News stories this week have given us high-profile examples of the right and wrong. When a serious report of "inappropriate conduct" was made against John Munro, senior past of Calvary Church in Charlotte, he was immediately placed on administrative leave, and the church board "retained an outside investigator to assist . . . in gathering facts and information from all involved to ensure impartiality and neutrality." That is the right way for a church to handle such matters.
On the other hand, when Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) was charged with authoritarian abuse, raging at co-workers with foul language, plagiarism, misuse of church moneys to propel his book to the NY Times bestseller list, and demeaning women, he is permitted by his hand-picked board to take a 6-week leave, while they (not outside investigators) determine guilt or innocence.
It is reminicent of Ron Carpenter's handing of the scandal at his own church. Had he, instead of going public, handled the situation between him and his wife Hope quietly with professional counselors, and then had he brought in independent outsiders to investigate the inappropriate conduct and set the church back on course, the whole situation could have been handled properly. But most megachurch preachers are simply unable to censure themselves. That is why a strong independent board is so necessary.