On Sunday (August 28), The Village Church (TVC) announced that Matt Chandler would be taking a leave of absence from preaching and teaching following an inappropriate direct messaging relationship with a woman who is not his wife. While not romantic or sexual, Chandler described the messaging relationship as being characterized by “familiarity” and “coarse and foolish joking.”
Chandler further described his online behavior as “unguarded and unwise,” and his leave of absence is both “disciplinary and developmental.” He further expressed his agreement with and submission to the elder board’s decision, which came after an independent, third-party investigation.
The announcement was introduced by fellow TVC pastor Josh Patterson.
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TVC Pastor Josh Patterson: ‘This Is the Day the Lord Has Made’
“I want to share this with you as I welcome you to our time together,” Patterson said. “This is the day the Lord has made. And there’s great hope in just that small, simple, little sentence, because it’s true. This is the day the Lord has made.”
“I do want our hearts to be anchored in that truth, because where we’re going with our time today is gonna be hard. This is going to be a challenging service,” Patterson went on to say.
Patterson emphasized that TVC has always sought to be a welcoming place that seeks to love God, love people, and make disciples, adding, “There’s a phrase we have at this church: it’s okay not to be okay; we just don’t want to stay there.”
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“As we find ourselves in spots of not being okay, we have to be okay as a congregation with people not being okay. And I’ll say this, and it’ll lead to where we’re going. If that’s true for you, but not true for me, we have missed the gospel,” Patterson said. “If that’s true for you as congregants, but not true for pastors and leaders, then we have somehow missed the reality of our shared humanity, and missed the reality of our shared need for the gospel.”
Matt Chandler Announces Leave of Absence
After Patterson prayed, Chandler took the stage.
“Hey, guys,” Chandler said. “I plan on being the pastor here for another 20 years, but I do need to loop you in on some things, okay?”
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“Several months ago, a woman…met me out here in the lobby, and she had some concerns about how I was using the DM function on Instagram to message with one of her friends,” Chandler said. “At the time when she brought it up, I saw no issue with it. My wife knew about it. This woman’s husband knew about it. And so I kind of pushed against that not being okay. She said some things in that conversation, though, that were really disorienting for me.”