Report they had concerns about Perez’s character. Harris County records show Perez was divorced twice.
About a month after Kym’s death, Ron started dating Perez, Matt Hindt and his wife, Tori, told The Roys Report. In early December, Matt and Tori said, they realized Perez was living with Ron.
According to a marriage certificate obtained by The Roys Report, Ron Hindt and Perez married Dec. 12, 2014, in Galveston County. But according to Matt Hindt, they kept their marriage secret.
Even Matt didn’t know about the December wedding until Pastor Sabino Medrano, a Calvary Houston missionary showed Matt the public records five years later, Matt wrote in a 2019 letter to Calvary Houston staff and board.
Ron and Yani’s relationship caused such a stir in the church, it led to the “first exodus” of people, former member Sandy Ryding described to The Roys Report. Ron Hindt seeming to “erase” Kym from the church didn’t help, both Quiroz and Tori Hindt said.
About 300 left the church then, Ron Hindt said in a recorded meeting on Nov. 26, 2019.
Ron Hindt and CCA leader Don McClure decided they could quell the criticism if they ordained Matt Hindt in time to officiate a wedding for Ron and Yani in February 2015, Matt Hindt explained in his 2019 letter. Matt Hindt called it a “publicity stunt to sway the people.”
Ron and Yani Hindt applied for a marriage license for the 2015 ceremony in nearby Harris County and had Matt Hindt sign the application. But county records show Ron and Yani never returned the form.
Matt Hindt said his father and McClure also counseled Matt to cover up his sin when Matt confessed to infidelity in March 2016. (After a separation and ongoing marriage counseling, Tori and Matt say they are in a healthy marriage.)
Matt said he initially tried to resign from Calvary Houston. But Ron Hindt insisted Matt take a short sabbatical instead. Matt said Ron Hindt, with Don McClure’s knowledge and input, crafted a deceptive statement for Matt to read to the staff.
“(The statement) was, ‘We have a lot going on right now,’” Matt Hindt said, and described a need “to focus on our family and our daughter’s health. But no mention of the sin or anything like that was brought up at all. They wanted very much to keep it covered.”
Don McClure did not return calls for comment.
In the following months, the church produced a “black list,” naming “enemies of Christ” staff weren’t allowed to speak to, Matt Hindt said. When Matt refused to comply, his father fired him for “being unsupportive of his leadership and disloyal to the orders he gave,” Matt said.
Ron Hindt has told staff in recordings obtained by The Roys Report that Matt is a “prodigal” son.
But Matt told The Roys Report that his father’s abusive behavior was not confined to church relationships. Matt said he also witnessed his father abuse his sister, Brittani, when they were kids.
“I’ve seen multiple times where he used his hands on her, he’d slap her, throw her to the ground, throw her onto a couch,” Matt Hindt told The Roys Report.
The Roys Report was not able to reach Brittani Hindt House for comment. House has a criminal record and Ron and Yani Hindt have adopted her children.
A missionary slandered and a second “exodus”
A second “exodus” from Calvary Houston came after Ron Hindt allegedly slandered longtime Calvary Houston pastor Dan Loaiza, who decided in 2016 to move to Scotland with his wife, Angela, to be missionaries.
Initially, Ron Hindt seemed supportive, Loaiza explained in a statement obtained by The Roys Report. But a “coldness” developed in the following months, apparently related to the Loaizas seeking support while Calvary Houston was raising money for a building project, Loaiza wrote.
Over the next few years, Hindt told multiple staff and church members that Loaiza had stolen from the church, according to pastors, deacons and members.
Hindt accused Loaiza in private meetings, former deacon Paul Ryding and his wife, Sandy, told The Roys Report. Former church member Lori Considine, who had visited the Loaizas in Scotland, wrote about a time Hindt accused Loaiza to her in a statement. Hindt also accused Loaiza to a group of pastors from other churches at a 2018 conference, said Bigouette, the Calvary San Angelo pastor.
In a recording of a meeting obtained by The Roys Report, missionary Sabino Medrano confronted Ron Hindt for telling him Loaiza had done “illegal activity that you could press charges against him.”
On the recording, Hindt admits making the allegation, but adds, “(T)hat wasn’t the main thing. I said, ‘If you wanted to, you could say he misappropriated funds, but I would never do that.’”
The accusation related to improvements made to Loaiza’s home so he could house students for Calvary’s School of Ministry. Hindt also had issues with how Loaiza submitted other expenses. These concerns are outlined in Loaiza’s statement.
Quiroz told The Roys Report that the board approved the housing expenses, and that all the other expenses Loaiza submitted had been settled.
Bigouette also investigated the matter. “Everything (Dan) did was with Ron’s approval,” he told The Roys Report.
In 2017, Hindt had the church take control of all Loaiza’s missionary financial support from individual donors, calling it “accountability” in a recorded meeting with former deacon Paul Ryding. Hindt told Ryding in the meeting that he wouldn’t reconcile until Loaiza was “totally broken.”
Hindt also obtained the list of Loaiza’s supporters in 2017 from Sandy Ryding, a board member of a nonprofit that funded some of Loaiza’s ministry.
Ryding told The Roys Report that Hindt had said Loaiza gave permission for her to turn over the list. But in his statement, Loaiza says he had not agreed to that and had told Hindt earlier that donor information was confidential.
Ryding also said that Hindt told her Loaiza had misappropriated funds and warned her not to associate with Loaiza’s ministry. Ryding said Hindt pressured her to resign from her nonprofit board, bringing up more than 30-year-old issues from her past, so she did. Without Ryding’s help, Loaiza said he had trouble getting funds from the nonprofit.
After obtaining the donor list, Hindt sent Loaiza’s supporters a letter saying the church “with a sad heart” was withdrawing support from Loaiza. The church had never financially supported their ministry, Loaiza said.
That letter caused the Loaizas to lose donors, Loaiza said in his statement—and Hindt then “blacklisted” the Loaizas.
“It felt like we lost our family,” Dan Loaiza told The Roys Report.
In May 2019, Calvary Houston missionary Sabino Medrano confronted Ron Hindt in a recorded meeting for slandering Loaiza, Matt Hindt, and other former staff. Medrano then resigned from his missionary role.
“I don’t want a sending church that operates in all these types of lies,” Medrano told Hindt.
Medrano declined to interview with The Roys Report.
On May 22, 2019, at the end of a heated board meeting, Hindt and Loaiza agreed to sign a letter stating Loaiza had done nothing wrong and that they had reconciled. This meeting was recorded and the audio given to The Roys Report.
But Hindt continued to malign Loaiza, causing pastors Hoffman and Dorsey to confront Hindt, Hoffman told The Roys Report. Hindt then fired Hoffman and Dorsey. Most of the other staff resigned soon after.
Other issues with Hindt revealed
Over the years, other character issues involving Hindt have surfaced, according to the Rydings, Hoffman, Curran, and former staff and missionaries who spoke up in a 2019 staff meeting.
In his 2019 meeting with Hindt, Medrano confronted Hindt with public records revealing Hindt’s secret marriage in December 2014. Hindt called it a “clerical error.”
Also, in May 2019, several people sent letters to all staff and the Calvary Houston board calling out other abuses and lies.
Loaiza accused Hindt of lying about a time his wife, Angela, confronted Hindt for his actions. According to Loaiza, Hindt said Angela stood and yelled at Hindt in a restaurant, but that never happened.
Similarly, Jana Parnell wrote that after she shared at a women’s event about her admiration of Hindt’s deceased wife, Hindt told her many women were offended. But Parnell said she followed up with the women he listed and none said they felt that way.
On May 10, 2019, board member Rick Coburn and Pastor John Randall met with all Calvary Houston’s staff to handle what they considered a staff division. Audio of this meeting was obtained by The Roys Report.
“Let’s be on side Jesus,” Coburn urged the staff in the meeting.
But when Randall asked if the work environment is “unhealthy,” “a majority” of the long-term staff raised their hands, Randall stated in the recorded meeting
“It’s been an abusive relationship,” said Tanner Smith, head of the School of Ministry, in the meeting.
Quiroz, one of the first to worship at Calvary Houston in 1991, was the most recent staff member let go. In June 2020, Hindt fired Quiroz, citing funding problems, Quiroz said. Quiroz, who had been forced to fire other staff for speaking against Hindt, knew the church’s finances were strong.
“I didn’t argue with him—he’s the pastor,” Quiroz said. “What hurt me the most, though, was I didn’t feel loved.”
Calvary Houston celebrates 30th Anniversary
Calvary Houston celebrated its 30th anniversary in November. Despite these issues, several pastors from around the country—including Randall and fellow Calvary Chapel pastor Brett Bergstrom, and Watchman Fellowship’s James Walker—praised the Hindts’ ministry on the church’s Facebook page.
About 20 percent of the church has left, Zach Davis estimated. Davis said Hindt still hasn’t owned any of the problems from the pulpit.
On December 14, Davis tried one more time to reach out to Hindt to urge him to address people’s concerns. But Davis said Hindt has stopped answering his texts.
Davis told The Roys Report that Frank Possert, Calvary Houston’s administrative pastor, met with him on December 14 to tell Davis he’s not in a spiritually healthy place. Possert then pulled Davis from the church play and from serving in the coffee bar.
Possert did not return a call for comment.
Davis has stayed at the church because he still hopes and prays for restoration.
This story has been updated to correctly report the date of a meeting that occurred in May 2019 and clarify who authored the statement Matt Hindt wrote to the church. A link to an audio recording was also corrected.
Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.