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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

23 Sep '14

Why do we tolerate bad behaviour in the church?

Posted by T.J. Addington in behavior, unhealthy churches
Here is an interesting question: Why do we tolerate what is just plain bad behavior in our churches? It can be abusive pastors, church leaders who misuse their authority, those with power in the congregation or Uncle Joe who is just obnoxious. In some cases the behaviors are so ingrained that it becomes the culture of the congregation.

It is interesting to me that we will label bad theology for what it is but not bad behavior and  yet bad behavior is just as toxic as bad theology. And in evangelical circles, far more prevalent.

One of the keys to fighting bad behavior and habits in the church is to build a culture that is intentionally healthy. One need not focus on the negative but on a culture that is God honoring. Henry Cloud is right in his observation that "leaders get what they create or allow" (Boundaries for Leaders). If we don't create an alternative culture we simply get the amalgamation of "what is" and "what is" is often not very healthy.

The second part of his statement is just as important. When we allow problematic behaviors we will get them. If we are clear about what is honoring to God and what we don't do in our congregation we will get far less of the problematic. When was the last time in your congregation someone was kindly told that their behaviors are not acceptable? 

In this regard, "Christian nice" is not helpful. It is like Minnesota nice were we skirt important issues rather than address them. The Apostle Paul was pretty clear on behaviors that are healthy and those that are not (see Ephesians and Colossians). In the book of Ephesians in particular he describes a preferred culture and is clear about what is not acceptable. 

Creating a healthy culture is very possible. My book, Leading From the Sandbox addresses how to do this. Remember, we get what we create or allow.

All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.