Pastors Need Comfort, To Avoid Disaster

(Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about several reasons why the book “Fallen Pastor” is for anyone concerned about the future of the church. We are in the midst of a crisis and need to understand how to approach it).

I conducted an interview recently with Joy Wilson, author of “Uncensored Prayer.” I asked her a question that has been haunting me. When I wrote, “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” I never looked back and thought it was incomplete. But I asked Joy the following question: “In hindsight, is there a message you wish you could have added to the book?”

Since I asked that question, I have been consumed by it. I wish I had added something to my own book. Pastors are very needy people. They need comfort, just like everyone else. If their comforts are not being met, it can become a dangerous place for the enemy to step in.

When I say comfort, I don’t mean that pastors need to be pampered 24/7. I’m not talking about the idea that trouble will come and pastors need to face them. Let me explain.

Tonight, my lovely wife Allison and I went to a local diner after a funeral visitation. Usually, when I go to a small mom and pop diner, I won’t even crack the menu. I will simply ask the server, “What is the best thing you’ve got?“At this restaurant in Crofton, Kentucky, they had three pages of meals that all looked really good to me at the moment. But I knew that there was something there that they did really, really well.

Our waitress paused and said, “The open faced roast beef sandwich. It’s served with a side of mashed potatoes and covered with gravy.”

I said, “l’ll have that.” Know why? Because her recommendation was more than just what they did best. It was something she had eaten. It was comfort food. It was food for the soul. And my goodness, when it came, it fed my soul.

I was suddenly reminded that pastors need comfort. A lot of people who read this won’t like what I have to say in the next few paragraphs, but it is important if we are going to change this culture. A culture in which I fell. A culture in which 1,500 pastors a month are leaving the ministry, many due to moral failure.

Pastors work in high pressure situations, regardless of the size of their churches. Much is asked of them. Many of these men see the ministry as an extremely high calling, and they should. Unfortunately, many of these men sacrifice time with their families and wives to do the work of ministry because of overly high expectations placed on them by their churches or by themselves.

They have no comfort. Some, over time, seek out comfort through a quick fix of pornography. Some, whose marriages are deteriorating because of ministry, look elsewhere. That may come as a shock to some. The pastor shows up on Sunday with his lovely wife, his beautiful children – some people think, “I wish my family was like that.

But what many people do not realize is that the pastor’s home life is in shambles. His home life and marriage is in awful shape. Why? Because he has laid out everything in pursuit of the ministry.

In his mind, he has justified it all. He thinks he is doing the work of God. He visits the sick, attends deacons meetings, preaches the word, evangelizes the lost. But over in the corner, the relationship with his wife and family is fading and he doesn’t realize it.

He comes home from a bad day and tries to talk to his wife, only to see that she has become alienated from him. It is his fault. It is their fault. There is no comfort. So he seeks comfort elsewhere,wrongfully, sinfully. Through porn. Through lust. And maybe though an inappropriate relationship nearby.

Friends, what I am telling you is that pastors need comfort from home. From their churches. Just like those fried chicken home cooked meals mom used to fix. Pastors cannot be expected to extend themselves out on the church field and forget about the most important mission field – their family.

Comfort, the greatest and best comfort comes from home. Don’t extend your pastor so much that he can’t have the touchstone of relief from his wife and children.

When I was writing my book and interviewing fallen pastors, the most common traits of a fall were so obvious. The expectations were too high, they were isolated from having real relationships, there was too much conflict over silly things and they had lack of intimacy with their spouses.

Each of these things beg for comfort! The pastor needs friends, real friends who will comfort him! He needs a church body and leadership who will be able to discern what is really important – the preaching of the Word, not what color the carpet will be. He needs people in the congregation who understand him as a fallen sinner, like them, who has weaknesses. He needs them to be comfortable with his strengths and weaknesses as a leader.

Finally, he needs time at home to be comfortable with his wife and family. Most pastors get a day off during the week. But when I talk to my current pastor friends, they still get calls from the church on their days off. Pastors need time one on one with their wives. To bond, to heal. The ministry is, unfortunately, a battlefield. It doesn’t just involve the pastor, it involves his whole family. Give him time to nurture his family. To date her. To spend sweet emotional time with her, to forget the travails of the church for a few hours.

It’s funny as I write this, my power is out. I’m writing this on my iPhone as storms are wreaking havoc across the county where I live. Understand this: pastors who do not have adequate support and comfort are absolutely powerless. Yes, they are to look to Christ for all power, but He has given us the church to support one another through all things. None of us is in this alone.

Pastors across America need comfort time. And they need their churches to be proactive in giving it to them. It’s one positive step in ensuring we don’t have more fallen pastors.

XXXChurch.com, Sexual Addiction, and Church Faces

In writing my book, I have interviewed many experts. I want to share their words with you, faithful readers, each time I interview them. However, I have to wait until publication.

I do, however, want to let you know about an amazing ministry – XXXChurch.com. They are on the forefront of the battle against pornography and how it has infiltrated the minds and souls of evangelical men, pastors, and our children.

I did a 30 minute interview with Jake Larson who has helped many people and known several fallen pastors. I don’t think most church members know the impact of pornography upon the evangelical church. I saw one survey that said 60% of pastors had viewed pornography in the past year. I think the percentage is even higher.

Most of the men I have interviewed for my book have confessed a problem with pornography. I have even dealt with it in my own life in the past. It is a very serious issue and a secretive one that most men are able to hide from their wives, children, and churches.

For my book, I interviewed Kailla Edger, a psychiatrist. She has a groundbreaking book called, “Losing the Bond With God: Sexual Addiction and Evangelical Men.” In her book, she set out to interview men who were simply evangelical church members. Ironically, when she had her sample set in place, all of them were leaders in the church. They were Sunday School teachers, deacons, elders, and other types of leaders. They were addicted to pornography.

Interestingly, these men were asked to be leaders in the church because they had a look of “holiness” about them each Sunday. They were actually hiding their sin. I don’t judge these men at all. But I am telling you that sexual sin is rampant in the evangelical church.

In our interview, Jake Larson said the following: We can’t shut down the $62 billion worldwide industry but we can take customers away by bringing awareness, prevention and recovery to the church. So we beg churches to talk about the issue. We beg churches to get honest and real about it. To recognize it’s comfortable nowadays to have a drug and alcohol recovery program in your church but pornography doesn’t work the same way as all these other recoveries. It’s so much deeper and personal and it’s fueled by so many family circumstances, childhood experiences. Unless we’re really honest about the issue, we’re not going to get people to talk about the issue and address it. Demand that the people you lead and the staff that you’re responsible to are not just held accountable in a way they can just skirt by but that you’re helping them by making sure there’s a safety net set up and in place in the church.

We have a serious problem. We go to church each Sunday with our “church faces” on. But behind those faces, people are hurting, struggling with past issues, grieving, and some of them are addicted to alcohol, drugs, and pornography. I wonder when the American church will ever begin to get real in the place it matters most – in the sanctuary of the living God.

He sees right through all of us. He knows our every weakness yet loves us anyway. Why are we not able to be real with one another?

I pray for truthfulness, integrity and a sense of reality. May we learn to share our sins together (because we will learn we all have the same ones), may we learn to truly grieve together, and may we lay our church faces at the door and be who God sees us to be when we enter our places of worship.

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