Monthly Archives: September 2011

Preventing an affair

I’ve gotten many letters because of this site.  Sadly they come from the broken people who sat in the pew.  Not one note has come from a pastor who has made the terminal choice to have an affair.  I’m sure it’s just too hard to be honest.  We are masters of justifying our actions, “I just wanted to be happy,” or “my wife wasn’t meeting my need,” and “God will forgive me.”  All the excuses you might hear will never justify this breach of trust, this sin of betrayal.

Adultery for a pastor betrays trust with his wife, his children, his parish and his God.  The results of such a sin are more far reaching than most will ever know.  The church is crippled, the pastor and his family are brutalized and the work of God is ridiculed by a watching world.  There are few sins worse for a church than adultery by the pastor.  That church, that pastor will never be the same again.

So, how do we prevent affairs in the pastorate?  How do we protect our pastors from this horrible and destructive sin?  What can you do to help?  Here’s a few thoughts that will help your church protect your pastor from the attack from the enemy of our souls,

1. Pray for your pastor.  No pastor can fight this battle on his own.  The enemy is after your pastor, you need to know that.  He may not realize how serious the task is, but it is extreme!  Years ago I pastored and was constantly  the focus of women wanting time with me.  God was good and protected me, but I noticed something significant.  After a number of years in the ministry I took a break and went into the business world for a few years.  Suddenly something became crystal clear-  women weren’t looking at me in the same way any more!  I was shocked that it was so dramatic.  I was surprised that they weren’t after me anymore.  I was no longer the devil’s target.  The heat was off, but it was obvious to me how powerful this weapon is for the enemy.  Most pastors don’t realize this.  Pray for them that God will protect them, guard them and help them.

2. Build men around your pastor and hold him accountable.  Get some men around him and build a team of “mighty men” to protect your pastor from the attacks of the enemy.

3.  Encourage your pastor to never be alone with a woman other than his wife.  It’s just too dangerous!  If he counsels people make sure there is someone in the church office with him.  Don’t put your pastor is this dangerous place.  The counseling office is where the problems begin.  In our church we never counsel a woman without a secretary in the church office.  We have also installed windows in each pastor’s office door so the counseling room is not secret, hidden and made a place of temptation.  You pastor might think he’s strong enough to handle this, but he’s not!

This will be a good start, but there is more you can do to help.  If you are a member of a church family you need to know your pastor is under attack.  Help him finish well.  Pray for him, get good and strong men around him, protect him from temptation places.  This is too important.

How do you prevent an affair?  Never ever assume you will never fall!  Always protect yourself.  The enemy prowls about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and his weapons for the pastor are often a pretty woman in need.

What now?

It’s September. Five years ago this month we discovered our pastor’s sin. I think, for me, these have been the toughest five years of my life! I have seen many leave our church and some walk away from the faith. Sin does that, but it’s still painful to watch.

I just had lunch with our fallen pastor last week. He’s in a secular job now, trying to rebuild his life, but he still misses the ministry… was his first love. He told me he feels his voice for God has been silenced. He’s right. Sin does that.

He asked, “do I need to ask your forgiveness again?” He has done that many times. I told him, “no, we are done with that, let’s just have a nice lunch as brothers in Christ.” But what he knows is that his sin has made him a leper of sorts among the Christian world. We seem much better at killing our wounded than trying to heal them.

What’s sad for me to watch is this brilliant man who built a great church is now impotent in the work of God because of sin’s great attraction.

How can we so easily lose our heads, our ministries, our families over the passions of a moment? But many have. In fact 1 out of every 5 ministers will fall. It’s the devil’s best weapon to destroy ministers and the church.

What can we do? Pray for your pastors. Get good accountability around them. Check on them, check on their families. This is too important to let this continue.

What now?  We are rebuilding. It’s been a most painful 5 years. Over 1,000 people have left our church. Our people who have stayed are discouraged, the staff is tired and the ministry is unfocused. It’s all the results of a leader falling.

What now? We press forward. Care for the people God has given us and move forward, scars, wounds and all, as we attempt to serve God and the people who attend. No church will ever be the same after the pastor falls. No pastor will ever be useful again in ministry after this sin. That’s the reason the devil is so busy about tempting pastors. If he can get them to fall he has won his biggest victory!

Years ago a woman called my wife in the parsonage and said, “I’m going to steal your husband!” My wife, being the wonderful lady she is replied, “Give it your best shot sweetie.” She knew me and trusted God. But honestly, church, this is one of the sins that hurts the church the worse and we deal with it the least. I encourage you to pray for God’s protection of your pastor. He’s under attack, even if he doesn’t admit it. He needs your support and your prayers.