Spies. On our support group board, we have sometimes heard from members who were concerned there may be someone from their church or former church there (like the pastor or someone appointed by him) who will spy on them and report what they post. The chances of that happening are very slim, however the fear is quite real for some.
Considering what happens in unhealthy churches, this fear is understandable. How many appoint themselves as ‘police’ in these places, running to the pastor or his wife/family with any hint of perceived wrong-doing? (Though rarer, sometimes the pastor himself appoints people to do this.) My own former pastor would at times take the word of a ‘reporter’ and take action against the ‘transgressor’ without ever speaking to them first or looking into the veracity of the matter. The reports even sometimes became sermon material for him. I saw people lose positions, be sternly reprimanded, threatened with losing their salvation, and even asked to leave as the result of these ‘spies.’
Any church leadership that needs or encourages tattling is unhealthy. It is a form of control. It is a sign of an insecure and controlling pastor. A healthy pastor would stop the talebearer and let them know that they were to no longer make any ‘reports.’
If you are afraid of your pastor or if ‘spying’ goes on in your church, then chances are likely that you are in an unhealthy group. It would be good to educate yourself on signs of spiritual abuse.