Two female praise team members, RD and RW, who had been good friends, had an obvious falling out in early summer. Both women were having marital problems already. Our Children’s Minister, who is a friend of RW and her husband, was told by the husband that he had an affair with RD and that he had admitted it to his wife, RW. RD was asked to meet with one of our ministers and another staff member, a meeting in which she denied the affair, only saying repeatedly, “we got too close”. She then accused RW of having an online affair with more than one person and that was the reason that RW and her husband were having marital issues. RD was told in this meeting (in which I was not involved) that she needed to take a break from being on the platform on Sunday morning but could continue to practice (not my choice) and that the situation would be reevaluated in a month or so. We are up against the time in which I have to decide what to do.
I met with RW and asked her about the falling between her and RD. She was very reluctant to address the issue, but when pressed, acknowledged that her husband had admitted an affair with RD to her. She indicated her belief that the affair was over at the time of our meeting. When I asked RW about the “online affairs” that RD accused her of, she indicated that she did have online friends and that RD had actually encouraged that she meet these people face to face and take the relationships to the next level, but insisted that she had not done so. RW was very straightforward in our meeting and I felt as though she was being truthful on all fronts. RW’s husband had also indicated to our Children’s Minister that he was aware of some online relationships that RW had that were causing strain in their marriage, but he gave no indication to the Children’s Minister that these “friendships” were anything more than online. This appears to corroborate RW’s story.
So, do I let RD back on the platform? So far, very few people seem to know about the affair. RD has done some things that make me believe that the affair is not over (or definitely that she is trying to rekindle things if it is), but RD spends a great deal of time attempting to draw attention to the fact that she is going through a terrible divorce and having a hard time financially, emotionally, etc., and has garnered the support and sympathy of many church members. She has portrayed herself as the victim in her divorce when she refused any and all counseling attempts by her husband. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. I do not want her back on the platform, but other staff members feel that we should keep her engaged and involved, as God would not cast her aside for her mistakes. I understand that, but what if this all comes out and she is up there singing? If this all comes out, doesn’t that reflect poorly on our praise team as a whole and more importantly couldn't this become an obstacle to worship for some?
I would really appreciate any advice that could be given.

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Hmm, David. A number of unknowns here. And a very tough situation. May God give you courage and wisdom.

First thing I see (hindsight in a way) is that you were not involved in the discipline meetings - that was a mistake. If you are the worship leader, then you deserved to hear everything first hand and take part in the decision as to how or even if this person should stay involved with the music team. The leadership decided something and put it on your shoulders. Was the senior pastor involved in this? Hard to believe it's where it is if he was.

Secondly, you say that RD has refused all counseling attempts by her husband. There may be reasons for that (abuse, etc), but they're not sounding plausible from what you tell us. Bottom line: if you're feeling uneasy about her behavior, there is probably more to it than others think. Trust your gut.

How will RW feel with RD back on stage? How do the other team members feel? Are you prepared to have that type of soap opera going on amongst the team dynamics?

From past experiance, I would be really hestiant to have someone on stage with so many unknowns and so much stuff unfinished. Depending on the circumstances, this could be a deal-breaker for me - meaning resignation if I was overruled.

And there are other ways for a person to stay involved without having to be upfront on a stage. Ask the staff (who seem to be running this) to be creative. Make them solve it, since they seem so taken with the situation. (Not being mean here, just blunt)

Again, I ask, what does your senior pastor think? Personally I could care less what other staff members think, especially when they are friends and may be biased.

I'm praying for you.
Wow, I do not envy you and will keep you in my prayers as you struggle with this very difficult situation. I understand the desire to want to keep those engaged in difficult circumstances engaged in the church and ministry. I have personally gone through hard times and the fact that God did not pull me from platform ministry was one of the things that kept me going. But I'm not sure this is the way and I really question keeping this women on the platform where the focus is so heavily and where the enemy comes in with such underhanded deviousness. Is it fair to her to place her in the cross hairs? I once had a person ask to join the team and I said no becasue I knew they were struggling in their personal relationships, and the pressure of singing in an up front ministry, combined with the spiritual warfare would have caused some serious damage somewhere, to someone, at sometime. Engaged and involved sounds more like the comfort of a strong mature woman or woman's group that can help counsel with her and work with her through this situation.

I would most definitely not place her back on the platform until I knew things were not just under the blood, but that she had been restored. I think you hit it on the head when you said, "I don't want this person on the platform." Even though you may not be able to verbalize it, something is not sitting right with you and I suggest you trust the gut here. There is way too much going on and way to much "uncertainty" to risk it. Her personal situation is highly charged and weighing heavily, too heavily to put so much additional pressure on.
It's pretty hard to accomplish the task at hand, when there is dis-unity on the platform. My first inclination would be to say that they both need to "take a break". Moreso, I would go to the senior pastor, tell him what the dynamics are, as if he doesn't already know, and have him make the call. You are an extension of the ministry that he is ultimately responsible for. It would seem to me that it's his call to make, not the ladies, not yours. All affected parties can have imput but the shepherd tells the sheep where to go.
Amen bro!
I think you have to be really careful with this - situations like this can turn the best people into your worst enemies.

You have a couple of options...

1) Ignore it and hope it goes away without more people finding out

2) Keep her off the stage indefinitely

3) Give her the option of being there or not - press the point that the ministry of the worship team is leading others into worship, and that people will never rise higher than their leaders.
Even though she may not be the worship leader, she is still a leader in the fact that she leads others into worship. Hence, if this goes public, then people will wonder why they have their standards at x height, and then drop them because they see their leaders with standards lower than what they though. This also undermines the rest of the team, as it casts into doubt as to what they are doing.

We came across a situation like this in our youth worship team recently - one of our lead singers was involved in some stuff that should not have happened, and so the overseer of the team took him aside and talked to him about it. It resulted in him voluntarily stepping down from leading worship at our youth church until he was able to feel right with God again - maybe this would be the best situation for RD?

Like the others have said, talk to your senior pastor about the situation. Worship is a very large part of a service, and the pastor needs to be made aware of the situation - there is a lot of wisdom that can be gained by someone who has it in perspective. On the web, you can only offer so much advice.

Hopefully some of what I said made sense - good luck in your situation. :)
Hard situation. One wants to be gracious - but what if RD is still 'making those mistakes', just covering them up better?

No matter how quiet you think this is being kept, people will talk.

Better to be safe than sorry...
My prayers go out to you. It is a tough situation and this is my take on it.

Am not saying that either of the women involved isn't mature but to be on stage with that much emotional baggage isn't good. Not only for the team but also for herself. Her focus will be on her own self. If she refuses the counseling then there is a deeper problem, I don't think it is abuse because the one getting abused will not speak about being a victim.
It is good that RD was to take a month off, but if she is still not settling the situation with RW and with dealing with her divorce as a leader then my opinion is to keep her off the team. Though it may seem that people don't know about what is going on, you'd be surprised. Not saying that all of us have it together, but some healing needs to take place between RW and RD. Also she needs to act more like a leader (not playing the victim, feeling sorry for herself, not taking counseling when it is offered) that may sound harsh but it would be better for her to get her life in order then to stand on stage and be an emotional mess.
It is a hard situation indeed!! I pray that God, in his wisdom and mercy will help you and your church help get these folks hearts mended. Sad when the enemy comes in like a roaring lion to destroy unity like that. How these folks just played right into his hand. (HUGS)
IMHO, if your church leadership felt RD was not fit to lead worship at that moment, I don't think you would be out of line to ask them to help you define what "fit to lead worship" means. You and your staff need to decide that together - not only for this situation, but for the future as well. Define the criteria and the decision will be made for you.

As some have mentioned, on a personal level with RD I would ask what she would do if she were in your shoes. "Would you allow you to lead this congregation, be on this team with all that's going on?"

Worship for me is all about tearing down walls we've all built between God and us. This wall looks 3 feet thick!
I really appreciate the insight from everyone.
David, my only thought after reading your post and some of the replies is this :

Have meeting with your pastor/leader and invite RD & RW to the meeting.

Establish what the full picture is with everyone present, this way everyone knows what everyone knows.
This leaves no room for people to play fast and loose with word games etc. e.g. " I just got too close "

Meet again seperately with your pastor /leaderDecide form there and decide what is best from there.

I have to say, I've never been in this situation and this probably isn't helpful, but it's the best I can offer unfortuantely.

God Bless

Phil
First of all, thanks to everyone for your comments. They have proven very helpful. Our church has been in a leadership crisis for a while. Our teaching pastor who deals predominately with our contemporary worship has recently left for a Senior Pastor position at another church. He was actually involved in the first meeting with RD. We have had an interim senior pastor who is leaving with another interim coming in.

All that being said, I have met with our remaining ministry team and feel I have their support and guidance in addressing this situation properly. We will be meeting with RD to remove her from the team later this week. One of our longest term teaching pastors (20+ years) is now involved in dealing with things further.

Further investigation, has shown RW to be innocent of any wrong doings in regards to the situation (including any inappropriate online activity). She has show a great deal of grace and maturity in her response to the situation as a whole. My initial post may not have reflected that properly. Her marriage is heading very quickly towards divorce and she has indicated that she will probably return to the town most of her family is from. We are trying to minister to her through this time, including the potential of counseling for her and her husband...they have 5 children.

Please continue to remember us in your prayers. Remarkably, with all that has happened, we are contnuing to grow and minister to people. This situation has broken our hearts...we love each of the people that has been involved in this situation. Both RD and RW have been valued members of our team. Thanks again for your insightful comments.
I had a similar situation with a singer (it's always the singers, isn't it!). The issue never came out into the light, but I asked her to take time off anyway. The last thing you want is to have her up there when the she-eye-tee hits the fan. It violates the trust of a church community when folks find out that the dirt was being overlooked or swept under the carpet. One thing that a Christian counselor told me about dealing with sin/misconduct is that if we as church leaders allow the transgressors to continue serving, especially in areas that are highly visible, we reinforce their bad behavior and prevent them from dealing with it.

It's a bummer for sure, but not dealing with it would be even bigger bummer.

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