Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in apology, compassion, culture, fallenness, pastoring, reconciliation, repentance | Posted on 24-09-2011
I’ve been editing my book after my publisher sent my manuscript back. I figured something out. I don’t get to the point quick enough. I’m very bad at dancing around the issue. I’ve spent two years apologizing for my sin. Yeah, I’m sorry for what I did. I really am. But, there is a larger issue at stake. There are a lot of pastors out there who are falling day by day.
They aren’t falling because they’re just sinful men. They don’t just wake up one day and say, “Hey, I think I’ll commit adultery.”
These men are called by God and are serious about their mission. They are serious about the church. They love their wives, their family and the church. Yet, after years in the ministry, they fall. Why? It’s a problem, isn’t it? Friends, it commands our attention.
There has to be something going on. And there is. There are several factors in place that leads to their fall.
However, don’t ever hear me say that these men’s sin isn’t their own fault. It is. But there is a culture out there that is contributing to their downfall. It needs to change and it has to be challenged. And starting today, I’m going to stop apologizing for my sin. I’ve done that enough. I’m going to start calling out the culture that leads to the fallen pastors downfall.
I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again. 1,500 pastors a MONTH leave the ministry due to conflict, stress or moral failure. And they fall off the grid. Often, we never hear of them again. My concern is for those who leave for moral failure.
Our conventions, denominations and committees are content with leaving them behind. I am not. I have spoken with these men. They are left behind with hurt, pain and brokenness. Some are able to pick up the pieces and able to restore their lives. But some are not. Some are working in secular jobs searching to find reconciliation with their former churches and to the God they once served.
Let me start today with this thought.
Very few people in the church are able to forgive the fallen pastor. In fact, after speaking to many fallen pastors, I would say that around 1% of churches were able to forgive the fallen pastor for his adultery.
I understand that a church would be hurt by the pain caused by the betrayal and pain that a fallen pastor leaves behind. The fallen pastors I have spoken to have ranged from 3-30 years from when they left their church. No reconciliation was to be had. None.
I’ll blog more about that later.
What I have noticed is that there are some people within the church who are able to forgive. They act outside the 95% of the church who are angry at the pastor, but they do reach out to him.
In my talks with fallen pastors, and in my own experience, it shows me that there is an active church culture that tends to place certain expectations upon a pastor. He is placed upon a pedestal and when he falls, the fall is great. The expectations are great and he may even agree to them. When he does not meet them, they abandon him. They are unwilling to forgive and place him outside of the community, without any sort of dialogue.
But there are a few who do not operate within this culture. They reach out to the fallen pastor. They see him as a human and not as an idol or as a man on a pedestal. They are kind and say things like, “I love you, regardless of your sin. You are still my friend.”
There is a dangerous culture that needs to be changed. Hopefully, in time, we will begin to see it.