Another pastor fails morally and the church is devastated again. Everyone loved him. The wisdom espoused from his mouth in counseling sessions, bible studies, and during Sunday morning service were exceptional.
Yet time and time again, despite their talents, we see church leaders fail morally, treat people horribly, or leave their spouse. Whenever these sins come to light the whole congregation is horrified and hurt and often confused.
That’s our pastor.
Why would he do that?
He’s supposed to be the spiritual leader, but now he seems like such a hypocrite.
I went to a private Christian school in high school which was associated with a church, and my favorite teacher was married to the worship pastor of the church. I’ll never forget the feeling of hurt and anger when I heard he was fired.
He slept with his secretary and apparently had developed a major pornography addiction.
In today’s society these types of stories are all to common place. There’s a porn problem, a marriage problem, a money problem. You name it, and there is probably a major church leader who’s done it in the past couple of years.
Why does this keep happening?
While talking to a pastor recently, I asked, “Why don’t you get involved with a small group at your church?” His response broke my heart.
“Small groups are great, but it’s not like I can be honest in one. I’m the pastor.”
If I could paraphrase his sentiments. I’m the pastor, and this church is a safe place for everybody to struggle…….except me. Transparency, authenticity, and community is for everyone else. As the leader of this church, I don’t receive those benefits.
I understand this pastor’s struggle because our jobs are tied to moral behavior and performance. Plus many people throughout churches are not prepared to see their spiritual leader struggle. They prefer thinking of him or her as put together, got it all figured out, and never struggle.
Part of me wonders if there is a correlation between pastor’s failures and their inability to reveal weaknesses in a Biblical community setting. These musings don’t excuse sin. When tragic sin happens at a leadership level, we must call their decisions out and not give them a free pass.
But if the system is broken at the top, then corrections need to be made.
2. How do I help my pastor?
Be the friend you want to have if you struggled like they struggle. This means being a friend before, during, and after the failure. The majority of church members will abandon their former pastor the moment the story breaks. Leaving him alone to pick up the pieces of the mess he or she created.
When everybody else is running from the fire, you walk towards the mess.
I have always found it interesting that one of the first people Jesus interacted with after the resurrection was Peter. The one who abandoned Him, betrayed Him, and wouldn’t stand up for Him when He was dying. Despite this betrayal, Jesus ran towards the mess known as Peter’s life.
You want to know how to help your pastor if they fail morally? It’s simple.
- Be a friend:
This starts long before they have fallen. Pastor’s don’t trust people naturally, and they assume you will leave when they need you most. He or she needs you to be a Proverbs 18:24 friend “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
- Pray and Encourage:
You should pray for your pastor every day. Don’t stop there, encourage them as well. Encourage them that you will walk with them through this grieving and repentance process. Pray for their daily struggle to find normalcy again. Live with them as you would any other Christian struggling.
- Help them kill their spider:
To better understand the phrase “killing a spider” go and read 3 ways to deal with regret.
Every Christian, especially church leaders, needs help to work through the issues that led to the downfall. Work on those struggles with him, and you might just experience a restored marriage, a renewed life, or a spiritually healed person.
Your pastor needs you before, during and after a failure. Don’t abandon them because of your hurt.
Take step one toward being a friend.
Comment below your pastor’s name and short prayer for them.