Young Megachurch Pastor Steps Down as Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Rise Up

Ben Courson, 33, is the head pastor at the megachurch Applecare Christian Fellowship in Oregon. He is an international speaker who is the founder of Hope Generation, as well as a best-selling author. He has a TV show that is played in 180 countries, has a radio show that is played on 520 stations and has 154k followers on Instagram, gaining name recognition and influence every day.

He also has stepped down from leadership at his church after three former members have come forward alleging that he has engaged in sexual misconduct with them. Another woman has filed a police report claiming she was sexually assaulted by him, according to Rebecca Hopkins of the Roys Report, who broke the story.

In response to these allegations, Courson has shuttered his ministry page for time being, replacing it with a video that was also published to the church, where he confesses in part:

In some of my dating relationships, I have made mistakes, and I am truly sorry and deeply repentant. While it was always consensual, and there was never sex outside of marriage—there was never adultery—still, we let things go beyond what God requires of a relationship. When it comes to this area of women, I take full responsibility.

He further describes any other accusations of innuendo beyond what he admits to here as false and unfounded.

The women have a far different story. The Roys Report spoke to them, and they say that Coulson (who recently went through a divorce just two years ago after his wife says he committed adultery) initiated sex acts with them, frequently with no time wasted between meeting them and pressuring them to undress. One woman alleges:

He essentially pushed himself on me attempting to have a sexual encounter, if you will, but I didn’t let him. I was fully clothed but he was trying to put his hands in places I wasn’t comfortable with and I yanked away from him, and pulled myself off his couch and got the hell out of there.

Another woman says their relationship was consensual but was kept secret, with him insisting she delete the messages between them. “Looking back now, he definitely just did whatever he wanted, and I went along with it,” she said, as he told her that their sexual activity was allowable because he didn’t preach on it.

He said at the time he didn’t like to identify as a pastor, more like a motivational speaker. He said because he doesn’t speak on anything sexual that what he was doing was OK.

Apparently, Courson’s modus operandi was to be naked in the bedroom and rub his sexual organs against the woman until he ejaculated on her stomach.

Despite the acts being considered consensual by the parties, due to the nature of the clergy-layperson relationship, these ought to be considered abuse.

After the allegations were confirmed in June, Courson still preached the next Sunday while the elder team, including his father Jon Courson who is the Pastor Emeritus and handed him the reigns of the pastorate two years earlier, decided that this was not disqualifying behavior, but rather just disappointing behavior, and sought to keep it quiet.

They decided to keep him on staff and simply change his title from “Senior Pastor” to “Hope Generator” – resulting in two of the elders resigning over this unbiblical process and practice.

They also never told the congregation about any of this, and Courson continued to engage in public ministry for the next two months until he was exposed by Lorin Lynch on Instagram just a few weeks ago. (You should watch the whole thing. It is incredibly eye-opening.)

This resulted in the leaders finally telling the congregation the Courson version – that he went over the line a little bit, and all the other allegations are unfounded.

Still, for his personal growth, he has revealed that he is taking the next 6 months off from his pastoral roles to “learn and reflect and grow,” and then plans on coming right back there, restored and good as new.

Editor’s Note: For more information, and for a much deeper dive with more information, visit the Roys Report. If you know anyone else who has been involved with Ben in this way, reach out to us at or Julie Roys at her website.


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8 thoughts on “Young Megachurch Pastor Steps Down as Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Rise Up

  1. A few thoughts…first it’s Applegate not Applecare. Second, I’ve always been a big fan of Jon Courson’s preaching. When his son Ben took over, I could tell immediately that I didn’t like him at all. He was nothing like his father was. It seemed like he was only in it for the glory. Any pastor that wears skinny jeans I immediately write off. Sad that he allegedly did these things and cheated on his wife (who is very pretty by the way). I only mention that because it boggles my mind when people cheat on a spouse that is good looking because it doesn’t make sense to be looking elsewhere when you have beauty right at home. Of course, serial adulterers don’t care about that, for example, Carl Lentz allegedly did the same thing. It’s the skinny jeans, I’m telling you.

    1. Agreed. Jon Courson is great, but Ben is all about the performance and showmanship. He supports BLM too which instantly disqualifies him from the role of Pastor in my book.

    2. I strongly disagree about Jon. He might have been decent in the 80’s or 90’s, but, in various degrees, he started drifting decades ago.

      He embraced mysticism and Emergent ways years ago (likely through his late son, Peter-John). About 15 years ago he apparently led CC pastors in the Eucharist at the Calvary Chapel pastor’s conference — not just a church, the PASTORS at THE pastor’s conference — yet several of them walked out. The Eucharist was also done at his son’s memorial service. He also eagerly endorsed and promoted his late son’s “visions” of and experiences in heaven (which occurred during an acute illness, and likely under heavy medication).

      Jon was also the Chief Enabler of both sons errors and/or sins. If Jon had led his church, and his son(s) in at least an average-ish way (with accountability, consequences, not by-passing his elders, not appointing his divorced son as senior pastor, etc), then the alleged sin, abuse, and error would not have reached these gross levels, and so many people would have been spared this profound harm.

      In many ways, Jon bears a ton of, if not more blame because he had the responsibility and authority to address and prevent so much of this (at least in his church), but he failed miserably time and time again.

    3. I’m with you on the skinny jeans. Usually accompanied by an untucked plaid or solid blue or black shirt over a t-shirt with some sort of cryptic message on it. Often accessorized with either a leather necklace or bracelet with some sort of talisman good luck charm hanging on it. These are the standard liturgical vestments of the low church downgrade and juvenilization, for both preachers and “worship leaders.” I often write them off too. Perpetual youth group churches.

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