028 - How to Respond When You're Betrayed in Ministry (Part 1) - Leaders.Church


028 – How to Respond When You’re Betrayed in Ministry (Part 1)

What’s in this Episode?

You stood up with them in their wedding. They stood up with you. You stood with them when their integrity was in question. You were accountability partners. You would get your life for this ministry friend that you partnered with for years, and now they turned their back. They don’t return calls or texts. What do you do with that? That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this episode, how to deal with betrayal in ministry.

Read the Transcript

Dick Hardy 0:32
I remember back when a ministry that I was working with had a transition and a new leader came onto the scene at this particular ministry that I was working for. And I was very much captivated by this leader and how they were able to talk about mission in a way that frankly, I thought was going to take this thing to a brand new level. And I gave it my all I poured myself in and I said, you know, we’re going to take this vision this new leader has and we’re gonna take it to the heights and I became that guy’s number one cheerleader. I mean, I just went for it for him. And then a series of things happened a couple of years later, where it went sideways. And this leader that I had given myself so much to turned on me, and I felt betrayed me, and ultimately fired me. It was one of the most devastating times in my life. And I was trying to grapple with how is it that I could be in ministry, and believe so deeply in someone in a vision and have it turn and bite me? Betrayal and ministry is painful. It happens, but it’s unbelievably painful. We want to talk with you on this episode and the next episode, about some of the things that happen when a betrayal comes to you, and some of the things that you can think about as you navigate through that. So, as we get started here, feel free to take some notes. Because if you have experienced it, or if you’re in it, now, you’re going to relate to some of these things. I think this is really going to be helpful to you. So what’s the very first thing that happens?

Tip #1: You Could Lose Your Identity

Jonathan Hardy 2:22
Yeah, so one of the first things that happens when you have this type of betrayal, or you get betrayed or feel betrayed is that your identity could get lost. And, you know, if you have this lost identity, it could look a couple of different ways. It could be a loss of identity, because all of a sudden now this friend that you had, is no longer a friend. And, yes, you want to try to reconcile when that time comes, hopefully you can reconcile, but you’re not connected to that person anymore. So all of a sudden now that’s like a part of your life. That’s a part of who you are, it’s gone. You don’t have it any more. And then also on top of that, or in a different regard is the ministry side of things. You’re not maybe connected that ministry anymore, you’ve invested so much in that church, or in your case, the ministry you’re talking about. And all of a sudden, now, you’re not there. And that’s a huge part of your identity that all of a sudden is lost. So, that’s the first thing.

Tip #2: You Could Lose Friendships

Jonathan Hardy 3:16
Right on the heels of that are friends that can be lost. And you know, you might lose some people, you might lose some friendships with people. And so all of a sudden now, you know, because of your ministry position, you’re no longer in that ministry position, for example, and as a result, maybe the friendships really were more tied to the fact that you were in the ministry position. And now that you’re not, you know, they’re not much of your friend anymore. And that’s unfortunate, but it happens. And, you know, whereas on the other side, true friends, they’ll stick with you. And so, but that’s a real thing that can happen when you get betrayed.

Tip #3: Betrayal Can Be A Rejection

Dick Hardy 3:56
The third thing to just observe when you think of betrayal is that it’s literally a rejection. The rejection of your friendship, rejection of your relationship. You can feel like it’s a rejection of your value as a person, as a ministry leader, as a man or woman. You know, what are you worth when someone you’ve loved, something you’ve loved, something you’ve been deeply committed to says you are worth less, that rejection is extremely painful. But here’s the question: where is your true acceptance? You know, is your true acceptance in them? In the human sense, I get it that there is that component, but is your true acceptance in your ministry friends? Or is it Jesus? Of course we know the answer to that, but navigating through that is a tough one. You know, and I will say something you could reference if you want to take a look at Episode Four. We talked about the subject of what to do when people turn on you. So when this rejection happens, what do you do in ministry? And I’d strongly encourage you to take a look at that one.

Tip #4: Untruths Are Told, And Then Believed

Dick Hardy 5:07
The fourth one we want to mention is when betrayal happens, from your perspective, sometimes untruths are told, and then believed. Now, in saying this, I’m not suggesting that any of your ministry partners are lying, but we are all human. And we have our vantage point of what we see of the facts, that result that were in the crossfire of this betrayal. And if an untruth is told and then believed by others, and you’re on the outside, and you’re kind of saying, “what is up with this” of course you immediately you want to defend? You want to say that is not true. But going back, whose job is it to defend you? Are you going to do a better job at it? Or are you going to let the Lord do it? Humanly, this is really tough. But you’ve got to leave this with the Lord. You know what the truth is. And regardless of what’s being believed out there, if you’ll leave this with the Lord, you’re really going to find yourself in a much better position.


Jonathan Hardy 6:20
Yeah, well, that’s good. Well, let me just summarize those four for today. And then of course, like we mentioned in part two will be coming up in the next episode. But here’s some things that happen when you feel betrayed. First is you have identity lost. Another thing is friends lost. Third thing is rejection. And then fourth, there’s untold truths that are told and believed. And so when that happens, you know, we have to just be careful and mindful. And it really starts, and this is why we are addressing this today, is it starts by being aware of these things, and then from there you can go to get the help that you need, and certainly we recommend everyone get the help that they need. So any other any other thoughts?

Dick Hardy 7:01
No, you know, this is a tougher topic to cover, but it’s very real in ministry. If you’ve ever faced it, you know exactly what we’re talking about, but we’re here at Church Tips to talk about all aspects of ministry. This is one of them. This one and the next episode, we hope you find it helpful to navigate.

Jonathan Hardy 7:16
Yeah. Switching gears real quick, before we wrap up, I want to make sure you have checked out if you haven’t yet, the Kids Ministry Track which is the brand new course that we put together as part of our Church University online courses that we provide for pastors. And so this course is 44 videos of teaching how to do kids ministry, and we are having a special launch week discount that you want to make sure to go to churchuniversity.com, where you can find out all the details about that. And then as well, please subscribe to this show, whether it’s on YouTube, whether you’re listening on one of the podcast platforms, and as well, we’d love to have you rate and review so we can get the feedback from you on the Church Tips show and be able to help to get the word out to others who also need to know the Church Tips.

Dick Hardy 8:05

Jonathan Hardy 8:06
Well, with that being said, we’ll look forward to seeing you next time.

Subscribe & Follow:

Other Resources:

Share This Article

Join us daily as we share practical tips and strategies you can use to get better, break barriers, and grow the church.


The On-Demand Streaming Service for Pastors

Get access to more than 300 videos and training material to level-up your leadership and improve your ministry skills.

Get started for just $37 >>

No contracts. No commitments. Cancel anytime.