Safe enough to fail without getting fired
Fellowship pastors in Toronto get together occasionally for lunch and a talk. Today, we met in Markham and talked about sexual issues and pastors. One pastor talked about his experience in this area, and gave some suggestions about how to deal with the issue. One guy cut to the heart of the issue. If a pastor is struggling in this area, who does he turn to? In most situations, admitting failure means automatic dismissal. Where is the line? What is safe to admit? I don’t want to reopen the debate from a month ago, but this seems to be the heart of the issue, at least in practical terms. There’s not enough room to admit failure. Personally, I’m encouraged that more pastors are discussing this, especially in a conservative circle like mine. I hope we can make more room for pastors to admit not just struggling but also failure. Although many of you disagreed with me, I think that failure in some areas should be handled differently. Some failures will have a greater effect. Some failures will lead to a loss of employment, and that’s not always wrong. Other failures will have a smaller effect. I hope we can get to the point in which a pastor can admit, for example, to having viewed Internet pornography, and be counseled and restored without necessarily being fired. We’re not there yet, at least in the Fellowship, but I can dream.