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d.jpegI need advice-someone want to help out?

So I have a friend who is on staff at a large mainline church. His pastor just informed the staff that he (the senior pastor) is getting a divorce. *yikes* His pastor is not resigning his position, and the board of directors is supporting the pastor. His pastor told the staff that this is a personal issue, not a professional issue. And he would not go into details about “why” he is getting the divorce.

Therefore my buddy has no information about the divorce. Needless to say he is frustrated. Their is an obvious culture of distrust and secrecy. He wonders if he (my friend) can be faithful in this type of environment? Can the Lead Pastor lead a church and at the same time get a divorce?

If you were in his position, what would you do? Fire away!



  1. wow, that’s tough. I think my first reaction would be to ask “doesn’t anyone know this man?” It’s a shady system when no one knows the pastor enough to have seen this coming and know why. The other thing is that I don’t think a man should be bearing the responsibility of running a church when his personal life is falling apart – he should take a leave of absence, not as a judgment on him but to allow him to take time to get his family life in order.

    But then again, that doesn’t HAVE to happen if there is deep community going on…which clearly there isn’t.

  2. revolution,

    Thanks for the comment…I tend to agree with your thoughts. My friend has been at the church for close to a year, and to be frank, did not get to know the pastor well. Which is sad!

  3. There’s a couple of things here… isn’t he connected to some people (I would have thought staff would be part of this) who could see some of this coming.

    2ndly, I think it’s less about whether he can pastor if he is divorced (that’s a totally other question); but can he lead when he’s going through a divorce? can the church minister to him at this time? The pastor’s comment that this is a personal not a professional issue is a VERY sad commentary on the life and health of the church.

  4. Michael,

    I agree…When I was a pastor, I wanted my staff to know me…And I knew them.

    I guess we some folks can really learn how to hide who there are outside of church, which is so sad.

  5. I completely agree with the above statements. The Bible instructs us that our family comes first. We have no business leading if our family is not in order.

    Of course, there is the possibility that the divorce is not the pastor’s initiation. Perhaps his wife decided to leave, maybe she’s having an affair or maybe she’s sick of feeling second to her husband’s job. Whatever the reason. I believe the pastor needs to take a leave of absence to be minister to and receive healing.

    This is real-life. And, he can be an example to the other leaders in the church (those who lead in clergy or corporate America) as to how to put family first. How important it is to fulfill the role of spouse. How important it is to take care of oneself when divorce occurs. How important it is to have accountability.

    If he continues to click along as though this is not about business, he is setting the tone. He needs to be reminded that people often follow what leaders DO and not what they SAY.

  6. I have spent so much of my ministry life concerned about what is expected of me and what I expected from those in “leadership” whom I have no control over.

    The quote “I am a liar and a deceiver” by Ted Haggard may have been the quote of the century. It revealed the little secret we try to keep quiet for the sake of “ministry”. It’s an illusion we carry around like the emperors new clothes. People in “leadership” roles are all broken and in need of healing. We can’t fall out of grace, only into it.

    No one man or women holds the trophy for Godliness. Only Jesus can restore things to the way they were meant to be.

    So I have decided just to follow Jesus, touch as many people as possible and confess my sins to everyone and rejoice in the hope Jesus gives me.

    It’s time to let go of all the titles and “ministry labels”. No more sunday clothes to wear. It’s time to rescue others just like us.

    As for me, I’m just going to tell the world the truth. I am a liar and a deceiver. Jesus is my only healer and redeemer. I hope others will do the same. It’s very liberating.

    To my friends Ted and so many other wonderful Christian leaders I have known. The world has changed.

    There are no more secrets we can hide. Now we can let it all go and throw ourselves on the mercy of Jesus and follow him the way we were meant to. If we don’t, someone will be shouting it from the church steeples anyways, whether we want them to or not.


  7. Steven,

    Man I was stoked when Haggard just admitted what he did. I was praying he would do the right thing.


    I agree, I think the best thing here is a mini-sabbatical. Like 60 days. Let him seek God and figure out some stuff before he leads the day-to-day operations at his church.

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  1. […] Social: Chris Marlow is asking for comments about a senior pastor who is getting a divorce. Can he lead a church and at the same time get a divorce? […]

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