Andy, glad you shared this but not happy about it at all. I wish I could say this type of thing is a rarity but it’s not. And I agree with you about the church’s current state (in America).
And yet, I’ve been a pastor for 40+ years and still have a commitment to the pastorate and church. I’ve been part of real community within church, even as a pastor ;-) But true, honest community is often missing nowadays, as is intentional, relational discipleship. This requires true, godly leadership.
We all say we want such things but do “we” value them, really? Such things as community and discipleship require a lot of time and commitment.
Trust is a hard thing to restore and it’s hard to risk again after getting burned. But the alternative—not trusting—isn’t good. It will take time but trust in relationships is the only way they can be healthy.
I’ve experienced real disappointment in church ministry, leadership, and community many times over the past 45 years… even caused it for others unintentionally, but it happened just the same. Each time I got “burned” I had to make the choice to trust again. Still at it after all these years simply because that’s what Jesus keeps calling me to do.
I’ll pray for you and your family and your church. I encourage you to do the same. No simple resolve exists for such situations.
Ironic, as I read your post and wrote my response, I’m just down the road off I-40 from you (in Crossville) working with a church that lost its pastor, to help them find their way and call a new pastor.
Appreciate you Andy!