Author: Matthew Payne

Are both parties always to blame?

I was greatly encouraged by the positive engagement I received in response to my recent series on the mistreatment of ministry staff in churches. It is unfortunate that what I wrote has resonated with the experience of so many people besides those whose experiences originally led me to write on this topic. It has reinforced to me that this truly is a serious and widespread problem. This should not surprise us. Indeed, we should prepare for this to continue to be a problem from now until the Lord Jesus returns to end sin forever. I was also encouraged to...

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“Churches, Watch Over Your Ministry Staff!”: 10 points for churches on dealing with the mistreatment of ministry staff

This article is part 4 of 4 in the series “Churches, watch over your ministry staff!”: A PleaIn my previous posts I raised the very real problem of abuse of ministry workers by their employers in evangelical churches and organisations. If this happened once we should be concerned. If it has happened lots of times and at lots of churches (and it has), and possibly in your church (and it might have), then we must become wiser to the challenges and how we might engage them well. Some might wish this was directed towards the leaders of churches and...

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“Churches, Watch Over Your Ministry Staff!”: Christian practices that are too rarely practiced

This article is part 3 of 4 in the series “Churches, watch over your ministry staff!”: A PleaDealing with sin and relational breakdown in an authentically Christian way will always involve the practices of confession, repentance, forgiveness, personal reconciliation, and (where applicable) reparation. These practices come out of the gospel and our basic experience of being Christian. By definition Christians confess their sins to God, turn to Jesus in repentance and faith, and are confident of finding forgiveness and reconciliation with God in Jesus’ name. This is a wondrous thing and all Christians know it! But what is often...

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“Churches, Watch Over Your Ministry Staff!”: The goodness of church leadership and some ‘professional’ challenges

This article is part 2 of 4 in the series “Churches, watch over your ministry staff!”: A PleaPastoral leadership is a good gift of God. It is very important to interrupt the sobering nature of this subject to recognise that we should value church leadership and church leaders. Church leadership is a really good idea. In fact, it’s God’s idea! Pastoral ministry is an essential part of the health of God’s church. It would be a mistake, for example, for a church to so emphasise every-member-ministry (Ephesians 4:7) that it has no place for pastor-teachers (Ephesians 4:11), or for...

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“Churches, Watch Over Your Ministry Staff!”: Identifying a problem that nobody wants to talk about

This article is part 1 of 4 in the series “Churches, watch over your ministry staff!”: A PleaHuman beings tend to avoid difficult and unpleasant subjects. This holds true in Christian churches as much as it does outside them. We want to focus on the positive and the easy. Life is hard enough without raising problems that aren’t already filling our field of vision. But Christians must not be satisfied with this short-sighted way of living. Jesus teaches us love, compassion, and a concern for justice and right relationships. Whenever Christians take these principles seriously we are shaken out...

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