I was deeply saddened late last year to hear of an extremely close pastor friend of mine who had succumbed to temptation and committed adultery. He has not been married for very long, he was pastoring a growing church and he was also the vice president of a Bible College. I have yet to ascertain all the details, and I am currently in contact with him in order to offer help, support and counsel. Certainly, his marriage has been devastated by this (hopefully not irreparably), his congregation is distraught and he has stepped down from all of his duties. The effect of all of this has been nothing short of catastrophic at so many levels and I am sure the fallout will continue for many months, even years, to come.
There is a fascinating article here by Harry Schaumburg written for the Desiring God website about the whole issue of sexual sin in the ministry. It is a brutally frank, devastatingly straightforward but pastorally applicable piece of writing. Please take some time to read it – it is extremely helpful.
As I have thought about my friend a couple of things have struck me again.
At 20schemes we are very concerned about this whole area in our over-sexualised culture. Our application process has deep questions around this subject and, on the ground, we have a high level of accountability. Men and women are being sucked into sexual sin at an alarming rate which is why we need, more than ever, people of integrity to join us in our task of building gospel churches for Scotland’s poorest. We have an enemy who wants to oppose this at every level and if any of us have an Achilles heal in this area satan will seek to exploit us (and it) at every opportunity. Going into ministry is not the place to ‘get better’ from private sexual sins. They will not just go away if you ignore them. I have many friends who have fallen in these areas over the years and have destroyed their families and their ministries. It is an ugly, scary, devastating thing.
The article I mentioned above gives out a challenge at the end and it is one I would echo if there are any reading this who are struggling and/or involved in similar sin.
If you are a pastor stuck in sexual sin, no matter how well you have attempted to cover those sins with layers and layers of lies, I plead with you, step out from the darkness of those sins. Step into the light. Get help. You will never find life in the shadows.
Please pray for me and for all pastors and gospel workers that we would be ever vigilant in these areas and never be so arrogant to think that it, ‘couldn’t happen to us’.
Building healthy gospel centered churches for Scotland’s poorest communities
Our long term desire is to see Scotland’s housing schemes transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ through the planting of gospel-preaching churches, ultimately led by a future generation of indigenous church leaders.