Need advice before accepting church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ServingHim, May 24, 2007.

  1. ServingHim

    ServingHim
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    I have canidated at a church, and they will be voting this Sun. I felt good about the opportunity, until I contacted the former pastor on the advice of a well seasoned ministry friend. The former pastor told me that the church was a very loving and supportive church with a great vision, however there are two men in leadership that have been accused (not convicted) of sexual abuse to children. This is a very small town, and because of the accusations, they have very few children and youth. The parents just won't let the kids go, and who could blame them. Both the church and the former pastor told me that he left on good terms, so I have no reason to suspect that the former is trying to cause trouble. There are also 7 other churches in a town of 700. Any advice?
     
  2. rbell

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    • Are both of the accused out of that church? Are they still in the town? If they are, are they in any posiitin that allows contact with "potential victims?" (i.e., YMCA, teaching, etc.).
    • Are there legal proceedings going on about this...or is the "case closed?"
    • Is your position to be pastor?
    • What is the church's mindset regarding the accused?
    • You said, "he left on good terms." Does that refer to the former pastor? What was his role in dealing with the accusations (was he passive, outspoken, accusing, did he defend the accused, etc.)?
    • Do the alleged victims attend your church now?
    • 8 churches (7 + yours) in a town of 700...wow. Are they all very small? That's a lot of churches for a small area...how many churches are conservative and biblical in their approach? And are there more than 700 when outlying areas are considered"
    • Does the church now have a written procedure in place to guide you if, God forbit, this ever came up again?
    I know I didn't really answer anything...but I think every one of my above questions would have to be addressed before I would consider going to said church.

    But then again...maybe a few of those points above are just me...but some of them I couldn't imagine anyone ignoring.

    GOd's best to you. May you choose wisely and minister effectvely...wherever that is.
     
  3. tinytim

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    ditto what rbell said..

    Especially the part about are there legal proceedings right now?

    If the case was closed, were they found guilty? If so, they need to step down from leadership...
    If they were falsely accused, the community of only 700 should know this.

    If the case is pending, temporary suspension of their duties would be in order...

    But as rbell said, this is just my opinions. And without knowing you, or your particulars, it would be hard to tell you what you should do...

    I will be praying for you though, and ask God to place before you an open door that you can run through...

    Either toward the church...
    Or away as fast as you can...

    Be looking for that door from God!
     
  4. ServingHim

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    Mind you, no one from the church has told me about this. This is information from the former pastor. No legal action was ever brought against these men, and they deny the allegations. But with a small community like this, the word is out, and it is effecting the church growth, especially the kids and teens. Just because there is smoke doesn't mean there's fire, but enough smoke and it doesn't really matter if there's fire anyway. I'll tell you that I'm very leary about accpeting the pastorate. Right now I feel I should "run".
     
  5. rbell

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    BIG red flag. Unless you are at the earliest stages of candidacy (doesn't sound like you are), this is too big a deal to not at least talk about.

    I'm being blunt now. I would not go to this church under ANY cirucmstances until I had this question answered: "Why not?" Was there no legal action taken...
    • Because the accusations were full of holes, lies, etc.?
    • Because the families of the alleged victims just wanted it "over with" and didn't want the specter of a trial?
    • Were there "dirty deals" made? (see the Roman Catholic's handling of a few cases..."If you'll just go far, far away, we'll forget about this.")
    Not every answer to "why not?" is a terrible sign. But IMO you have to know...because there are several possibilities that would indicate you have a problematic church on your hands.

    It may be affecting growth in the kids/teens sector...but I have a feeling they are staying away because parents are encouraging it. Just my opinion, though.

    I know what you mean. If you have true accusations, there's big problems. IF the accusations were all false, you have an entirely different set of big problems.

    Not telling you absolutely to do what you feel...but don't ignore those reservations. Continue to ask God to confirm them, or remove them.

    Pray a lot, and be careful. If you're married, pay attention to what your wife has to say. Yes, we're the spiritual leaders...but often times God gets something through our thick craniums by having our wives remind us of something important.
     
  6. tinytim

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    My feeling is, this is something the pulpit committee needed to let you know.

    I came to the church I pastor right now, knowing all the good, bad, and ugly... the pulpit committee were upfront about everything.

    I would get this out in the open somehow before I would accept...
    Surely the Pulpit committee wouldn't be hiding info that may be damaging, would they? lol

    Or worse, covering up something illegal.
     
  7. Hope of Glory

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    Legally, it's innocent until proved guilty (unless it's a PC crime).

    Civilly, it's a preponderance of the evidence.

    I was accused of contributing to the delinquincy of a minor when I was younger, and I can tell you right now that a) I never knew the girl and b) people automatically assumed that I was guilty.

    Beyond that, I will not give any advice since I don't personally know those involved, and this is a very touchy subject in which I don't think that those who are guilty are dealt with harshly enough.
     
  8. gb93433

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    If the pulpit commitee has not told you that is a big red flag about their disclosure. If it were me I would pass. It is easy to fall into a bad situation and very difficult to get through one or out of it.
     
  9. Hope of Glory

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    I almost agree with you.

    But. But, if the allegations are unsubstantiated, does that not almost fall into the category of gossip?
     
  10. ServingHim

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    I just talked to the head of the pulpit committee. He said, yes there were allegations years ago, but they were lies. I honestly don't know what I should do (exept pray of course!).
     
  11. webdog

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    It's one thing to hear "they are lies" from the ones still in the church. You should dig deeper to find out who did the alleged "lying" and why.
     
  12. menageriekeeper

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    I have to agree with Webdog. How many years ago? Who did the accusing and how old were they? How were the accusations proven false? How was it handled then? How are continuing questions handled now? (it is not good enough to simply say the accusations are false)

    These are all questions I would want answered before I'd let my kid anywhere near that church and parents like me(or worse) are what you'll have to deal with in the future.
     
  13. ServingHim

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    The plot thickens...
    I found out that the allegations came from the former former pastor's wife. I have been told that this lady was crazy, and only wanted to stir things up because she didn't like the deacon in question. She later accused a lady in the church she had a quarrel with of the same crime.

    FYI.. This was to be my first pastorate. I have been an associate for over 10 years. I am pretty sure I want to turn it down, but really don't want to hurt these people. I believe their story, I just don't feel the guidence of the Holy Spirit now. Before all of this, I actually felt that this was the right thing, althouh my wife had reservations.

    They will be voting on me this Sun. Should I wait until they vote, or make a decision before,(I think I know what that decision will be)?
     
  14. Steven2006

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    I am not a Pastor so take my opinion in that context. The first thing I wondered was if this abuse was supposed to have happened at the church, or in their private lives. If it was in the church, then you need to hear the entire story, from both sides if possible.

    If it was outside of the church, then my first question would be were they accused together? Because if not I find it a little odd, that in a town of only seven hundred, that two separate men in two separate instances would both be accused, both not have charges brought, and both happen to go to the same small church. It smells a little funny, maybe they were lies? However you would still need to find out a little more. Maybe you should first speak with these two men with the committee present. Maybe they should be asked how they would feel to step down from a leadership position based on 1 Timothy 3:7. " And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." Then also verse 3:10 were it says "they are beyond reproach".

    My last thoughts were how much time have you spent praying about it? While it is fine to ask others their opinions, the real question is what does God want you to do? The people of that church need to be pastored. Someone has to do it, someone has to answer this call. It sounds like it would be a hard challenge, but then what is really hard for God? If you feel this is what God has in store for you, maybe you are the right person at the right time, to help this church through this time of need.

    I will pray for you that you find the answers.
     
  15. Hope of Glory

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    Since when have you had to prove innocence instead of guilt?

    Would I keep a short leash on my kid? You bet. Better safe than sorry, but that goes with a whole bunch of stuff.

    This sounds more like gossip and/or slander, unless there is some substantiation.
     
  16. pocadots1990

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    Let me suggest this.

    If you already know the answer and it is no, then please tell the church before they vote on you.

    It is best to be up front with the church before they vote, than to wait on their vote and then turn it down.
     
  17. Salty

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    Could it be you are the one the Lord has chosen to bring this church "out of the wandering of the desert" ? Some on this board have said this is a red flag, and they are right. But do we simply walk away if the Lord is leading?

    Please be assured we will keep you in prayer - so He may be glorified.

    Salty
     
  18. tinytim

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    But if you are unsure... let them know also.
    It won't hurt to wait a week or two for them to vote or for you to accept.

    Try to step away from the situation and look at the big picture.
    Are the negative feelings you are getting from God or Satan.

    If I was as unsure as you are, I would probably let them go ahead and vote, but tell them that since this new info has came out, you need extra time to accept. If they found out new info on you that would be unpleasing, or questionable, I guarantee they would postpone the vote...

    They can vote affirmative, and you can wait until you are sure before giving them the answer...

    Or like pocadots said, if you already know it's a no, then go ahead and tell them...

    Whatever you do, take the high road.

    Also sleep on it a couple nights... that always helps.
     
  19. TomVols

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    If this is a SB church, you need to talk to someone at the State Convention and the local Association. You need to talk to another pastor there locally.

    You need to know if there is litigation pending. You could find yourself liable.

    Pulpit committees tell about 70% of what they know.

    I've known of churches like this. Accusations like this can cripple a church if there's even a shred of truth.
     
  20. tinytim

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    Just wondering how he could be found liable?
     

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