There is a worldwide trend happening now.
Don’t know if many people have noticed or even care about it?
I’m talking about the worldwide decline in numbers attending church services.
To be fair, Covid 19 lockdowns did nothing for anybody, especially church attendance.
Scrolling through a Christian News Website I was disturbed by the number of stories and there were many, reported about sexual abuse within some congregations.
You’re thinking it’s the megachurch, well yes, it is but it’s unfortunately found in smaller churches.
The Catholic Church has had its fair share of problems, but what about your church, is there something underlying you don’t know about.
Unfortunately Abuse comes in many forms and church leadership prefer to hide or ignore the problem.
If that becomes the case, then God will not stand idly by and allow it to be kept concealed.
God exposes wrongdoing.
Some who pastor a congregation should read the bible and they will understand that their abuse of others in Gods name will be uncovered, then watch them grovel to their congregations claiming they were sorry, it’s interesting they are full of remorse after they have been exposed.
Speaking of exposure many in New Zealand were not surprised to hear of the abuses which were conducted in GOD’S name at both Gloria vale and Arise Church.
Because Gloria vales missteps are before the courts today it’s not prudent to discuss them.
The other mega church which has gained media attention is the Wellington based Arise church.
Much was made of the abuse of power levelled at interns, and we made comment on it in an earlier podcast.
At the time the leadership initiated a review of its practices although I suspect the leadership was or should have been aware of what was happening to the flock they were supposed to be shepherding.
Interns were asked to work long hours and do cleaning, driving, babysitting, and gardening for pastors.
There were allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, and manipulation.
Senior pastor John Cameron, who chaired the leadership board had sole authority to approve new board members, has previously admitted the church “allowed a culture of performance … and this negatively affected Arise Ministry School students.”
When he announced in April that he was “stepping aside from his pastoral duties” and an independent review was initiated by Pathfinding: A Christian response management company, Cameron promised that things would change.
“We are going to listen and learn,” Cameron said. “We are open for dialogue and will be making the organizational changes recommended.”
Cameron resigned as senior pastor the following month.
Pathfinding made ninety-two recommendations in its 49-page report.
They ranged from encouraging diversity to an independent review of the church’s finances and pastors’ discretionary spending.
Pathfinding also called for the resignations of the church board because it “had lost its moral mandate to govern.”
Remember the promises from Cameron they were going to and learn, be open for dialogue, and will make the organizational changes recommended turned out to be just empty talk.
In the month following the report no member of the board resigned.
They also declined to release the report—despite previous commitments—or publicly say what recommendations had been made.
Despite wanting to be open and learn from the recommendations in the report, Cameron and his wife, Gillian, placed a legal non-publication order on the report through the Employment Relations Authority.
Ask yourself, what was it they didn’t want the public to know?
I wonder if there wasn’t a hand of God who leaked the report to and subsequently published by the media; the Employment Relations Authority overturned the non-publication order.
The actions of Arise Church will have greater and a more far-reaching impact on Christian organisations in this country because now the state has launched through the charities division of Internal Affairs an investigation into the practices of the mega church.
And the question is where it will end and will other mega churches come under scrutiny.
AS a Christian, it makes me sad when the only time we see or hear about those professing to represent God in the news is for bullyish or sexual behaviour.
Jesus said judge a tree by its fruit and arise, Gloria vale and the catholic church along with others has failed to represent God in spirit and truth.
If you are current member of Arise, your leadership has stumbled, Now would be a suitable time to explore options.
There are warning signs at Arise that it’s not prepared to change.
You still have the same board running the church, sure you will by now have a new pastor, but unless the leadership is willing to change then God will once again step in and expose its wrongdoing.
We, that is all Christians in New Zealand should pray for the 10,000 people who attend Arise throughout the country that God will lead them to a place where they can find rest and comfort in his word.