Ministry Leadership

7 Ways to Stop the Adultery Epidemic

Man-internet-confusedIt happened again. For the third time in six months, the pastor of a large church in my hometown of Orlando, Fla., has resigned from his pulpit because of adultery. I’m sad. I’m sick. I’m sorry for the pastors, and sorrier for the congregations that are having to deal with the fallout caused by bad choices.

I’m also cringing because an increasingly hostile public sees these train wrecks as evidence that Christians are hypocrites who preach one thing and live another. We stand for biblical marriage between one man and one woman, but in many cases those marriages are failing. No wonder the gay community hates our flimsy platitudes.

Why are we witnessing this epidemic of moral failure? Many factors could be cited (easy access to pornography, sex-saturated entertainment, the devil and his demons, etc.)—but I don’t think we need a list of excuses today. I’m tired of excuses. The devil does not make us do this. It is totally possible for Christian men and women to live in holiness today. The power of His grace is not affected by social trends or hell’s attacks.

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Why Megachurch Pastors Keep Falling Into Sexual Immorality

fallen-pastorAnother megachurch pastor has stepped down after admitting to a long-term affair with a woman who’s not his wife.

David Loveless, former lead pastor of Discovery Church in Orlando, Fla., is the third in the area to resign in the wake of immorality in the past six months. He follows Isaac Hunter, former lead pastor at Summit Church, and Sam Hinn, former pastor of the Gathering Place Worship Center in Sanford, Fla.

If those were the only three pastors to rock their churches with sex scandals, it would be hurtful enough. But sexual immorality and idolatry are growing trends in the church—and I imagine they're more prevalent in the pews than they are in the pulpits. The spirit of Jezebel is usually behind this immoral trend.

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Do You Have 'The Voice'?

Kim Martinez photoDo you remember going to chapel in Bible college? Every once in a while, one of “the greats” would show up.

You knew you were listening to one of the great communicators when you heard two things:

1. "The Voice." It seemed to me that every great Pentecostal preacher from the early to mid-1900s cultivated what we referred to as "The Voice." It sounded deep, resounding with such vibrato that it just about rocked your bones. Every person in the room instantly snapped to attention when a preacher turned on "The Voice."

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How to Resolve Conflict With Humility

team-conflictRecently I had the opportunity to lead a breakout session at Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Conference 2012 titled "The Non-Confrontationalist’s Guide to Confrontation."

There are three reasons why you want to lean into conflict, the first two of which I already have spoken:

Now, I will address reason No. 3.

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Come Clean

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. — James 5:16

When New York's Citicorp tower was completed in 1977, many structural engineers hailed the tower for its technical elegance and singular grace. One year after the building opened, the structural engineer William J. LeMessurier came to a frightening realization. The Citicorp tower was flawed. Without his approval, joints that should have been welded were bolted. Under severe winds that come once every sixteen years to New York, the building would buckle.

LeMessurier weighed his options: Blow the whistle on himself. Suicide. Keep silent.

LeMessurier did what he had to do. He came clean. He confessed the mistake.

Plans were drawn up to correct the problem. Work began. And three months later, the building was strong enough to withstand a storm of the severity that hits New York once every seven hundred years.

The repairs cost millions of dollars. Nevertheless, LeMessurier's career and reputation were not destroyed but enhanced. One engineer commended LeMessurier for being a man who had the courage to say, "I've got a problem; I made the problem; let's fix the problem."

You may be at that point where you realize your life is like that flawed building. Although by all appearances you are strong and successful and together, you know you have points of weakness that make you vulnerable to collapse. Sin is corroding the very foundation of your life. What do you do?

You come clean, get help, and get fixed.

Confession is good for the soul. When we hide sin, we hide ourselves from others. Like William J. LeMessurier, when we come clean, we can, as James writes, live together whole and healed.

James is not suggesting merely to confess sin to a preacher or a priest. We confess our sin first to God, but we must confess our sin to those who have been affected by our sin as well. It is also beneficial to confess your sins to a trusted fellow believer who can offer a physical reminder of the grace of forgiveness and encourage you to live rightly.

So, confess your sin. Get it out of your heart. Make it right. And, move on.

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Why All Sermons Are a Work in Progress

dr-joe-mckeeverThose of us who counsel pastors and teach future preachers sometimes caution them to “study the Bible for itself, just to receive the Word into your heart, not to prepare sermons.”

We might as well tell Sherlock Holmes to enjoy crime scenes for the beauty of the occasion and to stop looking for criminals; or tell Albert Pujols not to worry about actually striking at the baseball crossing the plate but to relax and take in the inspiration of the moment; or tell Joan Rivers to give up on plastic surgery.

Some things you do because this is who you are.

When a pastor reads a great insight in the Scriptural text, does anyone think for one minute that he is going to file that away in a personal-edification file, never to be shared with others in sermons?

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