Pastors should almost never become professional counselors. When church members come to you for help with problems, if it cannot be solved in a session or two, refer them to a trained professional.
Pastor Ed Young of Houston’s Second Baptist Church told some of us pastors once that we should not counsel at all. “All you need is for someone–man, woman, or child–to run out of the office accusing you of something, and your ministry is gone!”
He’s right. Pastor Young said when someone says to him following a church service, “I need to talk to you sometime,” he says,”Let’s sit in this pew right now and talk.” It’s in public and it will be done quickly.
I hate that life has come to this, but it has, and we have to deal with it.
7) The woman you work most closely with in ministry.
Once again, it’s a matter of focus. The minister of worship meets with the organist (or pianist or his personal assistant or whoever) on a regular basis to plan the services. The youth minister has frequent conferences with his secretary or a young woman in the church who assists in programming. The pastor meets with his children’s director or ministry assistant or the head of the women’s ministry or the chair of his personnel or finance committee.
Beware, minister. You must be proactive in heading off any possibility of a compromised situation.
Billy Graham decided early in his ministry never to be alone with a woman at any time. Some might find that extreme, but say what you will, his long and very public evangelistic ministry was never tainted in the least by sexual scandal or innuendo.
The most important woman in the church to you the minister.
Your wife must be your lover, your intimate friend, your best adviser and strongest counselor, and your “mother” (the one who cooks your favorite dishes and is always there for you).
Let the home fires get cold and you are setting yourself up for trouble, pastor. This is why the writer of Proverbs urged the young man he was mentoring to “drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well.” He says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 4:15-23).
A pastor I know makes frequent mention of his wife from the pulpit. He makes it abundantly clear that he loves her dearly and, may I say, you get the impression that their intimate relationship is strong. He makes sure the church knows and supports his devotion to his wife and family, which means (among other things) that his off-time is as holy as his time in the office.
When he counsels women in his office, my pastor friend takes care. The door has a small window which allows anyone to see inside. At an agreed-upon time, his assistant phones to allow him an excuse to end the session. He is not a hugger.
Oh, about this hugging business.
Stop it, pastor. You may hug anyone under 6 and over 66. Other than that, keep your hands to yourself.
Rationalize it how you will, the hugging pastor is usually trying to get some need of his own met by this physical activity. And, justify it however he tries, I guarantee you there are plenty of women in the church who would be thrilled to learn he wll not be touching them in this way again.
We have talked all around it and must not end this little essay without admitting it:
Often, the sexual temptation arises solely from within the minister, and not from the woman.
Sometimes, Lord help us, he is the predator.
My mentor in the ministry, Dr. James Richardson, long in Heaven by now, used to say, “That come-on the preacher sees coming from some woman in the church may be merely the reflection of the gleam in his own eye.”
Get your act together, man of God. Be strong in the Lord. Recognize that “your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).He would like nothing better than to destroy you, make a laughingstock of you in the community, end your ministry, and hurt those dearest to you.
Don’t let him.
Resist the devil by being strong in the Lord.