Pastors Are Imperfect, But Not All Are Toxic, Corrupt, and/or Abusive

A Humble Call for a Balanced Perspective

Brian Tubbs


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

This short article is for those Christians who have been hurt in church (including hurt by pastors) and those Christians who care about those who have been hurt (which should be all of us).

There’s a growing sentiment on social media (and here on Medium) that most churches are unsafe and that most pastors are corrupt, toxic, and/or abusive.

I know people have been hurt in the church. I know that. And I know there are indeed corrupt, toxic, abusive, despicable, and/or predatory pastors out there. And that is tragic and reprehensible. These pastors should be removed and held fully accountable for their sins and offenses against the people of God and against God Himself!

I think of the warning of the prophet Jeremiah…

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1, KJV)

And I think of what Peter says…

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (I Peter 5:1–4, KJV)

Let’s just say that for some pastors, the “chief Shepherd” won’t be giving them a crown of glory.


It’s unfair to assume that most pastors are corrupt, abusive, and/or toxic. All pastors are imperfect. But not all pastors are predatory or nefarious.

Most pastors are just imperfect people striving to balance a lot of responsibilities, demands, and expectations. They are hard-working and conscientious.

Do they make mistakes? Yes. Do they sometimes sin? Yes. Do they have all the spiritual gifts? No. Are they able to meet everyone’s needs? No.