My friend, are you in proper divine alignment for this new year–and for this coming decade and the rest of your life? If not, it is absolutely urgent for you to examine every aspect of your life and get in proper alignment … especially in the area of making sure you are in a healthy church, not a toxic church.
I agonized over releasing this word today.
I didn't want to release it; but, as I prayed, I could feel Holy Spirit pushing me strongly to do so. The long and the short of it is this: one of the biggest things that people get delivered from in our live events is church hurt, church wounds, and toxic church experiences.
Freedom from church hurt is absolutely essential if people are going to grow in the Lord, because YOU HAVE TO BE IN CHURCH TO GROW … and who wants to be in church if they're so hurt from a toxic church experience that they can't even darken the door of a church without trauma?
Yet, no one in church leadership usually wants to talk about church wounds.
Related: Read my blog series about healing from church wounds for help with the healing process in the aftermath of church wounds.
- How To Respond When You Get Hurt In Church
- When Going to Church Hurts
- How To Forgive the Church for Hurting You
- How To Forgive the Church As a Whole
- Healing from Spiritual Abuse, Toxic Churches, and Toxic Pastors (video class)
- 10 Reasons to Leave Your Church
It seems to be the “politically correct” thing to do to pretend that nobody gets hurt in church. Nobody wants to speak the truth because, in my opinion:
- Nobody wants any of their friends in ministry to think they're talking about one specific church; and
- Nobody wants their friends in ministry to get mad at them.
And to be perfectly honest, I don't want my friends in ministry to be mad at me either. And I don't want any of my friends who attend or lead various churches to think I'm talking about them. I get the hesitation and the caution, and that's why I haven't said some of the things before that I am going to say today.
But you know what else?
If I am going to be an agent of deliverance and help people know the truth, which makes them free, then I have to be a teller of truth and a writer of truth.
And being a teller of truth is not always easy.
So before you read this, let me first say that:
- I'm speaking the truth today because being under a toxic (read: demonic) church covering is one of the most destructive things that people can experience in their Christian walk; and
- God's people need to be free from church wounds, church hurts, demonic spiritual covering, and toxicity of every kind; and
- I love you, my readers, enough to tell you the truth so that you CAN be free.
I'm not taking a cheap shot–or any kind of shot at all–at any particular church. As I wrote this list today, I wept before the Lord and cried out to Him in intercession for churches and pastors who are trapped in this web of demonization and demonic activity that I list below.
My heart breaks for the Body of Christ, and for every local church that is not functioning in God's highest and best for them. I love the local church.
But the fact remains that some shepherds are wolves in sheep's clothing and are leading the Body astray, controlling them, or otherwise crippling them. And we would be embracing a lie if we in the Church did not admit this publicly.
Truth must come before healing.
That is why I believe the Lord asked me to release this list. And I believe I share the Lord's heart for you on this matter when I say that one of my highest wishes for you as we start the new year is this:
If you’re in a toxic church, GET OUT. And find a new church that is healthy and holy.
Because a toxic church will destroy your life, and you won’t even know it’s being destroyed. Being in a toxic church places you under an evil covering. THIS MEANS YOU ARE SUBMITTING TO DEMONS, and you may think “The demons are their demons, so they don’t impact me,” but if you think that you are wrong.
So here are 21 signs of a toxic church or pastor (and the pronoun “he” could be equally applied to “she”):
- The pastor is in charge, not Holy Spirit.
- The pastor is “right,” instead of the Word being right.
- The clock, the sermon, the announcements, the schedule, and the written worship order get highest preference in the service, regardless of what Holy Spirit is doing or showing that He wants to do.
- The pastor practices cronyism. In other words, it’s how much you suck up to the pastor that gets you friendship, high esteem, opportunity, discipleship, endorsement, etc—instead of your godly character and the fruit of your life being what matters.
- Everyone who leaves gets blacklisted.
- The pastor “interviews” you for information about other people, making you feel special because he shared confidential information with you. (But what you don’t realize is that he’s doing the same thing about you with other people.)
- People are removed from leadership without being told why or what they did wrong.
- The pastor uses the pulpit as a whipping post to talk badly to and about people he will not confront in person.
- The church uses people up and then throws them away or spits them out. (For example, the church involuntarily “retires” elderly staff who are still competent because it wants to be staffed with a younger crowd. Often this leaves the elderly minister without honor or financial provision).
- Chronic financial problems.
- Prayer is not emphasized and practiced, both privately and corporately.
- The pastor accuses you of doing, saying, and thinking things that you are not doing, saying, or thinking—but which **he** IS doing, saying, or thinking.
- The pastor believes there is an age limit on the anointing.
- The pastor and staff lie.
- People are preached to, but not discipled and raised up to do the work of the ministry.
- The pastor openly opposes and even mocks the work of Holy Spirit.
- No one is encouraged to build an independent ministry except the pastor and his cronies.
- Women are not equipped and empowered to operate in leadership.
- The pastor believes that some of the gifts of the Spirit (e.g. prophecy, miracles, diverse tongues) no longer operate today.
- Belief that any of the five-fold ministry offices (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) are no longer relevant and necessary in the church today.
And the #1 sign of a toxic church, even more important than all of the things listed above, is:
The pastor and leaders do not preach and believe that the Bible is the innerrant, infallible Word of God.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
If you and your family are under a covering such as this, IT IS KILLING YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE, finances, and family, even if you don’t know it. Please, please, I beg of you in the name of Jesus, remove yourself from submission to demons and leave that church.
As soon as you leave, immediately and verbally renounce your agreement with the covering you have been under—and verbally renounce, reject, and break the covering itself— and bind yourself to Jesus. Command every evil thing to leave you in Jesus’ name and ask Jesus to fill you with His Spirit where those things were.
Then find a holy and healthy church that both preaches and practices the Word of God, and which worships God the Father, God the Son, AND God the Holy Spirit.
If this blog post helped you, please leave a comment below.