It seems that rarely a year goes by when I don't see one of my ministry friends, or an acquaintance that I've had in leadership within the church, disqualify themselves from their leadership role in the church by doing something that they ought not to have done.
Each and every time that I hear about these tragic stories three things happen in me:
1. I am broken for the people involved (sin never just affects one person) and my heart aches for the pain and disillusionment it will cause in the communities they ministered in and the the lives of the youth that looked to them to be an example of one who follows Jesus.
2. I am reminded that moral failure virtually never "just happens". It is the result of an often extended series of choices that have led the individual to where they now find themselves. This make me take the mirror to myself and ask the Lord to search my heart, reveal and convict me of sin that is finding a foot-hold in my life, so that I can repent and return to freedom found in living in the forgiveness and in the grace of Christ.
3. I am once again renewed in my conviction to make the marriage and friendship I have with my wife Charlene the single most important focus in my life aside from my relationship with Jesus Christ who is my Lord and my God
I experienced all three of these responses again tonight when I heard of a youth pastor of a very large ministry who chose to walk down a path that led to disqualifying himself from the role he had been entrusted with.
At the time of this event the church released a video communicating what had occurred to the church (it's since been removed due to its irrelevance now, months later). It included two sections. The first was the lead pastor speaking to the middle and high school students under this leader along with their parents. The second section included the lead pastor teaching on four important issues pertaining to the disqualification:
- The importance of leaders living above reproach,
- The difference between forgiveness and trust,
- Avoiding gossip in your life, and
- What to do with potentially damaging information about a staff member or member of the church
Important items to remember and ponder ... unfortunately there is always something happening that they speak into.