Pastors and Affairs

Pastors and Affairs

Posted on 06. Apr, 2011 by in Personal Growth

This post is from on June 29th, 2010.

I know of five pastors (yes you read that right) who have resigned from their churches due to affairs in the last month, so I thought it might be worth the repost.  I have edited a little of it so it makes sense, but I’m telling you that the Church better wake up this problem, better get their heads out of the sand and start addressing some of these issues.

A little over a year ago (now two years), I made a decision that cost me everything. After years of neglecting my marriage, I entered into a physical affair with a lady who wasn’t my wife. Needless to say, that was a life-changing decision and it cost me greatly. Though God has blessed me greatly in the last year (now two years), I will pay a heavy price for my actions for the rest of my life.  Make no mistake about it, I have no one to blame but myself and I take 100% responsibility for my decisions and actions.

One of the doors that God has opened to me since the affair is having the dubious honor of talking to many pastors across the country who have entered into sexual affairs with someone outside their marriage.  Not a week goes by where I don’t get an email from a pastor who is involved in an affair and has nowhere to turn or someone who understands. Just like me, these guys have no one to blame but themselves, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck that they are dealing with this issue.

It breaks my heart each time I hear about or speak to a pastor in an affair. It breaks my heart every time because I know the dark days they are about to go through. I know how many of the people they served with are going to treat them and most of all, I know the pain and guilt they feel. I had a few people I had never met reach out to me during this time and I count it an honor to be there for these men as their world is falling apart.

According to the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 50% of women and 60% of men will have physical affairs while married. Since most of these people having affairs aren’t married to each other, the study concludes that 80% of marriages will involve an affair.  Those stats are shocking to many but having been through it, I’m not surprised in the least.

You would think pastors would be the least likely to fall into this snare but I actually believe that pastors are more open to affairs than almost any other profession.  I’ve been an “outsider” in the Christian leadership world for over a year now and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, observe, and pray about this and I just wanted to share some reasons today why I think pastors in today’s churches need to wake up and realize why they are open to an attack from Satan in this area.

My goal is not to bash pastors or the church, but my prayer is that some guys might see the path they are headed down and get help before it’s too late.  I honestly wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy.


It’s true.  When I planted Revolution Church, I was a great example of an insecure leader.  In the last year, my network moved from mostly being pastors and Christian leaders to being “regular Joe’s” and it has truly opened my eyes to how insecure pastors are.

We’ve made church a competition.  We judge pastor’s success by attendance, by the size of their buildings, by how “edgy” they are, by how many people they baptized, by how many people read their blog, who they run with, etc.  As a result, we have a bunch of guys who are simply insecure in their calling because they don’t “measure” up.  Instead of feeling secure in their calling, they feel insecure because their church isn’t big.

It’s almost comical to read pastor’s blogs and tweets.  Pastor’s talk more about trying to be cool than they do reaching people for Jesus.  Because we’re pastors, many times we are people pleasers and that leads us to do superficial things to make us have confidence in ourselves.

Pastor’s talk more about shopping at the Buckle, their hundred dollar jeans, their cool new preaching shirt, their P90X workout, their “hot wife”, etc,. etc., more than any other people I follow online.  I often laugh at the way pastor’s dress at conferences and at church because they brag about being casual but in reality they dress like they are going out to the club.  As I watch people in the “real world” I hardly ever see this.  Most pastors are middle aged men trying to be cool and all it does is come off as insecure.

The internet fuels this as well. Every person with the internet can post anything they want about you and most pastors I know read this and become consumed by it.  Again, pastors want to be liked. I remember when a 1000 people could tell me they loved my sermon but I would only focus on the one person who didn’t.  Most pastors brag about how they don’t read the stuff but trust me, they do.

Because of this insecurity, we open ourselves to finding validation in things outside of Jesus Christ.  Jesus isn’t enough and so we look to get our validation from other things and that opens us up to getting our validation from the opposite sex.

It would serve us well, as pastors, to quit trying to be something we’re not and to study WHO WE ARE in Christ.  This is an area that I still struggle in but I have made leaps and bounds in the last year.  It starts with being open about our insecurities.


Pastor’s can talk all day about elders, accountability boards, Board of Overseers, etc. The large majority of pastors have zero accountability.  This isn’t a knock on those offering accountability, it is a knock on us pastors.  We think we are above answering to someone.

Accountability does NO good if you aren’t willing to be honest.  I had a Board of Overseers but I only spoke to a few of them once a year when it was time to get a raise.  The others, I could have went to at any time but, I didn’t.  I lied to them and never told them about my problems until it was to late.

We as pastors hate accountability.  Being accountable means being real, honest, and willing to lay it on the line because you know your marriage, ministry, and testimony is at stake.  In the last year, God has put a couple of men in my life that I KNOW I can tell anything too and they will hold me accountable.

I don’t always like it, but it is actually one of the most freeing things I’ve ever experienced. My wife, Elena put Covenant Eyes on our computer and I hated it. I didn’t hate it because I was looking at porn, I hated it because I was a 34 year old man and I didn’t feel like I had to answer to anyone. I’ve had it almost a year and it is actually one of the most freeing things ever. I love when the reports come in because it lets those who see the reports know I’m not looking at what I shouldn’t be and it keeps me from doing it in the times I am tempted.

By the way pastors, your staff isn’t going to keep you accountable.  Like it or not, they know you are the boss, they know you sign the paycheck, and this makes it hard to keep you accountable.  I was out of control for years and no one on my staff had the balls to call my “stuff” out including my wife.  Accountability will not find you, you have to find it. You have to do whatever it takes to be honest and open with those God has placed in your life or you WILL fall.


Pastors are servants. We don’t do it for the money. We are in ministry because we want to make a difference in the lives of people.  Deep in the heart of every pastor is the desire to serve others.

Sadly, we spend our lives serving others but forget to serve our wives. The truth is, we expect our wife to serve us. I had zero problem doing whatever the people in the pews (or chairs!) needed. I was at the hospital, I would meet one on one with them, I would be there when they fell off the wagon, etc.

However, I would come home at night and expect my ex-wife to serve me.  After all, I “gave” to others all day and I deserved it.  I preached that she came first but in reality she didn’t.  Long before my physical affair, I was cheating on her with the church.  I remember when everything happened, Perry Noble called me out on this.  He was right but I didn’t listen.

I’m now remarried and what I have learned is marriage is hard. I love Elena and I am glad God has taken our horrible start and given us another chance.  But it doesn’t matter who you’re married to, marriage is hard work and I’m learning to serve her even if I don’t feel like it or she doesn’t do it back.

Elena and I have talked a lot about this and I realize – now that I’m working on my marriage to her – that I was to blame 100% in my first marriage. Does that mean my ex-wife did everything right? No, but I’m responsible for my own actions and I should have served her and if I served her like Christ served the church then I would still be married to her today.

I can’t go back and change that, but I can make sure it doesn’t happen in my marriage to Elena.  My call as a pastor is still to serve people, but I will make sure I lead by example by serving Elena first.


Make no mistake about it, I was a rock star at my last church.  The church grew very large and I got whatever I wanted, when I wanted it. I walked around in expensive clothing with armed security and I answered to no one.  My blog got more hits than the church website.  People knew me all over the country and the system in our churches today fed that ego inside of me.

I’m honestly fearful for so many pastors today.  The church culture has these men on such a pedestal that it’s setting them up to fall.  I’m all for taking care of the pastor and treating him with honor but remember, they are just people. I saw a tweet yesterday from someone that said “Honor Your Pastor, Don’t Elevate Him.” I thought that was great!

Many pastors live in such a fantasy world that it leads to them thinking they are above the rules.  I got to the point to where I thought I could do what I wanted, when I wanted because I thought everything was about me.  I thought my church couldn’t make it without me (I’m happy to say I was proven wrong).

I’m afraid there are so many pastors trying to make a name for themselves that they’ve forgotten that we’re called to make much of Jesus  Don’t believe me? Go check out some of your pastor’s favorite tweets. You’ll learn very quickly what they’re about.

When I launched my previous church, I wanted to change a community for Jesus. In the end, I would have said that was still my goal but what really became my passion was making a name for myself, speaking at conferences, and being known. I did the opposite of John the Baptist - I increased while Jesus decreased.

Here is the bottom line: This isn’t going away.  Pastors need to wake up. The Church needs to wake up. And they need to do it before they find themselves in the position I found myself 2 years ago.

Related posts:

  1. Pastors and Affairs (Part 2 of 2)
  2. Perry Noble Coaching Network
  3. Disconnect: Permission for Pastors to Power Down
  4. The Big Advantage of Being Small
  5. Networking with Rick Eschenburg

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