Knowing Too Much – Final


Ok, I realize I’ve gotten about three series all discombobulated but my goal of wrapping all of them up this week (albeit, out of order) seems within my grasp! And this one is actually the easiest of them all. I may come back to the list I originally posted here, but for now, it’s that last item I want to focus on.

Knowing too much”


This can be brief—bottom-line? Believers have to make a couple decisions for this to work the way God intended for it to. And we have done this at Southbrook. They consist of the following:


  • Confess your sins to one another or don’t
  • Stop gossiping or don’t
  • Trust leadership or don’t
  • Commit to a local body or don’t


Let’s take each of these and see how they apply.


First of all the problem for churches comes almost immediately after you plant. There can be as few as 10 people in the church before this issue rears its ugly head. It happens when a couple or individual goes to the pastor and shares a struggle or hurt or issue they have either themselves or someone close to them. When they finally work up the courage to confess (or share, or admit or inquire—call it whatever you like) it brings immediate relief.


But that can be short-lived.


If the issue doesn’t get better, each time they see the pastor he becomes yet another ‘problem.’


How so?


Well, he’s no longer seen as the pastor. Now he’s seen as a problem because he ‘knows too much.’ And it is right here, at this very fork in the road that far too many Christ followers choose poorly.


Aside: It’s very important to note here that 99.999999 % of the time this private struggle or hurt, etc. was told to many more ‘trusted’ people than just a member of the pastoral staff and that any ‘leakage’ of sensitive material most likely happened as a result of one of these cracks rather than the pastors. Hold that thought. It will become important later on.


Instead of trusting that what they shared is safe with the pastor, they begin to wonder if he will do what they would do (and almost always do-do ß (man there had to be a better way to say that! LOL).


And what is that?


  • Gossip (oh sure, it might be hidden under the cloak of, ‘sharing a concern,’ or, ‘a prayer request,’ but its gossip nonetheless.).
  • Get suspicious of leadership (i.e. wonder who else the pastor told).
  • Decide the Lord is calling them elsewhere (“I hear they’re having a sale on such and such church) and that it’s time to dig out their gypsy clothes and start a wanderin again.


BTW, don’t take these lightly pastor. I’ve had more than a few people assume these things when it was a hundred percent in their own mind only. The truth is, once they start suspecting everyone is acting the way they do it’s very hard to get them to see the truth. So they move on to stage two of their demise.


They start gossiping. It’s a little different you understand, because they are hardly going to go around confessing their deepest, darkest junk to everyone else, but it’s still gossip. The new twist on this age old sin is that they engage in what I call, “preemptive gossip.” It’s what they feel they need to ‘get out there’ before the truth about them gets out there. Who cares if it’s true or not, the ends (they rationalize) justifies the means. So they gossip about and undermine church leadership in an effort to bring relief their own hurts.


Finally, if their preemptive work just doesn’t seem to have legs, they will toss a few verbal hand grenades and hit the highway. The search for a ‘fresh meat, oops, I meant, a fresh ‘start’ begins.


Pastor, this is a cycle you cannot afford in your church—especially if it is a new and fragile church plant. I had to learn the hard way not to set weak people up in these scenarios but learn I did and perhaps I can help other pastors with a few easy things to put in place early on.


  1. Start assigning the counseling aspects of ministry to others as soon as possible. You need to concentrate on what God gifted you to do. This will also keep you out of things you really don’t need to be into in the first place.
  2. These ‘others’ you give this role to should be gifted in counseling and reconciliation so that they can quickly and thoroughly bring healing and restoration.
  3. The pastors or lay pastors in charge of the counseling (and church discipline) should be trustworthy and held accountable of they are not.
  4. These leaders should be given the time they need to work with people. In other words, these pastors don’t need to be bogged down with a whole bunch of other things that have nothing to do with their areas of expertise. Let them work in the area God has gifted them in and give them time to do so.
  5. This shields the lead pastor from sniper attacks. People won’t feel the need to look at him sideways if they are sure he ‘doesn’t know.’


Hope this helps gang. And I hope you take it seriously. It can make the difference between a healthy church and a dead one!