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Posts Tagged ‘toxic church’

There are two places I can see where a toxic church (abusive or has wrong teachings…or both can be outed.  First to others in the church through interaction between a person who realizes the church is toxic, and then in public through media or online. 

Most people, I believe, do not out a toxic church.  They may stay for family or for social reasons and not say anything to keep the peace.  Others do out the church to friends or family, but keep it pretty quiet.  Then there is someone like me, I’ve told some people that are not just family and close friends as time has gone on and am writing an anonymous blog.  Some friends who still attend my former church know my feelings and some of my reasons, but for the most part, people don’t know much about why we left that church.

Then there’s another group of people, bold people or maybe unwise, not sure.  They openly write the toxic church’s name out there in the public.  They name names not just situations.  They share it all.  Am I ready to do this?  I am not sure.

First, I must pray.  I must read scripture. I must seek counsel.  I must see what my husband thinks.  I must get organized.  I must decide.  Do I want to openly name our former church?  I’ve named a few associations, but not named them directly.  Do I want to name pastors?  I know my motives must not be for revenge or self promotion.  I also do not want to hurt someone (the pastor has a family and children…and the pastor need only to be accountable for what he’s done not smeared for assumptions or unfair conclusions). 

If I can help teach others without naming names, it may be better.  This church is likely similar in nature to a lot of churches.  I’ve had some people write me thinking I might be from their area after reading my posts, or they say their story is similar.  So the point can be made without bringing someone into the spot light of critique.

I just wonder when it’s time to be specific?

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1. You bring up problems and are suddenly offered a leadership position. This is to keep you busy so you will not point out the error any longer.

2. You meet with elders or leaders full of questions. Such meetings end with more questions than answers. You then wonder how they did this?

3. You can readily identify the good preacher/bad preacher in your church. Sadly, you’re unsure if the good preacher is with you or against you but you think he might be with you. You know the bad preacher is against you, and others seem to know this too but no one will say so.

4. Your pastor begins preaching sermons that seem to address issues you have brought up in private meetings. The problems you brought up are contradicted in the sermon, yet you see no real change in these areas.

5. Your pastor mentions meetings he’s had with members of the church, use members in these meetings as bad examples, and you realize he’s speaking about you.

6. You notice that an elder hangs with you a lot more, or calls you more. Friendly little guy.

7. You are in a meeting and there is a mediator.

8. You are not quite sure the proper channels for dealing with your particular issues brought up. You soon become sure there is no real proper channel for discussing the issues you brought up.

9. The issues you bring up are quickly becoming “not the issue” to the people you present them to. The new issues involve you and your sin because you are unkind or unloving in some way as you communicate.

10. A pastor or elder reviews your little note to someone in authority in the church and it seems he approves. Later, you’re not sure this pastor actually approves of your letter, though he encouraged you to write it and helped you revise it…and told you to send it with his blessings.

11. You are told to repent.

12. You do not repent (what have you done again?) or you do repent and feel guilty about it later.

13. You get phone calls at home from the leadership, maybe even the lead pastor. This leadership has NEVER called you before. The leader certainly doesn’t sound happy on the phone! Immediately you are accused of something.

14. When the pastor asks a question from the pulpit, you find you are the only one who yells “no” while everyone else is nodding or saying yes in unison.

15. The word unity is used to explain why the particular point you are making is invalid.

I could go on and on….

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Precious Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray for you as you hold out hope for change. It is my hope you are right to stay, in that you can make a difference and snatch some if not many from the fire as wolves have come in to steal away those who would, for whatever reason, remain blind. I understand this hope, I too hold out hope. I beg the Lord for your protection from sin in the situations in which you remain. It is easy to become bitter. It is easy to justify sinful behavior and thoughts when scripture is mishandled, when people are mislead, when you are discouraged, when propoganda flows from the pulpit. I also ask the Lord to give you courage to stand when He desires, and to recognize that standing up for truth is not sin though it is often misnamed as such. I pray wisdom for you as you take each step, choose who to open up to, and choose what to do next. I understand how confusing the situation can be. Please to not loose heart, God is in control no matter what happens and He is also watching over you. I pray as you discern what is truly happening in your congregation and realize how far reaching the same spirit is in the world, you will be comforted as you feel heart sick over it all. I beg the Father on your behalf for you to find an ally, and possibly many allies to hold your hand, pray with you, to give Godly counsel, and to lift you us as you continue to fight for truth. I pray you will stand firm when you are personally attacked, and that you any ill spoken of you will only show the idiocy of the speaker. I pray you are convicted to remain in prayer and to search the scriptures daily. My hope is for you boldly proclaim the Gospel, and to stand firm.

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