The day of Chandler’s return will be significant, as it will also mark the 20th anniversary of Chandler having assumed the role of lead pastor at the church. Chandler began his tenure at TVC on Dec. 2, 2002.
“Matt and Lauren have loved and served TVC faithfully for two decades, giving of themselves and their family to lead this body of believers toward greater love and affection for Jesus Christ,” the email said. “It is good and right for us to honor them and celebrate them together as their church family, and we will do so this Sunday.”
While the elders said that they had not been intentionally working toward this date, “we did not think it was appropriate to delay Matt’s return to avoid it falling on the anniversary. We decided to stay true to the plan for Matt to return when the goals were met, and we embrace the beautiful coincidence of the timing.”
Chandler posted on Instagram Friday to commemorate his 20 years as pastor of TVC.
“It’s hard to believe they hired a 28 year old with a 22 year old pregnant wife. Over the past 20 years I have watched God do INCREDIBLE things almost all of which were despite me,” Chandler wrote. “I survived a bout with brain cancer in 2009, needed to publicly repent more than once and have been loved deeply and cared for fiercely by the men and women of The Village. I am at a loss for the invitation into this great journey the Lord put me on!”
RELATED: SBC Abuse Survivor Shares How Survivors Can Be ‘Triggered’ by News of Matt Chandler’s Inappropriate Online Behavior; Boz Tchividjian Agrees
Chandler continued, “I have been blessed with deep, strong friendships that cheer me on and hold me accountable, have a wife whose love and prophetic gifting has at times anchored us in stormy weather and am more hopeful than ever that God’s grace and power are available to all who will humble themselves under his mighty hand.”
“I don’t quite have the words,” Chandler wrote, addressing his church. “[Y]ou have consistently modeled the gospel to me and my family and have boldly trusted in Jesus when the sun was shining and when hurricanes have blown through. I’m asking for much more time with you. May Jesus be big!”
RELATED: The Village Church Elders Suggest Matt Chandler’s Return to Pulpit Will Be Soon
Responses to the announcement of Chandler’s return have been mixed, as some still have questions and lingering concerns about the exact nature of Chandler’s offenses and restoration process. For their part, the elders of TVC have been judicious in their public communications, seeking to maintain privacy for Chandler, his family, and the other woman involved.