Last blog post, we talked about what fallen pastor restoration really means. Let’s look at some answers now. How long does restoration take?
First, let me tell you that restoration isn’t about a timetable. It’s not about restoration to a religion or a pulpit. It’s about restoration to Christ. I cover this topic extensively in my book after I interviewed several fallen pastors.
Something happened to make a pastor fall. His relationship to Christ broke somewhere and it needs to be restored. His relationship to his wife needs to be restored. Those need to be repaired. Overhauled.
On top of that, the pastor needs to be repaired. His views on ministry, life and himself. He has been damaged and hurt. So, by my count, that’s four things that need fixing. Big things. And I’m not even counting his family yet.
You can’t rush any of this. It didn’t break overnight and it’s not going to be fixed overnight. It has to be repaired by making a new lifestyle and outlook. It’s going to take an accountability group and people who will walk with him for a long time.
Who will do this? There are places a pastor can go. Pastors In Residence program. There are other ministries that will put you up for months at a time, but space is severely limited. I always suggest that the pastor find out a short-term way to find support himself and then reach out for help around him.
You still want to know a time frame? I can tell you that if you think three months will fix it, you’re sorely mistaken. For some reason, three months became a number that churches got stuck in their heads that would be a time that would fix everything. Did the pastor embezzle? Three months off. Did the pastor look at porn and get caught? Three months off. Cheat on his wife? Three months.
We have got to stop the three months madness. We keep giving guys three months without any counseling and long-term help thinking that a three month “sabbatical” is going to defrag them. It’s not. Often times, all it does is give them more time to engage their sinful behavior. Do we want to help our Christian leaders? Build solid accountability around them. Create an environment where they aren’t afraid to be themselves and share their hearts.
A realistic timetable? If you have a solid group of accountability and you have good Christian people walking with you? You might be on the road to restoration – again, not to the pulpit, but just to solid Christian living – in 14 months.
Once something is broken it takes a long time to fix it. Be ready to dig your heels in, listen to God, humble yourself, submit to others and open your mind.
As always, I’m here and others are here to help. Please contact me or anyone on my blogroll. That’s why we are here.
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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