Spiritual Abuse Begins with Dishonest Church Leadership
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
All spiritual abuse always begins with dishonest church leadership.
I. Abusive Leaders Use People for Their Own Ends
II. Abusive Church Leaders Are Always Ambitious
III. I Personally Know Abusive Clergy
IV. Crooks in Pulpits are Repeat Offenders
V. Abusive Leaders use Churches for Resume Building
VI. Dishonest Church Leaders Appear Honest
VII. Let’s Confront Them in Jesus Name
Abusive Leaders Use People for Their Own Ends
We wrote an article on dishonest Church leader extraordinaire Bill Hybels. This guy has gotten wealthy while teaching dishonest Bible practices.
Best known among these is his false “leadership” gospel. Pastors should stand against the practice of using any congregation to your own ends.
This is the trait shared by all dishonest church leadership.
Although God set me apart at the age twenty-five, I did not Pastor until my mid-forties. During the years, I preached many sermons as I developed in the ministry.
Nevertheless, with youth comes excitement, eagerness, and often impatience. While this may be viewed as beneficial in the world, such a mixture is dangerous for church leaders.
Let those who have an ear hear.
Although exulted in my mid-forties, many ‘more experienced’ Pastors spoke ‘their’ wisdom to me. Were I not older, I would’ve followed much of their advice and damaged God’s sheep in the process.
Just a reminder: I will offer no qualifiers like “some clergy”, “not all preachers,” etc. No dishonest preacher will be provided an escape clause from Holy Ghost conviction. No sir/mam.
What is written here rebuke and correct whomever it needs to. As someone once told me: “preach that thing man, and let it hit who it is supposed to.” Put more simply: “let the chips fall where they may.”
Let’s build the first profile of an abuser in the pulpit.
Abusive Church Leaders are Always Ambitious
There are many abusive clergy but all share one trait: desperate ambition. Just like anger, jealousy, or judging, ambition is not, itself, wrong. It becomes so when misused with the intent of self-worship.
It is impossible to serve God and be selfish in the same moment. Without turning this article into an apologetics platform, how is it possible to focus on “self” and “God” simultaneously?
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus offered that God must be sought before even our “needs” can be properly met:
Here is what the Lord told us in Matthew 6: 33-34:
Self-worship has few higher forms (lower is more accurate) than prestige seeking. Walking in prestige, bestowed by God, is not a sin. If prestige, itself, is wicked, why did God give Jesus: “a name above every name.”
Even if one disconnects from that biblical imperative, it is still a misunderstanding of ‘inheritance.’ Even on Earth, didn’t the Word say: “honor those in authority over us because they have watch for your souls”?
Nevertheless, honor, at its’ root, assigns ‘prestige’ to something or someone. It is when that honor is assigned and/or acquired through an ungodly power grab, that it becomes sin.
Authority granted through non-holy processes must be, by definition, unholy.
You are a fool to believe everything which happens is God’s will. God does not, and will not, bless sin. However, even that sin, as scripture teaches: “works together for the good of them, who are the called according to God’s purposes.”
Just because God uses something to further His will, never means it IS His will. Let us not forget what Joseph told the same brothers who sold him into Egyptian slavery:
I Personally Know Abusive Clergy
I will offer the profile of an abusive church leader I know. He will be further discussed, and concluded, in the next article.
However, I am currently watching a situation unfold at a local church he leads, which has been through much suffering. Identifying these struggles was/are, is irrelevant for the purposes of this article.
What is relevant, is they now have a dishonest pastor leading them, where a Pastor of integrity did before.
The new leader has pastored quite a few congregations yet, has not done so in some time before arriving. Biblically, he is brilliant. I marvel at his biblical acumen, energy, and excitement.
It is his ‘slithery’ conduct which concerns me, nevertheless. Why he hadn’t been pastoring before arriving is between him, that congregation, and God. I’m not someone who ‘piles on’ when someone falls.
This platform is about ‘prevention’ of such catastrophic events, through self-examination, not finger pointing (post disaster).
There are other YouTube channels, websites, and social media profiles dedicated to “rubbing it in.” This shows a total lack of grace from a Believer. I understand why secular news organizations report such falls, just not why WE do.
One of the better known is “Dawson Speaks”:
As a Prophet, I call leaders back to God, and warn them of the danger of walking away. I am not saying some leaders do not need to be exposed.
Even scriptures says they will: “as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these (preachers) resist the truth. Men of corrupt minds, and reprobate concerning the faith. Yet their foolishness will proceed no further because it will be made known to everyone.”
Jesus had no issue with the adulterous woman being publicly exposed. Such an objection would have been a violation of the Law of Moses. As Jesus said: “think not that I have come to destroy the Law and Prophets. No, but to fulfill them.”
His challenge, to her judges, was their own spiritual condition while judging her. Brother and Sister Prophets, you need to be careful about going further than God would have you.
Any person, truly sent by God in our gifting, would never end a call to righteousness with further damaging the already damaged (piling on).
Think about it like this: in football, when a player has been tackled, and those who tackled get off, what would you say if someone, after the tackled player was getting up, came and tackled them again?
You, like I, would say: “now that was a dirty play, and that player is awful for doing so.” Why is it any different in the Kingdom of God?
Crooks in Pulpits are Repeat Offenders
The profiled local Pastor had to get his foot back in the door, somewhere. It seems that in the church, following the lead of the world, a ‘resume gap’ is a terrible thing.
This is not me sanctioning this nonsense. I am just acknowledging its reality. When an experienced Pastor is not leading a congregation, very few things are as important as ‘why.’
Gaps in service must be addressed. There can be legitimate reasons for service gaps. Whether a spiritual sabbatical, a belief their season to move has arrived, burn-out, or thrown out.
Sometimes impeachable offenses of church fraud or other serious issues were addressed and Pastor released.
Whatever the cause, prospective congregations must know. Most reasons may indicate a Pastor has not healed from spiritual trauma.
However, the latter two reasons may indicate something awful which must be brought into the open. Put more simply: they are signs of a dishonest Pastor who was rebuked, rightfully so, by a congregation of Real Christians.
As a Pastor, and former follower of a Pastor, I have personally witnessed this. I have also, witnessed non-righteous rebuke, and a falsely terminated Pastor. Both were the same man!
There is always a reason someone, having Pastored, is not currently doing so. As hard as it is to believe, there may be a legitimate reason. Honesty, and not dishonesty, can cause loss of a pastorate as well.
How many of you, honestly, have been part of voting in someone, who later proved a ‘popularity’ pick rather than ‘substance’ selection?
Abusive Leaders use Churches for Resume Building
Let’s get back to the local profiled Church Leader. He is obviously using this church to get back ‘into the game.’
When an experienced Pastor has been dismissed from a congregation (or quit), they often ‘take less’ to rebuild a resume.
I am not suggesting any congregation, regardless of numbers, is greater than the other. However, this is how abusive and dishonest clergy tend to view things.
One of the first signs you have a dishonest leader is they have had a self-induced, catastrophic loss of prestige. Therefore, they are in a new church to begin with. More importantly, if the new Pastor, or candidate, is willing to take much less salary than his last assignment, this is a HUGE red flag!
I bolded this for a reason.
In former articles, I pointed out that part of the allure of being a pastor is ‘prestige’ it provides. Whenever fame, even locally, will result, non-God called characters will enter the fray.
I just read a statistical study, by the Bana Group, indicating that 68% of communities still believe Pastors are the most important leaders. This means, almost 7 in every 10 people believe WE are ‘special.’
Fame, prestige, and purpose is an aphrodisiac hard to ignore for anyone! One of my dearest friends, and when God assigned me to the pastoral ranks, crystallized this prestige: “now that you are a Pastor, (this leader) will respect you more.”
Yes beloved, you heard that correctly!
However, wayward (or not called at all) leaders tend to let the “cat out of the bag” as soon as they arrive at a new assignment. They are immediately active in the community and presenting themselves as fresh air. However, they are anything but “fresh.”
The local pastor featured, in this article, has a simple game plan to meet his own ends. He, first, presented himself as a ‘new kind of leader,’ immediately began to talk down on locals, yet spun it as innovative ministry.
Why do this?
The game plan often with abusive leaders is using smaller congregations to secure ‘more suitable church employment.’ Yes, and it is with much sorrow that I acknowledge this truth.
With each new ‘venture,’ they are one-step closer to their goal of shedding the ‘less worthy’ serfs. These sorts prey on the “heart of the simple” as scripture indicates. What is also true is they lack any form of accountability from other clergy.
More on this in my upcoming mini eBook series: If My People: Exposing the Most Effective Hustlers Alive.
The localization of congregations has done much damage to our credibility. Crooked clergy, like the man featured, are experts at compartmentalizing God’s people, isolating them with their ‘magic act,’ and feasting on their bodies and resources.
Dishonest Church Leaders Appear Honest
The most difficult part, for me personally, is most of these clergy were formerly called by God. To proclaim someone not called by God because of personal struggles is folly.
However, there comes a time when most who served God in the Bible, turned back to Him.
There are many reasons why such people appear honest. To begin with, the Bible says: “marvel not that Satan appears as an angel of light. Is it any wonder that his ministers (servants) appear as the servants of righteousness?”
They are ‘clean cut,’ well-spoken, and can quote scripture backwards and forward. They are, however, using this for their own ends.
As a Pastor, I have learned to recognize the ‘abusers’ from those truly sold-out for the cause of Jesus Christ.
Let’s Confront Them in Jesus Name
Here is where my ministry is different from many others: I confront these sorts! I was so heartbroken to learn how rare it is for Pastors to correct their colleagues in ministry.
They not only forsake this, but also hang around them, and act as the greatest friends.
At some point, the confrontation of these crooks must be led by fellow clergy.
Some chock this silence up to “grace’ while others say: “I keep my enemies close.” Neither are valid reasons for allowing a ‘serpent’ to continue eating at their table.
The Bible asks this question (2nd Corinthians 6:14):
Here is an example of this demonic silence. A local Pastor was dismissed by a church for no biblical reason. A man who had earlier “come to assist him” through the challenging time, turned out to be anything but assisting.
After the coup, the hireling became the new pastor.
Some months later, local Pastors went into the church, an blessed what happened by their mere presence. The Bible asks: “how can two walk together unless they touch and agree”?
Often, by merely standing next to someone, you show solidarity. Don’t under estimate the unspoken words of being ‘present’. This is the silence of dishonest clergy.
These sorts of church leaders must be confronted with the Word of God as indicated in
Matthew Chapter 18. However, dishonest preachers NEVER hold other dishonest preachers accountable.
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