It’s been five years since my book, “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World” was released. It is the foundation of my ministry. It contains stories of pastors who have fallen, reasons ministers fall and help for those around them. Years later, I still get emails from people who find help from it.
Fallen Pastor: What I’ve Learned
It’s better to listen and love than condemn
When a pastor falls from ministry, when he gets caught in sin or when the woman he is caught with gets exposed, the easiest thing is to condemn them. The majority of people, including those within the church are the quickest to pick up stones, ready to cast them.
Is there a need for discernment of sin? Absolutely. But I will also tell you that there is no room for condemnation from fellow Christians. That is not our job. We are to point out sin, but we are also to allow room for repentance. When someone is caught or discovered in sin, it may take time and patience for them to come to repentance, but in the long run, we will have rehabilitated a soul.
Everyone’s story is worth a listen
One of the things I keep repeating on this site is that I’ve talked to over 500 fallen pastors, churches, “other women,” pastor’s wives and other people effected by the fall of a pastor over the past five years. And it’s been an honor.
Every person I’ve talked to has been in a desperate situation, looking for someone to listen to them. Sometimes I’ll talk to the person one time, others I’ve talked to for years. Some conversations are similar to others and some are very difficult to hear.
But everyone’s story is worth hearing. Everyone deserves to be heard and loved.
No one is beyond repair
Being in the business of loving broken ministers isn’t easy. Loving fallen pastors isn’t easy. Know why? Because they are some of the most hated people in the world. They are outcasts. The hardest part is that the person who hates them the most is themselves. They will beat themselves up over their sin for years despite the fact that Christ has forgiven them.
But I don’t give up. Christ showed us that no one is beyond redemption and love. All of us need fixing because all of us are broken.
You can learn a lot about a person/church by seeing how far they are willing to go to forgive
We give a lot of lip service to forgiveness in church, on Facebook, and to one another. We even have Scriptures memorized about forgiveness. But the proof of our forgiveness is shown in how far we are willing to go to forgive those who have hurt us the most.
I’ve talked to people who have told me, “I just will not and cannot forgive that pastor because of his sin.” I’ll say, “I understand that you feel that way now, but allow God to work on your heart over time.” Some then say, “No, I refuse to forgive.”
Scripture tells us that we can learn much about people by their willingness or unwillingness to forgive.
Everyone needs grace eventually
What drives me the most in this ministry and the reason I can’t give up is because I remember what it was like when I fell. I remember my horrible sin and how it effected me. I remember being so alone and feeling so far from God.
Now, when I hear someone’s story and I can cry with them and tell them that they are not alone and that there will be a tomorrow, it fills my heart with joy. It makes me overjoyed when someone says to me, “I feel like I have hope now after talking to you.”
All of us will need grace from people eventually. We will all fail in some regard and need love and understanding. What kind of response will we want from the community of faith?
I thank God for the chance to do this ministry and to help those I’ve helped. Thanks to everyone who has had the courage to email or reach out. I’m here for anyone who needs help. God bless you all.
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.
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