Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in fallenness, pastors, temptation | Posted on 10-09-2014
I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who is in the pastor restoration business. We were discussing how fallen pastors are thrown to the wayside without being given a chance for restoration by their churches.
But hold on for a second.
We were talking about some of the points I made in my book. In it, I talk about the circumstances that lead up to pastoral failure. In my book, I don’t make excuses for pastors. I interviewed 20 pastors – 11 of them made it into my book. I listed four major factors that led to pastoral failure. Is that an excuse? Nope. Each pastor made the choice to cross the line into adultery. I did.
But there were things that weakened these men, these ministers - and the statistics prove it; there are horrible things in our church culture that are not normative – counter to what the New Testament church should have for our pastors.
So let me turn to the blog post question – does your doctor ever get sick? Mine does. I love my family doctor. He’s always there for me. I can text him, I see him just about every week. As a sports medicine professional, I can count on him being there for the athletes I care for. He’s a champ. He works at least 60 hours a week, has another business on the side, a family to take care of, and of all the friends I have, I can always count on him. For the people I know who read this blog, they know who I’m talking about. And they know he’s a stand up guy.
But guess what? He gets sick. But we don’t ever imagine that our primary care doctor ever gets sick, do we? But he does. Sometimes, he gets sick and he shows up to work. But sometimes, he gets sick and he has to cancel patients so that he won’t spread his illness to others. That’s just the way it is.
I tell you this to let you know that sometimes your pastor gets sick. He sins. Sometimes he is tempted with vice. Sometimes while he is at Wal-Mart, he might look at an attractive woman a little too long. While he’s at home watching Monday Night Football, he might be lusting after the cheerleaders for the Carolina Panthers. There might be moments while he’s at church when a church member catches his eye because his passions aren’t under control. For heavens sake, at night he might be tempted to look at online pornography. Statistics bear it out. Anywhere from 50-80% of pastors have looked at pornography in the last month. It just depends on what study you want to believe.
You think you doctor is sick? Your pastor is sick as well. He is completely and totally human. For some reason, we want to place him on some sort of pedestal and think he is above us. He is not. He is vulnerable.
Sometimes, even he likes to think he is above reproach as well. But he is not. He needs to surround himself with accountability and mentors to keep himself close to Christ.
You may think, “But, but, he’s our pastor! He baptized my little daughter or son!” Listen. He’s as human as you are. Let go of your expectations of your pastor. Just like you need to realize that Christ was genuinely tempted in every way: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Look at that verse for a moment, church people. Jesus was tempted as we are. How are we tempted? Yep. It’s tough, but think about it. He did overcome temptation. But your pastor is tempted just the same. And it is difficult for him. Especially in this age of digital media, internet, and socialization.
What I’m telling you is that your pastor is a human. He is a man who needs constant support and prayer. He needs an accountability group around him loving him and supporting him. There need to be people in the congregation caring for women who need support after a divorce or after a break-up. Everyone in the church needs love. Be aware of the needs in your church. If you neglect one need in your church, it could harm another person in your church.
Please be aware of all of the people in your church. Be loving. Be aware. Be ready to minister to all people. The adversary is ready at the door to destroy us. Be a vigilant church.
Just as your doctor can get sick at any moment, your pastor can fall prey to any spiritual disease at any moment. Please be ready, children of God.
Other helpful articles:
“Pastors are People Too” from InTouch Ministries
“10 Things About Pastors Every Church Member Need To Know” by Joe McKeever
“Pastors are People Too!” by Michael Lukaszewski
“An Open Letter to Pastors: Please be Fully Human” by Emily T. Wierenga
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.
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