Updated: Are Pastors Our Advocates?

It’s come up dozens of times while I’ve been blogging: Lisa, why didn’t you just tell your pastor that you were hurt?

Well, I did.

Over and over. I called and got no answers. I wrote letters and ensured they got them. I got no responses.

I’ve come across this issue time and time again with so many readers out there who want to do the “Christian thing” or the “right thing” as they see it–if someone has offended them, they feel (and I felt) that it makes sense to go talk to your pastor.

What happens when that pastor does nothing, or just gives you lip service? What happens when that pastor just accuses you of being immature, unforgiving or offended?

Sometimes, we’re perfectly reasonable, mature, and able to forgive when we approach someone we think might be an intermediary between ourselves and another party. I was. Yet, my pain was denied and worse yet, the things that the pastor did to me were denied too.

Yet again, for months, I’ve contacted pastors that are related to matters on this blog. When I let them know that dozens and dozens of people have been hurt by Nathan Davies’ ministry, they simply say, “Give the person my contact info and we’ll talk.”

So, I do.

Later, I usually ask the person how it went and they’re honestly, truly disappointed.

Instead of receiving some advice and an apology for the deeply hurtful events that happened under this pastor’s roof, they’re told they should overlook it, forgive and be more mature.

What bullshit.

What’s so important about the hierarchy of pastorship that a senior pastor can’t be open and honest about hiring and keeping on a cult leader (or, call him an abusive pastor)? Why are pastors so seemingly power driven and money hungry that they can’t admit openly that harmful (or even criminal, at times) events are transpiring under their church’s roof? This particular church I’m referencing, Glad Tidings Assembly of God, also known as Church of Glad Tidings, has had youth leaders sexually molest kids and has housed Davies’ cult-like ministry (or House of Pain, can we say?). Yet, no public disclosure has taken place. No letter was sent to the parents of youth group members, saying, “We’ve had leaders convicted of molestation. Please report any misconduct your child reports to the proper authorities.”   I’ve recently been informed that the Church of Glad Tidings did, in fact, prepare letters to the parents and a press release following the sexual molestation case. After that, an Advisory Board was set up to oversee Master’s Commission (since the youth leaders were actually Master’s Commission students). The Advisory Board interviewed staff members independent of Nathan; however, after a few years, this Advisory Board eventually disolved into a financial oversight board.

It also must be noted that Master’s Commission students rarely interacted with the pastors and church staff at great lengths of time. I often wonder how much the church staff knew about our situation as students. I have a feeling they probably didn’t know what we were going through as students at the time.

Is it a liability issue? I’ve wondered this for years. Are churches like this afraid of a lawsuit? Losing all their money? Their reputation?

Is it a pride issue? They don’t want to seem weak and vulnerable?

Do they want to protect their ministers reputations, if they’re under fire? Innocent until proven guilty, perhaps, but when hundreds of kids come forth saying they underwent severe mental trauma, I think that’s cause to look into the guilt factor and take it serious.

How can a person with any conscience really excuse, deny and cover up all this abuse? Worse yet, how can one stand before God with a clear conscience knowing they covered up acts to protect someone on their staff, while damage has been done to hundreds of kids?

Shame on any “man of God” or “woman of God” who can not publicly offer an apology and consolation to a hurting young person. You’ve only made the wound worse.

A note here: After receiving new information on Glad Tidings on the sexual abuse cases, I’ve given this a post a lot of thought. I think Glad Tidings handled that situation responsibly and if informed, would have probably taken action to stop Nathan’s abuses. Unfortunately, it seems they were unaware of the abuse until after the Davies’ left. Upon them leaving, students came forth one-by-one over the years. The pastors have chosen to deal with each person directly, instead of issue a mass statement. When I’ve talked to them, they were very helpful, though out of touch with much of what occurred during my time there. I just simply think they didn’t know.