Churches remain uncertain about how to handle a pastor who has been accused of a scandal. 47% believe the pastor should step aside while allegations are investigated, but 21% are uncertain. Among older pastors, 36% believe pastors should remain in their positions during investigations, but younger pastors are less likely to agree (27%). Pentecostals (43%) are the most likely to keep pastors in their positions during investigations, while 24% of Reformed or Presbyterian pastors take the same view.
Why this story matters for church leaders:
Church leaders will have to face a scandal either themselves or for a ministry colleague. Having a plan in place will help your church move forward responsibly and graciously.
- Quick to Act? Younger pastors are a little more likely to suggest that a pastor step down in the midst of an investigation, which could be an overreaction in some cases, but are there times when a pastor should step down even before charges are proven true?
- Slow to Change? Older pastors are more likely to wait out an investigation before taking any action to remove a pastor. In what cases does this appear to be a wise course of action?
- Can you trust your process? Churches need clear policies for investigating accusations so that pastors are protected from false charges and members are protected from abusive leaders. Clear guidelines and by-laws will help both sides trust each other and the process.
How does your church handle allegations against a pastor?