Why the Term “Fallen Pastor” Really Bothers Me

Side note/small print/Full Disclosure: I’m married to the preacher man.

I’ve only been thinking about this post for a year now. Just the title though – don’t get your expectations up. So let’s just get on with this one so I can sleep already.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH (That about sums it up)

The first thing God EVER said about sin is that SIN is crouching, waiting – even coming after us. We will be tempted. When did going to seminary qualify you to be less sensitive to what God said is crouching near us?

If we think temptations lessen in the ministry – we are about as wrong as a cat is curious. If anything – they double. Satan doesn’t waste his time on the benchwarmers. He’s after the first string.

So let’s assume people understand pastors are tempted. Then why are we so surprised when they sin? Do we really (does anyone still really) place them in the status of holy superhero? Are we still mixing up healthy respect with idol worship?

Here is some BREAKING NEWS: Your pastor probably sinned yesterday.

(I’m sorry. And you’re welcome)

Because when we expect ANYONE to be CHRIST other than the MAIN MAN – we are the ones set up to fall – into major disappointment and our own faith crises.

Your pastor cannot determine WHO GOD IS TO YOU. If we put all the cards of our faith into the pastor deck, we will seriously misinterpret the gospel and what PERFECT LOVE really looks like.

One problem here is that we seem to call the big stuff sin, and misunderstand our sin nature. The news hits when a leader commits a sin we consider major. Really, one of the most common sins in the Christian family is NOT doing what we know to do. We are all works in progress.

I understand articles that address HOW to heal in the midst of issues surrounding a leader. We all need help in conflict resolution and healing from hurts. What is sad is that the leader becomes this object of discussion. Everyone has their thought on what that leader should do. How they should confess. What their website should look like now.

Beth Moore opened her heart recently about a hunt going on in the Christian family. How we are quick to label people heretics. I fully agree. We are quick to label EVERYONE. When did we ever think putting “FALLEN” in front of a title or name is in anyway helpful? Because really, we all start out on that same fallen plane. But can I just…….HELLO, the fall was in G-E-N-E-S-I-S. Can we move on from this already?

If anyone – ANYONE – is in Christ, he or she is a new creation. Purchased, bought, DONE. They are REDEEMED SINNERS. To move them back over to “fallen” because they sinned is contrary to the grace we preach – I guess unless we want to write an article about every Christian when they sin and call them fallen too. Which seems kind of repetitious and quite time consuming.

There is either a clear misunderstanding of sanctification or we just plain want the opportunity to pounce on a leader and give our two cents. The title REVERAND does not graduate you from the need for the same daily grace we all get offered from a loving God.

Pastors are accountable to the system of authority set around them in their particular church. Just like we are all accountable to authority. Mostly – and above all – they answer to God. Well – us too there. Here is the kicker – they will be held to a higher standard with regard to the way they lead souls – but that’s God’s deal. I’m pretty sure He can handle that.

I expect all the people in robes or otherwise comfy preaching attire to sin. (Don’t get all – you should expect the best from people here) Of course I hope, I spur on….and above all I pray for pastors. But I do not expect them to be perfect. I’ve got enough on my plate confessing my own sin. I’m not signing up for the sin management record keeper position any time soon.

I’m concerned when I see headlines soaring because they have all the JUICE on someone’s mistakes. What does it say about us that we keep those conversations going?

Can we drop the term “fallen” from our labeling repertoire? Or maybe just throw out the label-maker. It’s pretty 20th century anyway.



  1. Ginger, this is such an important post and a great one at that! What always gets me is when I hear of people leaving their church or stopping to go to church when a pastor sins — because that sounds to me like they were going to church for the pastor and not Jesus to begin with. It makes me so sad both for the people and for the pastor because just like you said, pastors sin like we all do. Oh that we would all just be examining our own hearts and leave the hearts of others to God!


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