By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved
There are very few pastors and church leaders who knowingly and deliberately set out to do evil. Even the ones who are involved in significant criminal behaviors have justified and excused it to themselves. In fact, this is why they really are good people the rest of the time. But even these are the statistical minority, by far.
Most pastors and church leaders genuinely love God and are doing what they believe is best. I believe this is true.
So why do I say the things I do on this blog? I’ve been accused quite a few times of bitterness and anger against pastors. The first time someone said it to me I realized he was right. But I spent a few months with God on it and did learn to see pastors from a different perspective.
That said, however, I have still been unable to find practical justification to relax my vigilance of concern. It is not that pastors are nefarious evil-doers. I believe it is just that, with all the work pastors do, they do not see some blind spots where people are being wounded.
Some pastors and churches are doing virtually nothing or are grossly violating people in the name of godliness. This is a significant issue in the church which must be addressed in a straightforward manner.
Some pastors and churches are trying, but are fumbling badly without realizing how much damage they are doing in the process. Unfortunately, they are clinging to bad doctrine and practice out of arrogance and pride. I hope these can be willing to hear from someone outside their “box” and be humble enough to make adjustments, even if the truth doesn’t come from a source they would have thought to accept.
And some pastors and churches are doing so very much right. But are any of us ever perfect? Can we all learn from each other? Is it possible that even a church or pastor who is on the right page could gain insight for improvement from the perspective of those who have “been there and done that?” There is danger in getting so vested in our “Movement” or “Organization” that we miss truth that wears another label – or no label at all.
I don’t suggest that I have all the answers. All I have are the experiences of many, many, many abuse survivors in the church, what God has taught me from His Word in many years seeking Him through abuse, and what He continues to teach me as I continue to seek Him.
I will never be perfect and I will never get it all right. That’s why I always tell people to take everything from everyone back to the Word and the Holy Spirit for confirmation! I don’t care who it’s from. If that admonition was good enough for listeners to the Apostle Paul it’s good enough for the rest of us!
But one thing I do know – right now we have a problem. People are being horribly wounded. People are leaving the church in droves because the church has failed them. And that is not OK.
Pastors are shepherds. To shepherds has been given the responsibility to keep and tend, nurture and protect the sheep. Can it be acceptable to turn a blind eye to “attrition”? Especially when that loss is at our own hands?
These aren’t people who have walked away because they’ve decided they would rather hit the drag races or the golf course on Sunday. They have been hurt so badly by the church they can no longer walk through the doors. The pastors, the shepherds of God’s flock, should be in serious alarm over this fact.
That’s what I’m about. The lost sheep and the hurting church. I’m on your side if that goal is your goal. Unfortunately, if that is not your goal, I’m not on your side.
I will tell you ahead of time that most of these articles for clergy are very strong. There are some reasons for this.
First, church leaders need to realize this is an extremely serious issue. This is not just a “good idea” or “something they should think about.” People’s lives are literally at stake, people’s lives have literally been crippled because pastors have been negligent, and God takes this extremely seriously. We MUST wake up!
The offense you may feel is nothing compared to the offense that has been inflicted upon thousands of lambs in the flock of God. Truly, nothing. I ask you to sit a bit and think about that after you have read some of the clergy articles — and let that soak in.
I’m also not setting out to deliberately shock or inflict pain. But I do feel strongly about the offense that has been rendered. It is wrong. The only way I know to try to open people’s eyes is to speak the truth boldly, clearly and precisely — and that isn’t very soft and cushy. There is no way to wrap that up nicely without insult to the truth and to those who are suffering.