Posted on : Thursday April 8, 2010

Dear Counselor:
My husband and I read your article where the pastor’s wife asked about members talking bad about the pastor and how it hurts. Well, what does one do when a pastor and spouse spread untruths about the church members? The pastor was accused of misconduct, which was not true, and was asked to stay as pastor. But, then, the pastor said that he was forced to leave and began to spread untruths about the church, giving our church a bad name and causing some church members to leave with the pastor without ever following the Bible’s solution for conflict.
–An Upset Christian

Dear “Upset,”
You are correct that it would have been helpful in this case to follow the example of Matthew 18 and other Biblical approaches to the resolution of differences prior to the departure of your Pastor and some church members. Conflict of any kind is harmful for the church body and for individual church members as we see in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. In almost every case, the Bible recommends an initial approach of directness coupled with kindness in the discussion of alleged “untruths” or “misconduct” in the body of believers.

However, it appears that your pastor and church members sympathetic to him have departed. Because of that, the question shifts from what to do about the pastor to what will the church now do. If the church remains focused on the previous pain, then the ex-pastor is still in control of the emotional and spiritual system of the church.

A more healthy option would be to get some assistance in the healing of the pain caused by these recent events in order to free up the energy necessary to create a vision for the future.

Part of that visioning process may involve the study of and the creation of new patterns of communication within the church that would be of a preventive nature. A Transitional Pastor may be of help in this process, which would occur before you begin the process of looking for a new pastor. Mediation services may also help in working through some of the previous pain. The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware can help in directing you to these services at (800) 466-5290.
–Tom Rodgerson

Send your questions by e-mail to [email protected].

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