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Pastor Ron Carpenter: Can Ministry Failure Be Prevented?

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, church, churches, leadership, marriage, ministry, pastoring, pastors | Posted on 15-10-2013

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ron2by Ray Carroll (please see below for contact info)

Pastor Ron Carpenter of Redemption World Outreach Center reported to his church on Sunday that his wife had been having multiple affairs for the past ten years. There is much to the story and you can read it in many different places. It is a very large ministry and the pastor, after telling the story of his wife, said she had been committed to rehab for a month and that they would not be reconciling. Also, he has planned to stay in the ministry.

There are two things I can guarantee. First, the only people who know anything close to the truth are he and his wife. This whole horrible, messy situation will take years to figure out and the consequences will come to bear for a long time. It is a heart wrenching situation that God can sort out.

Secondly, people on the outside really have no idea what is going on and fruitless discussion is not helpful.  In every article I read, there were hundreds of comments of people discussing, tearing apart and going on about the issue. There was a lot of defending, attacking, and slinging of various Scripture passages, names and profanity.

The one thing that was lacking was any real discussion on the core of this issue. I fell from the ministry four years ago. And since that time I’ve been on this blog ministering to fallen pastors, their churches, wives, and the women they were with.

Even though this pastor’s wife fell, I can almost guarantee that the issues that occur before a pastor commits adultery. The same weaknesses that befall most ministry couples is what brings ruin over and over again. It’s the same pattern that I outline in my book, “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World.”

Ministry in today’s world is high pressure and resembles life in a fish bowl for the pastor’s family. With a world of overly high expectations, poor relationship with spouse, church conflict and other predictable problems, many of the failures in ministry can be prevented. Statistics bear out that many of our ministers are in serious peril (these statistics and more are in my book):

80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses are discouraged and dealing with depressionfallen

More than 40% of pastors and 47% of their spouses report they are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules and unrealistic expectations

89% of pastors stated they considered leaving the ministry at one time

Pastor Carpenter and his family are in an awful place and need prayer and support. The people who should be at the forefront, ready to help in such a crisis are the members of church leadership.

Unfortunately, many times, church leadership is ill equipped when a pastor falls. What would be even more ideal is to have a godly church leadership who works with the minister to keep him ready and accountable, always aiding the pastor and his family, to prevent such an awful failure.

Most churches, pastors, church leaders, associations, denominations are not set up to prevent such catastrophes. Hardly any are able to deal with the issue when a pastor commits adultery or commits another major sin.

Reconciling With A Fallen Pastor, Part 5: Reconciling An Old WoundThat’s one of the reasons this website is here – to help any who reach out. And hopefully in the coming weeks, with any who are willing and ready, to begin to put together tools/conferences/aids for those who want to stop this horrible epidemic in our nation’s churches.

So what about Pastor Carpenter and his family? What can any of us do? Know that God is in control of all things and that He does respond to repentant people. This situation, whatever is going on, will not be fixed in weeks or months, but years.

Also, if your church is not working to prevent pastoral or leadership failure, start figuring out how to do it. Does your church have a plan in place if your pastor falls? Will you respond with grace and mercy or with shame? This situation should give everyone pause and a moment to think about how close any of us are to sin.

__________________

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.

 

Comments (4)

At some point someone has to step forward and say this is my fault I did not do what God wanted me to do. If no one does then the church as a whole should determine the truth. And the truth and the accountability should reach all who were affected by the sin.
I say that from expierience. As a youth minister my great sin was ignoring two boys and their families who had been active members in my church as drug addictions, death, suicide attempts and falling away church fellowship destroyed their lives. The short version is this. For two years I ignored God’s call to reach out to them, call them to repentence and let them know they are still loved. They are now serving multiple life sentences for burning 10 churches in 2010 in six weeks. When they were arrested my church only said that though the two boys met and grew up in our church they quit coming so there was nothing we could do for them. The church did not even discuss what could have been done differently.
When asked why they did it the only honest answer I can give is “when God told me to love them I did not”.
I did not feel fit for ministry after that and wanted to quit ministry but I have learned God will take our failures and use them for His good if we listen to Him.
Any ministry I believed can be saved when the minister fails but only when the minister is repentent and does not deny the real truth of the problem and is obedient to the Spirit.

You’re absolutley right when you say that there is undoubtedly more to the story and that it will take years for the truth to be revealed. Carpenter, by his own admission, worked with a consultant on a “strategy” on how to deal with this thing. There has to be a reason he suddenly decided (after 10 years of hiding it) to get out ahead of the story — and only AFTER his wife was safely out of public view. I live in Greenville, SC. Unfortunately, this guy (Carpenter) is a master manipulator. The people who attend that church aren’t just drinking the kool-aid, they’re swimming in it. One of them actually commented on Facebook, “I would love to see Pastor Ron hook up with Pastor Paula White.” Another wrote, “A true King is what you are, Apostle. #kingstatus.” That’s how bad it is. This guy has become an idol to his congregation. Sad and scary.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Any ministry failure causes distress, confusion and gossip. That’s why I believe it is so important for churches to be able to have outside “response teams” to rely on and help sort out the mess.

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