When Your Preacher Sins
It’s going to happen—your preacher is going to sin. He may commit sins you know nothing about. He may commit a sin that is public to the congregation—losing his temper in a meeting, speeding on his way to worship (I’ve known a few preachers to get tickets on Sunday morning when they were running late), or teaching error from the pulpit. He may commit a sin that is public not only to the congregation but to the community at large—losing his temper at a ballgame, being rude to a clerk, or even adultery. How should the church respond?
- Remember he isn’t perfect. You don’t expect perfection from yourself. Why would you, therefore, expect perfection from the preacher?
- Remember him in prayer. As your preacher struggles with sin, the best thing you can do is pray for him. Wouldn’t you want the same done for you?
- Pray for his family. When the preacher sins, the family may suffer greatly. Remember his family in prayer.
- Remember saints of old were sinners. When a leader of God’s people sins, he finds himself in “good” company. Abraham lied about Sarah. Moses murdered. David committed adultery and murdered. Paul was a persecutor. Peter played the hypocrite. God has a long history of using imperfect people in his service.
- Help him. He—like anyone else—may need help getting out of sin. Christians are to bear each other’s burdens. Don’t forget that your preacher may need a burden carried, too.
- Let him learn from his mistakes. Experience can be a powerful teacher. If a preacher sins and shows true repentance, be willing to let him learn and grow.
- Learn from his mistake. See how easy it was even for a preacher to fall into sin. Remember how cunning sin is. If a preacher isn’t immune to sin, you aren’t, either.
- Make any transition as smoothly as possible. Let’s be honest: If a preacher commits a public sin, it may be best for him to minister elsewhere. Be kind to him and his family and seek to make the transition a smooth one.
- Remember he can still minister. Yes, that ministry may need to take place elsewhere, but a sin does not need to ruin a ministry. In fact, the preacher may be better able to minister by learning from his sin than he ever could before.
- Remember the grace of God. Just as God’s grace can remove your sin through the blood of Jesus, God’s grace can remove the preacher’s sin, too.
May God bless all those who serve in his kingdom!