Featured Post

Fallen Pastor: The Book, Part 3 – The Men Who Fall

Before “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World” releases, I’m trying to give my blog readers some extra insight to what went into the writing process and the experience behind it. One of the singular joys I had was interviewing the men for the book. I wasn’t sure...

Read More

Adultery: Don’t Try This At Home

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, Christ, david, faithfulness, fallenness, pastors, repentance, sin | Posted on 28-01-2013

1

I love to talk to pastors who need help. I get about two emails a week from pastors who are in dire need of help. They adulteryhave fallen or are about to fall. Most are drawn here because I’ve shared my own story of how I fell from ministry.

For some reason when I blog about my personal story, I feel like I have to add the statement: “Adultery: Don’t try this at home.” It’s like those shows where guys jump 20 buses or drink hot lava. We know we shouldn’t. We know we aren’t going to. But the station has to list a disclaimer. “Don’t try this at home.” But for some reason, pastors across the country think that adultery is something they can handle.

I get all kinds of emails each month from people. But the thing that hurts me most is when I hear, “Hey, you committed adultery and you stayed with the woman you had an affair with. So that’s an inspiration for me. That can work for me too. You sinned, you fell, so I should be able to leave my wife and be happy with another woman.”

That statement makes my soul cringe.

Over the past two and a half years, I have borne my soul on the internet. I have told my story in blog and book fashion. I was a pastor, fell very hard then left my marriage for another woman. It’s all out there. I have told you about my mistakes, my passions and my hurt. And here I am for you to see. Warts and all.

But I want to be very, very clear. I am not a pattern to be followed.

rolemodelIf you are a pastor who has cheated, I am not holding myself up to be a role model.

Yes, I committed adultery. I did not work things out with my wife. I married Allison, the woman I had an affair with. I love her with all my heart and soul. She is my best friend and we have had a great marriage.

I will also tell you this – it has been difficult. I left everything to be with her. I see my kids every other weekend. I am broken financially. It is not a tropical paradise. But I do love Allison. We are perfect together. But pain, suffering, struggle and difficulty has been a regular part of our marriage, just as any other marriage.

Hershael York, professor of preaching at Southern Seminary had a lot to say while I was writing my book. This quote was a huge part of my writing:

Every time you have an affair with anybody, I don’t care who you are, in a sense, you’re having an affair with a fantasy and not a real person. Because the person you’ve got to pay the mortgage with, deal with the kids’ soccer schedule with, the one whose vomit you wipe up when they’re sick, that’s the real person you live with. Twenty minutes in the sack on a Tuesday afternoon is really not love. You’ve got to tell yourself that. You’ve got to awaken yourself to the fact that it’s fantasy. If you end up with the person you had an affair with, I guarantee you once you get married you have to face the same issues and same struggles. You cannot take two totally depraved human beings, stick them in the same house and not have friction.

When anyone has an affair, the first few months seem like an escape – a departure from reality. It’s an awesome feeling. But after a while, reality sets in. Life with them is just like marriage. Thankfully, life with Allison is beyond great.

But I am telling you this – statistics show that only 2% of marriages to someone you have an affair with ever work out.

To anyone who thinks that my story is a story they can build on for success – you are wrong. Dead wrong. My story worked out and I am thankful for that. But it has been one of pain, grace and mercy. God has brought me to where I am and has worked it out for His good. It is not a pattern to be followed.

God’s plan is laid out in Scripture. I tell my story over and over so that pastors will remain true to God’s calling. So that shelterthey will get help when they need it. So that they will find shelter and a mentor. So that they will not falter. I don’t tell my story so that they will feel the need to escape from their marriage. That’s not why I share my story.

I am very thankful for my beautiful wife, Allison. For some reason, God has blessed us despite the sin. I have been forgiven. But that does not mean any of us should throw ourselves headlong into sin because we know God will forgive us. To the contrary – we should hold fast to the salvation we have been given.

I take my current ministry duties seriously. When pastors who have fallen contact me, I urge them to work things out with their wives. Despite what they choose, I still love them, because I know that’s what Christ would do.

But pastors, don’t think that if you call me I will condone sin. I won’t. Don’t think that just because things worked out for me that they will work out for you. Listen – Allison and I have endured tremendous amounts of pain, suffering and hurt. Did we deserve it? Yes. Much of it. It has been a long road, but God has been gracious.

There are plenty of people in Scripture we  can look to as examples – or maybe not. Should we look to David? A man who was king, but fell when we committed murder and adultery. Moses? A man who became angry and disobeyed God and was not allowed into the promised land. Peter? A man who denied Christ three times. The Bible is full of people who let God down. Did he restore them? Absolutely. But ultimately, we are not to follow the example of men, but of God. Don’t choose men as your model, but choose Christ first.

I know how it is – to see the sin before you. To see its deliciousness. To want to satisfy your own need. To put behind you hchthe people you will hurt, the congregation you will harm, the family you will destroy. Our selfish pleasures overwhelm us when we are seeking our own desires.

Before you sin, before you lust, before you give yourself to the passions of this world, think about three things: Your family who loves you unconditionally, the church who follows you, and most of all, the God who desires to make all things right for you.

Let Him heal you, let Him stand by you, let Him love you and turn to Him. Don’t use a broken, feeble pastor as your example for what you should do. Use your Savior as an example.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

Fallen Pastors Can Be Restored, Part 2

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in fallenness, pastors, Provoketive Magazine, restoration | Posted on 25-01-2013

0

Whether you are an active minister, fallen pastor, church member, or church leader, I really encourage you to check out my series on the restoration of fallen pastors. It’s a summary of my own fall and God’s restoring grace.

So please head on over to Provoketive Magazine and check it out.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

Fallen Pastors Can Be Restored, Part 1

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, ministry, pastors, Provoketive Magazine | Posted on 23-01-2013

0

I’ve put up an article over at Provoketive Magazine: “Fallen Pastors Can Be Restored, Part 1.”

It’s a story of my own journey back to restoration. I hope it offers hope to those who have fallen, insight to those who might have anger towards those who have sinned, and maybe understanding for all.

This is one of the most important things I’ve written and I hope you’ll take time to click over and read it. Thanks!

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Southern Baptists, Sanctity of Life, and Rape in India

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in current events, love, missions, southern baptist | Posted on 22-01-2013

2

irOver the past few days, I’ve been monitoring the stories in India of the rape of women there.

It is a horrible scene. Apparently for years, women have been raped and their crimes have been covered up by the police.

One story states, “in India rape has long been depressingly common.” The story has gotten some attention stateside, but in my opinion, not enough.

Recently, a woman was brutalized horrifically. Her story was somewhat ignored until the press picked it up. Her story is tragic. Awful. Horrible.

Southern Baptists love to speak about the “sanctity of life” as it is conceived in the womb. We love to protect the life as it is conceived at conception.

In India, it seems that women are being victimized for being women. It has apparently been going on for years.

Check out this quote from a CNN article:

The UN’s human-rights chief calls rape in India a “national problem”. Rapes and the ensuing deaths (often from suicide), are routinely described in India’s press—though many more attacks go unreported to the public or police. Delhi has a miserable but deserved reputation for being unsafe, especially for poor and low-caste women. Sexual violence in villages, though little reported, keeps girls and women indoors after dark. As young men migrate from the country into huge, crowded slums, their predation goes unchecked. Prosecution rates for rape are dismally low and convictions lower still—as in many countries.

Really?

These are countries that we are sending missionaries to. These are real, living, breathing women who are trying to live their lives.

We, a denomination, reportedly over 17 million strong, who send our money overseas can do nothing about this.

I even looked on the SBC news site for something about this issue. I found nothing. No editorial. No outrage. No plan of action. No, “let’s do something.”

I’m not asking we send in an armed militia. I’m asking that Southern Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, ir2and all people of faith get involved.

Surely, these people are of Hindu faith. Who cares? It doesn’t matter one iota. They are our fellow man. All of us have a voice to cry out against sin and injustice.

Sanctity of life? What does that mean if we are not outraged when rape after rape occurs in a country we are reaching with our missonal dollars every year? What does it matter when we sit silently while fellow human beings are being tortured and taken advantage of without our intervention or attempts at help?

What if the roles were reversed? What if India was filled with 17 million Christian people who had money and sent it to a large denomination. What if we were being persecuted and our wives and daughters were being raped on a continual basis by the state and people here? What if India said, “We will keep sending missionaries. We will pray for you. We will do what we can?”

How would you feel?

What do I suggest? I really don’t know. But I do know that we can do better by our fellow man than just silence. Prayer? Yes. But action and concern that reaches the ears of those in charge matters. How long? How long will we sing this song? How long?

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Doing God’s Job for Him: Getting Vengance on Those Who Sin

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, anger, forgiveness, Hershael York | Posted on 09-01-2013

0

Over the past three years, I’ve seen a lot of anger. Some of it has been anger I’ve produced. Sometimes, I’ll be counselinganger a fallen pastor and see others angry at him for the moral failure he committed and lash out at him for months or years.

I have images saved on my computer from Facebook from people who have stated things about me that were hurtful or harsh. They were church members, family, or friends. I was angry about them at the time when they said them. When they said them publicly, I thought, “How could they say such things in public? This is a private matter!

When I was writing my book, Dr. Hershael York, professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was a great help to me. I interviewed him for a take on fallen pastors, but he instead ended up being of great help and guidance to me. He helped heal a lot of wounds I had in my heart and set me straight on some prideful issues I had.

He told me that a fallen pastor has to come to a place of brokenness over his sin. There are ways to know when this has happened and I cover that in my book. I realized when I talked to him that I hadn’t come to that place fully.

Here are a couple of things he said: “If you’re genuinely broken to your sin, you realize the people who are all handling it wrong were put in that position because you sinned; you had the choice, they didn’t.

When I see a guy who is bitter and angry at somebody’s response to his sin, I realize he’s not completely there yet. He has to have a complete accepting of responsibility for his sin. Their sin is their sin. I’m not justifying a bad reaction, that’s sin too.

Dr. York was telling me that when a fallen pastor gets nasty emails, texts or things written about him on Facebook, that’s a consequence of his actions. Deal with it. Those people were put in that place because of his sin. Is their reaction right? No. But the fallen pastor is not allowed to get angry about it. The fallen pastor wants grace and forgiveness so he must extend that same grace and forgiveness towards those who aren’t extending it towards him at the time.

hurtFriends, it’s hard when someone we look up to disappoints us. When they let us down. When they betray us and hurt us. That hurt may last a very long time. It is very easy to depart from the words of Scripture and the loving ways of Christ.

Over the past three years, I’ve had a unique opportunity to counsel and listen to fallen pastors, their wives, their church members, their children, and just about everyone associated with them. It hurts when I talk to them and it brings back my own sin to the forefront. But it also brings to mind the grace God showed me when I sinned.

It reminds me each time how far I fell and how much it grieved God. But it also reminds me how much He loves me and how far he cast my sin from His memory – as far as the east is from the west.

At the same time, it also reminds me how cruel we can be towards those who sin. When the adulteress was caught in John 8, she was surrounded by a judgmental crowd. The only friend she had was Christ. None of us can imagine taking sides against Christ, can we? But there was a whole crowd aligned against Christ that day. Who was standing by His side that day? An adulterous woman.

I used to be very, very judgmental upon those who sinned. I was often there to cast the first stone. It was very easy for me to point out sin instead of showing compassion and grace first.

Unfortunately, I think that our first response when Christians sin and disappoint us greatly is this – “When is God going to judge this person?” As I’ve talked to fallen pastors who have found forgiveness, they still struggle with the pain of those around them who will not forgive them. People who will not let go of their sin. People who remind them of their fall, stare at them in public, hold them in public disdain, gossip about them and never let their sin go. Unfortunately, many of these people are those within the church.

It’s almost as if many around them are asking, “When will God unleash His judgment upon this fallen pastor? When will God punish him for this heinous sin? They don’t deserve to be happy!

Friends, thanks be to God He does not punish us as we deserve every day. God does have the ultimate right to vengeancevengeance. It is not ours to wield. Maybe at times we hold on to anger to punish those we think God should be showing anger towards. But God is merciful – and thanks be to Him for that!

If He was not merciful, we would all be in a terrible, wretched state.

I’m pleading with all of you – if there is someone you are holding on to anger towards, let it go. Give it to God. Even if you are unable to forgive, allow God to take control of your emotions. He is the only just judge. He is the one who can settle all matters wisely as they need to be settled. He will make all things right in the end.

God asks we all cast our cares and burdens upon Him because He cares for us. Even when people let us down, He will take care of it all. Trust in God, know that He will take care of all things.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

A Pastor’s Story That Has Haunted Me

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, book, Christ, church, churches, fallenness, hope, pastoring, pastors, suicide | Posted on 08-01-2013

2

psuicWhile writing my book, I was interviewing a fallen pastor. He shared this with me:

“I heard about a pastor who committed adultery in August then killed himself in December. I wondered, ‘Did anyone reach out to him? Did anyone love him? Did anyone seek to restore him?’ It brought back so many memories of when I wanted to die.”

That story has haunted me. In fact, it has come to fruition many times since then. In the past week, I got an email from a man who told me that a pastor who fell killed himself after committing adultery.

I recall a long time ago a story about a youth pastor who hadn’t committed any kind of sin, but felt all kinds of anxiety and pressure. He was a seminary student. He called his insurance company and asked if his plan covered suicide. They told him it did. The next day, he wrapped himself in carpet in his car and pulled the trigger.

Ministry is very intensive. Extremely intensive. Whether you have committed a huge sin or not. In my book, I list the pressures ministers face on a daily basis.

Here’s what I want to convey to you today: Pastors are under a huge amount of pressure. They may put on a front that their lives are wonderful. I know I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into a former church member of mine. Here is how the conversation went:

She said, “I thought your marriage was so wonderful.

I said, “It wasn’t. It hadn’t been for many years.”bm

She said, “But it looked so good.

I said, “Yeah, but it wasn’t. What I’ve learned is that many pastors and their wives have learned to hide their sorrows and pains of their marriages very well.”

She said, “You did a very good job.”

Friends, isn’t about time that in the church, we started being real with each other? Especially in our church leadership? I hid the failures of my own marriage from myself. What if I had gotten help earlier? What if the church leaders, members, and people actually started being real with each other?

When I talked to the fallen pastors in my book, they lamented that they couldn’t be real with the people in their churches. Unfortunately, I see story after story about pastors who commit suicide because they see no end but to kill themselves. They can’t be real with anyone. Is it an excuse? No. But they have no one to reach out to.

Maybe you are the one to reach out the them. Maybe your pastor has fallen. Maybe you are disappointed in them. Maybe you have lost faith in them. But let me tell you this – God has never given up on them. And neither should you. Don’t ever give up on another human being, regardless of how you feel about them.

fatherPursue them. Love them. Remember the father of the prodigal son. Never let another person feel alone, regardless of their sin. Don’t abandon anyone. Ever.

Remember the mission of Christ. He never gave up on any of us. He went to the cross for us. Bleeding, weeping, when all was lost. And he made it count.

Even when your pastor committed adultery, embezzled money, lied to you – you don’t have to agree with his sin. But gracious me. You still have to show compassion. There is still some Christ in you to forgive. To show friendship. To say, “I may not understand why you did what you did – but the Christ in me still loves me for who you are.”

That’s all that is asked of us.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Need a Specialized Speaker for Church?

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in book, speaking | Posted on 04-01-2013

0

Cover2God has blessed me greatly in the past few years through this blog. I’ve been able to minister to all kinds of people, network, make new friends, write a book, do interviews, and speak to many about the challenges that face pastors, the grace of God, and how churches can be aware of the issues around them.

I’m almost always available to speak to churches, groups, men’s groups, pastor’s events, churches in crisis, deacon or elder bodies, or for supply.

If you are a church who has lost a pastor because of moral failure, I’d like to help. If you are a church that wants a message on how to strengthen the men and women in your congregation against moral failure, I’d be happy to speak. If you have a pastor’s conference and want to face the mostly ignored issue of moral failure within the ministry, I believe I can help.

This blog has been a blessing from God to me to be able to help many. I’d like to help anyone who reaches out. I’m here to help you and your church if you would like.

I live in western Kentucky and can easily drive to most of Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Illinois and Indiana, and outlying regions.

If you’re interested I would love to talk to you. Please visit my contact page and look me up.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

A Renewed Call to Help

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, ministry | Posted on 02-01-2013

0

There is a crisis in our land and in our churches. I’m going to address several people and groups in this blog. Keep reading because you are surely listed here. Don’t give up before you get to how you can help.

Pastors who are in need of help. The statistics show that about a third of pastors have already committed some sort of sexual immorality with a memberPastor Holding Bible of their own church but are hiding it. Worse, about 80% are viewing porn or have viewed porn in the past few months. We have a problem.

If you’re a pastor who is in the midst of this, feel comforted. I have fallen. I commited adultery. I wrote a book about it. There is freedom to be had in Christ. But you have to acknowdledge your sin and come right with God. You are not alone. There are men and women like you across the country who have sinned. Failed. Like you. Don’t think you are alone. Contact me. Talk to me. Know that in God, in Christ, there is forgiveness. But the first step is coming to terms with your sin.

If you talk to me, I won’t judge you. I won’t condemn you. I will love you for the person you are. We will just talk. One study showed that 1,500 pastors a month are leaving the ministry due to burnout, conflict or moral failure. There’s something wrong with the culture. It’s not just you. It’s the system. Yes, you are responisbile for your sin. But let’s slow down and save your soul. One step at a time.

Churches who have lost a pastor due to moral failure. I know it hurts. Since I fell in the ministry three years ago, I have seen the consequences. I have seen what it does to a church. Honestly, the easiest thing to do is to get angry, shut yourselves in and hire someone quickly who you think will fix everything. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone needs their hearts to be healed.

Everyone in the church is looking for an answer. Guess what? There isn’t an easy one. You need help, guidance and love. And most often, the church leadership doesn’t know any better than you. There are many answers in my book and I’m here to help as well if you want help. I also have networked with several organizations who can help you.

Don’t get bitter or out of sorts because of the mistakes of one man. Know that the church is the sanctuary of Christ. Any hurt, pain or wrong action will be felt by him as well. Take time to heal before you jump to the next action. Get help. As a body. Please.

To the wife of the pastor who fell. What a horrible thing that has happened. He was looked upon as a role model. But he was more than that to you. He wcwas provider, husband and father. Overnight, you lost trust in this man who was guided by God. You might be wondering where God is in all of this. There is hope for you as well. Don’t give up too quickly. You will be driven into the arms of family, friends and a lot of people who will give you good and bad advice.

What can I tell you? Get in a quiet place. Listen to the voice of God. Above it all, listen to the voice of your children. Give them hope. Give them love. There will be days that they will not understand what is going on. And there will be days you want to scream and shout. But stay strong. There are organizations that give hope to you as well.

Over the past three years, I have had the priveledge of understanding more about my own fall. Better, I have been in contact with people who have helped me understand my fall and have come to my side, showing me how to walk in the light of Christ. There are several organizations out there that can help those involved in the fall of a pastor.

But looking forward, there needs to be more.

Most fallen pastors are kicked to the curb after a moral failure. I pray that changes. I pray that as a community of faith, we will learn to surround him, his church, his family, and his wife with love and understanding. Regardless of how it all plays out, they all are in need of our love and support.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.