The posting of an open letter to my senior minister from the wife of a former youth minister at my church split my reality and cranked my head around to see what it was all about. I loved this couple who had moved on to another church. I had worked with him on writings I researched while he was leading the youth at my church. I love his laid back preaching style that spoke to the heart of the gospel. I sang in the choir and performed in productions with his wife. I was aghast at my perception as the open letter drew back the smokey curtains to reveal what had been going on behind the scenes, hidden from those of us sitting in the pews.
Churches generate programs in service to God’s kingdom — Sunday School, kids’ ministries, youth activities, missions, choir, VBS, outreach, small groups, recovery ministries and more. The larger the church body, the greater potential for more programs. I’m not saying that programs are bad, but do they keep us so engrossed in their operations that we miss important stuff? I was a deacon. How could I have overlooked the red flags? Does your church have regularly held meetings among the program leaders and the church leaders? Are the only meetings on church operations among the elders and the senior pastor? How does your church leadership work to keep the church body informed? Is the consult and/or approval of the church body required? Does your church hold periodic business meetings? I’m just asking.
From the book:
“Was this the diatribe of a disgruntled former employee’s spouse, or was it the heartfelt expression of a former long-term church member who knew the back story not seen from the pews? Wait, this was taking place in a church I had attended for more than ten years! How much of a recovery ministry bubble had I put myself into that this would shock me so?” (Taylor, Joy S., A View from the Pews — The Story of a Broken Church, 2022, Lily of the Valley Publishing, Santa Claus IN, p. 75.)
“A View from the Pews” is available on Amazon in print and ebook format, along with being available to read through the Kindle Unlimited program. Buy a book, read online, choose your preferred method and read the rest of the story. This project is for the victims. Every book sold and every page read helps support Safe Connections non-profit in St. Louis. Please buy a copy and join me in the cause for victims of abuse.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 31, 2022
While this is a tough read, it is one that I believe is necessary for anyone serving in a leadership role in a church, for someone seeking a healthy church, and for individuals in ministry. This book should be added to curriculum at Bible colleges as a guide on how to properly handle abuse and as a guide on how not to handle abuse.
I’m grateful for this read, not just as an individual who lived through this situation, but as someone who serve full time in ministry now as an adult. I hope people will be open minded to learning from and listening to the victims and whistleblowers always.