A Pastoral Horror Story

I heard a horror story yesterday. A large mega-church “hired” ten interns. One day before they were to finish their internships, they were all fired and none were given good recommendations. None. I said, “hired” in quotes because they were paid “slave wages” and worked long hours.

At another church, apparently a mega-church with a “high-energy” atmosphere, the youth pastor was also under what seemed abusive and under-paid pressure.

It get’s worse.

The youth pastor, afraid of thoughts of self-harm, checked himself into a hospital. He called his senior pastor, both to tell him where he was and why he was not on the job but also to receive his (the Senior Pastor’s) counsel and pastoral care. His pastor (sic) told him not to worry and that his desk and office would be cleared out and his responsibilities given to another. 

These kind of stories make me angry. They make me grieve. They make me mourn and lament the state of the church. They make me weep for the pastors and young men and women who are so mistreated by leaders, pastors, elders and deacons. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN. But it does. Too frequently and always scandalously and to the detriment of the corporate witness of the Church. And often, the result is discouraged leaders, male and female, husbands and wives, wounded and broken by the short-sighted decisions of power brokers in the the church more interested in their agenda than the Lord’s.

Larry Osborne is fond of saying something like “Launch your Eagles; don’t ground them.” Here’s my plea, care for your young leaders. Nurture them. Affirm them. Give them opportunity. Limit your criticism to areas of character and essential doctrines. Give them wings. Treat your your young leaders and interns as favored sons and daughters. See them as the arrows you will shoot into the future to make an impact long after you are gone from the scene. They aren’t free labor or cheep labor to push your agenda. They are young Eagles to equip for a life-time of ministry for your King not your fiefdom or fame.

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