Help Others Restore Integrity
Help Others Restore Integrity 4 minute read

Pastors and Porn – Question #2: "But what if I lose my job?"

Last Updated: April 10, 2015

This is no doubt one of the most paralyzing fears that keep many pastors who struggle with sexual sin from dealing with it. Those of us who have been given the privilege of pastoring people get to do what very few people get to do. We have the opportunity to provide leadership, care, direction, correction, teaching, and compassion to God’s church and His people.

Pastors are human, though. We make mistakes just like everyone else. Our pastoral profession does not exempt us from the struggles that the rest of humanity faces.

So what if we wake up one day, like today, living in a world of sin? What if our private lives bear little resemblance to the sermons we preach or the counsel we give? What if, in the absence of accountability, we have allowed pornography and sexual sin to take root in our lives? And due to the fear of losing our jobs, we find ourselves with no other option but trying to manage the sin and attempt to overcome it on our own power.

That was my life.

Fears That Kept Me From Confessing

In addition to the very real fear of losing my family, I battled those exact fears which kept me from confessing the bondage I was in. These fears kept my healing at bay. I had struggled with pornography since I was 8. And contrary to what many believe to be true, it only got worse when I got married. When I stepped into my first vocational pastoral position, I struggled even more. You might think because I was living with secret sin that my ministry would have been utterly ineffective. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. God was using me like I had never experienced, to lead a fast growing church and reach many people for Christ. My “success” made it easy for me to pretend that this would never blow up in my face.

I was wrong.

But if you don’t do what you say, you will be sinning against God; you can be sure that your sin will track you down” (Numbers 32:23).

I took a position with Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch.tv in 2002. By this time I had allowed my pornography addiction to get completely out of control, to the point that I had physically acted out and had been unfaithful to my wife multiple times. I was sure that moving to a new city and working with a new church was a way to have a “do-over,” a way to not have to expose my sin.

During one staff meeting six weeks into my job at Lifechurch.tv, Craig shared about being the real deal. He challenged us: if we were dealing with some sin issues in our lives, we should confess it to our supervisor and we would find grace. However, if we got caught, that would be a different story. God completely broke me that day and I confessed everything to my wife, my family, and to Craig. I had been unfaithful and dishonest, and because of that, I resigned my position on staff at LifeChurch.tv.

Receiving Grace from the Church

So what did grace look like at LifeChurch.tv? It wasn’t the preservation of an occupation or a paycheck. It wasn’t a slap on the wrist with a “don’t do that again” lecture.

Grace was a group of leaders who entered into the mess of my life and my marriage with the hopes of God healing and restoring that which was broken, to make it better than new. That is exactly what He did. Over the next couple of years, with intensive and godly counsel, great accountability, focusing on my family alone, and working in the marketplace, God began to heal my heart and heal my marriage. I began a journey of learning why I sought out a counterfeit form of affirmation in pornography, and how God felt about me.

My encouragement for those of you who find yourselves in the difficult spot of being a pastor who struggles with pornography and sexual sin is this: Be honest! Confess it. We delude ourselves if we think healing will come from asking God to forgive us and trying to avoid it. Trust me, I did this constantly and conveniently, time after time after time, only to find myself on the dreaded drive home confessing to God: “I’ll never do that again.”

Receiving Healing

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

We need to be healed from this struggle. Scripture doesn’t call us to confess to God for healing, but to one another. Amazing freedom is found once the secret is out. The power the Enemy had over it has been broken.

As a result of walking away from ministry and getting honest about my sin, God healed me. Today I am nearly 8 years free from the addiction of pornography. It is not an easy journey, but I have found that freedom is just as contagious as bondage. I learned that God wanted to do a work in me before He did a work through me.

After a couple year break from ministry, Craig called me up and told me he thought that God wasn’t done with me. I was invited back onto the LifeChurch.tv team and have been pastoring there ever since.

I pray you find freedom and healing. I pray that God would burn in our spirit to become the men and women who live what we preach. I pray that we would trust God with the source of our paychecks and allow Him to be the source of our healing.

. . . .

This is a guest post from Chris Beall, Oklahoma City Campus Pastor at LifeChurch.tv. Watch Chris and his wife Cindy tell their story of pornography, infidelity, heartbreak, and restoration on YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Help Others Restore Integrity

Editor's Picks

A woman looking for resources in the library.

Help Others Restore Integrity

The Best Porn Addiction Resources in 2024

When you tackle a problem as serious as porn addiction, you want…

7 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Image of Pastor Matt Chandler.

Help Others Restore Integrity

Matt Chandler on Accountability and Stepping Away From Ministry

The Covenant Eyes Podcast team recently sat down with Matt Chandler, pastor…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A nativity scene.

Help Others Restore Integrity

5 Holiday Messages for Your Parish Bulletin

We all have our holiday traditions. Whether it’s decorating the tree, making…

6 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

An empty church sanctuary.

Help Others Restore Integrity

How Porn Affects Church Attendance

As time goes on, it seems like more and more Christians are…

6 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Covenant Eyes podcast team in studio with Allen Parr.

Help Others Restore Integrity

Unmasking Spiritual Deception: A Conversation With Pastor Allen Parr

In a world filled with spiritual complexities and theological debates, finding the…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Black and white photo of an empty podium.

Help Others Restore Integrity

Porn’s Devastating Impact on Christian Leadership

In 2021, Barna found that 38% of pastors had thought about quitting…

4 minute read

Read Post

Related in Help Others Restore Integrity

A woman looking for resources in the library.

Help Others Restore Integrity

The Best Porn Addiction Resources in 2024

When you tackle a problem as serious as porn addiction, you want…

When you tackle a problem as serious as porn addiction, you want to make sure you have the best resources available. Thankfully, it’s no longer difficult to find plenty of offline and online help. Still,…

7 minute read

0 comments

Image of Pastor Matt Chandler.

Help Others Restore Integrity

Matt Chandler on Accountability and Stepping Away From Ministry

The Covenant Eyes Podcast team recently sat down with Matt Chandler, pastor…

The Covenant Eyes Podcast team recently sat down with Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church and president of Acts 29. They talked with Pastor Matt about his recent leave of absence from ministry, what…

4 minute read

0 comments

A nativity scene.

Help Others Restore Integrity

5 Holiday Messages for Your Parish Bulletin

We all have our holiday traditions. Whether it’s decorating the tree, making…

We all have our holiday traditions. Whether it’s decorating the tree, making cookies, setting up our crèche scene, or hosting festive gatherings, our celebrating is a welcome time! But gift buying, family gatherings, and extra cooking…

6 minute read

0 comments

An empty church sanctuary.

Help Others Restore Integrity

How Porn Affects Church Attendance

As time goes on, it seems like more and more Christians are…

As time goes on, it seems like more and more Christians are watching porn. The average pew-sitter today is likely to have struggled with pornography at some point. And this struggle is also likely to…

6 minute read

0 comments

Covenant Eyes podcast team in studio with Allen Parr.

Help Others Restore Integrity

Unmasking Spiritual Deception: A Conversation With Pastor Allen Parr

In a world filled with spiritual complexities and theological debates, finding the…

In a world filled with spiritual complexities and theological debates, finding the true path to spiritual enlightenment can be daunting. Misleading doctrines and false teachings often lurk in the shadows, leading believers astray. To shed…

3 minute read

0 comments

Black and white photo of an empty podium.

Help Others Restore Integrity

Porn’s Devastating Impact on Christian Leadership

In 2021, Barna found that 38% of pastors had thought about quitting…

In 2021, Barna found that 38% of pastors had thought about quitting the ministry. Certainly, the difficulty of leading a church in the COVID era was a major factor in these results. The overall trends…

4 minute read

0 comments