Matt Chandler, the lead pastor at the Village Church, celebrated his reinstatement to the pulpit di domenica, months after he stepped away from his role following “concerns” di messages he exchanged with a woman who is not his wife.
Chandler, 48, addressed the congregation at the Southern Baptist church in Flower Mound, Texas, this week for the first time since August, after an investigation found the messages to be inappropriate.
After receiving a round of applause, Chandler began by addressing the harm “my foolishness” may have caused some members of the church.
“Scusami,” he later admitted. “I failed you.”
Senza entrare nello specifico, he shed a little light on the “opera” he did during his time away.
“The elders asked me to do two intensives and then a neurological exam,” Egli ha detto, going on to explain that he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009 and had to undergo surgery.
Chandler said that the “process has given me insight into exactly what happened,” noting that he would probably “share more” in time.
Dopo, lead pastor Josh Patterson brought church elders to the stage for “a restorative prayer” to welcome Chandler back.
in agosto, church elders said Chandler had been approached regarding “concerns about the way he was using direct messaging on social media with a woman who was not his wife.” An inquiry into his messaging history found that “while the messages were not romantic or sexual in nature, the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line.”
Chandler later told his congregation that initially he “didn’t think” he’d “done anything wrong” and that both his wife and the woman’s husband were aware of the conversations.
“[The church’s] concerns were not that our messaging was romantic or sexual, it was that our conversations were unguarded and unwise,” he told church members at the time. “As an elder, I’m held to a higher standard and fell short of that higher standard.”
Although little additional information has been publicly provided about how Chandler spent his time away, church elders said earlier this week that he would be returning to the pulpit after “diligently working through a development plan,” according to an email shared by The Roys Report.
That plan reportedly included Scripture reading, prayer, personal reflection, e “multiple intensives with trusted outside experts.”
A spokeswoman for the church described the “intensives” a Il New York Times as counseling sessions led by professionals who specialize in Christian leadership.
She also said that there was no evidence Chandler’s cancer was back.
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During Sunday’s service, Patterson said the “plan” was made with both “disciplina” e “development” in mind — and that “Matt has completed everything that we’ve asked of him.”
“He’s done it with eagerness, he’s done it with humility, he’s done it genuinely and authentically,” Egli ha detto. “Those closest to Matt have seen these aspects of change and I’m grateful for that.”
Quando raggiunto da PERSONE, a church spokesperson said they did not have “any further comments beyond what was shared in the service on Sunday.”
Social media posts by both the pastor and his wife, Lauren Chandler, offer additional insights into his time away from the church between late August and early December.
In an Instagram post from Oct. 23, the first one he made after his leave of absence was announced, Chandler wrote that his faith was on his mind, no matter what he was doing.
“‘Jesus I don’t want to do this without you,” scrisse. “That sentence has been my mantra these past few months. It has rolled through my mind and heart on repeat. Whether it has been going on a walk, heading out to our river cabin or even walking into Jiu Jitsu.”
“Amen. Ti amo, babe 💜,” his wife commented.
Settimane dopo, he shared that he was back home following his “first elk hunt,” which was put together by Jim Burgen, a pastor and outdoorsman. (Secondo Christian Today, Chandler attended a men’s summit held by Bergen during the previous month.)
“There is something about hunting that replenishes my soul,” Chandler wrote, noting that during the trip he and his hunting guide “spent hours” in conversation about “Gesù, matrimonio, kids and the dark things that can plague men.”
“Although I didn’t get one this year,” he said of hunting elk, “I did see a moose, mountain lion and hiked above 10,000 ft in sub 20 degree temps multiple days.”
Also that month, Chandler’s wife shared a photo of the pair attending a gala.
Il giorno del Ringraziamento, Chandler also reflected on his experience with brain cancer, which led to a “Donna che festeggia il compleanno e sua sorella identificata come” stagione delle vacanze 13 anni fa.
“I always want to post something on Thanksgiving because I vividly remember what is was like to see loss everywhere. I want to remind you in this season that HE hasn’t abandoned you or forgotten you. To tell you that this season will too pass,” Ha aggiunto.
As he prepared to make his return to the pulpit, Chandler marked his 20th anniversary with the church on Friday, though church officials have said that the timing of his reinstatement was not planned ahead of time.
In order to “assess and affirm readiness,” Patterson said during Sunday’s service that “elders relied on a multidisciplinary team” — and that the timing just happened to coincide with the milestone.
“We didn’t plan it this way, and this wasn’t the day we had circled on the calendar way back when, we didn’t have a day circled on the calendar,” Egli ha detto. “What we wanted to do was reinstate Matt when the time is right and that is now.”
At the end of Sunday’s service at the Village Church, Chandler was joined onstage by his wife and children.