What’s For Sale at Your Church?

They were the most difficult words anyone could hear as a pastor. They were the truth but they were also wrong. They were fundamental to his ability to do his job but they were also destructive to his ability to do his job in a Godly way. The easiest solution was to leave the church, but this would not address the issue, although it would make sure it wasn’t his problem. He could do as he was told, but this would be against his morals and would allow the existing problem to continue and maybe get worse. He could fight for what he believed to be right, but this could lead to the end of his job without the problem being addressed. The one thing that was clear, it could not be ignored.

He pays your salary – If you want to keep your job, you will let this go.

He sat down with his senior pastor to discuss the belly rubs a youth leader was receiving from the female youth, his kisses on their cheeks and extended hugs, his invitations to sit in his lap followed by pulling the girls into his lap and his constant flirting. It should have been an easy fix, make the leader change his behaviour and if he didn’t, ask him to leave. Instead, the senior pastor informed him that there was nothing more that could be done if the youth leader didn’t want to change because, “he made the donation that pays your salary.” Not only did this youth leader make the salary donation but he also had made up the church’s considerable budget shortfall every year.

It needs to be made clear that there were no formal accusations brought forward against this youth leader. The parents might have said something if they knew what was going on but this type of behaviour only took place at youth group. Because the youth leader was given respect and position by the senior pastor, they had no reason to think anything was going on that should not be going on. What could he do?  He felt he couldn’t leave in case it got worse. He could not stay without doing anything. He could not fight against what he believed was wrong because he would be fired and the female youth would still be at risk. The only thing he could do was stay and keep a close eye on the youth leader.

This situation is a rare occurrence that illustrates the dangers of financial survival dictating church policy. I shared this story with a friend of mine and he summed it up with a shocking statement that went something like this, ‘that senior pastor is like a pimp, taking money in exchange for the right to have inappropriate interactions with young girls. 

What’s For Sale at Your Church?

Your church hopefully will never see anything this drastic. I believe, however, that pastors and church leaders must ask themselves, “who are we pimping our church out to?” In other words, what does money buy in our church? It may not be intentional but most of us do not look at all the people in the church the same way. We can’t help rewarding those who give lots of time and/or money with power and position. We can find it hard to speak out against bad behaviour or theology when it could mean a hit to the church budget. It is human nature to play favourites but human nature is not often in line with God’s nature.

Is your church exchanging money for favours (a crude way of putting it, but a necessary question)?

  1. Is the leadership made up of those with the biggest earning potential?
  2. Who gets the leadership’s ear when there is a concern or complaint?
  3. Does the leadership consider the potential financial impact on the church before it addresses a situation?

Maybe our human point-of-view of how the church should run is upside down. How many pastors or church leaders would pick a ragtag bunch of guys like the disciples to present the most important message ever? They could not fund the undertaking and they did not possess the education to oversee it, but the Creator of the universe saw fit to use them in ways that had previously been reserved for the religious elite. What’s for sale in your church and how has it effected the way you operate?

As some of you know, I am recovering from a procedure on the left side of my neck. The recovery is going well but I am still a little worn out. The good news is they will do the same on the right side of my neck completing this every 6-7 month procedure on Friday. The bad news is this week’s post and most likely next week’s post will be repeat posts.

14 comments

  1. Dave, this spoke to me. My wife and I recently left our church. I had been there 12 years(my entire Christian life,) and she had been there 44 yrs(most of her actual life and all her Christian life.) The issue was one of sexual immorality on the part of a church leader. It was actually a young woman, teaching a kids class, who was living with her boyfriend. They made no attempt to hide it either, gladly posting it all over Facebook when they bought a house and moved in. Her father is a Deacon by the way. I approacher her Dad, and asked that he would a least ask her to no longer teach the kids. He said there was nothing he could do, and declined to take it further. I approached some other leader in the church and nothing. I finally went to the pastor and he grudgingly said he would take care of it. He failed to do so in a timely manner, and the young lady and her friend finally were married. At that point everybody told me that there was no longer a problem, ignoring the fact that this had been dragging out for several months. It came out during the course of this, that it seems nobody wanted to touch this was because some other members either were, or had been engaging in just this sort of thing over the years. They knew if they dealt with one, they had to deal with all. In the end, we left over it, as my attempts to follow the Matthew 18 model for church discipline failed for lack of 2 or 3 more to speak to the offender. The church is in a tailspin of decline, no doubt to their deliberate disobedience; the ironic thing is that apparently the mindset is that my wife and i are responsible for tearing the church apart. Although we are the only ones who spoke up, two other familes left as a result. So, we are the legalistic jerks who messed everything up.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. this all started or at least became standard practice with the idea that if we get people into church (anyway possible) they will eventually embrace Christ – the seeker sensitive movement placed non-believers in places of leadership as a way to outreach to them – You cannot lead people in their relationship with Christ if you are not living one yourself – we are to be disciple making disciples – if you are not living a Christian life what are you discipling others to be disciples of?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s the old “the ends justify the means” philosophy and there is NO place whatsoever for that thinking in a Christian’s thought processes or actions, yet as Brother Wally stated, it sure seems to becoming epidemic!

        Great message though Brother Dave and one we ALL needed to be reminded of! Lord forgive us, Lord HELP us!! Amen and Amen!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. We now do background checks, but when it was first mentioned: “But those cost money, and we might hurt someone’s feeling, or we might cause them to not volunteer…” Finally, the rule is in place and non-negotiable.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First, prayers Brother Dave! Didn’t know about procedure but God does and will be putting you on prayer list!

    I attended and was part of a church ministry many years ago, until the Pastor invited his son into the worship leading because of his ability to play the guitar and keyboard. He did it in an attempt to keep him “occupied” on the “straight and narrow.” At the time, the son was living with a woman outside of wedlock and making no bones about it and the Pastor was very much aware of it and even explained to the church one Wednesday night when his son wasn’t attending. “If it will result in the change of just one life, Jesus would approve.” I did voice my concerns that you cannot allow a lifestyle of sin into church leadership and expect the Lord to be present in the services. He didn’t see it that way. The church went from over 100 people and in three months time there were less than three dozen people attending, but they were all applauding the “Worship” service. By the way, the son never did marry the woman he was living with. The church just withered. It was one of those lessons the Lord was teaching me as a young minister how NOT to do things! It’s sad but what you wrote, does happen. The excuses may be different, the outcome is the same:

    2 Timothy 3:5, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

    Will be praying Brother Dave! God bless, be strong in faith and hope. You ARE loved!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I try to read the comments too on posts, must have overlooked a few. I agree Brother and when you stand up for righteousness, you become the bad guy. All the more reason Brother we can never stop praying AND thanking the Lord for His Grace AND Mercy!!

        Liked by 2 people

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