Who stole my church?


This morning I have been thinking about our church before and after the affair.  I don’t know why I haven’t thought through all of this before, but it’s as if the light bulb just came on, “HEY!  Our church has changed!”

BEFORE- we were a bible teaching church with a great bible teaching pastor (the one who fell), dearly loved and gifted.  Everyone had their bibles and highlighters ready because he was going to lead us through the word.  It was a strong and intentional discipleship church.  To be sure we were not perfect.  There were a lot of things we needed to fix, but we knew who we were and everyone knew what the growth path was when they joined.

AFTER- all that has changed.  On a host of levels this is not the same church it was 10 years ago.  I could go into details, but the point is simple, we have changed!

Personally, I grieve over the losses on a multitude of fronts, but I also celebrate some of the changes.  We still aren’t perfect, we still have problems and things aren’t as they should be, but we are beginning to grow again….a completely different vision and church than it was a decade ago.

In the long shadows of our pastor’s fall are a host of losses.  But, I see God working as well.  New people coming to faith, people growing, community happening.  It’s not the same, but it never will be.  That old church is gone.

Often we don’t have an adequate funeral for the church that was….it will never be that way again, but we also fail to celebrate the church that has come from the ashes.

In all of it I pray that Christ might be glorified in spite of the failings of men.  And, it seems he has been here.  It sure hasn’t turned out as I imagined, but he is working and for that I praise him!

 

 

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Update….

I’m sorry I haven’t updated you on our status.  I just realized today that this will be 10 years since our great earthquake and the fall of our pastor.

I saw our former pastor yesterday.  He is walking with God, growing in his faith and keenly aware of the fall out of what he did.

Sadly, what we experienced is not rare.  It happens every day.  A pastor pursues a lady in his church.  A woman is drawn to the strong leadership of her pastor.  Defenses weaken, affections are entangled, a kiss….a hug and then tragedy, sin and destruction.

In a culture where an affair is considered good sport it is still a major sin in the church and should be!  A pastor is called on by God to live a holy, godly life and be an example for the church family and the world around.  But when they fall, and they do every day, everyone says, “See, I told you it was all fake, all a lie!”  And the church becomes a laughing stock, a joke to a cynical world.

Pray for your pastor.  His temptations are greater than he knows.  He is a target for the enemy and any time the enemy can tempt a pastor to sin many lives are affected.  It’s actually the enemies best way of destroying the church.

Our church is now 1/3 the size it was. We have a new pastor.  The entire staff (except for me) is all new and no one thinks of the old days, but the actions of 10 years ago destroyed a church family and changes countless lives.

I look forward to the redemptive work of God in the midst of all of this.  I can’t wait to see how God glorifies his name after all that the enemy has done.  One day we will see it, but for now we rebuild after the earthquake.

If you are visiting…

If you are visiting this site it’s because you have just discovered your pastor has fallen.  Or, perhaps you are the pastor looking for help.  No matter your status this site has resources to help.  Nearly 8 years ago our church went through the fall of our pastor.  This site journals that odyssey with a number of articles to help.

Wander around, read what we discovered, and if needed send me an e-mail.    I will be glad to help in any way I can.

New days

This year, as the calendar goes, it will be 9 years since our earthquake and the fall of our pastor.

As I reflect on it now it seems like a distant memory.  Some remember, most don’t think about it and life goes on.

Our former pastor is a close friend, married the other woman, works a secular job but still loves God.  We meet weekly, and every other week for an in-depth bible study.  We never talk about it any more.  Who would want to?

Sadly, I’ve become an expert on this topic, one I never wished to experience.  Behind it all is a loving God caring for his church of broken people.  Scars linger, but God works in spite of sin.  Memories fade and new memories seem more important.  The pain is gone, but once in a while I’ll look at the “scars” of the experiences in my own life and remember.

And I see….after these many years…that God works all things for our good, his glory and the salvation of lost men.  Our sins might disrupt the work, but they will never stop it.  God wins, lost men are saved, the enemy is defeated and the kingdom grows.

So, in the midst of your pain in this moment take a breath and relax, God still rules. God will work.  It’s not the end of the world….a great God is king of everything and it will be well!

The pain

The most mentioned experience of anyone in a church where the pastor has fallen is pain.  The pain of loss, disappointment, betrayal and so much more.  For some the pain is blamed on God and faith is questioned.  Others simply walk away.  “If this were real,” they say, “this wouldn’t happen.”  Others say, “how could a man of God I trust do such a thing?”  and their faith flounders, the pain grows.

The pain of loss.  The pain of so much comes from the unexpected betrayal.  For some their walk with God is compromised for months, if not years.

How has the pain of this experience affected you?  How has it affected your church?

The end of another year

2014 is near the end.  For us, at our church, it’s been eight years since our pastor’s fall.  It’s hard to believe!

Our church has changed dramatically!  It’s smaller.  Many of those who were part of our family eight years ago are gone, new people have come.  These new people have in idea what happened.  History fades, memories are flooded with new thoughts, new things to remember and the kingdom goes on.

One thing I realize, and after a bit I think you will too if this has happened to your church, is that God is still the head of the church, he will still be glorified and his kingdom will march on…no matter what one man, even a pastor, does.

Trust God in the new year, serve him well, pray for your hurting people, pray for the fallen pastor and his wife.  God will work, you will see it….and over time…not right now, but soon, you will forget about all the pain you felt when the pastor fell and your heart was torn in two.

I look forward to a new year and the wonderful work on God in my life and yours.  He is so good!

Humble reconciliation

One of the things that rarely happens when a pastor falls is reconciliation.  There is simply never closure on the sin that destroyed his life, family, another family and the church.

This morning a friend and I were visiting about reconciliation and God’s work in our lives.  It made me ask…who have I wounded and not reconciled with?  And so I offer this note for your response, for your consideration.  If it’s something that applies to you in your relationships with me would you offer me the opportunity to pursue reconciliation in our relationship? If it’s a reality in your life, your family, or your church would you use the following paragraph to heal wounds, mend relationships and demonstrate the love of Christ to others?

Share these words with someone you have hurt,

“I’m thinking through the people I’ve known and cared about for many years and fear that I have left something undone with you.  Are you and I “ok”?  My goal is reconciliation, the healing of any wounds I may have caused.  Is there something between us that I can address, deal with or repair?  Have I offended you in some way and left you wounded?  Please do let me know.  And thank you for the grace you give me to be broken and still on the journey to become like Christ.”

I wonder what would happen if we humbled ourselves and took the first step to healing wounds in our lives and the lives of others.