My Thoughts On: Pastors Being Removed

I'm not going to name names, but I've been reading about how the pastor of a former church has been removed from office because of "a pattern of sin." The removal letter I read was fairly vague - which is fine - about the reasons why. But it was a board decision as a way to address an issue (well, several issues) that has been going on for a while now and I trust that the removal is valid.

It's still sad.

Pastors and teachers in the church are called to a high standard and for good reason. They are called to be accountable and for good reason. And when their sin isn't being addressed they need to be removed to protect the church and to give the pastor an opportunity for regeneration and reconciliation.

As far as I can tell, this particular pastor lost a lot and it's a sorry situation all around.

Reading the comments of any article is always interesting. The comments I read on this particular situation was no different. First you have your fan girls and yes men. The Pastor in question can do no wrong, it's really NBD, blah, blah. On the other hand you have those that are calling him a money-grubbing charlatan who had destructive intentions all along. Oh my.

Pastors are real people. They deal with sin, too. They aren't immune to the pull of the world. It's always surprising to me when people act sooo shocked that this happens. I think this thinking is to be expected, though, when people have put other humans on a pedestal. Pastors belong at lecterns, not on pedestals.

The Bible is also clear, of course, on the qualifications of a pastor. They need to be held accountable and restored to a healthy walk with Christ. If that's not possible then they absolutely should be removed from their position. Yes, it's damaging when a pastor is caught in sin - but it's even more damaging when the sin is overlooked and allowed to continue.

This particular pastor published one successful book. Then another. He became the chaplain of a major-league sports team. His church exploded from around 30 families to 4,000 attendees in less than 15 years.

It doesn't surprise me, in this success-driven culture, that this appeals to people. People look at a man like that and all he's done and it makes him more credible in their eyes. How many books has your pastor written? How much growth has your church seen in the last decade?

The reality is, for most pastors, the answer to both questions is "none." And that's okay. And maybe preferred. After all, the office of a pastor is a big deal with a lot of responsibility. How can you keep the pulse of the congregation, train and equip leaders, and be held accountable when you are always writing and promoting books and stretching yourself thin in a million other ways?

I wish Americans could be okay with "good enough." A pastor who is committed to his family and congregation. A pastor who isn't obsessive about numbers, but faithfully does as he's called and leaves the rest to God. A pastor who loves his wife and family and is committed to them and involved with them. This is authenticity. This is credibility.

So, with a heavy heart, I'll be praying for healing and restoration for this pastor and his family. I'll be praying for peace and direction for the board members and leaders in this church. I'll be praying for the church members as they grapple with all that this removal entails. And I'll be praising God that he is a healer and restorer and makes all things work together for his good.


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