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Reporting the Truth.
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3rd Leader at Mark Barclay’s Church Under Investigation for Alleged Sexual Abuse; Barclay Threatens Whistleblowers

By Liz Lykins
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In December 2023, televangelist Mark Barclay preaches at Living Word International Church in Midland, Mich. (Photo: Facebook)

A third church leader at televangelist Mark Barclay’s Michigan church is being investigated for alleged sexual abuse, Barclay’s son, Pastor Josh Barclay, has confirmed to local media, while pledging the church’s full cooperation. Meanwhile, Mark Barclay has threatened whistleblowers in his sermons, saying they’ve “cursed themselves” and are “evil,” The Roys Report (TRR) has discovered.

The third pastor to be investigated at the Barclays’ Living Word International Church in Midland, remains unnamed but has been suspended and removed from all positions at the church, Josh Barclay said.

The younger Barclay added that the recent, alleged abuse didn’t occur at Living Word. He also said the church is cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation.

“Living Word International Church is deeply saddened and concerned to address recent allegations of misconduct involving one of our ministers,” Barclay said. “We take these matters extremely seriously and are committed to transparency, accountability, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our congregation.”

However, Mark Barclay, who founded Living Word and whose TV ministry reaches millions, has preached a very different message with an ominous warning for whistleblowers.

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “What If Jesus Was Serious about the Church?” by Skye Jethani. To donate, click here.

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Living Word International Church in Midland, Michigan. (Photo: Google StreetView)

Barclay had previously posted some of his sermons on YouTube but has since removed them. However, two former members, Dana and Dan Stahl, grabbed excerpts of the sermons, posted them online, and shared the sermon dates with TRR.

In a March sermon, Barclay said Living Word members are being “viciously attacked by former disgruntled members.”

He added, “They are relentless. They are vicious and evil at this point and are very aggressive . . . We pray because you always reap what you sow, and we don’t want any harm to come to them by any means.”

Barclay gave similar warnings around the time two other Living Word leaders were arrested and charged with sex crimes.

Last July, police charged Brandon Saylor, a Living Word elder and son of associate pastor Randy Saylor, with committing several child sex offenses.

The next month, Barclay said in a sermon that members at Living Word who “inform” about legal issues at the church, and those who listen to them, “may be investigated for hindering an open felony criminal case.”

Barclay said that these people should know better than to tell others but “some of you just can’t shut up.”

Saylor has since pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with three children under 13, TRR reported.

Saylor will be sentenced April 4 and currently remains in custody with bond revoked, according to the Midland Daily News.

Similarly, Barclay said in an October sermon that anyone who brings accusations against Living Word has “cursed themselves.”

“I was reading a verse this morning, and I prayed for the people who are attacking our family with so many weird, wild, false, down and dirty accusations and I prayed for them,” Barclay said. “I woke up and the Lord said they have cursed themselves. Some will probably die, I don’t know, I hope not, that’s why I pray. They crossed a line.”

Barclay then started to pray for these people and added, “Oh, they’re way beyond critics. They are hypocritical liars, according to the book of Timothy.”

A month after that sermon, James Randolph, son-in-law of Mark Barclay, was arrested and charged with sex crimes against children, as TRR previously reported.

Randolph’s charges stemmed from incidents that occurred in 2011, according to court records. He is currently on administrative leave at the church and set to appear in court this June for a status conference hearing in Midland County Circuit Court, according to court records.

In his recent comments to media, Pastor Josh Barclay acknowledged the multiple allegations facing leaders Living Word and struck a very different tone than his father’s sermons.

“This is not the first time our church has faced such a situation, and we acknowledge the pain and trauma this causes to those directly affected, as well as our entire community,” Barclay told local news station WNEM. “We take this matter and the safety and well-being of everyone in the church very seriously.”

The younger Barclay added that an independent investigator recently reviewed the church’s internal safety and protective practices. He said the results were “positive.”

“We continue to follow our legal counsel’s advice to make certain we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our congregation, especially our children, and are praying earnestly for guidance,” Barclay added.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.

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10 Responses

  1. Sounds more like a mob boss than a loving pastor. “Nice little life you got here it would be a real shame if someone had to die.”

    1. This hotheaded, bullying mobster of a pastor needs to be reminded of happens to Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas…

    2. This makes me very angry because right now I am struggling to hold my church together. We can’t seem to attract any new faces. So there is a possibility I might be done with the ministry because we are tired of moving around. I’ve never abused anyone either verbally, physically or sexually and I might be done with the ministrry.

  2. How about this. Someone should file a complaint against the “pastor” for his threats and have the police arrest him and throw him in jail for a few days until he can make bail. Give him a taste of life in jail. That’s nowhere near what the victims of these wolves in sheep’s clothing have to endure for the rest of their lives.

    1. I agree with the comments! There seems to be arrogance so deep with Mark Barclay that he constantly warns others not to say anything bad about him or you will be cursed. That is so unbiblical and controlling it sickens me. God is cleaning his house out!

  3. Is anyone else wondering why the “prophet” didn’t see this coming. He has done this ALL over the country! I hope more come forward!

  4. You people have no idea what you are talking about the Barclay’s are wonderful people. I painted there house, the whole church and the Randolphs house. They are face value, what they say is what is the truth and I’ve heard all the nonsense people who are jealous talk about them and I found no fault in any of them. Again, Mark and Josh Barclay are great men of God and that congregation is one of the most friendly and welcoming group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working for. Don’t spread gossip if you don’t know what you are talking about….Or else you curse your life!

    1. You find no fault but the law does and they are under investigation for sex crimes against children which James previously spent a decade in prison for. Btw, Mark T Barclay in the past boasted about looking at underaged youth girls in his ministry.

    2. Your comments are ridiculous! I went to the church and not one person greeted me. Mark Barclay and his minions act like he is something special and honor him as someone special! I see an arrogant power hungry control freak. Jesus is to be honored and not a stuffed shirt arrogant dictator like Barclay!

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