Are pastors just as capable of overt evil as anyone else?
These may rightly be labeled “killer clergy”—wolverines in shepherds’ garb. These pastors use and control their congregations through intimidation, emotional manipulation, verbal or sexual abuse, and outright threats. They make up the smaller army of bullies, manipulators, backslapping con artists, liars, cowards, predators, perverts, psychotics, sociopaths, narcissists, and false shepherds who currently populate some of our churches.
Killer clergy aren’t there to carry the burdens of others or to risk themselves for the Gospel. They are present to prey upon the most innocent and trusting sheep. Even many associate pastors, worship leaders, and other staff find themselves intimidated and pushed around by them.
When you’ve found your church in such a situation, haven’t you ever asked yourself, “How did this happen?”
Some churches unknowingly hire a pastor who hides his personality disorder (for obvious reasons) only for it to come to the forefront when he’s challenged about something he did or said. The fault in this situation sometimes lies in the hands of denominational executives who either cover for one of their pastors, or are too busy and preoccupied to deal with the situation. Or, the Pastor Search Committee was just too tired to go the extra mile and check the pastors’ references.
Every pastor, and probably any churchgoer, could add another grim tale about a pastor doing something corrupt beyond our wildest expectations. This doesn’t refer merely to those things we could classify as “odd” or “eccentric.” What is meant here isn’t just human failure or weakness, common to us all, but deliberate and consistent evil.
Most good people aren’t sure what to do about a corrupt pastor. Taking to heart the “touch not my anointed” verse, or unwilling to be seen as biting sheep, they either leave their church or endure being taken advantage of.
What do you think is the best way to approach such a situation?