A Legacy to Avoid

How should we think about and respond to the solemn subject of abuse and pastoral malpractice in a biblical way?

A Legacy to Avoid was the title of one of the sessions in our 2020 Local Conferences.

The session kicked off with a video presentation by John Stevens, filmed in January 2020, setting out a biblical way to think about and respond to the solemn subject of abuse and pastoral malpractice. At each conference, the video was followed by prayer in small groups followed by discussion.

Many who watched John’s presentation asked if it could be made available for use by groups of elders in local churches. We are pleased to make it available now, together with the discussion questions (below). We would encourage leaders of local churches to spend time considering this issue.

John’s presentation goes alongside the Statement by the FIEC Trust Board on Abuse and Pastoral Malpractice.

For more, including legacies to remember and develop, you can watch the full Leadership and Legacy series from the Local Conferences.

Read the Abuse and Pastoral Malpractice Statement

Discussion Questions

This video would be helpful to watch together and discuss as a church leadership team. Before talking, pray together in the light of John’s talk.

For discussion

  1. What impact can a legacy of bad leadership have on a church?
  2. To what extent is spiritual abuse a genuine problem in the local church?
  3. Is it helpful to talk about coercion and control? If so, why?
  4. How can we tell when ordinary pastoral counselling or leadership is in danger of becoming coercion and control?
  5. How might this kind of abuse be exercised by others in the church, including of pastors?
  6. How might that be dealt with wisely?
  7. What practical steps might we take to avoid spiritual abuse in our own situations?
  8. How might pastors and other leaders each other to avoid this danger?

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