In the old nursery rhyme "all the king's horses and all the king's men" tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Likewise, when a pastor falls, a great amount of energy can be poured into the leader's restoration. But what about the fallen leader's church? In the wake of the Ted Haggard story we've invited Dave Terpstra, pastor at The Next Level Church in Denver, to share his reflections on leading a church after the fall of a gifted pastor.
What should a church do after the fallout of a disgraced leader's resignation? That was the question our team faced almost 6 years ago when our senior pastor resigned after the revelation of a disqualifying pattern of sin in his life. After the shock began to fade and reality began to set in, we sat around and asked ourselves, "What next?"
After the fall of a primary senior leader, it is the junior leaders of the church who are left holding the bag. Sometimes, in churches with a smaller staff, it is lay people who are left to lead the church. The fall of a primary leader requires the best leadership that a church can muster, and for most churches that sort of leadership usually came from the person who fell.
Thankfully, when we found ourselves in this situation a group of mature and experienced church leaders offered their support and advice to those of us left. It was their words of encouragement that allowed me to discover the one thing I believe every church needs after its leader has fallen - a team of leaders who focus on themselves before they focus on the church.
At the time our senior pastor resigned, I was 25 years old and still a full-time student at Denver Seminary. I had just bought a house and was getting ready to settle into a comfortable junior position at the church. ...