It’s here!

Anita's final shot lightroom 2 (1 of 1)

Finally, after 10 years, it’s time to put all of this together in a book.  It’s now available in the Amazon store HERE.

If your church is going through the fall of your pastor or if you need help for your own odyssey through this tragedy I invite you to get the book and use it as a resource for your church, your own walk or a friend struggling as they deal with a pastor’s fall.  Do let me know your thoughts on this finished work.  I never knew how hard it was to write a book!

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What do we do?

How does a church “move on” and rebuild after a pastor’s affair?

What do they do next?

What is the process?

I responded to these and numerous other questions from a friend trying to help a church after their earthquake.  What is the flow chart for this?

To be honest, each situation is different, but there are three things that frame the plan you and your church must navigate through,

  1. Repentance
  2. Reconciliation
  3. Restoration

The first one is the responsibility of the one who sinned.  For steps 2 and 3 to happen he must repent, turn from the sin and relationship and pursue a restored relationship with God.  That is primary.  And, to be honest, the other steps are on hold until this one happens.  Often it is years before step one actually happens.  When pride or circumstance delay the first, repentance, then the others wait for this to happen.

Second, reconciliation is needed between the pastor who fell and his family, his friends, his church.  This is equally hard because it demands the humble heart of a sinner coming to those wounded and asking forgiveness from them as well.  Again,  it may take time, but if healing is to happen this must be step 2.

And finally, there is restoration.  This may or may not happen.  The church may decide to not restore the pastor to his role.  There is not a right or wrong answer to this, but must be led by the Spirit as they church decides what the road ahead should look like.  There are situations where restoration is the best and most healing choice and others where it should never happen.  This last step is the decision of the church and can be “yes” or “no” and still be right.

This whole thing is a messy business.  It demands pray, repentance, humble hearts and God’s help, but there is a way to healing and health.

It will just take time.

 

Again….

Again I face the fall of a pastor.  Each time I have to deal with this in a church, in a life, it’s hard.  It’s messy!  Lives are shattered, tears are shed, families are destroyed and faith is shaken.

I think that is the very reason Paul warns Timothy, “FLEE immorality!”  It destroys far more than we could ever imagine and we can never make it right again.

Maybe this should be the first lessons for any new pastor.  Here is what I would tell them,

  1. Sex is enticing, exciting, fun….for a moment in time.
  2. You are a target
  3. You will be tempted
  4. Sexual sin outside of your marriage as a pastor is a sin
  5. The price is far higher than you know
  6. The tears are more than you can imagine
  7. The damage will never be repaired “as it was before”
  8. It’s not worth it!!!!
  9. If you think you can “get away with it” you are wrong!
  10. FLEE sexual sin

There’s my short list.  Every pastor taking a new church needs this drilled into his head.  In one of my early churches I had several women “chasing me.”  I was scared to death of the sins that would result and ran for dear life.  But a few years later I left the ministry for some time away in business and suddenly the attention from women stopped.  I realized, to my surprise, that it was my position they were drawn to and not me.

This is spiritual warfare and it is one of the most effective weapons of the enemy.  If he can get you, as a pastor, to fall then he destroys much more than one life, much more.

So, what I say to anyone thinking about the lure of sex outside of marriage is this, “FLEE!!!!!  Run for your life.”

 

A blog to read

Often others write of their own pain and struggle.  One of those who writes well is Kyle Barlow.  You can and should read his thoughts at:  “The Way Back”.  It will encourage you and help you in your own walk with God.

Mike

10 years

This fall, in fact next month, it will be 10 years since the fall of our pastor.  You may ask, “why are you still writing about it?”  I write about it to let you know that you will survive, your church may not be the same, but God will work, Christ will still be pastor of your church and in spite of the pain today there is hope for tomorrow.

At the 10  year marker I think I’ve said enough on this topic to help you as you navigate your own “earthquake” for your church.  If you find yourself at this site because you are looking for help I think you will find it here.  Read the posts, look for what you need, send me an e-mail if you need help or just need advice.  I have been blessed to help many as they have worked through the pain of their own church disaster.

Thank you for stopping by.

 

Mike

Regret

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  -2 Corinthians 7:10
Regret is something I think about often.  We all do it when we think about the bad choices of the past.  I regret so many things it’s hard to keep up with them.  I regret not saving more, I regret not saying I’m sorry when I needed to, I regret not playing with my kids more.  There are so many.
I’m sure, if you made a list, there would be several that you wish you could have a mulligan on, a do-over.  That’s the way of regret, once we have done it or said it we must live with the consequences of the action or the word for the rest of our lives.
Most of our sins leave us with small regrets, but the sin of a pastor who has fallen rings with an amplified regret.  It’s in bold letters for them if they are tender to God.  But with regret comes two other emotions we each must deal with- the fantasy of what could have been and the fear of what might be.  All of these are the results of bad choices and not trusting God with our lives.
Regret is real, but God’s desire is that we use it to repent and be restored to him and his family.  We can’t undo what we have done, but we can use the regrets of our sins to make good choices in the days ahead.
God’s desire for the fallen pastor is that he would repent and walk with God once more, a son restored, forgiven, rejoicing in the savior who gave his life for all our sins….even this one.

What about the wife and children?

This week I received this question:

“How do you console the wife and children of the fallen minister?”

We all have to admit, when a pastor falls, that a death has occurred.  It’s a death of a man’s position, ministry, voice and possibly even his marriage.

Because of his visibility and his sin we often focus our thoughts and discussions on him, but what about the wife and children?

Who takes care of them?  As my questioner asked, “How do we console the wife and children..?”

Console is the perfect word!  For the wife it’s as if she has experienced a death.  It’s a death of her marriage, her trust in her husband and a death of his vocation. How will they pay the bills? What will they do now? Where will they live? How do we deal with the shame?

The church often treats the wife as a part of the problem and discards her as they do the pastor.  Out of sight, out of mind, thank you very much.

But the church’s job is to care for this “widow.”  She has lost her husband, her identity, her role as a pastor’s wife.  She has lost everything!

How do we console her?  We must care for her as we would someone who has lost a partner to death.  We must come alongside her, be with her, bring her meals, pray for her and love her well.

Love her as you would love and care for a widow.  Come alongside her kids, spend time with them, help them.  Encourage the wife.  Help her with her transition. She has lost everything, don’t abandon her!

How do we console her?  Just as we would someone who has lost a mate to death….because it is a death.  A death of everything she has known.  And, above all, love her well.