Ed Stetzer, an expert on ecclesiology and missions, just published an article titled, “My Pastor is on the Ashley Madison List.” We’ve covered updates on the Ashley Madison hack here and here, but Stetzer just revealed some shocking news based on personal conversations with church leaders. Here’s what he writes:
Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be. To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.
Also, to be clear, in situations like these, we must confirm all things. Not everyone on the list signed themselves up. Among those who did, the sin and circumstances will be different. Many likely signed themselves up and didn’t actually go through with adultery. Regardless, though, trust has been shattered and hearts have been broken. But before we assume a name on a list means adultery has taken place, we must confirm all things and seek the full truth.
Now what? We know there are stories of pain and wounds behind each name on the list, but now an families, and an entire staff, congregation will experience the pain.
Stetzer poses the question, “What happens to the sheep when the shepherd is disqualified from pastoral ministry?”
This greatly affects churches, but it’s important to remember the mistake of one person is not the same as the church as an entity hurting you. It’s time to pray for our Church.
Stetzer gives helpful thoughts on what to do if your pastor is on the list. Read the full post here.