OPINION (Charisma) – A friend of mine from England recently asked me for counsel regarding a serious dilemma. His pastor had been involved in extramarital affairs, yet the man never stepped down after the scandal. My friend grew increasingly uncomfortable. Then he became alarmed when the embattled pastor announced he was going to lay hands on every church member during a weekend service to impart “special revelation.” This pastor had a base of loyal fans, but the Sunday crowd was dwindling because people could smell trouble.


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They knew it wasn’t right for this man to remain in leadership without receiving some serious personal ministry. I advised my friend to run for the door. I’ve never found a perfect church in all my travels—and it certainly wouldn’t be perfect if I joined it. But there are some churches that deserve to be called unhealthy. Though I believe we shouldn’t give up on a church too fast, there are some warning signs that should cause you to stop and ask if you’d be better off finding better pasture.

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  1. No accountability. There is safety in the multitude of counselors (see Prov. 11:14). There is much less safety—perhaps even danger—when a leader runs a church in total isolation. All leaders should be team players. They should seek counsel from peers as well as from gray-haired men and women who have the wisdom that comes with experience. If a pastor or church leader isn’t open to correction or financial oversight, he is headed for a train wreck. If you stay in that church, you may crash with him.
  1. Spiritual elitism. Healthy leaders love the entire body of Christ. Beware of any church that claims “exclusive” revelation or suggests it is superior to other Christians. This is how cults start. If a pastor ever makes such claims, it is time to shake the dust off your feet and move on. CONTINUE

Charisma is a monthly Christian magazine based in Lake Mary, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. It is aimed at Pentecostals and charismatics.