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Dr. Hyles
My heart aches at the number of churches, which are going through extreme difficulties at this time.  For the first time in 40 years of ministry I find myself providing counsel with a half dozen churches facing the same devastating issue.  I almost do not want to answer the phone for fear of what I’ll hear on the other end.

As I see these churches dealing with moral failures, scandals, and pastoral changes I am concerned that they  follow the proper course in dealing with these devastating issues.  Please allow me to share some thoughts regarding these situations that I hope will be a blessing.  

By the way, if this has not happened.  Believe me it will one day come to your attention for no one is immune from the attacks of Satan and the fleshly temptations he uses on our spiritual leaders.  

It seems especially true with the vicious attacks on independent Baptist churches.  The focus is not on the Catholics, Southern Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, but the soul winning churches.  We all have too much going wrong morally in ALL churches without singling out the independent Baptist churches.  Our church has had incidents of moral failure among leadership and all were immediately turned over to the police.  Yet, people still lie about our church and how we handled this incidents.  You cannot win with those who hate what you stand for.

Yet, these times can lead to revival or ruin depending on how the local church responds, so here are my suggestions.

  • DO NOT ALLOW IT TO BE BUSINESS AS USUAL!  Many churches are still in the ER and are attempting to act like there is nothing wrong.  They act like they did not just experience a serious spiritual heart procedure.  They just jump back into acting like a business instead of allowing some time to go through a much needed process.

  • TAKE TIME TO HEAL!   Please hear me on this!  A church who has lost a pastor for whatever reason is hurting.  A salve or band aid often merely masks the hurt and never allows true healing.   An infection sets in and creates a deeper problem. Please accept this lovingly as I intend to be.  In my heart I always felt the FBC in Hammond never allowed the grieving process to accomplish its purpose after Dr. Hyles’ death.  Many were still hurting, but the time for healing did not run its course.

  • MOVE SLOWLY!  Make no quick decisions unless forced to do so.  Move with patience and a multitude of elderly counselors.

  • MAJOR ON SPIRITUAL ADVICE AND MAKE SPIRITUAL DECISIONS!   When you leave the hospital you do not ask an attorney how to become well.  You seek the best medical advice possible.  A church should do the same.  Seek the best spiritual advice you can.  Call on old men of God.  I thank God for all the good that attorneys do across our nation.  However, if you listen to attorneys you will quit the bus ministry and turn power over to a deacon board and violate everything we have stood for in the past.  A wise Christian attorney in Dallas told me when we were in the middle of a serious law suit, “Pastor you do your job and I will do my job.  If I need you I will call you.  You go soul winning!” Just because a man of God overstepped his boundaries does not veto God’s plan for a local church. BE CAREFUL!

  • ALLOW GOD TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE IN THE MATTER! He has a plan!  You are in a spiritual battle so make certain you seek exactly what God is trying to do for you.

  • DO NOT FORGET THE SAINTS!  This is frightening to me.  There are people in these churches who are hurting because of the difficulties their church family is facing.  Who is ministering to them?  Forget your national name and national concerns.  Without a church family you have nothing to offer a nation.  A pastor who loses his family cannot lead a local church.  He must first build a strong home before he can lead a church full of families.

  • DO NOT OVERREACT!   This is where we make our most glaring mistakes.  God is not the author of confusion.

  • DO NOT MISTAKE PURGING FOR PUNISHMENT!  If you lose people do not mistake it for being God’s punishment. It may be His purging.  That said, DO NOT judge or criticize those who choose to leave.  Love them and be grateful for their faithfulness through out the years.  They are already hurting and they may sense they just cannot bear the battle.

  • GET BACK TO THE BASICS!   Get back into the Word of God!  Go to the Nursing Homes as usual and minister to others. Visit the sick, shut-ins, feed the poor, Go soul winning and bring your converts down the aisle like never before.

  • PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!  I am shocked at the deacons in these struggling churches who have yet had an all night prayer meeting.   You do not need to look for a pastor when you can’t even get a hold of Heaven, your headquarters, and get direction.

  • Beware of certain sins that often accompany church difficulties

  • If any of these occur go to prayer meetings immediately

  • SELFISHNESS!  We all have our opinions and that is all they are.  Set your opinion aside and do not feel your ideas should be everyone’s ideas

  • Be careful about staph (STAFF) infections.  This is especially important after the loss of a pastor.  Good people in positions of leadership can move with haste to accomplish what they feel is in the best interest of the staff rather than what God wants to come out of this disaster.  They are attempting to carry on because that is what they receive pay for or so they think.  As soon as the pastor leaves they are actually jobless.  They were HIS extensions not their own.  It was the pastor’s ministry!  Usual duties should be performed, but often the staff attempts to usurp and supplant control when they are NOT qualified or called to do so before the pastor’s leaving.

  • DO NOT CHANGE!  Now, this may seem to be a contradiction.  God is working to purify your local church, but He is not trying to alter the course you are on, but to perfect it.   You do not need a deacon board run church because of the sins of the pastor. You do not need to stop running the buses, or the soul winning, or the Sunday schools, or the Nursing Homes, etc.

  • DO NOT BECOME TOO FOCUSED ON WHAT THE WORLD IS SAYING!   If you are dealing with a scandal it is easy to fixate on the opinions of those who do not like you anyway.  The wicked internet  forums are filled with hateful, vulgar, backslidden lives, parsing the words of others, and whose only claim to fame is a pseudo name.  They despise independent Baptist churches so do not be surprised at what they so bravely type.  Do not argue with them and do not allow them to affect your actions.  Do right because it is right NOT merely to appease the critics.

  • PLAN AHEAD!  So, you may not be in the fire right now, but someday you may be.  Prepare wisely for it.  Be aware of what you will do if the situation arises because it might just happen to you too!


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