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Megachurch Puts Married Pastor On Leave After He Was Caught DMing Another Woman


A Texas pastor has been put on leave following the surfacing of inappropriate messages.

Matt Chandler serves as lead pastor for the Village Church in Flower Mound, and is at the center of an investigation regarding Instagram messages between himself and another woman… who is not his wife. The megachurch posted a statement on their website Sunday addressing the situation:

“A few months ago, an individual approached The Village Church’s lead pastor, Matt Chandler, with concerns about the way he was using direct messaging on social media with a woman who was not his wife.”

They added Matt had reportedly “shared those concerns with his wife, Lauren, and two elders, Josh Patterson and Elder Chairman Jasien Swords that same evening, and submitted to their leadership in addressing the situation.”

Related: American Idol’s David Archuleta Opens Up About Faith & Sexuality

It was then decided by said elders that a private law firm would be hired to “conduct a review of Matt’s messaging history across social media platforms, cell phone, and email.” Pretty serious stuff…

The investigation ultimately found that although “the messages were not romantic or sexual in nature, the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line.” The church noted boundaries are important, especially as a key figure within the community and found “Matt violated our internal social media use policies, and more importantly that, while the overarching pattern of his life has been ‘above reproach,’ he failed to meet the 1 Timothy standard for elders of being ‘above reproach’ in this instance.”

While addressing the institution directly Sunday, the pastor explained he didn’t believe he had “done anything wrong,” noting that both his wife and the husband of the woman he was messaging were aware of their communication. He revealed:

“We believe in brother-sister relationships here, and yet there was a frequency that moved past that, and there was a familiarity that played itself out in coarse and foolish joking, some befitting of someone in my position as a lead pastor. And as an elder, I’m held to a higher standard and fell short of that higher standard.”

He then confessed:

“I’m just really embarrassed, feel stupid. I feel like I’m embarrassing my wife and kids.”

While we’re not sure what exactly the messages looked like, there definitely is a line between offering support and guidance and crossing into more intimate territories. The church concluded in their Sunday release:

“Matt’s behavior was a sign of unhealth in his life, and that the best course of action would be for him to take a leave of absence from teaching and preaching at The Village Church. Matt’s leave of absence is both disciplinary and developmental”

Adding:

“The timeline for his return will be dictated by the expectations the elders have laid out for his development.”

According to the Village Church website, Matt has been a pastor there since 2002, known then as the First Baptist Church of Highland Village. He has three children with his wife Lauren, whom he married in 1999. Additionally, the Village Church is part of the larger Southern Baptist Convention, which is currently under investigation by the Justice Department, per NBC News and the Washington Post, for clergy sex abuse.

Related: Pastor Confesses To Affair During Sermon — Mistress Reveals She’s Only 16

The church also recently settled a lawsuit regarding one of its ministers molesting an 11-year-old child, according to WaPo — though they have claimed to have “committed no wrong.” Wow… What are your thoughts on this situation, Perezcious readers? Did the elders make the right move sending Matt on leave? Let us know in the comments (below).

[The Village Church — Flower Mound/YouTube]



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