Yesterday a pastor friend (Dr. Gray Little in N.C, name given at his request) related his frustration with secrets in church congregations. He was recently terminated by a small group that showed up at a business meeting. The following Sunday most of the church had no idea what happened or why it happened, it was a well kept a secret. All they knew was their pastor was gone and someone read a brief statement without answering questions.
Gray’s frustration was that a small group co-opted the church as a whole. He said they wanted to keep things quiet, ostensibly for “the good of the church and protect his reputation.” He knew better. It was because they didn’t want all the truth to come out about what they did, why and how they did it. This group decided due to personality differences he needed to go.
Sadly… many times there are secrets in congregations. A few individuals decide the fate of a minister without the congregation’s knowledge and then keep secrets from the rest of the congregation rather than seeking reconciliation and restoration when there are matters that need to be worked through for healing. In their mind it is easier to find another minister than honoring God and Scripture about how to handle difficulties (Mt 18:15-18; Gal 6:1).
I admire my friend because he chose to be defrauded (1 Cor 6:7) and turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39), trusting God do what He decided was best in the situation (1 Pet 2:23). For he knew God is not the source of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor 14:33).
How can you know if secrets are being kept? Sadly you won’t know until something dramatic happens… like a staff member “showing up gone” one Sunday or something else unexpected and unusual.
What do you do when you find out secrets have been kept from you as part of the congregation?
First, pray for the congregation, leaders, and minister(s)… don’t prey on them.
Second, do NOT participate in gossip or slander about anyone.
Third, talk privately to one of the godly, trusted church leaders asking questions graciously and humbly.
Fourth, listen and observe (Yesterday’s post addresses this matter).