Posted by: Damon Whitsell | May 16, 2009

Religious Dynasties and Nepotism

Dynasty

It’s not unheard of to have a family that has several members who go in the ministry. Sometimes it takes place over several generations. But it seems over the last several years that some ministers view what they do as “the family business.” I have been involved with ministries that engage in nepotism, which is defined as “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.” In other words, they appoint their adult children or other relatives to positions in the church that that will secure the pastor’s power and cash flow in the organization. I can think of many Word of Faith ministries that are quick to show off how their whole family is in the ministry (this is not limited to WOF, by the way). Apparently one of the ways preachers measure their success in the current culture is establishing a ministry dynasty. Never mind that Junior or Sis have no fruit in their Christian lives whatsoever, just put them over the Youth, Children’s church or the Music, pay them a disproportionately large salary for a rookie minister and a preaching dynasty is created! In the controlling Word of Faith church we attended for 10 years, the behavior of the pastor’s adult kids got so bad that it was a major factor in destroying the church (along with the pastor’s cover-up of their behavior).

I recall that Paul’s advice was to avoid putting novices in positions within the church. Pastors, if your kid is inexperienced, they are a novice. If you’ll swallow your pride about it, it will help you in the long run. I know your kid has a good heart, but let them preach in prison for a while first. Let them work with people who have nothing to offer anyone except b.o.. Let them prove themselves before you start putting them on salary. I say this because I know of so many young men and women got into sin that had no place being in the ministry except that daddy had a church or a ministry that they were appointed into. Contrary to popular mythology, the kids are not anointed just because everybody thinks dad or mom is. But pride and preacher worship dictates that that a mighty man of God must have a preaching dynasty descending from him.

I hope some of you preachers out there will take heed of this admonition: ELI! Does anyone remember Samuel’s childhood prophecy Eli?

“Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, FOR THE INIQUITY THAT HE KNEW, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
Eli’s refusal to do anything to restrain or correct his sons didn’t just crash his “ministry” and damage him in the media. It killed him and his family. It can kill Christianity too.
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