One of our areas of expertise and experience is in working with what are known as post-betrayal churches. The term “post-betrayal” is meant to refer to a church that has experienced one or more significant acts of misconduct, usually by a pastor, staff member or significant leader. It is not limited to these individuals and often involves harm of a minor. It could be misconduct in general, sexual misconduct (including sexual abuse, extramarital affairs, pornography, harassment, sexual exploitation and others), economic fraud (including embezzlement, misuse of funds, and other financial improprieties), the abuse of children, abuse of power amongst other things. The misconduct or betrayal could have been experienced by the church in general or within a specific ministry area such as children’s or youth ministry. The reality is the betrayal impacts the whole church regardless of whether or not the betrayal occurred in a specific ministry area or not. Post-betrayal churches are shaped deeply by misconduct in the past even if the congregation is not aware of what happened.
Misconduct alters the members of the congregation and their families, the life of the church, the surrounding community and beyond for years to come. These chruches have high anxiety and fear. They struggle to trust staff. They are often exceptionally dramatic and assume the worst in their staff and each other. While the size of the problem may be debatable, it is clear misconduct in the church is a significant issue that must be addressed in order to decrease the occurrences of misconduct by clergy, staff and other adult leaders in the Christian church.
Our job is to come along churches and provide counsel, assessment, training and resources to their pastors, staff and leaders to help their chruches heal and move forward. Contact us to learn more!