(I’ve received a number of notes over the last few years from those of you going through this same thing. I would like to share the stories of others going through the fall of a pastor. I will remove the names, dates and locations to protect their privacy, but their stories from the pews are so important that I wanted to share them with you. Here is the first one. -Mike)
I am writing this on behalf of my husband and I.
I’ve found your site to be very helpful, and beneficial.
I write to you because our church underwent a similar situation. In 200- our pastor had been unfaithful to his wife, which he admitted to us in a letter of resignation. The incident had occurred months prior, but he felt it was right to resign, even though they were in the middle of reconciliation. I worked for the church at the time and the shockwave of the sin and resignation hit all of us staff. It shocked the rest of the congregation as well. At the time I was ready to forgive, completely understanding that he’d chosen to resign for the better of the congregation.
But giving began going down after his resignation, although much of it probably related more to the economy, and I was among those staff members laid off as a result. The pastor completed reconciliation/recommission and then started another church in our area, which resulted in a church split. Individual congregants, including my husband and I, have endured some pretty hard, heavy-duty financial and physical trials, which we continue to this day. When I lost my job that was when I became angry with the pastor and the situation. I knew people who were my mentors or friends who left our church to go to his and it was like a pain going through my heart. I am still hurt because his sin ultimately caused my job loss and helped contribute to our financial struggles. I’ve struggled with feelings of betrayal, feeling as if he abandoned our church after so many years invested in it. I feel hurt because he apologized in a letter instead telling us face-to-face. I have not been able to visit the pastor’s new church. Now I don’t want to harbor unforgiveness, and I have asked the Lord to help me to forgive, but the situation is still painful. Is this OK? Will I get to place of forgiveness? How do I really get over this and truly forgive? Is there any support groups that address this situation?