Last Sunday, August 28th, 2022 The Village Church (TVC) in Flower Mound announced their pastor Matt Chandler was going on a leave of absence for discipline and developmental reasons related to inappropriate direct messaging interactions with a woman in the church. I am saddened and sobered by this development.
I am saddened due to the esteem I have for Matt Chandler and the affection I have for TVC. The church is part of the Acts 29 Network and the Southern Baptist Convention. Redeemer Church is also part of both. I will always be grateful for the financial support Redeemer Church received from TVC in our early years. TVC is like-minded to our church in many ways. Like us, they hold to conservative, evangelical, baptistic, and reformed convictions. Like us, they have a genuine desire to shepherd and disciple their congregation. Like us, they have a heart to love and serve their community with the gospel. There are distinctions between our churches, but I really love TVC and am grateful for their leadership. Matt is a brother and pastor that I truly respect.
I am also sobered because I know the burden of striving to live an “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2) lifestyle while knowing my imperfections and struggles. The Bible charges pastors to “keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching” (1 Timothy 4:16). Any time I hear an account like I heard this weekend, it is healthy for me to back up and do an evaluation of my heart and life. This week Kristen and I have done a heart check and I’ve asked for her wisdom on these types of issues. With the support of Kristen and the Elders, I have long standing common sense boundaries for how I relate with women. I know in some working environments these boundaries might seem stiff, outdated, or even rude. However, I strongly believe they help preserve my personal integrity, as well as the integrity of our church and our teaching. Further, this situation has led me to have some helpful discussions amongst our staff. Shannon has been a gift to our staff on a number of levels. When we first hired Shannon the staff was made up of only young men. At the time I felt there were moments we were joking in ways that were on the line of being inappropriate for pastors. When Shannon came into the room she helped us immediately raise the bar of maturity and godliness. This week her reflections have helped Grant and I further think through what is appropriate behavior for how pastors relate to women. Friends, we desire godly brother sister relationships within the church. We desire to do those relationships in ways that are healthy, appropriate, and edifying.
I am thankful for the courage of the woman at TVC who approached her pastor about her concerns, the conviction of their Elders for pushing into this issue, and the humility of Matt Chandler for embracing this rebuke and being willing to grow in the Lord even when it is embarrassing. Please glorify God in this moment by being saddened and sobered. Please soberly do an evaluation of yourself including having some discussions with your spouse and close friends. Please pray for TVC and Matt Chandler. Please pray for the spiritual health of our staff, our Elders, and me personally. May God be glorified through these discussions and prayers.