Orginally published on Monday, June 08, 2009 at 6:55 AM
by Todd Rhoades
Word came over yesterday that yet another pastor had fallen. Many of you are familiar with the ministry of Gary Lamb of Revolution Church. Yesterday, Gary was forced to resign his church after admitting to a six week 'emotional and physical affair' with his personal assistant. Gary has had a very public persona on-line through his blog, twitter, etc. He has been known as a passionate church planter, an outspoken leader, and a bit of a renegade. I've had the opportunity to meet and talk with Gary several times over the years and consider him a ministry friend. So, when word hit yesterday at his blog, it caused me (as many others) to have a ton of different feelings and thoughts. I want to share some of those with you here today...
These thoughts are random… so bare with me.
1. This is, perhaps, one of the first falls from grace that includes an element of social networking. As an avid blogger and twitterer, I know that power of social networking. When I go to conferences and gatherings, people recognize me from my small 1x1 picture on my blog and on twitter. People feel a kind of personal attachment with me (even though we’ve never met). I feel that same, kinda weird feeling about them. It’s hard to explain, but you really do feel like you get to know someone online… their likes, their dislikes, their personality, their passions, their work, their family. These is a bond. With yesterday’s announcement, Gary Lamb stirred up the bond that he had created with those who know him. But this fall was different… not only did this affect his family, friends, and local church, it also hit hard a few thousand people all over the country who feel they knew Gary personally (even though they had never met). In fact, there have been over 150 tweets alone in the last 24 hours from people who have commented that they are praying for Gary and all involved.
2. Of all the comments online so far, most are supportive of Gary, which I think is good. Most offered support for Gary and his wife. Fewer offered support for the gal caught up in the affair, but that was probably because no one knows her or her family. A few of the comments were a little more transparent… thinks like how upset they were or how they had a terrible feeling in the pit of their stomach.
3. I must give credit to Gary that he took ownership of 100% of this, and stated that he was 100% behind the leadership of Revolution Church in asking him to step down. He said that he had disqualified himself from leadership of the church (which I believe to be true at this time). Hopefully Gary will be able to truly back-off from the church and let them heal. So many times, I see this kind of situation happen, and while there is immediate repentance, it is quickly followed by a sense of entitlement of what the church owes this person, and how quickly they can be restored to leadership. I hope that doesn’t happen here. Everyone needs time to heal.
4. Another interesting part of this story is the documented online history that Gary has online during the past six weeks (during his admitted affair). According to his tweets, Gary and Revolution Church were seeing some amazing things happen for the Kingdom. This included a family vacation, a marriage retreat, his assistant watching his kids and then hanging out with his wife, and baptizing a ton of people at the church. Even during this season of sin, there was an appearance that all was well and God was blessing.
5. My thought (and I’ve blogged on this before). You just don’t wake up one morning and sleep with your assistant. Satan had to have achieved smaller victories in Gary’s life over time to make this one possible.
6. The ramifications of this extend far beyond the online community, the church, and family. It also spreads to the community that Revolution Church is trying to reach. So many people are looking for an excuse to write off a successful church and it’s message. For those people, this is the only excuse they need.
7. There will be some that will say they saw this coming. Others will come down like a brick on Gary. Yet others will pick apart everything Gary has said over the years from the pulpit or in his blog. That’s really not necessary. God has used Gary Lamb in a great way; and may use Gary in a great way in the future (though that’s still uncertain).
8. And for all of us who may feel self righteous from time to time, we need to get over ourselves… because this could happen to us. Matter of fact, some reading this, it is happening to right now. Another group is real close to making a similar decision as Gary made six weeks ago. Stop it. You will most likely be humiliated. You will humiliate your wife and kids, your church, and your family. It’s not worth it.
I guess that’s it right now. My prayers go out to Gary, his wife and kids, Revolution Church, and to his assistant and her family.
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