Matt Chandler Restored to Ministry After Three Months…… | Information & Reporting
Matt Chandler returned to the pulpit of The Village Church on Sunday, restored to ministry by the Texas church’s elders slightly greater than three months after he took a depart of absence to cope with what one elder referred to as “some challenges that arose.”
A couple of minutes later, 48-year-old Chandler began preaching about sin.
“It’s my understanding that I’ve fallen wanting the glory of God and he has met me with grace,” he stated. “It’s my understanding that I’m inconsistent and I do have spots which can be hypocritical, and there are components of me I don’t even perceive.”
Quoting Ephesians 2:13–17, Chandler urged the congregation to see that the true promise of Christmas is reconciliation with God. However that may solely begin, he stated, if folks acknowledge their sin, as he himself had achieved on that very same stage in late August.
“To humble ourselves earlier than a residing God offers us a shot at peace,” he preached. “I’ve received part of this I’ve received to personal. It would simply be 1 %, however that’s my 1 %. Forgive me. Now we’ve received a shot at reconciliation.”
Whereas he acknowledged his sinfulness once more on Sunday, Chandler didn’t provide any extra particulars concerning the state of affairs that led to his depart of absence. In late August, he confessed to an inappropriate on-line relationship with a girl he was direct messaging on Instagram. Chandler stated on the time that the continuing change was neither sexual nor secret—his spouse knew about it—however the church’s elders had been nonetheless involved “about frequency and familiarity,” and particularly “a familiarity that performed itself out in coarse and silly joking.”
A statement from the church in August stated the direct messages violated its social media coverage and “crossed a line.” The elders decided Chandler was not disqualified from ministry, the assertion stated, however there was “unhealth in his life.”
There isn’t any accessible details about the lady Chandler was speaking to and whether or not she was harm in any approach by the net relationship. Her view of the self-discipline and the restoration course of are additionally unknown. She was not talked about, even obliquely, within the service on Sunday.
Lead pastor Josh Patterson advised the congregation that Chandler was disciplined as a result of the church holds its leaders to “the next commonplace.”
He stated that after a three-months depart and a self-discipline and growth course of, the elders had been affirming Chandler’s restoration with none second ideas. Chandler’s return, he stated, reminded him of when an athlete comes again after knee surgical procedure.
“That athlete steps again on the sphere possibly with slightly little bit of timidity, saying, ‘Is the knee good?’” he advised the church. Then he turned to Chandler: “Brother, the knee’s good. Run.”
The restoration comes at a time when Southern Baptists are wrestling with questions concerning the requirements for ministers to return to the pulpit after a scandal or an ethical failing. Former Southern Baptist Conference president Johnny Hunt was restored to ministry final week, six months after a third-party investigation discovered he was credibly accused of sexual assault.
The ministers on Hunt’s non secular care workforce in contrast him to the person overwhelmed and wounded on the facet of the street within the parable of the Good Samaritan, with out expressing any concern for the pastor’s spouse who stated that Hunt assaulted her. The 4 males stated that as a result of Hunt expressed “real brokenness and humility earlier than God,” he might return to ministry. The present president of the conference, Bart Barber, stated that if he had the ability, he would defrock Hunt.
At The Village Church, Patterson pointed to Chandler’s willingness to just accept the self-discipline of the elders and observe their restoration plan as proof that Chandler is able to return to management.
“He has faithfully labored that plan, genuinely labored that plan, authentically labored that plan,” Patterson stated. “He’s had a really full three months and he’s been devoted to do what the elders have put earlier than him.”
The church declined two requests from Christianity In the present day to reply questions on that restoration course of. Few particulars had been provided within the service on Sunday. Chandler talked about a go to to a neurologist—he was diagnosed with mind most cancers in 2009—and a few “intensives,” with out sharing any extra data.
In response to posts on Instagram, Chandler spent a while at a men’s summit led by pastor Jim Burgen, who wrote a guide about deliverance from dangerous selections.
“Someday you look at your self within the mirror and a monster is staring again at you,” Burgen wrote. “You aren’t who you was. You aren’t who you needed to be. You’re not who you had been created and designed to be. As a substitute, you’re a dragon.”
In October, Chandler attended an Acts 29 gala and spoke on the opening evening. Later that month, he wrote about spending time at a river cabin, going for walks, training jiu-jitsu, and praying the phrases of Psalm 27, “that I’ll dwell in the home of the Lord all the times of my life.”
In November, Chandler went elk looking in Colorado, on a visit organized by Burgen. He posted an image of himself in camo within the snow with a rifle slug over his shoulder.
“We spent hours speaking about Jesus, marriage, youngsters and the darkish issues that may plague males,” Chandler wrote. Greater than 10,000 folks favored the Instagram submit and a number of other commentators stated they had been desperate to see him return to ministry.
On Sunday, Chandler thanked the elders for loving him and his household and dealing with him on his plan for his depart and eventual return.
“What a gutsy, godly group of males,” he stated. “Gutsy—I virtually used one other phrase, after which must sit down once more.”
The church laughed on the joke. At different instances, the congregation urged Chandler on with shouts of encouragement. “Come on, Matt,” or “You bought this, Matt,” a number of folks stated when the pastor gave the impression to be overcome with emotion.
Ten elders gathered round Chandler on the stage earlier than his sermon. They laid arms on him whereas Patterson prayed. He stated they had been marking “a second in Matt’s coronary heart, to say, ‘restored.’”
On the finish of the service, the congregation thanked Chandler for his 20 years of service. He was joined on the stage by his spouse and three kids, and the church rose to its ft, giving the pastor a standing ovation.