NWTimes.com reports that the Munster, Ind.-based Family Christian Center, the state's largest mega-church and one of the nation's 20 largest Christian denominations, is the subject of a mortgage foreclosure case filed in Lake Superior Court by the First National Bank of Illinois. The bank's lawsuit targets the church, Senior Pastor Steve Munsey, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Sutton Place Condominiums relating to four condos in Munster – the IRS and the condominiums were included because they both filed liens against the Family Christian Center.
In its lawsuit, the bank charges that the Family Christian Center owes $604,447.02, which includes late charges and fees. Furthermore, court records show that the church owes Sutton Place $5,700 in unpaid association dues, while the IRS has two outstanding federal tax liens against the church totaling $53,790.34.
The new foreclosure lawsuit is the latest against the church, which was sued in 2011 by the California-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union after the church defaulted on the mortgage for its worship center; that case still is pending. Munsey, who is also a regular on the internationally broadcast ‘This is Your Day’ television show, only informed his congregation of the 2011 lawsuit in the summer of 2012, explaining that he did not speak up earlier because he ‘really didn't know what to do but trust God.’
(Editor's note: for more insight on the unique mortgage problems involving faith-based organizations, please read our article ‘When Churches Face Foreclosure.’)