Men: Protect These 7 Women by Watching Yourself


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.

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About Joe McKeever

Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and retired Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.

  • Vicki

    I don’t mean to sound defensive, and I’m absolutely certain that this is a something that needs to be considered.. However, this article does bring up some concern. I’m concerned that with this “warning” that incredibly innocent acts of kindness and encouragement are going to be read under the category of “red flags.” It could be a batch of cookies or a homemade meal,knowing the likes of the pastor, is a simple act of kindness and that act of kindness toward your wife is just that. These categories generalize so much that almost any act could put any female in danger of being labeled as one of “those” women. It also makes me as a female question any future act out of fear that my intentions will be misinterpreted. I already have to be careful because I’m single and somehow that makes me a little more suspect.

    I guess I ask that you be careful and not take any of these things to an extreme and take every situation on a case-by-case basis. I would hate for good intentions to be read incorrectly causing people to not reach out and pastors and their wives to be more isolated as a result.

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  • Tom Feliciano

    To give this article perspective we should look in scripture. How many times does God warn men about women? I looked and found many. Then I looked for all the warnings God gave women about men. I found none, if any of you know of some I would be very interested in knowing where they are! We are all sinners and we’re all wounded. Knowing how our wounds affect our lives and relationships is the hard part. If you ask God to show you he will and you will not like it (as king David did).

  • PD

    Ladies if you will look under the article on the first page there is a section called “More Stories Similiar to This One”, underneath is an article entitled, “Lust: No Longer Just for Men.” So here you can read an article that deals with both sexes.

  • PastorMason

    I am a firm believer in high-fives and quick side-hugs :)

  • PastorCarla

    Clearly the target audience of this article = ‘men’ pastors. It offers up some great advice and counsel worth sharing. I don’t believe the average pastor intends on being unfaithful. This article exposes the subtle trap the enemy sets to ensnare his victims. I think pride plays a tremendous role here because many pastors believe they are too spiritual to be caught in such traps and believe such counsel is for other people who they have deemed to be weak.

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  • Cathy

    Why is it the assumption that the pastor is “male”?

    • David

      It is not an assumption. It is the typical scenario.

    • PastorMason

      It is not Cathy. The first word of the article’s title is “Men.” This article’s target audience is pastors who are men.

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  • maggie

    Joe, now let’s hear about the 7 men to watch out for

    • Patrick Vincent Richard Hemus

      It’s called all of them haha :)

    • gelo

      I’d love to read an article on that by a woman – also one on the types of pastors to watch out for.
      Whilst I think the majority of pastors are fine this would be helpful to make sure we never end up in the minority who arent

  • Nancy

    Good advice . . . but it would be nice if the language didn’t always assume the pastor is male. I think it pleases God when we make room for diverse interpretations in the non-essentials.

  • basketball jones

    You left out one “other woman” and that is the “online woman”- internet pornography is many of these “women to avoid” rolled into one…

  • Bev Murrill

    I appreciate the fact that you’ve finished this article making the fact that it’s entirely possible that the issues raised here may come from the leader rather than all these women that the guy needs to look out for. I’ve been in senior church leadership for three decades and I’ve seen that it’s just as possible for a woman to sin as a man… obviously. But it does get pretty wearing that most of the warning comes, not to the woman about her pastor, but to the pastor about the women.

    In my experience, and also in most of the articles that are featured on people who have fallen, that the pastor has been a predator, or at least, the initiator. Abuse of power is a tough one for some women to grasp and many women fall prey to it. For that matter, it also happens when a woman is the leader and she may have a vulnerable man around her.

    Either way, the extrapolation of the wearying constant talk about women being the temptress who could bring the leader down, is seen in many nations where the woman has been raped but is stoned to death for adultery. In the story of the adulteress that Jesus deals so kindly with… those men never even brought the offending man out.

    It’s too easy to make the woman the problem… the issue is our hearts. Maybe you could rewrite this article and make it ‘the person you need to look out for.’

    • Nancy

      Well put, Bev, thanks!

    • Janice Davis Yeager

      My thoughts exactly, Bev! Thank you for your kind reminder to the author.

    • Female Pastor-In-Training

      Thank you, Bev, Janice, Nancy, Maggie, and Cathy. I was called into the ministry in 2007, by God Himself, who didn’t ask anyone’s permission to call a woman, and am blessed to be serving in a pretty consevative denomination, Cumberland Presbyterian, who began ordaining women in 1896 (Galations 3:28). I was rather disappointed in this article, and while I know they are from the denomination I left thirty years ago, I would not have expected this to be so biased against women here in 2012. Yes, women can tempt, but equally, men can tempt, all can be tempted, and we ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God. And, sorry, there are times when a pastor, male or female, has to trust Jesus to protect, and give an appropriate hug. We just have to use common sense and very much avoid the appearance of sin, while not being unapproachable. And, yes, if someone really needs some really heavy counseling, bu all means refer him/her to someone with not only less opportunity for accusations to fly, but who is better able to deal with those kinds of things. In the meantime, keep your door open, have your spouse or elder or deacon of the appropriate gender sit in, or sit on the pew in public view. I am very happily married to a Christ-loving man, who supports my ministry and education in every way, and while I would never do anything to dishonor him, I won’t be completely untouchable to anyone who needs it. And, one more thing, the little disclaimers that say that pastors (male) can be victimizers, too, are inadequate.

      • David

        i think you have completely missed the point in a very good article. Sorry.

      • DaughterInChrist

        I agree with David. This is a male perspective and this article was written specifically for men. Not everything has to be written in unisex form in order for the concept to be understood. Should a female writer/pastor post something in their perspective about men, I would not automatically assume they’re leaving male pastors out due to sexism. Not everything is a battle between the sexes.

    • gelo

      Good points Bev.
      And yes – it gets wearing even for some guys.

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