Why do so many tolerate, excuse, defend, stand on the sidelines and/or remain silent when it comes to the terrible decisions and actions of those in positions of prominence and power in ministry or the local church?
It is disturbing to witness spiritual leaders engaging in and shameful relational behavior, and people remain silent. It is even more disturbing to witness those who are in positions that were designed to hold leaders accountable — remain silent.
I know that there are a good number of “reasons” that allow ministry leaders and pastors to repeatedly fail at loving God’s flock, and not be held accountable. One of the most obvious, and maybe on top of the list, is relationships!
Again, in recent days, I was reminded of unaccountable pastoral behavior. A member of a local church was marginalized. There was little to no love, kindness, or concern shown to them or the family. A brief phone call was made, words of concern were expressed over the phone, but any meaningful pastoral interest was totally absent!
There “always” seems to be an explanation, excuse, or plausible justification as to why what was done, was done, or not done. Nuanced wording, blame-shifting, or a justification of having passed off the responsibility to another member of the staff — is how it is handled and explained.
Pastors are the face of the church. It is the senior pastor’s God-given responsibility, as the undershepherd, to be the person who expresses genuine care. Yes, having other church members, deacons, or other ministry leaders express their sincere compassion and concern — MATTERS. Nevertheless, there is nothing more significant and better received than when the SHEPHERD of God’s flock expresses love, care, and kindness in a personal way — by being there himself.
When that doesn’t happen, and as others become aware of that failure, it seems just “acceptable.” Rarely does anyone speak up, “talk” to the pastor about it, or when resisted, press the issue and express how shameful it is to be identified as a shepherd and fail to take guardianship of the sheep.
May I suggest that the number one reason for silence, and/or for allowing such unacceptable behavior to go unaddressed, is . . . .
It wasn’t you!
One day, it may be you, and then you will be, like I am, standing on the sidelines, confused! Why is no one speaking up? Why is there no accountability, and maybe even outrage of the lack of care and concern for God’s people!
It wasn’t you!
It wasn’t one of your loved ones!
It wasn’t a dear friend!
With me — the difference is that I refuse to stand on the sidelines and be silent! Along with a few other willing and even courageous fellow laborers, I refuse to let it go by the boards! Calling wrong-doing out in ministry is not antithetical to the Gospel. And it is the Gospel, a Gospel which calls on us to speak up for the marginalized in this world and even in the church.
I want to tell my children (maybe even some of God’s people who were the recipients of such spiritual maltreatment), that when I saw it, I spoke up!
Though no one join me, yet I will follow . . . . the example set out by the Lord, to speak against those who are there to care, and who “could care-less-ness.”
Kids — I spoke up and spoke up LOUDLY!
. . . . .
What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth
What is a little girl worth? If it’s your little gorl — It is PRICELESS!
What is a little girl worth if it is not your little girl?
The answer is still the same!
— Ted Martens —