Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

Ex-Haggard Counselor: We Wish He Would Not Do This

The Ted Haggard story continues to play out – sometimes in not so positive ways.  According to the Christian Post, a member of Ted Haggard’s now-defunct restoration team says he and the others wish the former megachurch pastor would have followed their counsel rather than doing what he is now.  After just 14 months, Haggard asked to end the team’s oversight of his recovery program despite the overseers’ belief that “the process of restoring … is incomplete.”  The story continues: Though Haggard claims that he has felt God’s touch in his life more in the past three years than in the previous 30, his decision to not only
return to Colorado Springs but to gather what could potentially be the “nucleus” of a new church just one mile away from New Life has been met with disapproval from some camps.  “The irony of all of this is that, from the very beginning, Mr. Haggard had been counseled to go to another city, complete his restoration program, experience healing in his family and with his addiction, and only then begin again.”

So why do I post this story?  There are good people on both sides of the issue, indicating just how difficult the restoration process can be.  In a world where too many pastors experience moral failure but never miss a day in the pulpit, or at the other extreme people would have someone spend the rest of their lives repenting, I think it’s worth discussing.  As far as the perception in the culture, striking a balance of grace with taking these issues seriously can be difficult to find.

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  1. Do we know which “member of Ted Haggard’s now-defunct restoration team” made the comment?  What about the others?  What about the one(s) who went to the Overseers on Ted’s behalf, seeking approval to return to Colorado Springs?  My understanding is that the request was approved.  I support Ted.

  2. The “restoration program” the “overseers” wish Ted would complete did not exist! Ted’s broken, contrite, humility and sincere repentance (which he traveling around to share at every opportunity) is so rare and the “overseers” abandoned him and  trie to exile him with no support system in place! They had a huge opportunity to show the true redemptive nature that we, as Christians, teach and profess to believe in and FAILED!

  3. I sinecerly believe that Jimmy Swaggart would have been so much better off accepting the discipline of the Assemblies of God rather than going his own way.  At the time he said that his ministry could not endure his being away for  a year.  What a sad, sad, commentary that his ministry today is just a shadow of the former.  Maybe God has a way of evening things out. 

  4. Thanks for posting this.  I know first hand that it’s not easy to be led through or to guide someone through a restoration process. And while sin and failure are real, too often we push them to the sidelines and only react when things have gone too far. 

    Somehow as a culture we have to learn healtheier ways of handling ourselves and each other in times of moral failure.  I think we at the church can be willfully ignorant of how to respond to these complex issues.  I don’t know the details of his particular process, but I do feel that this topic isn’t disucssed nearly enough in the context of how we can handle this better. 

    It is my hope that whatever choices he makes that he keeps a healthy support system and that he is surrounded with grace and truth. 

  5. The phrase: “now-defunct restoration team” to me is where my flag extends. 

    When or how he does what he does is one thing- but this real issue is continuing with support, counsel, and accountability.

  6. The forgotten issue here is the Kingdom of God. Whether Ted obeys or disregards counsel, has or doesn’t have a continued calling on his life, has or has not overcome his addictions…these are not the main issue. If the decision Ted makes over the next few months causes his name to be mentioned more than Jesus in the churches of Colorado Springs that will clearly demonstrate how destructive that decision is to the Kingdom cause. It is ironic that Ted championed the full expression of Kingdom effort through all the churches getting together in CS, and now will make the one self-appointed decision that can negatively affect what he used to believe, practice and champion. Ted has forgotten that the Kingdom is bigger than his personal ministry. I personally want him fully restored and fully functional in the Kingdom, just not in CS. I have a hard time believing that this calling is from the Lord.

  7. Wendi,

    I share your concern but I do not take my information from Ted as to what did or did not happen. The “overseers” were Godly men who felt there needed to be a more complete work done…that is what “overseeing” is all about. We all have blindspots and we all need accountability. I am afraid he was swayed by the emotional swirls of people feeling sorry for him.

  8. The actual details of his discipline are not publicly known. Was he counseled or mandated to leave Colorado? What were the potential options available to him had he not “chosen” to leave Colorado Springs? The accusation that he asked to be released from the restoration process, if accurate, implies that there was an aggressive one in place. Was there? How frequently was he directly engaged by those assigned to restore him?

    He was involved with leadership in the church where he had temporarily relocated for more than a year. He has been back there to engage with the leaders who worked directly with him. They offered to him open arms and an opportunity to share his and Gayle’s journey in a conference setting.

    Gayle’s public ministry has thus far been as widely heard and received, if not more so than Ted’s. Is that a violation of his restoration journey?

    Is there any way to make absolutely sure he will never again be subject to temptations in the area of same sex attraction? If it had been heterosexual misbehavior which led to divorce and a remarriage to another make this less contorversial?

    He has spent 2 years out of public view. He has spent the last year basically doing a public repentance tour. Is it enough? If not – what would be? His marriage is in tact. His children are proud to be associated with him. He is certainly more subject to public scrutiny of his moral choices than ever before. These are interesting details relevant to such a discussion.

    Several large churches have had him come and share his story. They even posted audio/video streams for all the world to see. Some of these leaders are highly respected and even celebrated by some of those who don’t think he is ready? Have they done a disservice to the body of Christ by doing so, or is that a concern solely between them, their congregations and the Lord?

    What are the stated rules for the relocation of any new ministry. Are there “rules” for where to plant a ministry? What are the absolutes here or what is appropriate ettiqute? Are there shining examples of people who left a church in a city to start another with celebrated success and honor?


  9. Chris – here’s a few things many of those posting need to know.  Ted was given a gracious financial severance package in exchange for submitting to a restoration process with some of the most respected Christian leaders in America.  Part of that agreement was to move to another city – and he agreed to do that and took the money.  That requirement just made good sense.  He need to start clean, and not drag New Life back into the controversy.  New Life needed to heal as well.  Now, attempting to start another church within the vicinity of New Life is really poor judgement.  I don’t know of a pastor who would agree that’s a good idea.  In addition, Ted has not been on a “repentance tour,” he’s actually been promoting himself, including an HBO documentary on his story.  

    I’ve worked with ministry leaders for decades, and I can tell you that our culture of celebrity is addictive.  Once you’ve become a superstar in the Christian community – which Ted certainly was – it’s tough not to feed that addiction.  It’s why Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker are both back on television – Jimmy having refused a restoration process, and after Jim told members of the National Religious Broadcasters he would never go back on television. (I was in that meeting).

    My comments aren’t about revenge or my inability to forgive.  Nothing would be better than a full restoration for Ted.  But I have to admit, the signs here are not good. 

  10. As a member of New Life over the past 5 years, my understanding of the process lines up with the wisdom that Sam shares. No question, members of New Life have been praying for the Haggard family non-stop since his crisis unfolded – and continue to pray for God’s will to be done in their lives.

    But Mr. Haggard did not stay “out of public view” for 2 years. Just 8 months after the scandal, he sent a fundraising email to a Colorado Springs reporter – curiously, the same week a new Sr. Pastor was confirmed at New Life. So with every small follow-up story about Pastor Brady Boyd and how God was changing New Life, there was a little P.S. about Ted.

    This is a small example of how Ted knows how to work the media (Christian and mainstream), continuing to do so with great effectiveness. 

  11. I sinecerly believe that Jimmy Swaggart would have been so much better off accepting the discipline of the Assemblies of God rather than going his own way.

    But then, why should a CELEBRITY like God’s Anointed Jimmy accept the discipline of Nobodies like the AoG? 

    Because that’s what it boiled down to with CELEBRITY Jimmy Swaggart and what it’s coming to with CELEBRITY Ted Haggard.

  12. It’s really too bad that Haggard continued to live in denial of the fact that he is a homosexual, or at the very least, bi-sexual.  Instead, he continues to parade around, lying to himself and others, and spreading the lie that homosexuality is evil and sinful.  It’s too bad that Christians live in the Dark Ages.  One day the world will be rid of this cancer known as “Christianity”.  That will be a day worth celebrating!

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