Fresh on my mind this week is the removal of Perry Noble, founding pastor of NewSpring Church, from his position as lead pastor. There are a number of theories on why pastors fail in ministry but I want to offer three ways you can keep it from happening to you.
From the announcement on Sunday, it seems that the leadership team at NewSpring had been working with Perry for awhile to get help. And the main reason any of us don't get help is pride. Pride kept Perry from getting the help he needed to get over his addiction to alcohol. Pride kept him from listening to his leadership team and stopping his pattern of destruction. And pride will keep us from dealing with our secret sins and living in victory.
NOTE: Pastor, if there is anything that you are hiding, get help. Your secret sin can lead to your fall so get help before it's too late.
In his letter to NewSpring Church, Pastor Perry said it was his obsession with reaching 100,000 that drove him to alcohol. I think all pastors should have an obsession but not to grow their churches. Don't get me wrong: I believe in church growth. But our obsession has to be Jesus. He has to be what gets us up in the morning, what drives us through the day, and what keeps us up at night--not growing His Church. When we talked last week about NewSpring, a friend of mine said, "Jesus loves His Church more than we do love His Church." Jesus promised to grow His Church (Matthew 16:18). It's not our job to grow it but to fall deeper in love with Him and grow in our obedience to Him.
Nobody knows whether or not you're healthy. The doctor can measure your blood pressure but only you know if you are spiritually or emotionally healthy. Nobody can know if you have worked through your past, whether or not you're fighting an addiction, or if you are hiding something. It's up to you, pastor, to decide if you will be healthy.
I'm firmly convinced that Jesus can and will give Pastor Perry another chance at ministry. I'm also convinced that the best days of NewSpring are ahead of them. But I'm further convinced that his removal is a lesson to all of us: stay humble, stay hungry, and stay healthy.