Ep. 299 How to Interact with a Pastor with Known Sin

Ep. 299 How to Interact with a Pastor with Known Sin

Photo: ©KatarzynaBialasiewicz Getty Images Pro via Canva.com

Shows Main Idea – You’re on a church staff or part of a church’s leadership team. You become aware of a fellow leader in known sin. How are you to help him? What are some things you should consider with a brother or sister who is in a trap? How can you emulate Paul’s teaching in Galatians 6:1-2 practically to restore such a person? In this episode, Rick shares some helpful to a struggling leader.

Listen to the podcast

Life Over Coffee · Ep. 299 How to Interact with a Pastor with Known Sin

Show Notes

You may want to read:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2)

1 – Broaden Scope: I’m not interacting with a specific sin intentionally. I’ve widened the scope to provide general guidelines that you will need to apply according to the specifics of the situation, individual, and context. I will speak generally; you must apply specifically. Sexual sin is more severe, of course, but these thoughts apply to any person in a habituated, sinful pattern.

2 – Disqualification: Is he disqualified? There will be some situations where the leader should never be in a position of leadership again. Though that conversation is essential, the more critical talking point will be the restoration of the leader, their family, and the church. It would be best to focus on restoring the captured soul (Galatians 6:1-2); you can later discuss potential re-qualification.

3 – Deception: A leader in known sin over an extended period is a liar, too. I know this is strong language, but I imagine some folks will be blind to the comprehensive scope of what is happening; they need to hear this plainly. It’s similar to James calling anger murder (James 4:1-3). Whenever a person is in secret sin, there is deception (lying). This truth applies to any sinful addictive behavior.

4 – Guarded Trust: Synonyms for lying are deception, secrecy, lack of honesty, lack of transparency, justifying, rationalizing, and so forth. When a person uses deception to feed his lust, he cannot be trusted and must not be leading anyone.

5 – Hard Heart:  Part of the repercussion of deception is the hardening of the conscience. He is going from dull to hard, which is one of the worst conditions for a believer. He has no clarity because of the continuous quenching and grieving of the Spirit. He’s flying blind and needs someone leading him competently.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:1-2)!

6 – Confession: One of the indicators you’re looking for in a repenting person is them confessing more than you already know. They have nothing to hide. It’s more crucial for them to be right with God and others than guarding their reputation. In most situations with the broken soul, they will confess to you more than what you knew about the situation. However, if you have to “negotiate a person’s repentance” while “pulling teeth” to get the truth out of them, he is not broken or ready to change.

7 – Church Repercussions:  Then you have the issue of parents and children. When a person is in sexual sin and has oversight over children, you have a significant problem on your hands. He may not have direct supervision over children and teens, but he’s a church leader and can be in a private situation with a child. If I were a parent and knew that one of the pastors had a secret sexual sin pattern, I would not just sound the alarm but be angry, even considering leaving the church if the leadership did not deal with it.

8 – Legal Recourse: Then you have liability issues in play. If the worst happened, i.e., the pastor acting out on a minor, the child would struggle for life, and the church would be liable, etc. This situation is dangerous. In some cases, you need to seek an attorney, call child protective services, or other legal avenues because the severity of the sin warrants it. Covering up these types of sins is a horrendous thing to do, and it will have generational adverse effects on some of the folks associated with it. Leaving a leader in place with such a pattern of sin sends a clear message about the church’s leadership view, which is a low one.

9 – Family Dynamics: Many of these leaders have spouses, children, and parents. You want to care for them. They are not “just” part of the congregation, but they are intimately involved and appropriately devastated by what is happening. Their temptations and insecurities will be all over the map. It would be best if you provided targeted, precise, and comprehensive care for an extended period to care for their souls.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:17)

10 – Corporate Culpability: If you know to do good, but do not do it, you will sin (James 4:17). There is a template for confrontation in Matthew 18:15-17. The temptation from a sinning leader’s peers is not to do anything about it, play it off, make excuses, and succumb to fear. In worst cases, the leader has power over his peers, and they submit to his unbridled authority. Frequently, the peer group will place more value on keeping their jobs over doing the right thing. This tension is real, and I would not be harsh toward them because most of us would act similarly. Nevertheless, it’s not an excuse to let known sin thrive; you will be guilty if you know to do good, but choose not to do it.

Call to Action

  1. Are you aware of a person in known sin and the Lord is appealing to you to do something about it?
  2. Who are you going to talk to about this situation so you have as much clarity as you can?
  3. After gathering the relevant data and talking to the appropriate people, what is your practical plan?
  4. Perhaps writing out a few notes from the ten points I provided will help you to create a plan for the restoration of all souls involved.
  5. What hinders you from following the advice of James to do the right thing when you know you should?

Need More Help?

  1. If you want to learn more from us, you may search this site for thousands of resources—articles, podcasts, videos, graphics, and more. Please spend time studying the ones that interest you. They are free.
  2. If you want to talk to us, we have private forums for those who support this ministry financially. Please consider supporting us here if you would like to help us keep our resources free.

Learn How to Become a Mastermind Student01

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Filed Under: