the Hope of Survivors

What Are the Warning Signs?

If the members of the church are consecrated to God and use the wisdom, discretion and discernment the Lord gives them, they will be able to notice when something is amiss. The pastor may begin to act differently. His sermon content or style may change. His social activities may change, either becoming more frequent or more withdrawn. Below are some of the things of which alert church members should take notice:

1. Pastor may be overly friendly or flirtatious with women in the congregation.

2. Pastor may be controlling or manipulative.

3. Pastor may counsel women alone with the door closed and/or the window covered.

4. Pastor may begin making inappropriate comments (sensual, suggestive, questionable, etc.) during the sermon, Bible study, etc.

5. If you notice a woman paying more attention to the pastor than usual, or looking at him or behaving inappropriately toward him, be aware that there may be other reasons for this behavior.The woman may be responding the pastor’s “secret” signals and behavior. If the church member who is observing this behavior only observes the woman, he/she may be led to a very wrong conclusion—that the woman was “coming on to” the pastor—when it could very well be that all along the pastor was initiating this behavior and was just more adept at keeping it secret. After all, who wants to suspect their pastor? It is much easier to blame the woman than to accept what could be the truth. There have been many instances when after the abuse was exposed, other members of the congregation came forward to tell of how they had noticed “strange” things happening but never said anything about it or investigated it in any way.

6. If you have the opportunity, observe the pastor’s behavior outside of church as well. As a representative of Christ, the pastor should be consistent in all his activities, whether in the church or at home or in public. He is to live a godly life, not just preach about one. If you find that your pastor is drinking, smoking, going to pool/billiard halls, listening to secular music, watching inappropriate movies, and so on, then there are big problems that must be addressed immediately! These things are NOT the mind of Christ. Christ would never exhibit any of these behaviours. The pastor is to represent Christ to his flock at all times.

Please understand that we are not encouraging anyone to “spy” on their pastor or another congregant. However, if you are concerned about someone’s behavior, you need to be aware that there may be other things going on which are not readily apparent. We believe that there are many godly men who stand for truth and should be commended and respected for fulfilling their role as a pastor and representative of Christ. We do not wish, in any way, to encourage undue suspicion or paranoia of a pastor or other church leader.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18