Quotation of the Week

When a staff person in a church is approached by a church member with a criticism about another staff person, that staff member should ask four questions:

Don Johnson quoting Alan Forsman.


  1. I just lost a job with a Christian organization. In the midst of the process, neither the person who brought the accusation that led to my dismissal spoke to me personally nor did the leaders who made the decision.

    The leaders (actually only one of them) eventually apologized after the fact for not speaking with me but the guy who sparked the whole thing still hasn’t spoken to me and as far as I know nobody in the mix has encouraged him to do so.

    I’m speaking about a wonderful and cutting edge Christian group that I respect.

    We’re all sinners. Obviously.

    So I’m sympathetic to the folks in that ministry. Leadership is very difficult and staying ethical is even harder.

    All that by way of saying that the idea in the quote is among the best and the least practiced elements of the faith.

  2. My heart goes out to Tom. I’ve seen situations like his happen over and over again in the church, (and in society in general), but in the “Christian” setting I find it to be an especially painful reality. Obviously it’s been going on forever, as Paul’s letters show us over and over again.

    The minister’s office can so easily become a dumping ground if one is not careful to define the setting differently. Criticisms abound in the church, and it happens between members as well as staff. There is a time to talk through troublesome situations, but when clashing personalities become the issue (which so often is not the presenting problem, but IS the problem), the pastor has to speak to truth. And that is not an easy thing to do. I love the four steps you’ve offered in this blog – especially the last one.

    How often I have been saddened by the lack of desire for reconciliation, and the abundance of judgment that is so easily done and seldom owned. Thanks for the thoughful reflection on what I have found to be one of the biggest challenges of ministry. The questions are really helpful.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *