A Checklist for Church Leaders & Members - Preventing Abuses & Malfunctions

Crimes and abuses of members in religious organizations are happening and reported globally. Such abuses happened a long time ago too. In Ezekiel 34, we can find God judging the evil shepherds and pointing to the coming of the good shepherd and his work. We can derive a checklist for leaders and set up a system to prevent such abuses and crimes from happening.
The Sins of the Evil Shepherds:
  1. Feed themselves the best and starve the flock.
  2. Did not care for the weak, sick and injured.
  3. Did not search and rescue the lost. Actually, verse 4 disclose the reasons for their wandering away, "you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty"
  4. Did not protect the flocks from attack by wild animal (5 & 8)
Greatest Evil: They don't just take the best but also damage the rest so that others could not enjoy them! (18-19 Eze 34:18  Isn't it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest?...)

The Duties of a Good Shepherd:
  1. Search & Rescue the Lost.
    34:11-13 ... I will find My sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.  I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations.
  2. Feed
    34:13b-14  Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills.
  3. Protect
    Eze 34:15  I Myself will tend My sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace.
  4. Heal
    Eze 34:16 ... I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.
  5. Judge
     34:16c But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! 17  "And as for you, My flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to His people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats.
The Cause of Abuses

Comparing the two list, the sins of the bad shepherds and the work of the good shepherd, there is only one key that is missing - the Judgement. The discernment and judgment for the goats that abuse the sheeps in the flocks. In any modern organization, including the religious organization, there is a Board of Directors or Elders who are elected to represent the members and shareholders to make sure the executives, especially the CEO, does not exploit the organization for his own benefits. In a church context, however, the board members have the erroneous thinking that they were there to support their pastor and hence became the yes men that endorse the pastor. They forget their prime responsibility and accountability are to the members and not the pastor. Instead of holding their pastor to the upright behavior standards set by the Bible and correcting their pastor, they become the arms and legs of the abuses against the members!

In the name of love, many have swept the evil under the carpets and tolerate the abuses. Under the misguided teaching and abuse of "Touch not Gods anointed.", pastors and elders were never corrected and allowing the abuses to continue and even increase. Using "Judge not that we may not be judged" members turn a blind eye to sins.has

The Bible teaches us differently.
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
  • James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
  • Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
  • Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
A Successfully Run Church:
  • Peace & Safety
    Eze 34:25  "I will make a covenant of peace with My people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear.
  • Showers of Blessings
    Eze 34:26  I will bless My people and their homes around My holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing.
  • Abundant Growth
    Eze 34:27  The orchards and fields of My people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety.
  • Freed from Slavery & Bondage
    When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the LORD.
  • Freed from Harms
    Eze 34:28  They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them.
  • Rich & Famous
    Eze 34:29  "And I will make their land famous for its crops, so My people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations.
All the factors must be there. A Malfunction church can be rich and famous but be abusive of their members. A church can be so large that becomes inhuman. Check up Francis Chan | Why I Left The Megachurch I Created!


As leaders, we should search & rescue the lost, feed them with healthy food, protect them from erroneous teachings and harms, care for the weak and injured, and also be discerning and to confront and correct the evil in our midst.

Lim Liat (c) 11 Jan 2018

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