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Bob Coy Family Divided

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in bob coy, current events, fallenness, gossip, social media | Posted on 30-07-2014

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bobcoyBob Coy Family Divided – It’s a search term that keeps poking it’s head up on my blog search results. Every day, people find my blog searching for those words. I wrote a blog post about Bob Coy. The best and most balanced blog post I’ve seen is from The Last Hiker’s blog that has over 400 comments. In those comments, many of them are judgmental and angry. The Last Hiker’s blog post is excellent in dealing with the issues surrounding fallen pastor Bob Coy, who was a pastor in Fort Lauderdale and admitted to adultery.

Bob Coy was a national figure and committed adultery. He sinned greatly. He lied for a long time. He hurt many people. It shows that the sin of adultery when committed by a pastor has horrible effects on family, a congregation, a community, and a nation. These are things I have been writing about for five years and shared in my book. There are no excuses for what he did.

I am concerned that for the past two months people have been showing up to my blog searching for “Bob Coy family divided.” Each time I see that, I grimace a little. I understand the pain that people are going through. I hurt people when I committed adultery. But I also think that it’s time for people across this country to understand that there is a responsible Christian response to Bob Coy’s fall. I don’t know what’s going on with Bob Coy and his family. It’s none of my business. And it’s really no one else’s business. It is a matter for his family, church leadership, and God.

One of the problems is that a lot of people want information. That’s normal. They want answers for why he did what he did. I get that. In our age of information, we believe we are entitled to information. But Christians, in this case, we don’t need it. We don’t. Bob Coy and his family need some time. And we need to give it to them. I’ve listed some questions I’ve seen online regarding the Bob Coy situation and responses to them:

Bob Coy sinned. And his sin put us in a position to ask these questions.” Yeah, in a way it did. But for a Christian, there comes a moment where we have to ask, “how much information is enough?” When do questions become gossip? When do our questions become the stuff of reality television and drama? When do we start following the church discipline guidelines of Matthew 18 and Galatians 6 and allow restoration to take place? When do we stop poking around with this man and his family’s life and start minding our own business?

But trust me, right now, what he does not need are people who claim the mantle of Christ acting like paparazzi.”

He was a pastor. A man in the public eye. The people of his church have a right to know.” Here’s a tough one. Do we trust the men and women we have appointed as church leaders to handle the situation, or do we as church members keep poking around for information until we have stripped the bones bare until we are satisfied? What is the purpose of church leadership if not for a time like this? Yes, Bob Coy has sinned greatly. And this is a time for church leadership to step in and take care of the issues. And church members should trust them to help Coy and his family the best they can.

He was a national media figure. He put himself out there for everyone to see. So it’s everyone’s business.” That sounds like the reasoning of people who don’t understand Scripture. When it all comes down to it, this is a matter for Bob Coy, his wife, his family and his God. Is he repentant? I don’t know. Is his family in turmoil? Who knows? But asking questions via Google is not going to help. Prying into his life is not going to help resolve a spiritual situation.

“But the family shared information!” Even if the family shares a limited amount of information, that doesn’t give any Christian the right to pore over it like it’s the National Enquirer. Information shared by a “family friend” should really be considered shaky, at best. If the family wants to report on their progress, let them. And let it be.

Honestly, if you are a Christian and you want to help, pray. I have counseled hundreds of fallen pastors over the past five years. Do you know what makes the biggest difference in the heart of a fallen pastor? A work of God so that he will repent. Not a bunch  of people digging into his personal life to see if there is a rift in his family. Sure, we live in an age where we can poke around and see the particulars of the Kardashian family and their latest beach pictures. But that is not and should not be the norm for Christians who are fighting a spiritual battle for restoration back to Christ.

Please stop searching for gossip, family rumors, church rumors, and the status of Bob Coy on the internet if you are a Christian. It’s shameful. If you are a member of his church, wait on the church leadership. If you aren’t a member of his church, pray for him and his church. Then start making things better for your own pastor and your church.

We are living in a culture that is saturated with reality television. A culture that has to know the intimate details of every individual. We have succumbed to it because we post our own lives on Facebook and other social media each day. Maybe what Bob Coy and his family need are distance, time, healing and prayers from the people of God.

calvary

Understand that when pastors fall, they receive attention from the community regardless of the size. Whether they are a pastor of a megachurch or a small church, they will get a lot of community gossip. The attention is a consequence of their sin and it is deserved. What matters most is the heart of the fallen pastor. Will he repent? Will he choose the path of restoration? Sometimes the pastor will resist restoration and walk in sin for a while. Sometimes he will repent immediately. But either way, the church, according to Galatians 6:1 has a duty to be there to restore him back to Christ.

We are not to dig into the details of his sin and berate him publicly. Our job is to be in prayer for his recovery. Again, he did something that was sinful. But where is Christ in all of this? Where we want Him to be. Waiting on the sinner to repent, and loving him. Just like He would do with any of us.

If he doesn’t repent, then one day he may need help if he does return. His family needs help. But trust me, right now, what he does not need are people who claim the mantle of Christ acting like paparazzi. Those are the people he needs in earnest, forthright prayer for him and his family.

Other helpful articles:

Pastor Bob Coy, The Church, Adultery, Consequences and Grace,” The Last Hiker

What I Should Have Told Bob Coy 29 Years Ago,” by Nate Larkin on Covenant Eyes

__________________

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.

Help For Bob Coy and Calvary Chapel

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in church members, churches, current events, fallenness, pastoring, pastors | Posted on 07-04-2014

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I just heard about Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel in Florida. I don’t know him personally, but he has announced his resignation as pastor due to moral failure. I fell four years ago and have run this ministry and writing here ever since. I’ve been able to help a lot of people during that time.

I want to encourage Pastor Coy and let him know I’m here and willing to help. I’m here for the church leadership if they want to talk. And I’m here for the church members and anyone involved. I’m here because I care and I know how much it hurts. Anything you say or send to me is confidential. If you don’t want to talk to me, I have a network of people who can help.

Pastor Coy and people of Calvary Chapel, I care. I’m praying for you. I’m here for all of you. Everyone should be encouraged that there is help for Bob Coy and Calvary Chapel.

I wanted to repost the blog below because I thought it might help those involved. The original title is,When the Pastor Gets Caught.”

The day comes out of nowhere and the news hits everyone hard. Everyone learns that the pastor has committed adultery. Or, for that matter, they’ve discovered he’s embezzled or been lying about something horrible.

Everyone has a different reaction. I was a pastor and I fell when I committed adultery. I had kept it secret for a few months, but sadyou can’t sin under wraps forever.

What I knew then about the reactions of people is different from what I know now. I’ve spent the last four years ministering to fallen pastors, the church members and leaders who were hurt, their wives, and even the women they had the affair with.

In this post, I want to share with you the reactions that I’ve heard from people when their pastor falls. Why? Because I’ve learned something very important over the years – one of the most important things anyone can do is listen to what people are saying. When a pastor falls, the most important thing a church can do is listen. If we don’t listen, we can’t communicate. If we aren’t listening to the real hurt and concern of the people around us, we will never get to a place where we understand one another.

Everyone has the right to react and feel hurt. Everyone has the right to feel disappointment in the person they listened to, trusted and loved.

I remember when I was writing my book, I was still having anger toward people who were lashing out at me about what I did. One of the most helpful conversations I had was with Dr. Hershael York who basically told me, “Ray, you don’t get the right to get angry with those people when they lash out in anger. You’re the one who committed adultery. You put them in that position. Even if their anger is unbiblical, which they’ll have to answer for, you need to keep silent. That’s part of being humble.

He was right. Now I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve heard from people over the past few years. I’m writing them so that we can see the larger picture. Once everything comes out, where do we go? Remember that a lot of things said in the first few days of discovery are said in anger or disappointment:

baptismChurch member #1: “I can’t believe it. He baptized my kids. I trusted him. How could he do this? I guess it goes to show you that you can’t trust anyone?

Church member #2: “I never trusted him anyway. That’s horrible. His wife should leave him right away. He has got to be fired right now. He’s probably been doing this for years.

Church leader #1: “You know, we could just sweep this under the rug. Surely we can do damage control on this. If this gets out, it could hurt the church.

Church leader #2: “He’s done. This is an embarrassment. He needs to type a letter of resignation now and we have got to move on as quickly as possible.

Church leader #3: “He’s in trouble and I don’t like what he did. He can’t stay on here as pastor, but we do have a responsibility to help him and his family. Let’s go talk to him. I’m not sure what we can do, but let’s see if we can get him and his wife some help.

Community pastor#1: “Wow. I never thought he would do that. Goes to show you it can happen to anyone.

Community pastor #2: “What a disappointment. He just makes us all look bad.

Community pastor #3: “I need to call him. I don’t know what I can do, but I can at least reach out.

The pastor himself, reaction #1: “I cannot believe this is happening. I don’t know how I got here. I mean, I know how I got here. But, I don’t know what to do now. I’m about to lose everything. It’s all my fault. I need help.

The pastor, reaction #2: “I’m done. I’m getting all these angry calls. I’m leaving anyway. I don’t want to have anything to do Pastor Holding Biblewith church or any of this. My marriage has been awful and I’m leaving. No one can stop me.

The pastor, reaction #3: “I got caught. I know I did something wrong. Maybe I can get a little counseling and get back to ministry soon.”

There are many different reactions. Not everyone is on the same page and every member, leader and pastor has a different set of dynamics. The pastor has sinned and is responsible to face the consequences.

Here at Fallen Pastor, I do two things. First, I listen to people who approach me with questions. If they want advice, I give it. When a fallen pastor contacts me, I help. I’ve heard from all three of those types of pastors I listed above. I listen to them. And I love on them. I let them know that life isn’t over. I want them to be reconciled to Christ. I tell them that I will stand with them and help them get back on their feet.

Sometimes, they don’t listen to what I have to say. Sometimes they just want the answer to one or two questions and I never hear from them again. And that’s okay too.

But what I also do is help churches be aware that the fallen pastor needs help. His family needs help. I know that’s a tall order. I do. He just got caught sinning. He messed up royally. He has brought a dark cloud to rest on the church. People in the community will be gossiping for months about this.

ponderousThen we come to Galatians 6:1 where we are told to restore people. Not to the pulpit – but to Christ. We are to restore people when they fall. Know what we are to do when someone sins? Help them out of the pit they’ve dug for themselves.

In the beginning, it sure is hard. We are hurt, angry and want to put that person as far away from us as possible.

And the guys who get tossed to the side after they sin – I’ve talked to them too. Years after they fell, they are in a really bad place. Some might say, “Good, they deserve it.” Know what? We all deserve it. And I will never argue that a fallen pastor shouldn’t face up to the consequences he sowed. He will for the rest of his life.

What I am calling for is the Christian community to do what they can to restore people who sin. Restore them to Christ. And if you need help, reach out. We’re here. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone who can.

I would also direct your attention to this well written post at The Last Hiker, “Pastor Bob Coy, The Church, Adultery, Consequences, and Grace

Want to leave a comment on today’s post? Click the “keep reading” button and join the conversation.

____________________________

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.

Pastors In Trouble 6: Pastors & Suicide

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in anxiety, burdens, burnout, church, church leadership, community, compassion, counseling, current events, depression, hope, pastors, prevention, suicide | Posted on 14-03-2014

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I started this series to try and focus on some specific topics and disturbing trends among Printpastors today. This blog exists because pastors have been committing adultery and have been in crisis for a while.

But I’ve noticed a trend that is even more disturbing. I don’t have any numbers to back it up, it’s just one I’ve noticed in the press. It may be a subjective figure, but I have noticed an increase in the number of pastor suicides that are being reported.

There could be a couple of reasons for this increase. Apparently, news reporting on suicides has been shown to increase suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nonfictional newspaper and television coverage of suicide has been associated with a statistically significant excess of suicides.” Is it possible that pastors who read about other pastor suicides are considering this as a way out?

Another possibility for the increase is that there has always been a problem and the numbers have always been constant, but there is just a noticeable clustering of news stories. People tend to put things together to make sense of them. For instance, think of how many times you’ve heard people say, “Celebrity deaths happen in threes.” They don’t, but our minds tend to make orderly patterns – to carve trends out of chaos.

The final possibility is that there is a measurable increase in pastoral suicide. This would have to be measured objectively and to past years. It would take an incredible amount of research and digging.

depressionPastors committing suicide (or anyone else for that matter) is always a concern and I’ve blogged about it here before in several different posts.

The stresses facing pastors are great and when a minister gets to the point that they feel self-destruction is the only way out, they have reached a place where God did not intend for them to be. Hopelessness is not the design for the Christian.

In my book, I outline four distinct things that lead a pastor to the brink moral failure (and really, any type of failure): isolation, conflict, poor marriage relationship, and unrealistic expectations.

Place on top of that a pastor who may already have a tendency toward depression and there is a serious problem. Pastors need help, encouragement, and someone to talk to just like anyone else. They spend all week listening to, counseling, and ministering to the people of God. Many times, they feel spent and as if they have poured themselves out for everyone else – and that there is no one to help them or listen to them.

That is why churches and leaders – the community of faith – must be intentional about taking care of the pastor. Not just during pastor appreciation month, but every day of the year. Pray for him, watch his kids so he can have a date with his wife, give him a paid vacation, allow him a paid sabbatical every couple of years, make sure he is given counseling if he needs it, give him an intentional day off every week where he can rest.

Even better, have a speaker come in to talk to the leadership or the whole church – someone who understands pastors and someone who can tell the church how to intentionally care for him and his family. (And while the speaker is there, send the pastor and his family off on a nice weekend getaway!)

Did you realize that Sunday isn’t a day of rest for the pastor? It’s a work day. He spends

Rod Anderson, CP Cartoonist

Rod Anderson, CP Cartoonist

every other day of the week tending to the church. A lot of churches are really good about providing the pastor with another day to make up for this lost day of the weekend. But the pastor needs a day to relax and just be himself. A day to not get phone calls about the nursery smelling funny or why he pronounced “Belial” wrong in his sermon.

Pastors are under tremendous pressure – mostly by themselves – and they need our help. I know it can be weird or hard to ask your pastor, “Are you okay?” or “How about you let us watch your kids this weekend?” or “The church has decided to pay for a week vacation for you and your family.”

But guess what? That little awkward moment will go a long way in reaching out to a minister who might feel very far from the people around him.

Need help? Check out Christian Suicide Prevention’s website.

Want to leave a comment? Click the “keep reading” button and join the conversation.

____________________________

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.

 

WBFFA: The Superhero Origin of “Flappy Bird”

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in current events, technology, WBFFA | Posted on 08-02-2014

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ffaIt’s time for the Weekend Blog Free For All. It’s my chance to cut loose and write about something other than what I usually write about. Like Wagon Wheel similes. Or what the boys are doin’ ’round here. (By the way, I get writer bonus points for putting two apostrophes next to one another.)

Today, I’d like to discuss the Indie (that’s the word you use when you want to sound cool and don’t want to use the phrase “outta

"Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird."

“Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird.”

no where”) phenomenon “Flappy Bird.” Don’t know what it is? It’s okay. But just say the words over and over. “Flappy Bird.” It sounds cool, doesn’t it? (Just don’t say them three times in front of a mirror or the real life Flappy Bird might appear.)

Anyway, it’s a game to download on your electronic device (for free) and play. It’s an easy game. tap the screen and make Flappy Bird fly through pipes. That’s it. You get a point each time ol’ Flappy makes his way through a pipe.

Yes, I said “he.” How do I know it’s a male? Because only a male would keep flying straight to a pointless destination without stopping for directions. (I should know.)

The game is rather addicting for a strange reason. It’s hard. It’s harder than it sounds. When you start flapping away, you run right into the pipes. A lot. And when you finally make it past the first pipe, you hit the second one. People spend days just trying to get to five pipes. I would love to see a workup of the amount of hours people have wasted playing Flappy Bird.

You might have read the story of Flappy Bird’s programmer and how he’s making about 50K a day in advertisement money. Good for him.

But the other day, my daughter Katie was playing and I was watching her. She has gotten 85 points as a high score. (I’m trying to get her a scholarship to Flappy Bird U.) I asked her, “What do you think Flappy Bird’s origin story is?

flappy2She said, “What?”

I said, “You know. Batman’s parents were killed when he was young, so he has a serious need to fight crime. Superman came to earth after his planet was destroyed and he protects the planet. There has to be a motive for what Flappy Bird does, right?

My oldest daughter, Abigail was in the room. She and Katie rolled their eyes at the same time. So immediately I knew it was time for me to come up with an origin story for Flappy Bird. And here it is.

Flappy Bird’s real name is George (according to Katie). He was born in a simple home in Loafer’s Glory, North Carolina with a very uneventful childhood. Like most young birds, he had access to an iPod and when Angry Birds was released, he downloaded it immediately.

He became obsessed with it. He played every level to perfection. He downloaded Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Star Wars. One Halloween, he even dressed up as the Orange Bird and did so in such a convincing manner that people started launching him from a slingshot into a neighboring farmer’s pig pen.

George got to thinking about this and blogged in his Monday Free For All post (his blog was called “Happy to be Flappy” but it’s been mysteriously taken down now), “I’d like to become an Angry Bird.” Someone commented, “There’s an open audition for Angry Birds not to far from you in Cuckoo, Virginia.

It wasn’t too far, but George had always had trouble flying. He wasn’t the most graceful bird in the sky. In fact, he could get pretty

Courtesy of www.hdwallpaperspin.com

Courtesy of www.hdwallpaperspin.com

high, but when he lost his concentration, he would just crash to the ground. Sometimes, he would randomly strike objects and get a mild concussion. But he had a hard head and proceeded to the audition.

When he arrived, there were hundreds of talented birds there. When his chance came, the bird council asked him what he brought to the table. He stammered, “Well, I, uh….I can fly straight…and I can hit things pretty hard and get right back up.

The council didn’t give him much thought. “Sorry kid, you’re not what we’re looking for.

He flew away dejected. But then an idea occurred to him. He decided to break in to the Angry Birds game that they were currently working on. While they were shooting one of the acts, he snuck into the slingshot and propelled himself forward . . . and . . . faceplanted onto the ground.

The other birds were so angry that they reloaded him into the slingshot and told him, “We’re about to send you somewhere where you can never bother us again!

He zoomed into oblivion. Days passed, night went by, the universe was spinning until he landed upon the cold ground. Ahead of him were pipes. Lots of them. What seemed like an infinite number.

abflapAll he wanted in that moment was to find the Angry Birds and face them to get his revenge. So he started flapping and flying. Running into pipes. And each time he did, he had to start over. He had found him self in an enchanted world of pipes. A never-ending world where sweet revenge was so far away.

But that’s what Flappy Bird is fighting for, my friends. Release. Freedom. And you are his only hope.

Then again, you could just be tapping a screen pointlessly and viewing ads in a game you won’t be playing in a week.

Either way.

(Prediction: Coming soon, a study on concussions on birds in video games)

EDIT: Just when I finished writing this – and scheduled it to post – a new update popped up for Flappy Bird. The update promises “new birds.” Does this mean Flappy Bird now has a posse? Stay tuned….

EDIT #2: There are new birds. There’s a red bird. His power is running into pipes. There’s a blue bird. He runs into pipes like red bird and Flappy Bird. I was hoping these new birds could at least blast their way through metal pipes or something. Turns out they’re just Flappy Bird with a costume change. Even heroes need to change their clothes I guess.

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Did you like this? Maybe not. But you might like my now infamous Wagon Wheel post or its sequel, my post about “The Ceiling Can’t Hold Us“, my post about how awful Candy Crush is, my post about “Get Your Shine On”, what Christians should think about Justin Bieber, my poor attempt to start the unity selfie, or the one about “Boys ‘Round Here.”

When I’m not being cynical about pop culture, I do run a ministry to help fallen pastors here at fallenpastor.com. I also wrote a book. It is designed to help people understand forgiveness and the problems within the church. Check it out – it’s on Amazon and everything.

A Monument For Satan? We Already Have One

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in compassion, current events, gospel, jesus, sin | Posted on 11-12-2013

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So, apparently, this is happening :commands

“In their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, conservatives in Oklahoma may have unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including Satanists who are seeking to put their own statue next to a Ten Commandments monument outside the Statehouse.

“The Republican-controlled Legislature in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument in 2009, and it was placed on the Capitol grounds last year despite criticism from legal experts who questioned its constitutionality.” (Source)

This is not a post about my feelings on church and state. I’ve talked about that before in an article I posted a while back at Provoketive Magazine. Every Christian should be aware of these issues. I will quickly add that the Oklahomans did it because they probably thought they had legal precedent on their side. In Van Orden v. Perry, the Supreme Court allowed a display of the Ten Commandments to stand, but for very specific reasons. You know, as a Christian, we really should be involved with reading and informing ourselves about why the Supreme Court does what it does instead of just watching television to get them to explain it to us.

With all that legal mumbo jumbo aside, I do want to discuss what I feel are some serious problems that cling to this issue like socks to a polo shirt when you take it out of the dryer.

1. Examining our rationale behind placing the Ten Commandments

Don’t start booing me yet. Why are we so intent on engraving the Ten Commandments on a six ton block of granite and placing it in front of courthouses?

schoolprayerNo, I know why. I’ve heard the reasons. Here’s one – “It’s our heritage. When they took prayer and the Ten Commandments out of schools, things started getting worse.” Alright then. There is an issue at stake and it needs to be addressed when that question is asked. What if Christianity isn’t the majority religion one day?

I live in a state where prayers are still said before ballgames. But what if one day Christians aren’t the majority and another world religion decides that they have the right to say the prayers instead of the Christians because they have more people?

See the problem? We can’t allow the government to establish one religion, but we should encourage religious rights for all people.

Another thing that comes up: “We need to have it there so our kids and grandkids can see it and know this is a Christian nation.” Alrighty. If you can get them distracted away from their iPad long enough to see the six ton rock, that’s great. The idea that a rock can be a tool for witnessing strikes me a little strange.

Jesus didn’t say, “Go ye therefore unto all the world, placing the Ten Commandments onto large granite blocks so all can see them, read the law and be led to me.” Nope. We’re supposed to be individually sharing the love of Christ, his compassion, and showing them the need for a Savior. Sure, the Ten Commandments are a great starting point. But they work much better when you carry them around with you instead of putting them on a stationary stump of granite.

2. Putting up solid granite monuments with any religious iconography seems desperate

No joke – churches are in decline. Pastors are leaving the ministry at an alarming rate. Divorce among Christians is prettyozymandias much the same as it is among non-Christians.

Are we putting up icons so that we can ensure a legacy of Christianity will be remembered? It’s almost as if we’re saying, “Well, we sure didn’t go out and witness to people in our neighborhood or in other countries, but we put up this granite slab that had the Ten Commandments on it. That thing sure isn’t going anywhere.”

It’s a sick sort of desperation. We feel like the brand of American Christianity is slipping away. And I might note that the American brand of Christianity is not necessarily always the same as what the Founder created. But here we are in our churches with people leaving at a high rate, people on the outside hurting and skeptical and we are chiseling rocks.

Reminds me of Percy Shelley’s poem, Ozymandias (which is cooler when Bryan Cranston reads it):

Is that what will be left of our brand of Christianity? “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare.”

It might be if as a church we don’t start looking outside to the same people Jesus was looking at. Too often our churches look like a country club clique. Heaven forbid an alcoholic, soldier with PTSD, adulterer, destitute family, or fallen pastor walk through our doors. There is a huge difference in the way Jesus did things and the way most of us do things. He went out and found people. A lot of us sit and wait for people to come to us. And if we don’t like how they look, smell, act or perform, we run them off.

3. The Satanic Church doesn’t really need a monument

In case you missed it, the Ten Commandment granite block is in Oklahoma. The particular church of Satan that wants to build a monument of its own to Lucifer is located in New York. The church of Satan does have the right to worship freely without persecution by the government. Let’s be clear about that.

graniteBut I’m not sure they should even be looking at constructing a monument. There are plenty of monuments dedicated to evil in this country. As Christians, each of us has violated the Ten Commandments on a regular basis. We have allowed ourselves to become desensitized to sin and we break the very rules we want to chisel on that granite.

Case in point – I set up this site to help pastors who have committed adultery and the people and churches who have been effected by their fall. Other sins? We lie, we steal, we cheat, we do not honor God with our lives, we covet, we hate our neighbor and by doing so, we’ve already built monuments to evil that have done more harm than any church of Satan could ever do.

And by allowing ourselves to become so filled with sin, we have neglected the Gospel and personal holiness.

So what do we do? In Revelation 2:12-17, John wrote to the city of Pergamum where he said the “throne of Satan” resided. The throne he was referring to was probably Pergamon Altar built for the worship of Zeus. It was huge and was very visible. What did Paul say to do about it? Repent and live a godly life.

We don’t need the Ten Commandments on a huge block in the middle of our town. Parents, grandparents, we need to be sharing Christ with our teachers. Pastors, youth directors, choir leaders – teach the people in the pews solid theology and how to adore Christ. Through the Word, through prayer, through biblical worship.

Can it be done? It has to be done. When people come face to face with Jesus Christ, they won’t leave. When they hear the Gospel proclaimed, it will not return void. “For how will they hear without a six ton granite block?” No. They won’t hear without Christians proclaiming the message.

__________________

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.

 

Strange Fire?: There Is A Larger Elephant In The Room

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, church, church leadership, church members, churches, conference, current events, deacons, denominations, fallenness, forgiveness, grace, macarthur, ministry, pastoring, pastors, preachers, restoration, sin, temptation | Posted on 23-10-2013

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Seminary, Being Judgmental, Self-Righteousness, and Other Thoughts, Part 2Last week, well known pastor, author and evangelical John MacArthur hosted a conference at his church called “Strange Fire.” The three day event was based upon the idea that the “Charismatic movement is leading people astray and dishonors the Holy Spirit.” At stake is whether certain gifts of the Holy Spirit are still in operation. Popular blogger Tim Challies live blogged the event and did a good job of covering it. For those interested, he had a good post covering the issues.

Like any theological topic, things got heated during the event. People are still discussing it. Why? Because there are people on both sides of the aisle who believe they are right. On one side are those who tend to come from charismatic or Assembly of God backgrounds and the other come from Baptist or other traditional backgrounds.

Now, before you comment, I know there are those who are in denominations who take the other side. Got it. That’s not why I’m writing today.

MacArthur has been writing on this issue for years. I remember reading his book, “Charismatic Chaos” when I was just 14 or 15. The debate has been going on for a long time. One writer said that MacArthur, in his arguments at the conference, was accusing half a billion Christians of blasphemy.

So, this disagreement between denominations and Christians is nothing new.

What concerns me is that there is a huge epidemic occurring that to the best of my knowledge, no major church, mega-church pastor, or denomination (or denominations) has set up a conference for. It is a scourge that is bringing our church leadership down at what appear to be record rates.

I speak of course, of pastors who are leaving the ministry due to moral failure.

There is no Christian denomination that is untouched. I am not picking on any denomination by any means. I plan to getdepressedpastor to them all.

Let me tell you this – my inbox has been filled with questions from charismatic pastors and churches asking, “What is happening to our pastors and leaders?A few months ago, several charismatic pastors in the state of Florida fell. More recently came the tragedy of Ron Carpenter’s wife.

And if you want to look at Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans or Fundamentalists, feel free. They have had their own share of fallen pastors in the past few years.

It is a very serious issue that no one wants to talk about or address at the local, associational, state or denominational level. Think it’s not a problem? In my book, “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” I have a ton of stats that show what lead to a pastor failing morally in the ministry. In the Kindle edition, there are some stats that users highlight that stand out the most to them. Here they are:

  • According to the following statistics, one in three active pastors admits to having an affair, 70% of pastors deal with depression, seven out of ten report having no close friends.
  • 77% of pastors reported they did not have a good marriage.
  • 1,500 pastors a month are leaving due to burnout, conflict or moral failure.

There are a lot more than just that. Meanwhile, the best we seem to be able to do as evangelicals is respond to the situation. Do a Google search and you’ll find such articles like, “Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored?” by John MacArthur (his answer is “not to the ministry”); or an article that interviews evangelicals on whether pastors should be restored after a fall.

fallen pastorFriends, asking whether a pastor should return to the pulpit is a question. But it’s just one. And it’s not even the most important one. I’ve only lightly addressed it on this blog because there are about 100 questions to be asked before you get to that one. Addressing the failure is like creating awareness the disease after it has happened instead of trying to prevent it in the lives of thousands.

It’s easy to get pastors to attend a conference around things that are popular to talk about and that people will defend tooth and nail. But why is it so difficult to gather up leaders who will sponsor a conference/conferences over a topic that is removing ministers from our midst on a daily basis? To organize a conference so that we might learn (or remind ourselves) that ministry failure is absolutely preventable?

What makes matters worse is we are facing a generation of church leaders, members, deacons, elders, associations and denominations who are not equipped with how to handle a fallen pastor. Most don’t know what to do with a fallen pastor. He either gets kicked to the curb or his sin is ignored and he is immediately placed back into the pulpit. Both are wrong responses, but come because people just aren’t prepared. To MacArthur’s credit in his article mentioned above, he said, “The church should do everything possible to minister to those who have sinned and repented.”

I fully agree. On top of that, after four years, I have learned there are at least four distinct causes that lead a pastor to a fall. He is ultimately responsible for his own sin. But if he is not careful, there are factors that will weaken him to a point of no return.

So what holds us back from forming such a conference where we can invite pastors, church leaders, church members, elders, deacons, and anyone who wants to learn how to prevent ministry failure? I believe there are several reasons.

crossing-the-lineFirst, I believe many pastors won’t admit they are capable of such sin. Sure, they may say, “It could happen to anyone, even me. I’m a sinner like anyone else.” But do pastors really believe that? I hope they do. Because it happens all too frequently.

One statistic I share in my book is that at least a third of evangelical pastors (still serving) have had a relationship with a member of the opposite sex where they felt they crossed the line. Heck, this website quotes a study that says 54% of pastors admit to looking at pornography in the past year. If one is not aware of the signs and symptoms and does not take the steps to prevent it, they will be susceptible to a fall.

Secondly, such a conference might not be appealing is because we don’t want to think our pastor or a member of our church leadership could be capable of such a think. We see our church leader on that platform every Sunday preaching or performing the act of worship. We look up to them. We might even hear of another minister falling and think, “Well, my pastor would never do that.” That statement has been said by many unsuspecting church members whose pastor eventually fell.

We don’t want to think our leaders will fall. But it happened to many of our heroes in Scripture. But thanks be to God that He is gracious and loving. But we need to be aware of how we can help our leadership.

Third, pastors place a great amount of pressure upon themselves. They hold onto the need to keep up appearances. I know this because I was a pastor that did that. And I have talked to fallen pastors who did the same. And I have pastor friends now who tell me they do it.

When you create such pressure for yourself and you get invited to a conference on “How to Avoid Ministry Failure” you might feel like it would make you feel weak. Like you can’t handle the job on your own. Like you can’t just tough it out. But that’s not reasonable. Everyone, especially pastors, need support and encouragement.

In closing, I think it is interesting how different denominations handle fallen pastors. In my book and in my counseling, I have spoken with manyGalatians6_1-2 fallen pastors from several denominations. Those who tended to come from a charismatic background were often given counseling or given a chance to return to the pulpit. Those who came from Baptist backgrounds or other evangelical churches were often fired and kicked out with no offer of counseling.

I think the model for restoration lies somewhere in between. Galatians 6:1 should be our guide. If one of us is caught in a sin, the church should seek to restore. Restore to what? Restore such a one to Christ. That process takes a long time. But as I’ve counseled fallen pastors, I’ve found it is worth it.

I pray and hope that one day, we will understand the need to have meetings, conferences, talks, messages at our churches that are designed to let people and pastors know that ministry failure is a huge deal. It is tearing churches apart. We cannot simply continue to ignore it. It must be dealt with through prevention. The church leadership must work together lovingly with the pastor and the pastor must recognize his own limitations.

I pray that soon we will stop ignoring this horrific sin and kill it before it enters into the minds of any more church leaders.

________________________

Are you a fallen pastor, burned out pastor, pastor on the brink or a church that has gone through a tough time? You might start out by reading, “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World.” (Available in paperback or on Amazon Kindle). There are a lot of things in there that will help pastors prevent ministry failure and a lot of things to help pastors after they fall. There are also helps for churches whose pastors have fallen.

Need more help than that? Feel free to contact the author of this blog and the book, Ray Carroll. He’d love to talk to you. Anything you say will be kept confidential.

 

The Joel Osteen Hoax: How Much Do We Hate This Guy?

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in anger, bitterness, church, criticize, current events, gossip, hate, hatred, hoax, pastors, preachers | Posted on 11-04-2013

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You’ve probably heard it by now. But you may be wrong in what you heard.

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the man with the smile that never seems to stop, doesn’t osteendrudgebelieve in God anymore. At least that was the “headline” running across the Internet days ago. There was an accompanying video, screenshots of stories from The Drudge Report, CNN and other media outlets. People shared this “story” and said thing like, “I knew he was a fake.”

Turns out, Joel Osteen never said any of those things. It was a hoax perpetrated by a guy who just wanted Joel to get “more real.” Impressively enough, even the one-stop shop for debunking Internet rumors, Snopes.com has a page addressing the issue. (Seriously, please go there if you read something or are forwarded something. Bill Gates does not really want to send you $5,000 for forwarding a text or Facebook message. Seriously.)

What would cause someone to do something like this? Why is Osteen so darn polarizing? Let’s look closer.

For starters, his theology has been tossed around as being weak. Now, I’m not a big Joel Osteen fan. His theology is suspect, to say it kindly. Dr. Albert Mohler, the cultural commentator of our times, keeps a close eye on Osteen and his doings. He’s written about him several times on his blog, here, here, and here for instance. He does a good job keeping things theological and not personal. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I think if he would just say he was a motivational speaker and not a minister, I’d be more comfortable with him.

Or maybe it’s his smile. It throws a lot of people off. He’s been called a shyster, a liar, a used car salesman. To his credit, he’s run a very clean ministry. He has 7 million people who follow him regularly and you’ve probably met someone who just loves his preaching or books.

osteensmileSo what is it? What is it about him?

I really don’t know. But the hoax that came about did bring a problem to light. A very serious one. One that even hit me.

No, I don’t really care for the man’s theology. I’ve skimmed his work, watched him on television on occasion. I don’t wish ill will upon him and if someone asks me my opinion, they can have it. Personally? I don’t want anything awful to happen to the man. And the hoax that was perpetrated upon him was terrible. It was. No one should have to endure an attack of lies like that.

But here’s what bothered me. Thousands of Christians read the “hoax.” Their immediate response, regardless of how they felt about Osteen was to say, “Of course he did this.” And you know, I suppose if they had stopped there, no damage would really have been done. But they forwarded it to people they knew. It was a lie. Did they know? Nope, but they had a responsibility to check it out. I think we all know what that’s called – gossip.

And even if you don’t like the guy, it’s still wrong to do it. Even if you don’t like his books, his preaching, his theology, it gosssipgives none of the right to engage in character assassination. Even if you believe he’s not saved or he’s preaching the wrong gospel or whatever conclusion you’ve arrived at, it is wrong to perpetrate incorrect information about an individual.

But man, how much do we dislike some people in our world? We dislike them so much that we are ready to believe the first bad thing we hear about them, right? That’s how gossip gets continued. That’s how it continues and grows. This was a perfect example. And a few months down the line, you’ll still hear someone say, “I heard Joel Osteen doesn’t believe in God.

Friends, if you’ve been the victim of gossip, you know how it feels. You should always check facts before you hit “send.” In fact, if we hear something bad about a friend, church member, or relative, our first instinct ought to be compassion and love. To reach out and help, not to further destroy.

On a final note (and reiterating that I am not an Osteen apologist), I’d add that even if you don’t like the guy, he is to be commended for how he has handled this situation. He said in a statement that he wasn’t angry and he didn’t feel like a victim. Great response and very humble. If I had been in the same situation, I can’t say I would have been as gracious.

________________________________________

Ray Carroll is author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Fallen World.” He also writes for Provoketive Magazine. He is available to speak at your event, church or function.

Gay Marriage, the Church, and the Jesus Response

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in belief, bitterness, boundaries, brokenness, Christ, church, church members, community, compassion, current events, divisiveness, encouragement, gay marriage, grace, hate, hatred, homosexuality, judgment, love, religion, repentance, salvation, scripture, self-righteousness | Posted on 27-03-2013

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I was so thankful yesterday to get a Facebook inbox message from a friend who was concerned about the current argument in America over gay marriage. Like many Christians, she was concerned about the moral failure of the country. She had been watching Facebook and so have I. I too, have seen many comments like, “Why don’t people see what Scripture says?”

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch television news. For a good reason. It’s only purpose seems to be to rile people up over things that are insignificant. You get stressed out. I mentioned in an online magazine recently how watching TV news in a constant flow caused my mother anxiety.

She said she read my blog occasionally and never saw me write anything about the issue. I don’t. My blog is about fallen

Pic courtesy of PBS

Pic courtesy of PBS

pastors, mostly. Then, I write about issues secondary to that. Then, after that, I write about what tickles my fancy. I don’t avoid the big issues. I’ve written about big issues before, but they’re just not on the radar of what I do.

My response to her was probably not what she expected, but I hope it was biblical. (She did thank me for the sermon :)) I want to post it here then add some comments after. Here it is, verbatim:

Here is what I would say. And I pray it’s the biblical thing, because any response of my own would be wrong.

I’d take it back to the apostle Paul who wrote to a church that was probably going through more moral decay than we are, if you can imagine. In his time, it wasn’t just the culture, it was members of the church who were declining in morality. Members of the church were going up to the pagan temple and sleeping with temple prostitutes.

Paul was surrounded by a pagan Roman culture that was filled with violence, sex, child molestation, and hedonism – and all of it was legal. But Paul didn’t write against the evil around him in the world. He wrote about the sin within the church. He says something interesting in 1 Corinthians 5:

Please take time to read more important stuff after the jump:

Rand Paul, Pastoring, and the Toughest Job in the World

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in conflict, current events, pastoring, pastors, politics, stress, work | Posted on 07-03-2013

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I was proud to watch Senator Rand Paul filibustering on the Senate floor. Proud because I got to vote for him, proud randbecause he’s a Libertarian at heart, and proud because he was standing on principles.

It got me to thinking about how tough his job is. As a high ranking politician, the stress must be enormous. There are tremendous expectations from colleagues, your constituents, and the press. Schedules are hectic, there are bills and emails to write, and life is nonstop craziness. That is one job that is for a special person.

Watching Senator Paul talk for 12 hours got me to thinking about what the toughest job in the world is.

I recall going to a pastor’s retreat many moons ago. The head deacon at my church used to pay to send me and my ex-wife to it each year. One year, I ended up in a “break out” session. It was about church conflict and was being facilitated by a church conflict manager from Alabama. He led the session off by asking the room of 30 or so pastors, “What is the toughest job in the world?

The sudden outcry from the crowd, in unison of “pastors!” startled me a bit. The facilitator was expecting this and asked the room full of pastors, “Why?

All of them were immediately responsive, passionate and bellicose. The answers ranged from stress to high expectations to conflict to having to deal with spiritual matters.

After ten minutes of listening to all these pastors complain, I wondered, “Is pastoring really the toughest job in the world?” I still ask myself that question today.

Yes, it has its challenges. Sermons to write, difficult people to deal with, conflicts arise, people to reach out to, etc. It takes a call from God and a special kind of person to be a minister.

On the other hand, I also believe that if that facilitator had been in a room of brain surgeons and asked the same question, the answer would have been, “brain surgeons!”

atcI can think of a ton of other jobs that are probably tougher than pastoring. There are lists out there of the most stressful jobs in America. Enlisted military, surgeons, emergency medical staff, teachers, coal miners, firemen, police officers, air traffic controllers, politicians, attorneys, pilots, pharmacists, etc.

Is it important? Sure it is. I think when pastors think that their career is the toughest in the world, it may mean they have lost sight of the rest of the population. Now, I understand that pastors may be doing things that make a huge difference for eternity. (For that matter, I’ve seen Sunday School teachers who make a bigger impact on eternity than many pastors.) But the toughest job? Sure, pastors work long hours, have a lot of conflict and expectations, but there are a lot of career people who have much more to deal with on an occupational level than ministers do.

And it’s okay to recognize it. In fact, it’s right to do so. It doesn’t negate your hard work when you recognize that someone else has a tougher job. I’m glad that my heart surgeon had a tougher job and that he was gifted to do it. But if he ever needed someone in ministry to lean on, I’d help him out with the skills God blessed me with. Lavish recognition on those in your congregation who have difficult jobs and work tough hours. Pray for those in leadership positions.

It’s important for us to see our place in the world and not concentrate on how difficult our job is. In fact, we are told to cast our burdens upon the one who called us in the first place. If pastoring seems overwhelming to you, get help and find a mentor to guide you through the tough times. If it seems like it is swallowing you whole and you have no joy, you may be in a crisis situation.

Watching Rand Paul during the filibuster, I was happy to see a man who was gifted for politics. He has a different type of job than a pastor, but it is also tougher and more demanding than the vast majority of minister’s jobs. And that’s okay. He was gifted for his role in this world.

All of us have a role. God has something for each of us to do as long as we are drawing breath. Some jobs might be tougher than others, but all of them have a definite purpose in the economy of God.

__________________

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

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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.