I became a Christian in 1999. I avoided the typical church thing for a long while. Why? Organized religion is a “man” thing. And because we all know how all men are, including ministers and pastors. Just look at what happened with the president of the U.S. National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard. He denied he “knew” the gay prostitute. Now he’s saying “I am guilty of sexual immorality … I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life,” another “righteous man” telling me how to live my life yet he lives a lie. Ted Haggard is doing the right thing. He’s stepping down to allow the UNAE heal and move on. For that I congratulate him. And I’ll pray he overcomes the demons that haunt him. Can we name any other spiritual leaders that have “fallen from grace” … Jimmy Swigart, James Baker … and now my pastor …
I waited for a while after I became a believer to get involved in my church. I have always been leery of organized religion. But I really liked my church and it’s leaders. I started out by working in our parking lot ministry greeting people and directing traffic. I’ve also been a part of the prayer ministry, I even led the prayer ministry for 18 months. I invested myself in my church. I believed my church leaders. I prayed for them. Maybe I didn’t pray hard enough.
[Editor's note: Please understand this is my perspective and my opinion and it is based on information I received in a letter addressed to all the congregation, by members of the congregation, in hopes of saving their church. I've decided removed my pastor's name and "unconfirmed details" since this is such a sensitive issue and I don't want to fan flames.]
Now, my senior pastor, is involved in a “scandal”. He’s confessed to “unnamed sins”. I’m not sure how that is a confession. I thought a confession involved naming the sins and asking for forgiveness. He took a leave of absence for a few months. No one knew what was going on during his absence. The church leaders kept things very quiet. We assumed he was getting help for whatever it was. We hoped and prayed that during his time off he was working on his marriage or other urgent family matters.
Well he returned to our pulpit and had resumed preaching. We (the congregation) had little to nothing to say in the matter. There were tons of questions flying around. We had no information regarding his absence. Since his return to the pulpit he has either dismissed or shrugged off any church member or staff member that objected to/questioned his remaining “in power”. So far we have had 4 pastors resign, some (if not all) of our elders have resigning and our deacons are stepping down. Church membership has dropped. The “20% who do 80% of the work” are now almost non-existent. I just want to ask my pastor “Has it been worth the collapse of a church?” I’ve not attended services regularly there in a while. I’m out of the loop because of the frustration I’ve felt regarding the situation not to mention I’ve had a bad or ill feeling about the church since last November.
I’ve been wanting to find a new church for a while but I am very leery of any big church … any church for that matter. I’m still a member of my church and get some informational notices. Like the letter that was mailed to all the official church members – there is a members meeting tomorrow (Monday the 6th) to discuss our pastor’s removal. But for some reason I have a feeling it won’t take place. Maybe I didn’t transfer membership because there was a wind of change.