Restoring Fallen Christian Leaders

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How would you feel if you knew that a leader in your church was working through a major moral failure? This week, John Bailey and Mark Renfroe talk through some of the factors involved in this process and explain the difference between restoration to Christ and restoration to leadership.

Key Points from the Podcast

  • Spiritual restoration is not an exact science but a complicated issue that requires prayer and discernment.

  • Ministry is a privilege, not a right; and Christian leaders are held to a higher standard.

  • Every person who has sinned can be restored to Christ, but not every leader who falls should be restored to public ministry.

  • A church leader who has had a moral failure should step away from ministry while they go through the restoration process.

  • God exposes our sin, not to shame or condemn us, but to bring healing, restoration, and freedom.

  • The combination of unhealed wounds with the pressure of leadership can be a dangerous mixture for pastors.

  • Leaders need trusted people to whom they can bring their struggles rather than hiding them to keep up appearances.

  • Issues of competency are to be handled differently than issues of character.

  • Leaders are not to use their God-given authority to control or abuse those under their leadership.

  • Questions to consider when walking a church leader through restoration are: How often has the failure occurred? How long has this been going on? And, how broad is the impact?

  • An apology for a failure, even one soaked in tears, is not necessarily true repentance.

  • If a ministry leader fails, repents, and continues the cycle of sin and repentance, then there are underlying issues that have not been addressed.

  • Nothing good grows in the dark. If you are struggling with a sin issue, please find a trusted friend with whom you can share your struggle and begin the process of restoration.

Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast

1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:6­–9; Romans 11:29; Isaiah 55:11; Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 5:20; 1 Corinthians 10:12

About John Bailey

Pastor John Bailey serves as the Chief Operating Officer at World Challenge. John came to know Christ in jail after some difficult struggles as a young man, and God has done a powerful work of transformation since! Spending 13 years in Next Gen ministry, he excelled in discipleship and helping young leaders discover giftings to serve God. John was called next to serve as a missionary and pastor in Western Europe. John and his family then returned to plant the Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, the church is a thriving body of believers excelling in outreach and missions. John has now brought his giftings and vision to World Challenge, accelerating the spread of the gospel in America and around the World.

About Mark Renfroe

Mark married his college sweetheart, Amy, with whom he has four adult children—one girl and three boys. The Renfroes have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. They served in the Arab community of San Francisco for four years before becoming foreign missionaries in 1995. Mark was asked to serve as the Area Director for Assemblies of God World Missions in 2007. As part of his role, he led missionaries and interfaced with national church leaders in the 18 countries of the Arab World. In 2017, Mark created Reaching Africa’s Muslims, an initiative to mobilize, equip, and deploy indigenous African missionaries to reach Muslims on the continent. Mark has graduate degrees in Intercultural Studies and Executive Leadership. He currently serves as the Chief Missions Officer for World Challenge in Colorado Springs.