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Succeeding Failure

When a pastor leaves due to a moral collapse, it takes a heavy toll on a church. When three consecutive senior pastors leave a church over issues of moral failure, it's impossible to do "church as usual."

In 1993, knowing that this was the situation, I accepted the pastorate at Faith Presbyterian Church. Still, that knowledge could not prepare me for the spiritual and organizational dysfunction my wife Carol and I were about to enter.

The looks from people who knew the history at Faith Church said it all: Does he understand what he's getting into? I'll give him one year. Doesn't he value his marriage?

My initial interview with the Ministerial Committee of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) turned out to be one of the lengthiest ever. They grilled me about my childhood, my relationship with my father, the health of my marriage. It felt like a police interrogation.

I submitted to the process because both Carol and I knew that Faith Presbyterian was where God wanted us—despite its ...

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