I think what is really troubling me in this whole issue is that there is a lack of vulnerability on the part of church leaders.
When dealing with a church there is a lot of trust in the congregation that the leaders will help them to become more like Jesus. Church members confide in leaders their struggles and where they need help, believing that these leaders will help them to grow.
Confession creates a position of vulnerability with the hope of restoration. When we (church leaders) put a bunch of barriers in someone’s path to restoration, or give them arbitrary activities that we think should make them closer to Jesus, we take advantage of their vulnerability.
Church leaders, have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever had to confess your mistakes to someone? I know the pastor in question has been publicly chastised and claims to have undergone discipline himself. My question here is shouldn’t that discipline create more humility and more vulnerability?
There is a fear in church leadership that if we show our own weaknesses then people won’t want to follow us. That is we let people know we aren’t perfect they will see through our B.S. and go to someone who has their crap together.
I know from experience at Creekside that when our pastor (Don) has expressed his own weaknesses people have actually responded favorably. Don is one of us. He’s not better than us, he’s just one follower of Jesus trying to help other people follow Jesus.
In a conversation with another person who calls Creekside home they said that why they love Creekside is that we are willing to talk to people based on life experience. We have a community of broken people and Jesus is putting us back together. We have drug addicts sitting next to stay at home moms. All of us recognize that we need Jesus. And recognizing that we all need Jesus helps us to be vulnerable and honest with each other.