“Dear George, my Pastor was faced with a scandal that trended in-house. He was caught in bed with the music director. From every indication, he was guilty and he didn’t deny it before us. What should I do? I have been having a tough time listening to his teachings recently and I am thinking of joining a new assembly. Being an ardent follower of your blog, I decided to seek your counsel. What do I do?”
– Name & Location Withheld
I understand how you feel seeing a man you have followed his ministry for some time get caught up in a scandal. I understand how disappointing it is, it is really very disappointing and that is why Pastors need to be extra careful since their actions can affect those who look up to them.
Let’s look at it from another perspective. Should a child whose father was caught up in a scandal reject his father or desert him and start identifying with him from a distance? Should a father whose child was caught up in a scandal leave his child because of his reputation? I guess your answer is no.
In my secondary school, I stole someone’s school fees, I was the assistant chapel prefect, it was a very shameful thing to do on my own part. But guess what? My mum didn’t leave me at that point, the principal who believed in God’s calling upon me didn’t desert me too. I didn’t stop serving in my capacity too. I may have not healed if I was deserted by everyone.
While you shouldn’t start running a campaign defending the actions of your Pastor, you should stand by him at this moment. This is when he needs you the most especially when he admitted his mistakes and opened up to those he trusted. He trusts you and that’s why he allowed you to know about it. Don’t break ties with him now just because he was caught in a mess. I believe you are disappointed in his actions, it is right! But I also believe that he needs your support now as he passes through the shame and regrets. If other people desert him, don’t follow them. The only reason you should leave a Pastor is if he isn’t teaching you the word of God, and if you must leave for any other reason, leave on a clean slate and remain at peace.
Let me go further to explain some things to you.
When a Pastor is faced with scandal, whether true or not, it is not our yardstick to judge if he is fake or not. It is not a means to know who was called by God or not. David of the Old Testament was not fake, he was a King and a Prophet, a man after God’s heart. But David had moral issues! David MURDERED, COMMITTED ADULTERY and other worse stuff. It didn’t mean God didn’t call him.
People often judge ministries by the mistakes of their pioneer leaders, they say since their Pastor was caught up in a scandal it means the members will be doing the same thing. It is not true! Humanly speaking, there is no perfect person in Church including your Pastor and you. However, we are perfected by Jesus and we are being made holy! Don’t endorse or identify with his flaws, don’t copy it but identify with him and the ministry God has given him. Honour that office he occupies and honour the brethren in that assembly by sticking to the vision.
You may do business with a Pastor and get cheated, it does not mean God didn’t call him! It means that he gave way to the flesh. Pray for him instead of deserting him. He didn’t cheat because he is a Pastor, he cheats because men cheat and he allowed the flesh to thrive! Abraham lied, Moses got angry, David committed a series of immoralities, Peter acted in hypocrisy… These were all men who God used despite their flaws.
Sometimes, the past you are reminding a man of is the exact past he has moved away from. Many of us are not better either. For example, if you leave your Pastor to another Pastor, do you know what that other pastor does? The reason your Pastor’s teaching no longer blesses you the way it used to is that your mind is clouded with the wrong thing he has done! If you can clear your head off it, you will discover that his teachings will start blessing you again as it used to. It may take some time but you should let it happen. You can even send him a text message or email depending on what’s more convenient in your country telling him that no matter what happens, you’ll stand by him and support him.
The sins we accuse some people of or hold against them is something they already overcome and the experiences we don’t want to let go are places they have come out from.
When a Pastor is caught in display of weaknesses especially in his unguarded moments, it does not mean he was not called, it does not mean the power of God flowing through him is fake, it does not mean God can’t use him again and it does not mean the ministry committed to him is flawed. It only showed that he still has flesh and he gave way for the flesh at that moment. While we encourage every minister to lead a life worthy of emulation, we know that men who God uses can make mistakes.
This is my counsel and I hope it reaches you well.