Chandler said that following the conversation, he immediately walked back into the auditorium of TVC and brought the matter to elder chairman Jasien Swords and fellow pastor and elder Josh Patterson. He then went home and told his wife, Lauren.
“The accusations brought up some concerns that although my DMing with this woman was not romantic, nor was it ever sexual, it was unguarded and it was unwise,” Chandler said. “And the way that played itself out was in a kind of frequency and familiarity that is not wise for someone in my position.”
Chandler further explained, “The volume of exchanges and the familiarity, which played itself out in kind of coarse and foolish joking, is just not okay for someone who has been put in the position that God has placed me in.”
“And so the elders worked through it and decided—and I think they’re right—that my inability to see this for what it was revealed something not right, something unhealthy, in me,” Chandler said.
“So they have decided, and I agree, that I should take a leave of absence from preaching and teaching,” Chandler continued, indicating that the length of his absence had not yet been determined. “We’re going to work it out together, so there’s not like a set time on that.”
“I just feel embarrassed and stupid,” Chandler said. Someone in the congregation shouted, “We love you!”
“And I love you, too,” Chandler responded. “Listen, I know we’re in this together. I just need to say this. And then when you’re a husband and then a dad, and you’re foolish and stupid, then you embarrass your wife and your kids too. And then when you lead like a brilliant group of men and women in Kingdom purposes and you’re unwise and you’re stupid, you create all kinds of work for them.”
“And then, man, I am, by the grace of God, trying to model and proclaim the kind of men we should be, the kind of leaders we should be, the kind of Christians we should be, and this is a space where I’ve fallen short. And I don’t ever want to play around like that’s not serious, and so I’m in glad submission to these men,” Chandler said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. This leave of absence is both disciplinary, because it should be, and it’s also developmental. They care for us. We have felt loved through the whole process.”
Chandler went on to express that weighing most heavily on him were those who might be visiting the church for the first time and may not know Jesus or have been hurt by the church before.
“Forgive me,” Chandler said. “I love you. I’m eager to see what God has for us in this and through this, and have just been preaching redemption for years, and I just believe that we’re in it again.”
Patterson: Chandler’s Behavior Was an Isolated Incident, Did Not Rise to the Level of Disqualification
After praying for the congregation, Chandler received an ovation. Patterson came back to the center of the stage and expressed that he wanted to “interpret” the applause, saying, “I hear that as, ‘We love you, and we’re with you,’; not as, ‘We condone what has happened.’” His interpretation received another applause.