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Should a Pastor Who Commits Adultery Withdraw From Ministry?

..and if so, for how long?

Over the years, our team at Cooke Media Group has advised numerous churches and ministry organizations on how to recover from a pastor or other key ministry leader’s adultery. While I recommend excellent counselors and spiritual advisors to help the couple involved in the infidelity as well as their families, the goal for our team is to focus on the church – how do they communicate the story to the congregation and community? Do they release a media statement? How do they handle critics or local media? How do they recover?

As I discuss in my new book “Maximizing Your Influence: How to Make Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry, and You,” in a digital, online world, how we respond in a crisis is more important than ever. 

That’s why I was fascinated at the poll recently released by Lifeway Research based on how long a pastor who commits adultery should withdraw from ministry.  

While it’s a complex question and there are more issues at stake than this survey dealt with (like should a pastor who comes back start a new church in the area?) I think you’ll find it interesting to see how the opinions break down across denominational, ethnic, and theological lines.

Check out the study. As I say in my book – in today’s distracted, digital, media-driven culture, it’s not a matter of IF your church will experience a crisis, it’s a matter of WHEN.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to handle a crisis in today’s digital culture, you can order my new book here for a donation to our nonprofit The Influence Lab.

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One Comment

  1. Having read the article from LifeWay I would like to suggest that the main consideration is not time as though someone who is caught in an illicit affair is being sentenced to do time. The real considerations revolve around determining whether genuine repentance has taken place, whether a genuine restoration process has been applied and finally what the state of his marriage is now, ie; is his wife and family prepared to assume the responsibilities and pressures that accompany the calling? Without these being properly determined the question of time is somewhat meaningless.

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