A married Texas pastor has taken a leave of absence after confessing to texting and having “rough” conversations with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
Matt Chandler, the senior pastor of Village Church near Dallas, told his congregation on Sunday he would be temporarily stepping down after church leaders determined his conversations with another married woman were “unguarded” but not “sexual.” .
At the recorded service, the pastor said an investigation was launched after a woman approached him a few months ago expressing concern about how he was leading messages “on Instagram with a friend of hers.”
‘[Investigators] I looked at the conversations between me and this other woman and they had some concerns, and those concerns weren’t that our messages were romantic or sexual, but that our conversations were careless and unwise.
Chandler, 48, said he immediately reported the woman’s concerns to another senior pastor and his wife when he got home. At first he saw no reason to worry.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong with that,” Chandler said while holding back tears. “My wife knew this, her husband knew this, and yet there were a few things she said that confused me.”
The report prompted an investigation by an independent law firm and other church leaders, known as elders. Chandler’s social media history was searched along with his messages, email and cell phone. Details of the news are unclear.
Matt Chandler, the senior pastor of Village Church near Dallas, announced he was temporarily stepping down due to “inappropriate” news with another married woman
At a Sunday service, Chandler told the congregation that a few months ago he was approached by a woman who expressed concern about his messages with her friend on Instagram
The pastor said he immediately reported the interaction to another senior pastor and his wife (above). He also said the other woman’s husband knew the couple were talking via Instagram
Pictured: Chandler’s family. The pastor married his wife Lauren in 1999 and the couple have three children together
“The concerns were really about frequency and familiarity,” Chandler said. “We believe in brother [and] Sister relationships here, and yet there was a frequency that moved beyond, and there was an intimacy that played out in crude and foolish banter.’
Chandler said he agreed with the decision to step aside, noting that the news revealed a certain “unhealthiness” in him related to the “trouble” of the past six or seven years.
“I’m just really embarrassed,” Chandler said as he began to cry. ‘I feel stupid. I feel stupid. I feel like I’m embarrassing my wife and kids. Putting a lot of pressure on our employees. I feel like I fell short for you.’
Despite his abrupt departure, Chandler said he plans to be the senior pastor “for the next 20 years.”
According to the New York Times, the pastor has preached at The Village church to around 4,500 people for about two decades.
Two different voices could be heard calling out encouragement to Chandler as he expressed his remorse.
Chandler will also end his involvement in planting new churches in an organization called Acts 29. He was the group’s CEO.
Controversial debates about whether Chandler was right or wrong have populated social media.
“All pastors are sinful,” one person wrote. “They deserve the same grace that we offer everyone else. Matt Chandler is human.’
Another commented: “I want to express my support for Matt Chandler now. It takes a big man to admit you screwed up and hold yourself accountable for it. May the Lord see fit to restore him after a period of discipleship.’
Others were disgusted by his behavior.
“Matt Chandler is a predator,” wrote Claudia Salazar. “Nothing about his behavior is random. He has to go to jail. The way he is protected is violent and disgusting.”
Another added: “I think there’s a lot more to Matt Chandler’s story than we’re told and if I’m right about what really happened, what he did was despicable — and still is despicable because he’s trying to submerge a woman using the bus as cover.’
Chandler said he concurred with the decision to step down, saying his action may have reflected his past six or seven years of hardship
Chandler wept as he delivered his message and was greeted by two supportive voices from the community. Pictured: Chandler and his wife
Despite his sudden departure, Chandler said he plans to be the senior pastor “for the next 20 years.” He will also end his involvement in planting new churches in an organization called Acts 29. He served as the group’s chief executive officer
The latest scandal at Village Church is one of many. The church was also separated from a lawsuit alleging a former employee sexually abused a child. The lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month
Chandler became a pastor at Village Church in 2002, when it was formerly known as First Baptist Church of Highland Village, according to his profile on the church’s website.
The pastor married his wife Lauren in 1999 and the couple have three children together.
Another massive investigation into the Village Church’s Southern Baptist Convention denomination also raised concerns.
SBC recently announced that its organization is under investigation by the Justice Department after it was revealed that the group had been mishandling sex abuse cases for decades, according to The Washington Post.
The village church was also separated from a lawsuit alleging that a former employee, Matt Tone, sexually abused a child.
Earlier this month, the lawsuit was dismissed after Dallas County Attorneys said the complainant could not and did not positively identify the employee.
Pastor Chandler is among a few pastors who, despite their popularity in their congregation, have experienced declines in their careers, including former Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11162041/Married-Texas-pastor-tells-congregation-stepping-amid-cheating-scandal.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Married Texas pastor tells congregation he is stepping down amid scandal with another woman