Here we are again. Another notable pastor caught up in an “unwise” relationship. Last Sunday Matt Chandler, lead pastor of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas got up in front of his congregation and in a tearful statement announced that he would be temporarily stepping away from the pulpit because he had been messaging a woman who was not his wife and those interactions, while not “romantic or sexual,” were “unguarded and unwise.”
Once this situation became public knowledge, countless news stories and blog posts started to glut up the internet. Clickbait headlines began appearing on Facebook and Twitter feeds across the country. And Christian publications and “influencers” couldn’t get out in front of the whole story fast enough.
Seriously, let’s be real. Another pastor stepping down (willingly or forcefully) is hardly news. We’ve seen this happen countless times just in the past few years. At this point, should a story like this even surprise us? Beyond that, Matt’s situation isn’t even that newsworthy compared to some of the train wrecks we’ve witnessed with other megachurch pastors and Christian leaders.
Yet here we are.
Casting stones, bemoaning the state of the church, and pointing fingers at his leadership for the way they handled things. Admittedly, some of this criticism is deserved or at the very least, valid.
I’ve seen posts criticizing…
- Matt and his “unwise” actions.
- The church body for applauding him when he announced his departure.
- The leadership for not being transparent enough refusing to release the details of their findings.
- The inevitable “legalism” that will arise when it comes to advising against any male and female relationships
But what I haven’t seen is someone championing what I would call the silver lining in this story.
It’s the brave woman who had the guts to go up to Matt (her pastor) and call him out on the ongoing chats he was having with her friend in the first place.
Think about it.
How many people would be brave enough to go to their pastor and point out a potentially unwise relationship they were engaged in. And to Matt’s credit, how many pastors would have had the humility to bring up this situation to his wife and leadership afterwards because he was “disoriented” by the confrontation.
Granted, we know nothing of how that conversation went. We don’t know exactly what was said or not said between the two. We do know that both Matt and the woman he was messaging claim their spouses knew about the ongoing conversations. But…
Talk about awkward.
Talk about difficult.
Talk about embarrassing.
Yet, this woman decided to deny the discomfort and confront her pastor in an effort to keep things above board when one could assume others lacked that same resolve.
Yes, this whole situation is unfortunate. Admittedly we don’t have the whole story. And sure, it would be better if none of this ever happened in the first place. But it did.
And because of honest and brave conversation along with some humility and transparency on Matt’s part, we at least can have the comfort of knowing that a potentially problematic situation never became a raging dumpster fire of scandal.
And that’s why having “the hard” or difficult conversations matters. Because they open up opportunities for learning, growth, and even correction.
Sure we aren’t all megachurch pastors. But we can all benefit from having people in our lives who are willing to “go there”; who are willing to tell us what we need to hear even though it might not be real fun at the time. And we all have people in our lives who can benefit from us doing the same.
Comfort is nice. We all enjoy it. But comfort can also be the silent killer of relationships and dreams when we refuse to confront it out of fear, embarrassment, or shame.
And remember, if you are a man, woman, teen, or church leader who struggles with talking about any of these topics, this September we invite you to join us for a candid and fresh conversation on matters many avoid out of discomfort such as sex, porn, and masturbation. Shameless is an interactive online experience that will challenge and inspire you, leaving you better prepared to handle these sensitive discussions with your friends, churches, spouses, and kids.
For more information about this event or to register yourself and/or your group visit www.shamelessevent.com.