Addressing Inappropriate Behaviours in Leaders – Brian P. Cox


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Acting on the discernment or observation of inappropriate behavior in leaders of a ministry or church is a very delicate process.

It’s important to keep in mind that discernment is only one component of us gaining understanding regarding events. Discernment must be backed up first by the Bible and then by physical evidence (or agreement by like-minded Christians in the case of purely spiritual issues). However, when you are dealing with something you discern or learn without physical evidence regarding a person. You need to be very careful!

We should always follow the example of Matthew 18:15-17:

1) If you discern that something is wrong or see physical evidence of wrongdoing, go directly to that person (even if they are a leader). Do not discuss what you discern or witness with others. So many times we see situations where an individual will “discern” a problem and then they try to obtain “confirmation” by talking about the situation with others. This is a mistake! (If you discuss this with others, you are at direct risk of participating in gossip and then the blame for problems will fall on you.)

2) If the person accepts your concerns and expresses a desire to pursue solutions through Christ, then you are good to go. If the person “lashes out” or tries to put the blame on you, then you have further confirmation that something is wrong.

3) If the person does not correct the situation, then you must go back to that person with one or two other Christians. Do not discuss your concerns ahead of time with the people you bring with you. The first time the one or two other Christians hear what you have to say must occur in front of the person you have concerns about. Again, by following this guideline, you avoid accusations of gossip.

4) If the person still does not pursue a solution in a Christ-like manner, then you should take it to the remaining church leadership. Again, you should only discuss it with other leadership while the person of concern is present.

So to re-iterate, no matter how frustrating, annoying or inconvenient it is, NEVER discuss issues with a person unless that person is present.