Motivating someone to do something by piling on the possibility of “DOOM” is certainly not the way to get members of a congregation to move. Sentencing them to eternal “HELL” should not be the tactic used in order to point them in the direction you want them to go. Implying that “THEY WILL SURELY DIE” can’t be the way to get people to serve God! Producing an environment based on “FEAR” surely couldn’t be the way God wants His church to operate.
This is an awkward way to share the point of this article yet the subject matter is definitely one that needs to be discussed. I guess you might say once again it’s another one of those B.U.G.S. (Being Under The Grip Of Satan). Why are “Scare Tactics” used in the midst of God’s people … better yet why do we use this method to get people to serve God.
So what is meant by “Scare Tactics?” This is a strategy used to manipulate one’s action or opinion about a certain issue by arousing fear or alarm. Why would one even consider this method when dealing with the church environment? Why would we even try to influence others by using such tactics whether they know God or not?
We should as “true believers” stay away from such tactics as mentioned earlier. We cannot mandate who will or will not serve God. Our churches have allowed false teachers to infiltrate its environment. False leaders, false pastors, false worshippers have certainly gained more ground within the church than they should.
Understand, God does the drawing of people to Him. We as believers should be the witness of God’s power among the people that don’t know Him. The power that God gives us should not be abused. People should not be following you (leaders) but following God. The pulpit should not be used as a personal driver to get people. God does the drawing!!!
Power can be a dangerous thing in today’s world. Our personal need or greed should not dictate how we share God’s word. When “Scare Tactics” are used to sway opinion, you then become dangerous to the church. You are following the path that Satan wants you to be on. Being a leader or pastor does not give you the right to sway people personally. This is God’s plan. You are only an instrument. Don’t get it twisted!!!
We that are true believers in Christ should know how to recognize and deal with the growing use of “scare tactics” in the church. It’s become a reality that there are leaders in the church that use and abuse their authority and power. An authority that is given by God not man, by the way!! The word abuse is not meant to frighten the people of God but it’s used to identify its presence. Yes, it’s another one of those B.U.G.S. (Being Under The Grip Of Satan).
Abuse or to state it more clearly (SPIRITUAL ABUSE) is when a leader (spiritual) uses their authority, position, and persuasion to manipulate (control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously. Please take a moment to look it up yourself. It’s important that there exists a clear meaning in your mind before going any further. So (SPIRITUAL ABUSE) is the manipulation of those that follow a certain leader who uses their influence to take advantage of those followers to their own detriment(a cause of harm or damage).
Why is it so important to understand the meaning of these words? It’s simple! Understanding the meaning increases the ability to recognize them when they are in use.
The Bible says in I Peter 5:2-3, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock”.
A true leader should not control or manipulate their congregation. We must be able to identify this and address it. Below are some examples of how these tactics are used among God’s people by false or misguided leaders.
- Creating an atmosphere of fear by shaming a person publicly. This causes others to fear being called out. If anything has to be addressed with a follower, it should be done privately and with love.
- Having people believe that something bad is going to happen to them if they disobey or even disagree with them (leaders). There is fear is being blacklisted, meaning that person won’t be used in ministry work! Yes, it happens!!! Misguided leaders will label people as being “out of order” when they disagree with them. We must remember that love doesn’t respond in this way. An important scripture to remember, 1 Peter 5:6-7 states, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time”.
- People are convinced by manipulation and fear asking questions or expressing themselves because it will be viewed as taboo or bad. Their motive and spirit are put into question thereby causing unwarranted fear!
- Leaders that twist the scriptures to meet their own agenda. A typical example of this would be Hebrews 13:17 which states, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you”. This scripture has been used out of context and incorrectly to scare and even demand obedience from followers. This type of behavior is not what God intended for us as believers. We are to respect and obey the word of God as it is given correctly through our leaders.
- Proud and misguided leaders that prey on people’s desire for a relationship with them(leaders). They use this to manipulate others so they will do what they want them to do. All because of fear!!! The follower’s desire to be faithful is now measured by the proud and misguided leader and not God.
We all make mistakes in this journey. This is not a reason to turn the other way. God is always there to guide us even in situations discussed in this article. Being faithful and supportive to a leader is not a sign of weakness that can be used by that leader when it benefits them. If you find yourself in situations similar to these mentioned above, quickly pray, challenge or remove yourself. Yes, even if it involves finding another spiritual leader to help in your walk with Christ.