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HomeNewsTexas pastor steps aside over messages with woman that ‘crossed a line’

Texas pastor steps aside over messages with woman that ‘crossed a line’


Matt Chandler, the lead pastor on the Village Church in Flower Mound, Tex., appeared to battle again tears as he instructed his congregation on Sunday that he was taking a go away of absence — a transfer prompted by what his church’s leaders noticed as inappropriate messages between him and a girl who just isn’t his spouse.

The leaders decided that the messages weren’t “romantic or sexual,” Chandler defined. “It was that our conversations had been unguarded and unwise.”

Chandler and church officers went into scant element concerning the nature of the messages. He mentioned each his spouse and the husband of the lady he was messaging knew about their communications. However church leaders thought the messaging was too frequent, acquainted and resulted in “coarse and silly joking,” Chandler mentioned.

The pastor mentioned the messages had been known as into query “a number of months in the past” when a pal of the lady approached him and voiced her issues. Chandler, 48, mentioned he introduced the issues to fellow church leaders, who reviewed the messages and really useful he step aside.

Chandler’s abrupt departure is the newest setback for the Village Church, about half-hour northwest of Dallas, and the Southern Baptist Conference denomination — the nation’s second-largest religion group, of which the Village Church is a member. Earlier this month, the SBC revealed that the Justice Department was investigating a number of branches of its group. The probe adopted the discharge of an inner report that discovered SBC leaders mishandled sexual abuse circumstances for 20 years.

Additionally this month, the Village Church introduced that it had settled a lawsuit alleging that one in every of its ministers molested an 11-year-old and the church was negligent in dealing with the scenario. The legal case towards the minister was dismissed. The church maintained that it “dedicated no flawed.”

Whereas the church was obscure concerning the particulars of Chandler’s misconduct, officers made it clear that its lead pastor was not accused of sexual abuse.

His departure is nonetheless a blow to the church the place he’s preached for 20 years and grow to be a central, admired determine. The church’s attendance is round 4,500 folks, the New York Times reported.

Chandler will even pause his talking engagements on behalf of Acts 29, a company devoted to beginning new church buildings. Chandler serves as Acts 29’s board president and chairman.

In an announcement, the church mentioned that Chandler’s “go away of absence is each disciplinary and developmental” and his return can be decided by the “expectations the elders have laid out for his growth.”

In entrance of the congregation on Sunday, Chandler defined that a number of months in the past, a girl approached him within the church’s lobby with issues about “how I used to be [direct messaging] on Instagram with a pal of hers.”

He didn’t suppose he had achieved something flawed, as his partner and the lady’s partner had been conscious of their chats, he mentioned. “But there have been a few issues that [the woman’s friend] mentioned that had been disorienting to me,” Chandler mentioned with out detailing the pal’s feedback.

So Chandler introduced the problem to a pair of church leaders, who, after trying on the Instagram conversations, decided the communications had been too frequent and acquainted, Chandler mentioned.

In a statement, the church mentioned that it employed a legislation agency to evaluation the direct messages, together with Chandler’s total social media historical past, together with textual content messages and emails. The legal professionals concluded that the pastor had violated the church’s social media coverage. In addition they decided that he failed to fulfill the church-pastor commonplace of being “above reproach.” The leaders discovered that Chandler’s conduct was “an indication of unhealth in his life.”

“On this case, whereas the messages weren’t romantic or sexual in nature, the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line,” the church’s assertion mentioned. “They revealed that Matt didn’t use language applicable for a pastor, and he didn’t mannequin a conduct that we anticipate from him.”

At the same time as Chandler introduced his go away of absence, folks within the crowd shouted their reward for him. Chandler nonetheless expressed regret.

“I’m simply actually embarrassed, really feel silly … really feel dumb,” Chandler instructed the congregation Sunday, including: “I’m held to the next commonplace and fell in need of that greater commonplace.”

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