"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

This blog has been moved to www.fallenpastor.com.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Common Traits Of The Fallen Pastor, Part 4: Tough Times

As this is part four in this series, make sure you start with part one, if you haven't read it already.

I had someone ask me on this blog recently about what my spiritual life was like leading up to my fall. It was terrible, thank you very much. Shallow, disgraceful, and going nowhere. How's that for honesty? I'm not proud of it at all.

I wasn't looking to fall. I wasn't looking to hook up with the first woman who showed interest in me. That wasn't the case.

Was I weak spiritually? Yeah. But don't think I was led into temptation by someone either. I knew exactly what I was doing.

But when I talk to other fallen pastors, their lives were similar. Their spiritual lives were weak and they were dealing with some very difficult circumstances as well.

Now, hear me. Once again. Difficult circumstances don't give anyone a license to sin. They are a part of our story, however. And we need to recognize when we are vulnerable to sin.

I've blogged about the circumstances leading to my fall before, but not all at once. Let me see if I can give a bird's eye view of how they led to the intense breaking point in my life. I've never been to a moment like that in my life and hope to never be there again. But there are many people suffering because of circumstances. They need to be reached out to and they need help. It might be your friend, your neighbor, your pastor - but it would help them if we recognized that they need support. They need support before disaster strikes, not after.

You know how it is. When bad things happen, they don't ever just happen nice and tidy. They don't happen in ones. They happen in horrible bunches.

The church was arguing about some inane, ridiculous thing. I take that back. It was ridiculous to me. It wasn't ridiculous to the five people who kept stringing it out for five stinking months. It was about the deacon who wouldn't give to the cooperative program. The music minister had resigned over the whole ordeal. A few other members had left. The deacons were ignoring the issue. I was still getting phone calls. I had a church member challenge me to a fight over it in the parking lot between Sunday School and church. It was on my mind every second of the day. It was a major church crisis. The deacon finally left the church under duress. It was a terrible, terrible situation. One I will always second guess myself on.

A month later, my mother died in a car accident. My father had died just a year before. It was a horrible moment. We buried her at Angel Falls Baptist. I was the executor of her estate. I had to be strong during the whole time whether I wanted to or not. Some of you know how that is. I was only allowed offered one week off to grieve and was right back to work. Her death, even today effects me.

Two months after, Angelica and I found out about the friend of her family that had molested several children. It was terrible for her. I had been in the middle of my grieving process and now I stopped to help her in her shock.

The world had stopped for us. For me.

And in the midst of this, Angelica and I had been having serious marriage issues for years. We had seen a marriage counselor at least twice. A Christian marriage counselor. One who suggested we get separated.

Don't ever think that people just go out and decide to sin. Do I blame my circumstances? No. It was all me. But yes, I was under horrible pressure and pain. It was an awful time. I couldn't think straight. Maybe I should have done like John Piper and taken a sabbatical. But I didn't. I thought I was strong enough to move on.

Life was throwing curveball after curveball at me and I was whiffing all of them. But week after week I stood in that pulpit and acted like I was the strongest man alive.

But I wasn't.

Only now do I freely admit that I am weak. That I am fallen and sinful. But I thank God that even though I fell, He can redeem the weakest and most sinful. Not for my glory, but for His.

If you know someone at church who asks for prayer, or a friend who asks for prayer, or someone going through a tough time, don't just offer to pray for them. Reach out to them. Give them some of your time. Give them the gift of your love. Let them know in a real and meaningful way that you care.

Those moments that you give may save them. And in the process, you'll learn a lot about yourself and become a better person.


  1. Arthur,

    I didn't mean to hurt you when I asked how was your personal relationship with God before your fall. I asked because I know from my own experience that when I don't stay close to God I make worse choices.

    I didn't ask to judge, I asked to understand.

  2. "Their spiritual lives were weak and they were dealing with some very difficult circumstances as well."

    1.This is how the enemy works: take a person who is not spiritually strong, too busy, working too much for God, too tired to stay close with God, throw in a difficult circumstance and most of them will fall. Not just pastors, not just church employees, but all of us.

    ONLY God can fill our needs, every kind of need and when we don't stay close and we don't get refilled by the Spirit, by God... we become vulnerable.

    We just can't make it on our own. That's why we should never judge others, the Bible clearly says if you stand watch that you don't fall. Just because someone is strong now, it's no guarantee that you'll be strong a year from now.

    2. How can you reach out to a pastor who doesn't want to recognize that he needs help? If you can see that he has weakness, a pattern of living which destroys the church but he is not willing to recognize his fault.

    How can you help in these circumstances?

  3. It's hard to help those who don't want help and don't want to be reached out to.

    But I'd say one of the best things that can be done is recognize that these people are weak and human. Know that often, they just need a friend and someone to just listen. Often, they don't need counseling or advice, because they know the advice they'd give themselves.

    Sometimes they just need to be ministered to. To know someone cares about them for a change. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) what a difference a card or an encouraging email will do to let someone know you care. It can open up a new world for them.

    That's a great place to start. But it's hard to reach people without building a relationship first.

    Great question, as always.

    God bless,

  4. And I didn't take your comment wrong at all. Believe me, I'm so glad you asked. It was never a problem with me.

    I was so pleased you asked. It helped me understand what people were thinking. I was more than happy to answer it.

    By asking it, I was able to answer it and help others. If I gave the impression I was upset, I'm sorry. I value you reading my blog and I value what you write. You've been a good friend to me.

    God bless,