Safe and Unsafe Churches

Characteristics of the Safe Church

Characteristics of the Unsafe Church


Personal information is kept personal and confidential, especially when it is part of a sinful habit or pattern for which a believer is seeking victory.

Personal information is shared inappropriately among others, often in a distorted and angry manner, and any sinful habits are fair game for conversation with uninvolved third parties.


The sins of one’s past are not kept in focus, but are treated with due discretion, as something which has been forgiven by Christ.

The sins of one’s past are shared freely behind one’s back by those who seek to inflate their own reputations at the expense of the reputation of a brother or sister in Christ.


Personal differences are pursued personally and privately, according to the scriptural pattern of correction and reproof (Galatians 6:1, Matthew 18:15-17).

Personal differences become the subject of increasing escalation as previously uninvolved third parties are involved.


Prayer requests are treated with reverence as requests to God above all for his solution, and are not shared beyond the number of believers necessary to seek him in faith in perservering prayer.

Prayer requests are treated as a way to spread personal news about others while trying to avoid the appearance of gossip.


The teaching and preaching ministry of the church is directed toward feeding the entire flock of God, toward the challenges that are facing the entire church.

The teaching and preaching ministry of the church becomes entangled in correcting the supposed problems of individual believers which are better pursued through personal discussion and correction.


A believer can be trust that no confidences will be broken in the sharing of his or her personal information before other believers through the preaching and teaching ministry of the church.

Unpleasant surprises occur when confidences are broken or when personal information is shared, often in a distorted and angry manner, in the preaching and teaching ministry of the church.


Believers do not monitor the attendance, participation and activities of others at the request of others.

Believers spy on and gossip about the attendance, participation and activities of other believers at the request of others.


The leaders of the church are those who meet the scriptural qualifications of leadership.

People who seek power over others and who do not meet the scriptural qualifications for church leadership seek leadership in the church, and others in the church, even those who know their true motives and character, cooperate with their campaigns for personal power.


The will of God in the Word of God under the Lordship of Christ is the ultimate aim and personal satisfaction of the leaders of the church and the believers in the church.

Personal prestige, preferences, grudges and prejudices are the hidden agenda behind much pseudo-spiritual posturing.


Ministry positions are filled according to spiritual gifts, according to the personal and prayerful sense of call and equipment of each believer, yet with reverent corroboration by others in the body of Christ. Each position is approached with the faith that God has

Recruitment for positions is by social pressure and guilt trips for anyone who may seem to be available, and a refusal upon the basis of no sense of call means simply more pressure. Immediate acceptance of the responsibility is expected, with no allowance for someone to pray about the responsibility before accepting it.


The entire body of Christ ministers to the needs of all believers in the body of Christ, and they are there for each other in the major crises of life with care, comfort and prayer.

Some believers are neglected in normal ministries of the body of Christ even in the major crises of life, and the reasons are generally that someone does not like them, or that someone disagrees with some choice that they made in the past which is blamed for their present crises.


Loving Honesty and Mercy: There is an atmosphere of loving honesty and humble realization that past sins are forgiven through Christ. Sins are covered by the blood of Christ and the love of believers in Christ.

There is an atmosphere of undue suspicion of others and proud secrecy about past sins. Sins are covered by human deceit.


Christlikeness: Conformity to the will of God in the Word of God and to the character of Christ is the mark of spiritual safety and maturity.

External Legalism:Conformity to a series of external rules and regulations is the mark of spiritual safety and maturity — until you break one even inadvertently.


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