When Rachel Black was struggling to make sense of her abusive pastor, there was no Christianity Today Mars Hill podcasts and seemingly no books on how an employee in a church is to respond to such disregard. All she knew was the "hairs on her arms stood up" as she sought to understand her boss.
It was a very good two years working for a mission college. Now they grieve the loss of what they had in Africa.
It is not unusual for those who have faced off with toxic leadership in the church to turn from the church. If you want to find a church of shalom, here are some hints.
“The exercise of authority is designed to serve the well-being of those under its care,” says Timothy Witmer. That seems basic to the Christian, and yet how many bosses view their leadership this way?
Forgive and forget. Don't judge. Remember we are all sinners. There are actually times when grace means to pronounce judgment and bring accountability.
We often focus on the actions of man in the process of determining whether real repentance has taken place. However, repentance is much more than this and our understanding of it will make a significant difference in how we look at those who have been called to repentance after crushing others under their authority or power.
I have often heard survivors of abusive leaders in the home and workplace confess their sins and in some way suggest the abuse they are living under is somehow a necessary result of their sin. Do not be distracted by the wiles of the abuser as he projects his sin upon his victim.
I could tell in our discussion that Aaron was the dream employee. After two years of serving in the church, Aaron came home to his wife and shared with her, “I think Pastor Gene has a man-crush on me.”
Susie's story is not uncommon. Her story is an example of a church work environment that is destructive and extraordinarily complex because highly authoritarian leadership is destructive and extraordinarily complex.
We look for strong leaders using the world’s standards of leadership . . . not God’s. Elders in Christ's church are called to serve; this is how they are to lead. Jesus served.