Amid allegations that he helped cover up a series of child sex abuse scandals of his Sovereign Grace Ministries congregations, pastor C.J. Mahaney followed his address at Together for the Gospel with a sermon at his church that called on the congregation to protect their pastors. Mahaney said that Hebrews 13:17 tells congregations to stand by their pastors and to challenge allegations. Abuse survivor networks have protested Mahaney’s appearance at Together for the Gospel.
Why This Story Matters for Church Leaders
C.J. Mahaney is the subject of ongoing lawsuits and has been linked with covering up sexual abuse of children by the staff and pastors of his churches and churches in his denomination.
- Where do we draw the line legally with pastors? Several pastors at Mahaney’s church have either been convicted of sexually abusing children, others have had lawsuits dismissed because of lenient statutes of limitations, and still other lawsuits remain pending. Should a pastor speak at a conference under these circumstances?
- Where is the balance between supporting pastors and giving pastors too much power? Mahaney has long been accused of misusing his power and attacking dissenters by many of his former, long-standing ministry colleagues. How do we create atmospheres of trust and support for pastors without giving them too much power?
- Accountability for leaders can be caring for all parties: Leaders who have a strong support network of fellow leaders who can hold them accountable could help prevent many of the problems that have been noted in Mahaney’s ministry.
How can your church care for pastors by providing both support and accountability while taking seriously those with reasonable concerns about abuse?
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