Supporting Your Family Through Church Leadership Crisis

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Posted: June 27, 2024

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


When a leader in your church experiences a moral failure, the repercussions can extend beyond the church community and deeply affect your family. As a pastor or church staff member, it’s important to support your spouse and children as they navigate their own emotions and reactions to the crisis. Here are strategies to help your family process the situation effectively.


Acknowledge and Validate Their Feelings

Your spouse and children may experience a range of emotions, including shock, anger, sadness, confusion, and betrayal. It’s important to acknowledge and validate their feelings without judgment. Let them know that their emotions are normal and understandable in light of the situation.

Listen Actively: Provide a safe space for your family members to express their feelings. Listen without interrupting or offering solutions immediately. Sometimes, they just need to be heard.

Validate Emotions: Affirm their feelings by saying things like, “It’s okay to feel this way,” or “I understand why you’re upset.” Validation helps them feel understood and supported.

Open and Honest Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial during a crisis. Be honest with your family about what’s happening while ensuring the information you share is age-appropriate for your children.

Be Transparent: Share the facts of the situation in a way that is appropriate for your children’s ages and maturity levels. Avoid hiding information, as this can lead to mistrust.

Answer Questions: Be prepared to answer your family’s questions honestly. If you don’t have all the answers, it’s okay to say so. Reassure them that you are navigating this together.

Regular Check-Ins: Make it a habit to check in with your spouse and children regularly. Ask how they’re feeling and if they have any concerns or questions.


Provide Emotional Support

Supporting your family emotionally involves being present and attentive to their needs.

Quality Time: Spend quality time together as a family. Engage in activities that your family enjoys and that can provide a sense of normalcy and connection.

Emotional Availability: Be emotionally available for your family members. Offer comfort through physical affection, such as hugs, and through verbal reassurance.

Encourage Expression: Encourage your spouse and children to express their emotions through various means, such as talking, writing, drawing, or other creative outlets.


Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, professional support can be beneficial for helping your family process the situation.

Counseling: Consider family counseling or therapy to provide a safe space for everyone to process their emotions and learn coping strategies. A professional can guide your family through the healing process.

Support Groups: Look for support groups for spouses and children dealing with similar issues. Connecting with others who understand their experience can be incredibly validating and helpful.

Spiritual Guidance

Faith and spirituality is a source of strength during difficult times.

Pray Together: Engage in family prayers to seek comfort and guidance from your faith. This can foster a sense of unity and support.

Spiritual Activities: Participate in spiritual activities together, such as attending church services, reading scripture, or meditating. These practices can provide solace and perspective.


Practical Support

Practical support involves helping your family manage the daily challenges that arise from the crisis.

Routine and Stability: Maintain regular routines to provide a sense of stability and security. Predictable schedules can be comforting for children, especially during uncertain times.

Assist with Tasks: Help your spouse and children with their daily tasks and responsibilities. This can alleviate some of the stress they may be feeling.

Healthy Habits: Encourage healthy habits, such as balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. Physical well-being can significantly impact emotional resilience.


Setting Boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries to protect your family’s privacy and well-being.

Limit Exposure: Limit your family’s exposure to media coverage, gossip, or discussions about the crisis that may exacerbate their stress.

Protect Privacy: Be mindful of your family’s privacy. Avoid sharing personal details about their experiences with others without their consent.


Moving Forward Together

Healing is a process that takes time and effort. As a family, it’s important to move forward together, supporting each other every step of the way.

Patience and Understanding: Be patient with each other as you navigate the healing process. Understand that everyone may cope differently and at their own pace.

Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate small victories and progress along the way. Recognize the strength and resilience your family demonstrates as you work through the crisis together.



Supporting your family during a crisis requires compassion, communication, and practical strategies. By acknowledging and validating their feelings, maintaining open communication, providing emotional and practical support, seeking professional help, and fostering spiritual guidance, you can help your spouse and children process the situation. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and together, your family can find healing and strength.


Help For The Journey!

Navigating the complexities and emotional turmoil following a senior leader’s moral failure can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. Whether you’re seeking to understand your own grief, support your family, maintain your personal faith, or find professional counseling, taking proactive steps towards healing is crucial.

Remember, it’s okay to seek help. If you or your loved ones could benefit from professional Christian counseling, consider reaching out to MyCounselor.Online. Our team of compassionate, faith-based counselors is dedicated to supporting you through this challenging time, providing the guidance and care you need to find hope and healing.


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This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

About the Author
Josh Spurlock
Josh Spurlock

Josh Spurlock MA, LPC, CST, has a BA in Biblical Languages and a Masters in Counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), holding licenses in MissouriColorado, and Florida. He is also a Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Level 2 AEDP Therapist, and an Ordained Minister. He is an Advanced Practice Clinician, with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. He specializes in Marriage Counseling, Sex Therapy, Family Counseling, and works with Executives, Pastors, Business Owners, and Ministry Leaders. Learn more about Josh Spurlock at

Josh is currently unable to take on any new clients.

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