There are many stories of people high up in churches committing some *shocking* sexual (or other) sin. Usually it turns out that this was not just an event but a lifestyle. Inevitably, what happens is that the pastor or leader is removed from the position and most often they find a “new” congregation or no congregation at all. Then the existing congregation goes on a search for a new pastor or just bumps up the vice pastor to fill the position.
If the church does not work though the reasons why they hired/followed the pastor in the first place they are doomed to repeat the problem. Thinking that you will actually solve the problem by firing the pastor is like thinking that a woman that continually dates abusive men just needs to end the relationship with the current abuser. In order to really solve the problem any therapist or counselor will tell you that there is something fundamentally “wrong” with the spouses of abusers, alcoholic etc. There is almost always a pattern or deficiency that makes certain partners attracted to those with these issues. Could it be that this same law of counseling applies to church culture. When a congregation can happily exist under a man who wields all sorts of sexual, or other sin, for years at a time could it be that the problem, and therefore the solution, does not just lie with with person in power but also the congregation?
So, would it also be right to suppose that if the pastor is removed and the people do not resolve their issues, in a life changing way, there is a good chance that those issues still exist? With the partners of addicts, why is it that after 5 abusive relationships, the 6th relationship is actually more likely not less, to be with an addict?
I have been a part of a church for the last 8 years that has undergone a major shift in leadership due to “sexual indiscretion.” In my observance, there has been very little open communication about the issue. The underlying feel that I receive is that the issue is over with because the person or problem has been removed. Now I’m starting to wonder.
What if members of a “congregation” took responsibility for the problem instead of just blaming it on the leader?
What would this look like?
Does current church structure or culture condone or dismiss this type of responsibility?
Can there be any true or complete healing without it?