Saturday, November 11, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
When I first read the accusations last Thursday against Pastor Ted Haggard, I was mortified and hoping against hope that they were not true. Another high-profile evangelical is exposed for hypocrisy and sexual sin. Now, within three days the whole literate world knows the truth. By his own admission, Haggard has wrestled with his sensual nature, and lost regularly, his whole adult life. For over thirty years, he has hidden his dark side. That’s a long time to maintain appearances and at the same time ascend to prominence as a mega-church pastor, author, and internationally respected leader. But what pastor cannot relate, at least in some way, and then shudder at the prospect of being shamed publicly and disqualified for ministry?
On the web site of the International Herald Tribune, New York Times journalist Kirk Johnson writes a balanced piece that should spark hope and admiration in us Christians -- admiration for the way
Balancing Pastoral Authority with Pastoral Accountability
When we started The Bridge International Church here in
Back in 2004, I reread Ted Haggard’s book, The Life-Giving Church, and found a model I liked. We eventually adapted New Life’s constitution to fit our situation. Basically, the senior pastor is allowed (expected) to lead, cast vision, hire and fire staff, oversee the budget, etc. – but he is also accountable: first to fellow elders in the church (elected by the church), and then, in the event of a leadership crisis, to a Team of Overseers from outside the church. The overseers are other senior pastors, well known and respected by the pastor, the elders, and the congregation; and the overseers have ultimate authority to advise, discipline, and dismiss their friend as pastor.In this system, the sheep do not have authority over their shepherd. But the shepherd is still accountable for his character and conduct. Would to God that it had not been necessary this past weekend, but this system seems to have worked well at