Betrayal—we’ve all been hurt in the church and among the body of Christ. Betrayal comes in several forms like people abandoning us, not believing in us, hurting us, speaking behind our backs and not valuing what we have to bring to the Kingdom.
Betrayal originates from both others’ and our inner hurts and wounds. Inner hurts and wounds from past experiences and relationships left unhealed can and do affect the church, the body of Christ.
Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” When we are hurt or wounded, we need to look inside ourselves and discover where healing needs to take place. There is a saying: “Hurting people hurt people.” Hurting people do hurt people inside and outside the church.
It seems as though church betrayal is all around. People come in and try to take control, prompting some to leave the church. Many feel they have so much to offer the church, but when things don’t go their way they start causing trouble for the pastor and the congregation.
Conflict arises among leaders when this happens and people begin to argue, disagree and get offended. When offense sets in it leads the way to betrayal and division and people in the church get upset, quit committees and commitments and start leaving the church.
What is the answer to hurt and betrayal in the church and how do we get it to stop? I believe it first starts with prayer and discernment about who should be in church leadership. In the body of Christ in general, 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. This puts pressure on the volunteers and leaders to do more, work harder and pick up the slack of those who don’t want to volunteer.
Due to the limited amount of volunteers when a new person comes into the church a pastor is seldom left options than to hurry and put them in a leadership position or a main volunteer role. The pastor sees good qualities in the person and implements them without the proper amount of prayer and discernment out of desperation.
The person volunteers, gets involved and soon when their character is revealed, we discover that there are emotional and spiritual issues that need healing. This often causes more harm than help to the church in the long run.
Waiting to implement people in certain positions until relationships have been formed and characters have been revealed would be an asset to the church that would bring unity and cooperation instead of division and dissension.
The next thing we need to do is properly train our volunteers, leaders and people in our church and ministry. Proper training comes from leadership having a set action in plan ahead of time and being on the offense and not the defense. What is required to volunteer in your church or ministry?
We have two mandatory resources that help fight against church division and disunity and are required reading for our ministry volunteers.
The Bait of Satan by John Bevere is a great book on the spirit of offense. It identifies offense and helps you heal from offense. I can still remember a time someone suggested it to us while we were in a church conflict. We had never heard of the book or study that comes with it, and my husband’s small group did a study on it that changed our lives.
We now recommend it to everyone as preventative measures and not defensive measures. It is required reading within the first three months of being in our ministry having a desire to serve.
I have found that Perry Stone’s book The Judas Goat is another great book and a must-have for all ministries. This book on betrayal exposes the enemy’s tactics of how people can come in and destroy the church. It makes the reader aware and educated on relationships and how to protect what God has given you.
I strongly suggest again that all leaders read this as preventative measures to church conflict. There are also benefits in this book for people who have been hurt from the church in discovering what went wrong and how to prevent such things from happening again.
As leaders of the church we need to be responsible for the hurt that is going on in our churches. If we can provide our congregation and volunteers with reasonable guidelines and suggestions on how to prevent hurt, than it certainly is our responsibility.
Ultimately, we need to teach forgiveness and we need to model love. The latter truly covers a multitude of sins. When we extend love to each other, healing begins.