Monthly Archives: November 2012

Broken trust

It never struck me until now.  I had missed it and only recently realized what was happening.  Now, six years later, I realize that one thing that was lost when our pastor fell was trust.  Trust was broken and only now do we see the effects of broken trust in the lives of the people in our church.  It shows up now because a new idea is being introduced to our church family.  What we discover happening is that our people who aren’t sure this is a good thing are going to the Internet for information about it instead of talking to us.

Why?  As I watched this and prayed about it I suddenly realized that this is the result of something that happened six years ago and has yet to be resolved.  The people who stayed lost trust in our pastor when he fell and have never dealt with this breach of trust in their lives.  Now, when something new is talked about in our church family, they don’t trust us to care for them.  They don’t trust us to have their best interest in mind.

Broken trust was nothing I expected to still be a problem all these years later, but what it reveals is how pervasive one sin is as it ripples through a church family.  Now, six years after the fall of our pastor, trust is still an issue.  My visits with members of our church family begin with this question, “So why are you afraid?  What do you think we are going to do?”  And from that beginning it becomes clear that at the core of all of this is a trust issue.  They don’t trust us!  If they couldn’t trust the pastor who fell why should they trust us?

The fear we are seeing over a small and insignificant issue has its roots in trust.  Now we must deal with this broken trust and the fear that has resulted  in the lives of each one we visit with.  We are still in the middle of this so I’m sure there are other nuances we must confront, but honestly I have been surprised to see that something we took for granted had been lost six years ago.  Now, we must go back to foundational issues and reestablish a trust in the shepherds of our flock.

Broken trust is another ripple in the tidal wave of a pastor’s fall.  If you are a member of a church where a pastor has fallen realize you have a trust issue that you will have to resolve if you are to grow in faith in your life.  If you are a pastor of a church where this is part of the history realize you have some work to do.

Right now I’m in prayer for our church family that they will each be able to deal with the fear that has come because of broken trust.  I pray that we will once more become a place where the sheep feel safe with the shepherd taking care of them.  There is much yet to do….even six years later.

The scattering tribe

Today I sent a note to one of our pastors who has left us and just got the perfect job for him in another church near here.  He is one of at least six staff members who have left the church since our earthquake.  Not all of them left for the same reasons, but a tight group of men and women have scattered to the community and beyond since our pastor’s fall.

The same thing has happened in our church body.  Literally hundreds scattered to other churches or no church at all.  The tribe called our church family has been seeded to a dozen different churches.  As a pastor and shepherd and frankly the last man here from the original team this has been hard to watch, but what I know is this is God’s church.  We are simply shepherds caring for HIS sheep, his people.

If you find your church in this place of watching the pastor fall realize the church will scatter, friends will leave, staff will move on.  It happens.  And yet, in spite of all of this the kingdom of God marches on.  Grieve a bit, sorrow over the loss, but continue to serve God and reach the world wherever he places you.

It’s never “ok” to let the fall of a pastor give you an excuse to leave the church completely.  You might be disappointed, discouraged, angry, hurt.  All those feelings are normal.  Work through them, love one another as a body of believers, be honest with one another and don’t let the devil win the battle to destroy the body of Christ you are part of.

You will see your tribe scatter.  Stay in touch, love them even if they leave, trust God and serve HIM.  In spite of all that happens when a pastor sins and all that will happen in the years ahead God is still the Lord of heaven, earth and your church.