Disclaimer: If you are a reader of HLY you know my heart concerning this matter, so please read with my heart in mind. If you are new to HLY, please know that I strongly encourage accountability among leaders. Enjoy.
A few years back, one would often see the “Girls Gone Wild” promos of college age females living a party life that went well beyond a social gathering with alcohol. The advertisements were everywhere.
I was speaking with my friend Alan the other day via phone, and he and I began to have a discussion about how to handle preachers who “loose it”. He gave me the idea for the title of the blog as he wittingly said, “Preachers Gone Wild”. We laughed a good bit at his humor and then began to discuss the subject with a heavy heart.
Ever encounter a wild preacher situation? I have…more than once. What do we do when preachers go wild? No, I am not talking about random shots of preachers lifting up their shirts. LOL! Although, that is kinda of funny… You know – preachers flashing their hairy chest while enjoying too much communion wine… I digress.
But what do we do when our local pastor crashes and burns? That’s the kind of “going wild” that I am talking about. How do we handle his private addiction to alcohol or pornography? What happens if it leaks to the public? Who brings healing to the preacher who has a nervous break down over his addict child? How do we restore the pastor who has an affair with his secretary?
It seems that many leaders, particularly pastors, have the tendency to live out his adolescence in his adulthood. Make sense?
Let me give you an example:
We are challenged as young believers to abstain from everything – whether sin or not. Don’t drink, smoke, chew, or go with girls who do. Don’t masturbate, think about sex, or kiss your girlfriend too long. Don’t hold hands in public. Don’t….etc. You have your list I assume.
To remedy all the things that one did not experience in his teenage life, he then lives it out in private in his adulthood. Of course, he gets caught and thrown out to die.
How do we respond when our leader begins to live out their adolescence in adulthood?
This happens more times than not. You see, The problem with the “don’t do list” is that none of us were able to keep it together – none of us. We all did in private what we were not allowed to experiment with in public. No, I am not advocating sin here, not at all. But what’s worse, lying about my struggle or being honest with people about the things in which I truly struggle? I choose the latter. I had rather struggle with sin in public than lie about it in private. Public truth is much more freeing than private hypocrisy.
So, I ask again – how do we respond to preachers who go wild after years of “living right”?
I want to offer four ideas that have helped a few of my “wild” friends.
- Love : It covers a multitude of sin. 1 Peter 4:8
- Patience : Time does not heal – however, it’s the only commodity that allows for love to work in its own way.
- Grace : Give the wild one the grace that you so desire for your own life. One always gives more grace when viewed in light of his or her own mess.
- Restore : Restoration can be two fold – the first can be restoration of their personal lives and inner man. The other is restoring them back to a place in the ministry. This is not a time to teach them a lesson and make them start from the bottom. That will not help in the process. Restore them as they were and give them hope. Galatians 6:1
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