#HimToo?

9

23/03/2018 by Chris Green

I woke up this morning to watch ministry heroes of mine colliding, crashing and burning, their ministry pasts, presents and futures potentially deeply suspect.

I’m not in any position to evaluate this, but Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church has been accused of inappropriate behaviour with several women over a number of years. And the people leading the allegation include John and Nancy Ortberg, Nancy Beach and Jim Mellado – all previous senior staffers at Willow, and all ministry heroes of mine too. Hybels refutes the charges, the elders say they have thoroughly examined the accusations and exonerated him, and they suspect the issue has only gone public now to tarnish his reputation before his retirement this October.

It is ugly, public, cannot end prettily for anyone, and surely at least one of these high profile figures will have a serious question mark over their fitness for ministry. Sexual propriety is in the potential cast list, but so too is honesty, envy, power and revenge.  Bitter fruits, here.

What price Reputation?

Facebook, Weinstein, Trump – what David Waller and Rupert Younger have so carefully analysed in The Reputation Game is becoming daily more relevant. And Brits will know of the string of people who have had their reputations trashed for no reason at all: Paul Gambaccini, Cliff Richard, Leon Brittan, Field Marshall Lord Bramall.

More importantly, and as I would have imagined any of the people in the first paragraph saying, our reputation is the least of our concerns.  We pastors are just messengers.  Clay pots. Filth. It’s the reputation of the Lord Jesus, his gospel and his church, which must be held up.

I’ve not met any of the people in this sad story, but I have been close to three ministry colleagues who have wrecked their ministries through inappropriate behaviour (actually, all far more serious than the accusations here), and I’ve seen the key lesson written large.

Dear fellow pastors – this is a heart issue, nothing less, and it is a spiritual battle. Nothing puts you in the front line for the Evil One’s attacks more than trying to be a faithful gospel minister.

Nothing puts you in the front line for the Evil One’s attacks more than trying to be a faithful gospel minister.

If you think you stand, watch out in case you stumble and fall. The evil one is prowling, watching, probing your weaknesses, looking to devour you. You know the verses as well as I.
Do not think an excellent evangelical pedigree will save you – that was the the case with the first of my three.
Do not think a glittering ministry CV will protect you – that was the case with the second.
And do not look to an accountability group to guard you – I was in an accountability group with the third, and to put it simply, he lied to us. Sin deceives, and makes you a deceiver. Lies are the Evil One’s nature.
After the first of these men fell, I met a senior and wise pastor. He looked at me straight, and said ‘Never forget, Christopher. There but for the grace of God…’
Indeed. There’s a sorry tale unraveling around Willow, and there are a number of plausible readings of what has gone public. At the moment I am simply shocked that four people whom I have respected for years are making serious accusations against a fifth, whom I have also respected for years.
Pastors, guard your hearts. And not just from sexual sin, either.

9 thoughts on “#HimToo?

  1. I don’t know any of the names you mention, but your counsel is surely wise and timely. I know people who once professed Christ but have abandoned the faith and one of the reasons they give is that ‘it doesn’t work. Just look what even the leaders get up to!’. One of my own personal heroes was Dr Iain Campbell. It took me some time to come to terms with what happened to him….. and it all seems to be happening more frequently nowadays …..

  2. James says:

    Thanks Chris. I hadn’t heard of this news until I read your blog, and I am so deeply saddened, but grateful that I have read the news through the lens of your helpful comments.

  3. Windy_London says:

    I am very slow to allow any young London City Mission staff to be “lionised” in publicity materials since I discovered a worrying pattern of people falling into sin after being the centre of campaigns. Those given prominence are under greater temptation/attack. Let’s pray for those in prominent positions.
    Often the Lord is “merciful” and provides a thorn in the flesh to keep feet firmly placed on the floor.

  4. Andy M says:

    Hi Chris. Thanks for your blog post. To add to your discussion, and take it a bit further: I think, and I’m sure you agree, that the issue is not simply one of ‘falling into temptation’ (though of course that can be the case) but also 1. wrong love of power/celebrity that informs my relationships 2. a culture around those ‘in power’ that fails to hold people properly accountable. This is our ‘weak underbelly’ and the probably the area where we are most vulnerable as evangelicals.

  5. […] Chris Green – salutary stuff on #HimToo? […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

From Now On: first steps for new Christians

Launch dayJune 1st, 2018
You can now order 'From Now On from The Good Book Company

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.

Topics

God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: