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Author Topic: Great article on how power corrupts in churches  (Read 1526 times)
DarthVader
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« on: August 10, 2018, 11:12:58 am »

https://religionnews.com/2018/08/10/beaty-oped/

Some takeaways from the end of the article:

What would a healthy reckoning with power in Christian communities look like?

1. Churches must seek leaders who are accountable and vulnerable, not just charismatic and driven. Every leader, no matter how spiritually mature, educated and gifted, must submit to normal structures of unbiased accountability on multiple levels. This would mean, at least, a board of elders who are chosen independently of the pastor’s preference; a larger denominational body or regional pastors network that governs local affairs; and a supportive setting in which pastors can share vulnerably about all dimensions of their spiritual growth and challenges. Agreement to accountability should be part of the pastoral hiring process in every church. If an otherwise talented leader chafes against answering to other people, prepare for trouble.

2. Denominations should weed out power abusers. Research suggests a high number of people with narcissistic personality disorder end up in ministry. Narcissists are skilled power wielders, using manipulation, gaslighting and deceit to consolidate power for selfish ends. Denominations should use vigorous, thorough psychological testing to weed out leaders who for various reasons can’t be trusted with that much power over people’s lives.

3. Empower the marginalized. If churches are really living out the faith they profess, they will do everything to share power with the powerless — including foremost those who have been sexually mistreated. After all, Christians believe that the kingdom of God brings a reversal of the world’s account of power. This means, for example, that people like Pat Baranowski — who shared a particularly heartbreaking account of Hybels’ behavior — will be believed, and that swift action will be taken to rectify wrongdoing against them.

If the church is worth its salt in the era of #MeToo, it will be the first, not last, place to believe women who come forward with painful stories — even if that means that our beloved pastors must come down off the pedestal.
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