Ministers who don’t keep confidences are another sign of an unhealthy church. One should be able to counsel with a minister and know that what is shared will stay between them alone, unless permission is given otherwise.
The United Pentecostal Church, in their Manual of rules states, “When a minister receives information that is a privileged communication, the minister shall not divulge or repeat any part of such communication to any other person unless compelled to do so by law or if the communicant waives the privilege. Privileged communication shall be defined as any confession or communication made to a minister in confidence by a person seeking spiritual advice or consolation and who expects that such information will not be divulged by the minister to another person.” (Article VII, Section 7, 32 – 2016 Manual) It is also mentioned in one of their positions.
Despite this, through the years I have heard that some ministers have used privileged information to shame and manipulate church members. They incorporate it into sermons. They share it with their wife and other family members. It may come out under the guise of a prayer request for the individual. They may even share private matters about members with people who don’t even attend the church where they pastor. Where and who the information is shared with doesn’t concern the unethical pastor.
A minister is to have the heart of a servant. Using privileged information to shame, manipulate, humiliate, control or hurt people, is a sign of an abusive individual who, though they may hold the title of a minister, they are not representative of Christ or Christianity in their actions.