Monday Morning Insights

Photo of Todd

    One church that handled scandal well and how they did it

    One church that handled scandal well and how they did it

    This well-written article in the Sheboygan Press tells Praise Fellowship's story.  Here's the first part of the story:

    Everything about Aaron Herman's background made him a perfect fit for Sheboygan's Praise Fellowship Church — he grew up in the church, he toured professionally and he helped lead a 5,000-member church in Louisiana.

    These just weren't the circumstances under which the 34-year-old worship pastor imagined returning home.

    Herman, who started at Praise Fellowship last month, replaced a disgraced former worship pastor who sits in jail accused of exchanging graphic photos and pursuing sexual relationships with two teenage boys at the church. Travis Gandy — who was fired the day the first charges were filed in June — has a total of 33 felony charges pending.

    "The people are hurt. A lot of my team worked very closely with Travis, and it was painful, and it still is," Herman said in a recent interview at the north-side church. "Trusting after being disappointed is a difficult thing."

    But in the four months after Gandy's abrupt departure, leaders say the church's worship team and congregation have come through the ordeal stronger and more united than ever.

    "There's a new season, a new chapter that God wants to write, and it's still going to be about … how can we serve our community and what can we do to have an impact on people's lives," said the Rev. Chuck Apple, senior pastor of Praise Fellowship. "I think Aaron has brought in a fresh wind of excitement, a sense of moving on, and I'm just excited about what the Lord has for us in the future."

    But the last few months haven't been easy.

    Continue reading to see how the church reacted and responded to the situation they found themselves in.

    Hats off To Praise Fellowship!

    My guess:  the staff at Praise Fellowship never saw this thing coming.  I'm guessing this scandal was never on their radar screen as being a possibility before it hit.  Hidden sins of others right next to us usually blow us away.

    What I admire about the way this church handled the situation is that they immediately took steps to help all those involved.

    They spoke freely from the pulpit about it; and even used it as a teaching opportunity to help others who may be dealing with secret sin issues.

    They provided help and counseling for those in the church that needed it; particularly members of the worship team who had worked very closely with the person charged.

    They spoke openly with the community about the issue.

    And most importantly, they moved on without flinching... continuing outreach in their city; and hiring a new worship leader to help heal the congregation.

    Many church's response would have been to act like this thing never happened.  That rarely works.

    What would be YOUR game plan if your worship leader was arrested today?  (If you're the worship leader, pretend it's the youth or senior pastor).

    Would your leadership be able to make quick and right decisions?

    How confident are you that your church would handle this situation well?

    Maybe your church has dealt with this kind of thing?  What did you learn?

    Please share your thoughts...







    if you want a Globally Recognized Avatar (the images next to your profile) get them here. Once you sign up, your picture will displayed on any website that supports gravitars.

    1. Paul Loyless on Wed, October 20, 2010

      Great post Todd. I applaud this church for tackling the issue head on.

      Too often churches try to bury issues and all that does is feed the rumor mill. Let’s face it; people are going to talk. When a church quickly and methodically brings the news to the people they have a much greater chance of maintaining and even growing their trust.

      How to avoid conflict? Head on.

    2. Carole Turner on Wed, October 20, 2010

      Yea, that is not the way stuff like this is handled at most churches. Instead they don’t talk about it at all, rumors run rampant, and they wait for it to “die down”. Stupid and wrong but status quo, happy to see at least one church do it right.

    3. Mark La Roi on Wed, October 20, 2010

      It seems they took a very good response to a very sad situation. Our church has suffered 2 very public failures and I’m glad to say nothing was held back that needed to be known and we were able to move forward still.

      To hide things and act slowly is a sure way to give a bad appearance at a time like this. You don’t want to act rashly but definitely immediately. Protect the Name, and do what is necessary according to Scriptural principle.

    4. Jan on Thu, October 21, 2010

      My home church went through this with a nationally recognized youth pastor.  We literally had thousands coming to Christ and then the axe fell.

      The church did not deal with it well.  They did not come out and say what had happened, which was that he was having sexual relationships with teens girls. 

      He was the kind of guy that could sell you his dirty socks and you’d go away happy that you’d gotten a good deal.  So, when he denied it, they believed him, until they had unrefutable proof.

      Because they did not come out and say it, years later (it’s been thirty now) I ran into a good hearted guy who had believed his story that he was the victim.  He had harbored bitterness towards the church for literally twenty years.  So, he was shocked when I told him that the District Attorney had personally called me to find out if I had been molested by this guy, and had a running list of my friends who had and were willing to testify.

      It was a horrific situation and I believe the church tried to handle it well. But they were mistaken into thinking that not talking was a good and healthy thing to do.  By not talking, they allowed him to keep lying, even worse rumors were flying… was he a murderer?  homosexual?  We all knew it was bad, but nobody knew what.  And they allowed him to keep doing ministry and therefore endangering more young girls.  Eventually, he was arrested for kidnapping a prostitute.  But he testified his innocence in court, and being the good talker got out of it.

      He is working with college students today in a non profit non Christian university.

    5. Page 1 of 1 pages

      Post a Comment

    6. (will not be published)

      Remember my personal information

      Notify me of follow-up comments?