I recently came across an article in Charisma Magazine concerning ministerial conduct and ethical and moral behavior. J. Lee Grady provides great insight into a problem that is plaguing churches across denominations. Click here to read it. http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/fire-in-my-bones/20080-no-more... I wonder why so many church laypeople and clergy accept the immoral or unethical behavior of their pastors or ministers. I've been one who has "turned the other way" when pastors I sat under or was affiliated with were in blatant disregard of the moral and ethical responsibilities associated with that office. I can also admit that when I was involved in immoral behavior while in leadership of some kind(and yes I have sinned while a pastor), it was hard to be accountable to the sin because of pride and guilt. I (with the help of God's word and Spirit and other men of integrity) eventually was able to acknowledge my shortcomings and step away from the leadership position. In actuality, I went to my pastor and told him of my immoral behavior and asked to be removed from my position altogether. I didn't feel I was able to serve the congregation because of it. The pastor allowed me to step down and for a period of a year I did nothing in public ministry other than worship and be restored. That was nearly 12 years ago while I was in college.

I am now a divorced pastor of a small but growing methodist church and although I struggle with issues of immorality that is presented in the world today, I have yet to succumb to them. I do however find it very disconcerting when pastors who are caught in such immorality (not just sexual) attempt to maintain power and spiritual authority over a fleecing flock. I think when a pastor or any minister is getting overwhelmed by immorality of any kind, that he/she must take the initiative for intervention as soon as possible. This may include inviting the shame of the problem before it becomes public or just doing the old fashion thing of stepping aside for spiritual restoration.

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I wrote this awhile ago in another blog and its worth repeating here:

Why is it so important to have a pastor with high character and integrity and what does it look like from the vantage point of a highly principled leader we have in Jesus the Christ?

"Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry. Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words from God. Luther spent his best three hours in prayer."—Robert Murray McCheyne

God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method, instruments of His will. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” The dispensation that heralded and prepared the way for Christ was bound up in that man John. … When God declares that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him,”

What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more bigger and outlandish buildings and a slamming choir and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer and consecrated secret lives.
The character as well as the fortunes of the gospel is committed to the preacher. He makes or mars the message from God to man. The preacher is the golden pipe through which the divine oil flows. The pipe must not only be golden, but open and flawless, that the oil may have a full, unhindered, unwasted flow.

Joh 7:38 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water.”

How can those rivers flow from within, if what is within is riddled with unrepentant depravity?

The man makes the preacher. God must make the man. The messenger is, if possible, more than the message. The preacher is more than the sermon. The preacher makes the sermon. As the life–giving milk from the mother’s bosom is but the mother’s life, so all the preacher says is tinctured, impregnated by what the preacher is. The treasure is in earthen vessels, and the taste of the vessel impregnates and may discolor. The man, the whole man, lies behind the sermon. Preaching is not the performance of an hour. It is the outflow of a life. It takes twenty years to make a sermon, because it takes twenty years to make the man. The true sermon is a thing of life. The sermon grows because the man grows. The sermon is forceful because the man is forceful. The sermon is holy because the man is holy. The sermon is full of the divine unction because the man is full of the divine unction.

The sermon cannot rise in its life–giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher. Under the Jewish dispensation the high priest had inscribed in jeweled letters on a golden frontlet: “Holiness to the Lord.” So every preacher in Christ’s ministry must be molded into and mastered by this same holy motto. It is a crying shame for the Christian ministry to fall lower in holiness of character and holiness of aim than the Jewish priesthood.

The preacher must impersonate the gospel. Its divine, most distinctive features must be embodied in him. The constraining power of love must be in the preacher as a projecting, eccentric, an all–commanding, self–oblivious force. The energy of self–denial must be his being, his heart and blood and bones. He must go forth as a man among men, clothed with humility, abiding in meekness, wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove; the bonds of a servant with the spirit of a king, a king in high, royal, in dependent bearing, with the simplicity and sweetness of a child. The preacher must throw himself, with all the abandon of a perfect, self–emptying faith and a self–consuming zeal, into his work for the salvation of men. Hearty, heroic, compassionate, fearless martyrs must the men be who take hold of and shape a generation for God. If they be timid time servers, place seekers, if they be men pleasers or men fearers, if their faith has a weak hold on God or his Word, if their denial be broken by any phase of self or the world, they cannot take hold of the Church nor the world for God.

The preacher’s sharpest and strongest preaching should be to himself. His most difficult, delicate, laborious, and thorough work must be with himself. The training of the twelve was the great, difficult, and enduring work of Christ. Preachers are not sermon makers, but men makers and saint makers, and he only is well–trained for this business who has made himself a man and a saint. It is not great talents nor great learning nor great preachers that God needs, but men great in holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for God—men always preaching by holy sermons in the pulpit, by holy lives out of it. These can mold a generation for God.
…The preaching man is to be the praying man. Prayer is the preacher’s mightiest weapon. An almighty force in itself, it gives life and force to all.

"Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ:"
(1 Cor. 5:6-7)

The real sermon is made in the closet. The man—God’s man—is made in the closet. His life and his profoundest convictions were born in his secret communion with God. The burdened and tearful agony of his spirit, his weightiest and sweetest messages were got when alone with God. Prayer makes the man; prayer makes the preacher; prayer makes the pastor.

The sheep deserve nothing less~~

God Bless

In His Grip

Min. Scott


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