background check on a church’s reputation

I think it’s fair to say that good Christian ministries have their critics, and a few even run into legal action in the mix, which I’ll leave nameless. I wouldn’t want to get a “cease and desist” on my blog, even though in one sense it’s a blogger’s badge of honor. Nothing like controversy to drive web traffic. If you want to learn more from someone or something like a business or church, consider to check this phone number lookup service.

And then there’s the “watchdog blogs” that have something they call “the ministry of discernment,” and criticize the best (and worst) of ’em, Christian pastors and ministry leaders who have a stellar reputation all-over. Not to say any of pastor or leader are perfect; they’d admit that themselves. If you’re hunting for flaws, you can eventually find them. What’s cautionary is when the flaws are plainly obvious.

It may be helpful to also see 1st-hand accounts of what the church itself is doing and teaching, via the pastor’s blog, pastor’s wife’s blog, and the church website:

When it comes to Asian American churches, there is a wide range of how they practice their faith, and the stories that have been posted on the blogs you’ve mentioned are not abnormal of other Asian American churches (be it Chinese or Korean or whatever), for the few who are bold enough to publish their stories online.

Editor’s Comments

[edited and updated 7/7] This was an old blog post in my drafts folder for some times, perhaps months, even years. Now I don’t recall or remember why I had started to write and type this up. As recent news has surfaced more church scandals, it’s a sad state of affairs to see the abuses by church leaders and clergy upon the innocent people in their congregations and communities. That’s not to say that lay people in churches haven’t made the work of ministry easy for leaders. 

To be fair, I’d say that it’s the human condition that when people come together, in a formation like the local church, where many different people meet on a regular basis weekly, whether that’s around a hundred people, or over a thousand people, this kind of a context can foster both the best and the worst in people, unfortunately. I’d like to think the best outweighs the worst, but others may have had different experiences.

Back to the topic at hand. Where can someone check on the reputation of a church? Most churches don’t have the kind of visibility or transparency online for people to research reliable info about what’s going on with a church. And, in a post-truth world as we’re experiencing in this pandemic and pandemic world, it’s getting more challenging and taking more work to discern who’s telling the truth and who’s not.

When a church’s reputation is questioned

In my (limited) experience, I’ve noticed that people respond in a number of different ways, when a church’s leaders’ reputation is in question:

  1. trust the church’s leaders
  2. don’t trust the church’s leaders
  3. forgive the church’s leaders because we’re all sinners saved by grace
  4. suspend judgment until an investigation is undertaken
  5. leave the church because controversy is messy

And so on, and so on. Your mileage may vary. I don’t have an easy answer; some people do want an easy answer.

Life is complicated. Church life is even more complicated. That’s how I see the reality of things. I also am hopeful that God does works in the midst of this messiness; and to be clear, that does not excuse the incompetent sloppiness nor the abuses. What people meant for evil, God can turn into good. Whether people proclaim the gospel for impure or pure motives, we can thank God that the Gospel is proclaimed.

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