Not Your Mama's Church!
Post date: Oct 3, 2012 4:25:05 PM
3Romans 16:17 Now, it is my desire, brothers, that you will take note of those who are causing division and trouble among you, quite against the teaching which was given to you: and keep away from them. (Bible Basic English)
I'm not here to start a fight, but to warn people out there so they can make informed decisions as to whether they attend or steer clear of Fusion Ministries and Nathan (Nate/N8) Robert Elznic. Nate was once a dear friend, but I cannot support his unrepentant lifestyle.
Are you ready for a church that's not religious? Are you wanting a church that breaks every mold? How about a church that believes in you? Well, this is not your mama's church! This is something new and different. The Fusion Ministries is a blend of Rock n' Roll with a feel-good message. Hailing from Nebraska is alleged former Crip gang member, Nathan (N8) Elznic. This man is out to change the lives of many. He makes men into men. He turns females into ladies. He does it all in the name of ?? Wait, in whose name does he do all of this?
Before we go full steam into this, let me ask you if you know who Nate Elznic really is? Who is this guy? As a former friend of this man, I've got to hear so many stories about his hopes, dreams, and origins. So, as you read this, ask yourself if this is the type of person who truly represents Jesus.
My first experience with Nate was at Jubilee Worship Center in 2006. This is the church that Nate left before starting The Fusion. He seemed like a cool guy who had a passion for Jesus. Even his license plate was G-Zus. One would assume this guy was on the up and up. As it turns out, Between 2003 and 2005, Nate had several meetings regarding his conduct. Concerned members of the church attempted to confront him as his preaching on the gospel was more about himself than Jesus. Sure, everyone has a testimony, but at some point, doesn't God do more than pull you out of the gutter?
In late 2006, I was needing a place to stay. Nate rented his house out to myself and 4 other guys. During this time, Nate saw it fit to use any items we had in the house for his purposes. This included one of my roommate's laptops as well as my bed (apparently, he told his kids to just go in my room and play or sleep without asking).
Nate and Master's Commission
At this time, Nate was running a program called "Master's Commission." Please don't judge every Master's Commission by what I'm about to say. The program has its merits, but the way Nate used it was wrong. If you were selected (by Nate) to be in Master's Commission, you were required to give him full access to your life. Your any journal (or diary) entries, dreams, visions, prophetic words, or other personal information you have written down must be given to Nate. If you didn't, you were hiding something or being a "bastard son." To reinforce this, Nate told everyone that only Heidi could interpret dreams. He furthered this by staying Heidi is a prophet, while Nate claimed to be an apostle.
While in Master's Commission, students could not date. This makes sense when trying to teach college students about Jesus rather than having them focused who they could possibly marry. If a person was going to date, Nate would tell them that they must divulge all information about their "Courtship" (as he called it) to Nate and his wife, Heidi. Okay, so if you're in Master's Commission and dating, you'd have to let Nate know what you were doing on your dates. Little pushy, but considering some of the people he selected for Master's Commission had troubled pasts (similar to Teen Challenge), I can understand the requirement. It gets a little sticky when Nate requires people around him to do the same thing despite not being in Master's Commission. We'll go over that in a bit.
During Master's Commission, Nate required that the students not work. This should have allowed them to have more time in the community to do good deeds and help people out. The problem with this is that Nate was building his plantation-style home and needed help. Instead of having students performing community work, Nate had them working on his house. The senior pastor and elders of Jubilee forbade him from using the Master's Commission students for free labor. They thought it was better that Master's Commission be about the community. As a result, Nate schedule students to work at his house immediately after community projects. He still got his free labor while disobeying his superiors. How did he pull this off? He told people that if they told anyone, they would flunk out of Master's Commission. Those who flunked would lose their tuition.
Nate's Thoughts on Gossip
Just because everyone else gossips, doesn't make it right. Nate through gossip was the worse offense a person could commit. There was one time that a few people were caught talking about guys who were about to ask girls out. Nate called each and every member of that group and yelled at them. Ouch! That's a very strong stance to take on gossip. But what type of life did Nate lead?
Despite his thoughts on gossiping, Nate would tell whoever whatever he wanted about people. There was a person whose parent was fired from their job. Nate immediately started telling other people stories about why that person was fired and how unrighteous this person's family was. Nate would also say that people who hung around him then decided not to go into Master's Commission were struggling in their faith. They were walking away from God and needed prayer. When confronted on his gossiping, Nate would always point out how someone else spread the gossip he told them in secret. I'm not much of a Catholic, but if confessing embarrassing things ended up common knowledge in the perish, I'd stop talking to that priest.
Nate and Theology
Yes, the Less Than An Amateur Theologian guy is writing about a pastor's theology. Here's the issue. Nate has no theology. His belief is that "Jesus is good, and that's all we need to know." He often said that people who studied theology or read the bible too much were horrible at relationship. He said that there was very little need for scripture because the Holy Spirit had placed it in us at salvation. Nate is certainly wrong there. 2 Timothy 3:16 tell us that all scripture is needed for doctrine. A church operating without scripture creates flaky people who will fall for any doctrine.
Many times during his ministry, Nate would claim that God made him without sin. Nate claimed that as soon as he accepted salvation, he was cleared of all sin and no longer capable of sinning. 1 John 1:8-10 talks about people who claim they have no sin being deceived. It says there is no truth in them and they preach a lie. Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:15, claims to be the greatest of all sinners. Paul doesn't say this in past tense, but in present tense. So, if an author of the Bible claims to be sinful, then how can a modern day preacher be without sin? Nate will probably respond to this by saying, "What I meant was that God forgives us, and that he doesn't hold sin against us." Yet, many recall Nate telling them that they no longer sin and that they will instinctually do what is right.
Nate and the Original Fusion Members
This is the second time that Fusion has been launched. Did you know that Fusion collapsed once before? It's a story Nate doesn't like to look at the facts from. Since intelligent people make observations before reaching a conclusion, lets look at the facts.
Right before the launch of Fusion, Nate told people to begin cutting ties to Jubilee. He was talking about this like someone had died. He describes this as a time of mourning. Wait a second, the church that's about relationship is going to have to cut all ties with friends not in Fusion? Seriously? That makes about as much sense as saying I'm great at networking computers, but I won't connect those over there. In fact, the Bible says that we are to encourage one another in faith. If we're cutting ties with others, how are we to be encouraged, let alone, gain wisdom form those who are outside the church.
Each story is different, but only a couple members of the original Fusion remain to this day. Most of the original members left due to issues with Nate himself. As Nate commonly said, "If one person has an issue with you, it's on them. If multiple people, then it's on you." Many of my friends and former friends who left Fusion did so when they realized Nate was manipulating people. He would tell guys in confidence which girls they had the best chance with, then caveat this by saying they could only get with her if they stuck close to him. On the other side, Nate would tell the girls that their only hope of finding "a real man" was if they stuck around him and looked at the men who were close to him. This made a select few guys more desirable than others because they spent most of their time with Nate. This setup worked very well for keeping him in charge of or in a position to influence the lives of those around him. As time progressed, Nate developed a close circle of guys who he had paired up (in some cases) with women. Each of these guys either had a skill Nate could use or was connected to other people Nate wanted access to. Nate promised them elder-ship in Fusion, which would have been nice for them, except they all left for various reasons.
Nate held a separate group of advisers which included a local chiropractor and the owner of a small construction company. This group was Nate's money. Both invested heavily into the Fusion. The original meetings were at First Family Chiropractic. I will expand a bit more on the importance of these advisers, elders, or whatever you want to call them in a bit.
Nate Loses His Credentials as a Pastor
As people began to realize the various types of manipulation that Nate used to keep them there, they one by one started to leave. Many went to the Omega-Team (the Christian organization who ordained Nate) to resolve the issues. As soon as the accusations regarding Nate's manipulation began to pour in, Nate started to preach on persecution and used the people as examples of bastard sons. He told his congregation that these people have evil spirits and should be avoided. To the average thinking person, this sounds absurd. To those who were indoctrinated by Nate, this sounded reasonable. Seen as outcasts, the first group to leave lost all of their friends and companions. In one case, a young lady was afraid to leave because she might lose her boyfriend of 2 years as a result of his loyalty to Nate.
The Omega-Team reached out to Nate to better understand the extent of the issue. Nate's response was that some immature people were projecting their horrible family upbringings on him and lashing out at Nate. Not satisfied with this response, the Omega-Team began an investigation. The investigation lasted 3 months as new people were coming forward and bringing evidence regarding Nate's abuse of his position and influence as a spiritual leader. At a point, Nate said he was "sorry".
The issue was assumed to be resolved until it was found that Nate continued to bash and slander both the Omega-Team and specifically Jubilee. This next wave of evidence lead the Omega-Team to a decision to cut ties with Nate Elznic, Fusion Ministries, and all of its properties. As a good will gesture, some members of the Omega-Team and elders from Jubilee continued to keep in touch with Nate to help steer him back to the truth. Nate continued telling his congregation that both the Omega-Team and Jubilee had turned their backs on him and no longer cared. In both cases, the Omega-Team and elders from Jubilee have kept documented records of their attempts to reach out to Nate.
Nate's Illegal Activity
When you see a child who blatantly disobeys their parents and only does what they have to when in trouble, chances are that that kid will grow up breaking the law and bending rules to get what they want. In Nate's case, this is no different. I'll discuss his arrest record in a little bit. We'll begin with the lesser infractions.
Nate frequently held bonfires at his home. Sure, this does not sound like a major issue, but when you see a 30-40 foot flame touching the trees above, you gotta ask if this person has a permit. Not once was a permit ever purchased for the bonfires that Nate referred to as "bombfires". He let his children play near the fire saying that they were smart enough to know better. So, by this account, Nate has no issue with endangering the lives of others as well as their property.
It's common knowledge that Nate enjoys Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Did you know that he once hosted an illegal event in Rice, MN? In the basement of one of his friends, Nate organized a fight between some of the guys who were closest to him. While most of the amateurs walked away with bruises and soreness, one guy was literally knocked out. Since there were no medics or anyone with any medical training available, the people there were in danger of serious injury should something worse happen. Thankfully, the guy who was knocked out came to and is running his own construction business.
On November 14, 2011, Nathan Robert Elznic was processed by the Saint Cloud, MN Police Department for ASLT 3-FE-SUBSTANTIAL INJURY-NO WEAP-UNK RELAT / ASSAULT 3. Let me break this down for those who don't study law. This is a 3rd Degree Assault at Felony level. The victim suffered substantial injury (meaning something was broken). From what the officer could find, there was no use of a weapon. So, with his bare hands, Nate broke someone's face or rib cage. According to the nurse who treated Nate's victim, Nate had chased him (the victim) across town. When Nate caught up with the individual, he proceeded to beat the guy into submission. During the course of the beating, Nate broke the man's eye socket. This is the type of damage that is usually associated with people in automotive accidents. Considering the beating that person took, I'm not sure I would trust a man with a recent history of violence to be my pastor.
Nate's Reputation in Saint Cloud
1 Timothy 3:7 says that church leaders should have a good reputation in the community. I whole-heartedly agree with that. Can a person truly love Jesus and yet have so many people hate him for his conduct? Can you love Jesus and swindle or violate others? Can you love Jesus and break His commandments?
To start, you can tell a man by his neighbors. When I lived in Nate's old house, I had the opportunity to meet Nate's neighbor. The elder gentleman was angry. He wanted nothing to do with me nor the people in the house. As time passed, I found out that he had a long running feud with Nate Elznic. At one point, Nate had put a dent in his air conditioner with his bare hands. Nate would also let his children run around outside and yell at the early hours of the morning, disturbing the man's sleep. OK, this might have been one neighbor. Surely other people love this man?
Eh, not so much. The youth pastors of St. Cloud would often hold events and activities to which they invited Nate. The problem was Nate's attitude. Nate will say that he's strong willed, bull headed, or even a mover. All of these are issues a person can overcome. When talking to other pastors, Nate often seemed like an elitist. His way was the only right way, regardless of what truths others presented. You'll be hard pressed to find a pastor or former pastor in St. Cloud that considers Nate Elznic to be a safe person.
It was a known fact that The Fusion Ministries used to meet at the Youth For Christ Exchange building in St. Cloud. Do you know why they don't? The unofficial story is that Nate's past caught up with him. Considering his history in the community and the number of people he burned, YFC could not (in good conscious) continue his contract. As a result, Nate had to take the Fusion elsewhere.
Nate's Dreams and Visions
I remember talking to Nate over lunch and hearing the same story over and over of his ideal community. Everyone would live in a gated community outside of town. People would share what they have with everyone else. Those who were better at a specific skill would have access to the best of those tools, items, or whatever. They would worship God in a common place in the center of the community. The only people allowed in would be others who believed in God's Kingdom as Nate and his followers did.
Does this sound familiar? Doesn't this sound like a cult? Nate would always tell people to keep this a secret. I discovered this story took many forms, but the aforementioned is the commonalities I heard from other people who left Nate's group.
Looking at the original doctrine of Fusion (see image on the left), Nate wanted members of the Fusion to defend the unity and vision of the Fusion's Leadership (that means Him). So, by the Fusion's creed, members are required to revolved around Nate and not God.
Furthering the absurdity, the original Fusion creed stated that members were to plan their money (finances), time (schedules), and lives around The Fusion. When you ask people if this bothers them, most will say, it is as it should be. The truth is that God has people taking care of their families first. (1 Timothy 5:8)
Nate and the Truth
So, lets ask Nate the truth about The Fusion. Let's find the truth about his life. Check out this screenshot from the WayBack Machine. According to Nate's original message, Fusion was created by people from St. Cloud who just wanted Nate as their pastor. Even in this message here, Nate does not admit his origins with The Omega Team and Jubilee to avoid having to explain what really happened. When confronted on the issues, Nate's general response is to rephrase what he said or blame the other person. Many of Nate's former Masters Students will remember him encouraging them to apologize to people by saying, "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I'm sorry you're offended by that." The idea was to take the blame from yourself and shift it to the other person for taking an offense. The problem with this is that Nate has used this technique so often that his apologies hold little water.
The Elders of Fusion
When I left The Fusion and confronted Nate about his issues, I included the elders of Fusion in the conversation. None of the elders of Fusion reached out to find if the accusations were true. Elders in a church should be the people who look out for the congregation and keep the pastor in check. If your pastor starts stealing money or hurting people, the elders are the ones who should ask him to step down. Instead, the elders of Fusion chose to ignore all the accusation and refused to follow up. I found this downright surprising, but in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. With a mission statement that puts people as having total loyalty to Nate (himself), there's no reason to question what's happening.
The Bottom Line
With all I've presented regarding Nate's character, history, and recent history, the question you have to ask yourself is if you believe you can trust a person like this as a spiritual adviser. When I originally broke away from Nate and The Fusion, I started with a bias that Nate was correct. My original goal was to prove that Nathan Robert Elznic was innocent of all accusations brought against him. The truth I uncovered was a history of abusive relationships and anti-social disorder tendencies. This is very concerning because a man who has influence into a person's spirituality has a history of abusing his position and leaving casualties in his wake.
To this day, Nate has not accepted full responsibility for his actions. As a result, people are still cleaning up the mess Nate contributed to their lives. With the Fusion trying to market itself to college students and those with a less traditional view of church, he has an opportunity to reach people who are ignorant to his past. Making matters worse, Nate preys up on people who are ignorant to the Bible. The unreached present an opportunity for Nate to twist scripture to his advantage as he did in the original Fusion and during his time as a youth pastor.
I'm sure Nate's response to this message will be that someone who is bitter wrote it. He may even state that the author is an example of a Judas or a bastard son. He might even go as far as to say that the author was never his son. In any event, I would like to see a public apology written by Nate that owns the ways he has abused his power and reaching out to those he humiliated and damaged with his position. In Luke 19, Zacchaeus repented by making restitution. Until Nate does, this wound remains open in the lives of many.
PS: I had issues getting the links to work for the screenshots of the WayBack Machine. This album should be visible at the following link: