Business Owners: McAlester Church's Program Possibly Takes Advantage Of Participants


Thursday, January 9th 2020, 2:40 pm
By: News On 6


McAlester business owners are worried a rehabilitation facility in town is taking advantage of the people enrolled in their program.

They said those participants are being forced to go out and panhandle to fund the church that houses the rehab facility.

Founders of God's Chosen One Restoration Church said all they're trying to do is help people in need.

McAlester business owner Heather Scott said she's convinced something's wrong at the church.

“I'm very worried that they are taking advantage of people who are already in the worst period of their life anyway," Scott said.

The church runs a program to rehabilitate drug addicts and alcoholics. It sits directly across the street from Scott's photography business. Scott said church leaders send participants out to panhandle to earn money for the congregation.

“There's nothing lower than taking advantage of people who have no resources to help themselves,” Scott said.

Pastor Mark Johnson said they're not taking advantage of anybody.

“We're not strong-arming anybody to do anything," Johnson said.

He said they do send participants out to collect donations and spread the word about their ministry.

“We're asking the community; can you help us with our program to help somebody come in to change their lives?" Johnson said.

Johnson said the program is free, but members must work their way through it.

“We allow them to come in and get the help. It doesn't cost them anything for the help we provide for them," Johnson said.

Scott said this church is just one of many across the country including a California church recently indicted for the same thing she believes God's Chosen One is doing.

Johnson said his church is part of a nationwide movement but insists they're above board.

McAlester police said they're not currently aware if the church is doing anything illegal.

"We've never had anybody from the church complain about being held against their will or anything like that,” Cpt. Kevin Hearod said, McAlester police.

Hearod said they will not launch an investigation unless they find proof the church is doing something illegal.