For the second time in two months I’ve heard news of a pastor/church planter having an extramarital affair. In both cases the guys were well respected by their peers, seemed to have an excellent leadership team around them, were leading fast growing churches that were engaging large numbers of nonChristians, and cheated on their wives with their administrative assistants. In some ways this makes me sad, in some ways mad, and in some ways fearful.
Sad because of the hurt and havoc that has been caused primarily in their families but also in their churches and communities. I cannot imagine the pain they are experiencing, but I do know that I never want to be the source of such pain. When I was a single youth minister in my twenties, my old friend Troy Lindsey would always tell me, “never sacrifice your marriage or family on the altar of ministry.” Every week God reminds me of those words of wisdom. The most important ministry I will ever have is to Christin, Jude, and our soon to be born daughter.
Mad because of the black eye their actions have given to their churches and more importantly to the cause of Jesus. I realize that the message of Jesus will survive the mistakes of messed up messengers, but we all know that our character and actions give credibility to the message we share. When we say “yes” to serving as pastors, teachers, or any type of spiritual leadership, we should understand the weight of the responsibility we are taking on. James 3:1 says bluntly that “we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
Fearful because I know that I’m no better than either of these guys. I know that I am just as temptable and to think otherwise is just stupid and prideful (see 1 Corinthians 10:12-13). I need grace. I need accountability. I need your prayers.
I’m thankful for the spiritual speed bumps God has given me in my life, if I ever try to go down this path. God has given me an accountability partner I talk to every other week. God has also provided me with a group of ministry leaders to meet with every Wednesday morning. At the same time, I remember Erwin McManus once saying, “If you’re not going to be honest and faithful to your wife who you’ve made a life-long covenant to, then you’re probably not going to be honest to the guys who are supposed to be holding you accountable.” Fortunately, I have a wife who can eerily see right through me.
SO here are some ways you can pray for me…
*Pray that I will never substitute ministry success for finding my satisfaction in Jesus.
*Pray that I will never sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry.
*Pray that Christin and I will continue to grow closer to Jesus and each other every day.
*Pray that I will be honest and accountable to the men I meet with regularly.
*Pray that God will guard my eyes, mind, speech, and feet as I seek to follow Him.
*Pray that if I ever get another administrative assistant that it will either be a guy or a lady old enough to be my mom.