Immorality in Ministry

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Victorious, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Victorious

    Victorious
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    Question for pastors:

    One of our core members is a lady who has been our music leader for the past 30 years. She is 79 years old and suffers from heart problems and is losing her mental faculties. Her husband died six years ago and last year she met a 75 year old man who moved in with her, sans marriage. They travel together and he has made free use of the monetary benefits she receives from her ex husband's pension.

    The pastor has spoken with her about the situation but she needs this man's support because of her illness. We are now at the point of dismissing her from her ministry position but it's very difficult. It seems this is all that is holding her together mentally although she continues in sin. We love her and understand her circumstances, but must follow the Lord's Word in approaching this situation. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    Are you sure there is actually sin going on? It is not a sin to share a roof or share money with someone. Has she admitted to a sexual relationship?

    It may be unwise, and it may look sufficiently bad to ask her to step aside, but it may not be sin.
     
  3. Victorious

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    Yes, she did admit it to one of our deacons who is her best friend. There is no question about it. The entire town knows (small town.) I might add that it is heart-wrenching for us to deal with this. They have asked if they could be married without entering the certificate because she would lose her benefits if we did.
     
  4. Palatka51

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    There are to many elderly couples doing this for the sake of the money and are tossing their moral compass out the window. Meanwhile the younger adults are following in their foot steps. You either serve God or mammon. If the elder women do not set the example for the younger, they are in violation of God's word.

    Titus 2:1-5
    1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
    2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
    3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
    4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
    5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
     
  5. Victorious

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    Thank you for the scripture reminder. I agree. The pastor (my husband) has already spoken with her on this issue and she even agrees with him, yet she continues. He will speak with her next week.
     
  6. Palatka51

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    The laws of our land tend to support sin when it comes to a widow's, husband's pension payouts. In all actualities the widow should not loose that benefit if she so chooses to remarry. However it is important to note that her new husband could also have monies coming in as well. If the widow has no other family for support she becomes the Church's responsibility.
     
  7. annsni

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    Whether the woman is "committing a sin" or not, she is not avoiding the appearance of evil and that is wrong. It is 100% right for the church to dismiss her from her position. If this was a woman of 25 years old who had a 30 year old man living with her, what would the response be? Why would it be any different for an elderly woman and man? It shouldn't be.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    The appearance of evil is not necessarily inherently wrong. I agree it looks bad, and that is reason to ask her to step aside.

    The whole pension thing makes it harder. But right is right.

    Most of us, when we got married, took on additional expenses that had the net result of lowering the amount of discretionary income. But we decided it was worth it. (Don't tell your spouse if you have changed your mind.) Sounds like a similar decision needs to be made here. If this relationship is worth it, then they pay the price for it.
     
  9. Victorious

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    I agree...

    I agree with both of you. Without a doubt, applying church discipline is the most difficult thing to do, but nevertheless, we need to hold all to the same Biblical standards. It is always a person's choice to continue in sin or repent. We aren't ready to tell her not to come through the doors again, but then, she will probably leave on her own after she is dismissed.

    Thanks for your responses.
     
  10. rbell

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    Please don't take this as excusing sin...but....

    You mentioned she was "losing her mental faculties." Do you suspect this plays a role?

    I've worked with Alzheimer's patients in previous jobs and continue to serve as a helper & advocate. If she is slipping mentally, often times that can come with behavior one doesn't expect from an individual.

    I don't have enough info to do anything other than ask. But what does your gut tell you? Is this possibly a dementia issue...or is it plain' ol no-no behavior?
     
  11. Mexdeaf

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    rbell,

    Having experienced the ravages of Alzheimer's with my own family, you do bring up a valid point. But IF that was a factor in this case, what would you do differently?
     
  12. Victorious

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    She is definitely having problems here. Some days she's better than others, but she is definitely having problems. This is one of the things that is so heart-wrenching, but one thing is certain - she knows what she's doing. My husband sat down with her and discussed this and he gave her a chioce. She chose to continue in the relationship and now he is forced to ask her to step down.
     
  13. Victorious

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    OOps...Corrected spelling.
     
  14. Jerome

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  15. John Toppass

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    I do not want to sound harsh, but shacking up would be automatic removal from a Ministry position, then there would be choices to be made.
     
  16. PilgrimPastor

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    I may alone on this board for saying this, but I see nothing wrong with performing a "Covenant Marriage" seperately and apart from state sanctions governing a civin marital contract. They would be asking God to bless their marriage not uncle Sam...

    I have had this conversation with other pastors and they seem to split about fifty fifty on this. I would suggest that the state contractual issue is seperate from a Christ-centered-God-ordained marriage. Work it in reverse; if the state eventually allows gay couples to have civil unuions in all states, does that negate the godly value of a Christian marriage? Certianly not! Neither does the state give the ultimate approval for the marraige of a man and woman in the Church...

    I would suggest that clear biblical logic can not be followed in suggesting that the State MUST sanction a marriage (wedding contract in civil legal terms) for it to be valid in the Church.

    Granted, in this case that may not be the way to go but I think it can be a real option for some folks. This also is not well recieved by all so if the situation is already very public then teh church would have to be prepared to defend its decision to grant a covenant marriage and explain its position.
     
    #16 PilgrimPastor, Mar 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2009
  17. Victorious

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    After the pastor spoke with her alone, he gave her time to make up her mind. Her boyfriend decided he did not like my husband and tried to take her to other churches. We thought she had left the church but here she comes back to us again, walks down to take her seat at the front and begins to lead the music! Sorry if it sounds comical but it's true! Make no mistake about it, we love her very much but...

    We will finally be pulling her aside at the next service as much as it breaks our heart.
     
  18. TomVols

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    For a myriad of reasons, she needs to go. You can't have someone on the "platform" who is losing their faculties. That's a start. Larry is right, if there was no sin involved, okay. And the state does sanction sin. No question. Before EGRRTA, there was a marriage penalty. We all had a tax burden disproportionate because we were married. So we all make sacrifices. But those are different when people are living off govt dole, thanks to Social Security.

    I do like the question about Covenant marriage outside the state's purview. Interesting. However, it's a bit moot. The state must recognize a marriage for a variety of purposes, and thus must define what a marriage is. But it's a great question.
     
  19. Victorious

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    Believe it or not, my husband and I have discussed the covenant issue as well. However, when one performs a marriage ceremony, all the pieces must fit into place. Unfortunately, we don't see this man as being a Christian at all - he sits up front and reads a book during the service. Yes, he accompanied her to church until he realized her church family cared about her and became concerned when her bank account was being used to support them both. She was even persuaded to buy a motorcycle and she has 5 heart stents! Many in the church looked askance at this. He then tried to get her to go to other churches and she always came back saying "it didn't feel right." They also have a volatile relationship which she clings to. So, my husband would not have married them anyway for these and other reasons.
     
  20. Victorious

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    Not in our church it doesn't. It just so happens this is the greatest problem we are facing at this time. We address sin issues as they are revealed.
     

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