I recently heard in a podcast that yet another ministry had a shake-up in their leadership due to conspicuous moral failure. My point is not to shame the leadership or demean the leader in any way so I will not name the ministry. But there was something that was mentioned in the report that caught my ear and we should learn from it.
What caught my ear was a statement that the leadership team at this church engendered a culture of “coercion and deception.”
These should have no place in the governance of a church. If Jesus is the head of the church and the local leaders are in submission to Jesus, there should be no need for coercion and deception never leads to anything good.
As a result of the fall, we are born with deceptive hearts and we are natural-born manipulators. Therefore, it is easy to fall into the trap of using means that should be out of bounds for a leader of a church.
We can discern how important God thinks it is for us to avoid deception. In the early church, God set a standard for us when he made an example out of Ananias and Sapphira as recorded in Acts 5.
Jesus told us that he will build his church. For the church to be healthy, Jesus brings men and women to the church that have all the gifts and skills necessary for the church to function well. Coercion could silence some of the voices that God has specifically brought to speak into the body.
Those of us who are leaders should ask ourselves some questions:
- Are we forthcoming about how and why decisions are made?
- Do we apply pressure to those who have a different opinion or,
- Do we listen and seek to learn from their perspective?
If one or more of the leaders is using ungodly means to implement his vision, I struggle to see how the church could be healthy.
The end never justifies the means.