For every email I get from a fallen pastor, I know that there are at least ten other guys who have never reached out to anyone. Guys who fell years ago who are either too ashamed to reach out or think they deserve the pain they feel.
Whether you’ve fallen recently or ten years ago, there’s help. It may not feel like there is, but there are a decent number of resources out there. That’s why I started this ministry. When I fell in 2008, there was very little out there. Today, there are several ministries dedicated to helping pastors and those involved in a fall. There is help for the fallen pastor.
I know how it feels. When a pastor commits adultery, he makes a conscious decision to betray his God, his family, his calling and the congregation. After it all settles down and the anger of those around us subsides, we find ourselves alone. We feel forsaken and without friends and often, family.
Pastors who have sinned know that they are forgiven, but they just have a difficult time appropriating that forgiveness.
And deep down, in the midst of our self-pity, we tell ourselves that we don’t deserve forgiveness. We don’t deserve love or hope or grace. We don’t deserve kindness or help.
That feeling is reinforced when we reach out to someone and tell them our story and it is met with scorn. Or when we open up to someone and subconsciously, they step back from us as if we have leprosy. Maybe they aren’t even acting that way, but we have conditioned ourselves to perceive that feeling in people.
If you’re a fallen pastor, let me share a few things with you that I’ve learned in the past few years. First, you are loved greatly. Whether you believe it or not, Christ loves you beyond measure. Pastors who have sinned know that they are forgiven, but they just have a difficult time appropriating that forgiveness. Why? Because we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for what we did.
Secondly, you will experience consequences for what you did. But that does not mean you have to beat yourself up for the rest of your life. Scripture is filled to the brim with people who suffered with consequences but trusted in God. What do we do? We walk on in repentance and brokenness every day. And as we do, each day does get better.
Third, we all need help. I know you think you feel like you deserve to feel like garbage. That you deserve misery after what you did. But you don’t. You sinned. But we all get to be restored back to Christ. We all get to experience the deep grace of Christ.
After I got caught, I thought I was alone in the world. After being thrown to the curb like garbage, isolated, and the object of scorn (all well deserved, mind you), I wanted help. I have several stories in my book about guys who feel the same way you do.
Please reach out. I’m here to listen. It’s all confidential. Just click “contact” above and write. The first step is the toughest and you’ll be glad you did. Don’t want to talk to me? Then read one of my articles. Or try one of the links on my blog roll. There are ministries designed to help.
If you do reach out to me, I’ll always listen. I won’t excuse sin, but I won’t judge you as a
person. I will walk with you even if no one else does.
If you’re reading this and you’re not a fallen pastor but you have a pastor friend you know who fell into sin? Reach out to him, regardless of how long ago it might have been. You’d be surprised how much good you can do to just talk. It’s a lonely world for a fallen pastor. Remember that showing love and grace to any sinner is what we are called to do – because, pastor, one day, it could be you.
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.