Big Issues
October 2, 2022

Big Issues: Abuse by Church Leaders

The Rev'd Adam Lowe
Matthew 18:1-14

Questions and going deeper resources

Small group questions

CONNECT: Twofold: (a) What would help you to bring your suffering and struggles to Jesus in order that you may experience his compassion? (b) On one of your frontlines, whatʼs one opportunity to demonstrate compassion?


  1. In the face of the evil of abuse, what are some of the questions that people ask?
  2. Do you know anyone for whom the issue of ʻAbuse by Church Leadersʼ is a major belief blocker?
  3. Given this is such a potentially distressing topic, why is it important for us to address it?

Read Matthew 18:1-5

  1. What do the disciples ask Jesus? What do you think was the motivation for their question?
  2. How important were children in the ancient world? How important are they in our culture?
  3. Who is the greatest in the ʻkingdom of heavenʼ like? What does Jesus mean by this? Is this surprising?
  4. How is abuse a complete contradiction of Jesusʼ love for the most vulnerable?
  5. How is it evident that the earliest of Christians took Jesusʼ love for the most vulnerable seriously?
  6. Who are the most vulnerable in our society? How can make Jesusʼ love for the most vulnerable a priority?

Read Matthew 18:6-14

  1. What is Jesusʼ warning to those who cause ʻone of these little onesʼ to stumble? How is this an assurance that God is just and that justice will be done?
  2. Why is it such good news that Jesus does not dismiss or diminish the seriousness of evil?
  3. Are verses 8-14 meant to be enacted literally? How does this relate to repentance?
  4. What are the ways corporately in which the church should repent of its failings to protect the most vulnerable and take responsibility for its shortcomings? What changed action should follow?
  5. What does Jesus say not to do? What does he mean by this, along with welcoming little ones in his name?
  6. How do we as a church seek to ensure a safe environment and sacrificially love those in need?
  7. In what way is Jesus the ultimate shepherd? How does this give us cause to trust in him?

APPLY: What is one way that you can pour out Godʼs love with the most vulnerable on your frontlines?

Heavenly Father, we are so sorry for the ways in which we have betrayed your love and failed to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. Please forgive us and help us to ensure not only safe environments for everyone in our community but also that we may actively care for those who have been hurt. Please help us to shine your light, even amidst the darkest of places, trusting in your love, justice, and mercy. In Jesusʼ Name, Amen.
Going deeper resources

On Your Frontline This Week: It’s not too late to invite someone along to the Alpha Launch Party! Come along together for a taste of Alpha, and enjoy music, nachos & an ice-cream bar. 10 October 7:30pm

Listen, Watch, and Read:          


  • Contact St Bart’s Care if you would like to chat with a team member: (07) 4636 2922
  • Other Support: Contact Relationships Australia  www.relationships.org.au or 1300 364 277

SERIES Resources:

  • Series Resource Guide: www.stbarts.com.au/bigissues
  • Book: “Confronting Christianity” by Rebecca McLaughlin.
  • Book: “Bullies and Saints” by John Dickson.
  • Book: “Where is God in all the Suffering?” by Amy Orr-Ewing.

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