Thoughts on Welcoming Back a "Restored" Pastor
Watching the events unfold at The Village, with Matt Chandler, gave me flashbacks to when I worked at a church that likewise welcomed back their Pastor with a standing ovation. 🤢
WHEN PASTORS GO ON A “LEAVE OF ABSENCE”
Yesterday in a Dallas suburb an evangelical megachurch called The Village welcomed back to the stage their famous preacher, Matt Chandler.
If you don’t know this story (which is for the best), Chandler has not been working since back in August when a law firm, investigating DMs sent to a woman in their community, found them to be unfitting of Chandler’s pastoral position and determined that he should be put on a “disciplinary and developmental” leave of absence.
What exactly were the nature of those messages? We still don’t know. Chandler himself says they were neither “sexual nor romantic,” and only describes them as “unguarded and unwise… coarse and foolish joking that’s unbefitting of someone in my position.”
Though much could be said about the topic of evangelical pastors and their propensity to eff-up because of things such as:
lack of accountability,
theology that represses all things sexual and creates a culture of shame,
the unwitting damage caused by male-centric leadership in churches,
the ignorant (at best) and malicious (at worse) misuse of power,
the ways in which pastoral power goes to men’s heads (both of them)
this article today is not about that.
Rather, I want to share what came up for me while reading about this story. Specifically about how the church leadership handled Chandler’s “leave of absence,” and how the congregation then welcomed their pastor back with a standing ovation.
Because that’s exactly what happened at a church I worked at nine years ago.
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