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Questionable Clergy Always Ruin the Lord’s House

Updated: Nov 16


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Keep reading to learn how the wrong leader will ruin your church and leave it in tatters!

I. Questionable Clergy Manipulate God’s House

II. Hard Questions Reveal Sneaky Clergymen

III. Real Leaders Expose Themselves to Risk

IV. No Question it to Personal

V. More Questions to Eliminate Bad Clerics

VI. God Sent Leaders Are not Control Freaks

VII. Conclusion

Questionable Clergy Manipulate God’s House

It is important to reveal that I am a Clergymen with church leadership responsibility. Anything written here is from firsthand experience!


Nevertheless, in the most forthright manner, you should not underestimate how many “hirelings” are trying to lead God’s sheep.


Even Jesus warned us (John 10:12-13):

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Their ungodly goal is power and feasting on the resources of the church. Let review how you, God’s people, can recognize qualities of a real clergy sent by God.


A manipulative spirit is the quality you should avoid. A Clergymen must be humble and non-controlling. Manipulators are masters of controlling others for ungodly purposes.


As you remember from a previous post, you have decided to by-pass inexperienced ministers to hire an experienced leader. As I encouraged previously, the most critical question you can ask a candidate is: “what do you hope to get out of this ministry?”


Although antithetical to everything you have been told, asking an experienced clergy their philosophy on ministry is a waste of time.


They have already researched your church and formulated an answer which sounds great. However, these men often stretch the truth. Oh boy – I bet you didn’t see that coming, right?


Further, if they have a local connection to others church leaders, a phone call will be made and the 'inside hustle game' is on! I refer to these as “wolf-packs.”


If there are ten (10) candidates to become the new congregational leader, seven (7) are there for the wrong reasons. The issue is, too often the three (3) there for righteousness’s sake never make it into final candidacy.


This leaves a choice between wolves, coyotes, and hyenas!


Transparency in ministry leadership is difficult to come by. These men feel they must be perfect and are not in the practice of being honest about themselves. Knowing hundreds as I do, often they have no idea who they really are!


If this be true, how can they be honest about with you during the “getting to know” one another phase?


Upon becoming a new Cleric, I had the exact opposite philosophy. I believed key to an accountable congregation is having this modelled by the leader. Sheep model what they see.


If being closed off, cold, and a religious phony is a candidate’s leadership style, the sheep will do the same. If, however, the leader is transparent, broken, and honest, most will follow suit.


I have seen this shift in the church I now lead.


Hard Questions Reveal Sneaky Clergymen

Back to what the candidate hopes to get from your ministry. This is a question they may not be prepared to answer. They know you expect to be told ‘what you want to hear’ rather than what you need to.


To put this more simply: you pose questions, think you want an honest answer when you only desire a religious response. The wrong candidates are expert “ear ticklers.”


They know all they must do is quote a few scriptures, smile, and flatter God’s people.


Listen to the biblical text on these types (Isaiah 9:15-16):

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The right candidate will answer honestly but it may not be what you want to hear.

Once you receive an answer to the question, lean a bit further in to find the right leader.


Instead of having a candidate demonstrate scriptural knowledge, which they will have in abundance, dig into who they are as a person.


What struggles do they have? What do they do when NOT reading the Bible, meditating, etc.? What unhealed pain from ministry are they dealing with? How does who they are personally fit in with Pastoring a church?


Are they personally satisfied with the salary offered? Will they try to renegotiate when hired?


Your chances of fulfilling your own desires, and hiring the wrong candidate is lessened when you push past the religious pretense and get to know the person.


Real Leaders Expose Themselves to Risk

Although not thinking it was important at the time, I showed my current congregation who I was during the candidacy phase. I refused religious pretense and being phony!


In doing so, I exposed myself to significant risk for sure. It could have gone badly, but it did not. Our church had been under the leadership of its founding Pastor for multiple decades. There were few policies or processes in place and understandably so.


The Pastor was from another time, and it was our job to carry the ministry forward and build upon the foundation. Our church was not prepared to begin a respectable Pastoral search, let alone on boarding a newly hired Pastor.


This required me to decide, as the Interim, if I should step out and take charge to avoid disaster or play it safe.


I chose the former.


For instance, the church understood how much it was going to pay its new leader. However, they had no written agreement that would protect the church from post-hire negotiators. I suggested having all candidates sign an 'agreement to terms.'


The church accepted this suggestion. This angered one of the candidates who, as he put it, should not only get a salary, but a car allowance as well.


I didn’t have a problem with a car allowance. I would not even resist other concessions.


However, this was a small church, and they didn’t have the resources to meet that request from this greedy minister


True is the Word of God (Ezekiel 34:2-3):

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What I am pointing out is you must have as much contact with potential candidates often during the process. After a while, they will show you who they really are.


If you ask them enough questions, over several meetings, I promise the “real” person will reveal themselves. Keep thorough notes, ask the same questions in each meeting, and expose the manipulators.


Holy Ghost people all share one over-arching trait: they are marvelously consistent.


No Question is too Personal

With respect to the question of their expectations of your church, it allows you to gauge where their head, heart, and vision is.


Further, it takes them out of their comfort zone, doesn’t allow hiding behind scriptural pleasantries, and forces semi-honest answers.


This person will lead your congregation possibly for years to come. They will be intimately involved in the personal lives of God’s people. There is nothing to personal because trust me, they will not hesitate to be so when the opportunity arrives.


Let’s dig a bit deeper in the question of what they expect of your church.


They expect to get whatever you’re offering now but may plan on post-hire renegotiations of salary, benefits, etc. If not immediately, you can trust that as soon as the are “comfortable” enough, they will “come back to the well.”


Keeping in mind that I am speaking about the “wolves” who are there for the wrong reasons. God’s men follow scripture and “be content with the things they have.”


God sent leader’s celebrate blessings (Philippians 4:11-13):

scripture

Why would someone risk losing a Pastorate doing this? The wrong leader(s) do not care about next month, they care about the “now” and getting what they feel you “owe” them.


Let’s get a bit more revelatory.


During your initial meetings with him, they are “sizing up” who is in the room and how they can be convinced to “see things their way” as soon as possible. Just eighteen (18) months ago, I watched a local church make this mistake which they will soon pay a horrible price for.


More Questions to Eliminate Bad Fits

Here are further questions to ask: what are your expectations for housing? What are your expectations of a salary? Do you believe the church leader should be in absolute control of church finances?


How did you respond when the finance and trustees told you ‘no’ in the past?


Do you believe the pastor should be in total control of the church? Do you believe the pastor should make every decision?


If you noticed, most of the above questions deal with the candidate’s expected level of control. You will avoid hiring the wrong person if your questions reveal a ‘control freak.’


The previous sections fit with these questions as well.


For instance, a Clergymen who believes they should be in control of church finances is absolutely the wrong candidate. This is the reason many congregations will soon have to be investigated, by the law, for COVID 19 loan fraud.


The wrong candidates will wax philosophical about how the Shepherd should have final say.


These sorts literally believe you are incapable of thinking for yourself. Surely, nowhere in the text does it indicate either God, or those He sends to lead, are allowed to violate (control) your free will.


Should you allow a Pastor to be in total control of finances, your church will be brought to a place of shame! Remember – a true called Man of God desires you walk in your gifting, while he walks in his.


From a legal perspective, if, for instance, the church falls out of compliance with the IRS, it is not the Pastor who will suffer.


The IRS or state will speak to whomever signed the church’s legal paperwork! In most churches, these are boards of trustees, directors, and finance committees. Trustees are there to take care of the fiduciary responsibilities of church property, assets, and bank accounts.


Do not allow any Clergy who desires dictatorial control in. Thins will only get worse!

As a Pastor, I am determined to be who God called me to be. This means I can only do so if God’ people are walking in their gifts.


An overarching quality you should search for in a New Pastor is whether they “stay in their lane” or not.


As with everything, there are certain exceptions. For instance, some churches are so small, and deplete of people with such gifting, that a Pastor and probably his wife, must perform these functions.


The good news is resources are so limited, financial mismanagement means church doors will be closed!


God Sent Leaders are Not Control Freaks

Your new church leader must be surrendered to God based outcomes. Those not so surrendered seek to control others using God as the basis. God provides free will to humankind. Anyone removing that freedom is a representative of Satan!


Again, “what fellowship has light with the things in dark places?”


On this wise, a local pastor told me: “he (another pastor) is doing something that you and I can only dream of - pastoring the entire church. He makes every financial decision, not a penny is spent without him knowing it, and he is rarely questioned.”


Here’s the problem with that - the Pastor whom he speaks of is a known thief and liar as well. Seeking ungodly control is symptomatic of other underlying issues. Lack of faith, fear, and greed just scratches the surface of these issues.


One of my ministry imperatives was to remove any Pastoral fingerprint from finances and turn it over to those God sent for stewardship ministry. I have been successful in this endeavor.


If that means that I am not a Pastor, then so be it.


Conclusion

Selecting a new Pastor is a life changing decision. Some who selected the wrong person ended up wounded by their decision. Others who followed the leading of the Holy Spirit ended up blessed beyond measure.


This decision should not be taken lightly. Congregations who have done so always end up with the most demonic candidates leading them. I know this is hard to hear and were it not true, I would not say so.


However, my concern is for God’s people, and them alone. I have seen too much with respect to God’s people being abused and misused by false shepherds.


Make sure your church doesn’t end up this way. The only way to prevent this is through prayer and Holy Ghost guidance.


Header Image Courtesy of Tim Mossholder @ Unsplash


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