When Pastors Fall People Lose Confidence in the Gospel

Challoner's 1749 revision of the Rheims New Te...
Challoner’s 1749 revision of the Rheims New Testament borrowed heavily from the King James Version. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Throughout the past week I have explored the problems created in the church when Pastors fall into sin.  The truth of the matter is that with leadership comes a higher standard of accountability and responsibility.  As Pastors we need to be especially careful about the conduct of our lives because when we fall we harm the testimony of the church and hinder the mission.  But perhaps even more serious is the fact that lost people are making their minds up about the truth of the Gospel by the way they see us live.

Several years ago, while I serving as the Pastor of a church in West Virginia we took our teenagers on a mission trip to the lower part of our state.  One of the projects that we are asked to do for the church we were working with was to conduct a survey of the local community and to share the gospel with the people that we met.  One afternoon while knocking on doors and taking this survey, I met a man named Tom who invited me to sit down and talk with him for a while.  As we sat on his front porch, sipping iced-tea, the conversation started to come around to the matter of church.  “Tom,” I asked, “have you ever been to that church just down the street?”

“Yes,” he replied, “when my wife and I first moved here we went to that church but then the Pastor got into some trouble and we never went back.”

When I asked how long ago that had been Tom said, “Oh, I guess that was about 1965 when that happened and I never went back.  In fact, I’ve never been back to any church since then.  I just didn’t see the point, they are all just a bunch of hypocrites anyways.”

“Do you really believe that all Christians are hypocrites, Tom?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “just the preachers. I figured if you can’t trust them how can you believe anything they say.  I just figured that the whole thing, the Bible, the stories, the whole thing is just a bunch of malarkey  ”

That short meeting with Tom stills haunts me because it reminded me of how much people are making their decisions about the truth of the gospel by they way they see us live— and by “us” I am referring specifically to Pastors.  We all know that hypocrisy and sin within the body of Christ is always damaging, but we also have to agree that the fall of one Pastor can do more harm than the sin of ten other church members.  This is why Satan targets Pastors with vicious and unrelenting attacks.  As Pastors we need to be vigilant about dealing with the roots of sin as soon as they rear their ugly heads.  Unconfessed sin will grow far beyond what you ever imagined and it will consume your life if left unchecked.  But it will not stop just at taking your life, it will ruin your testimony and keep lost

 

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