Wisdom for pastors when tempted to have an affair

Here is another excerpt from my new book for pastors -

You can buy the book "Help! I'm a Pastor" here.

SCENARIO:

Pastor Chris Charisma is the good looking dynamic pastor of Going Forward Church. He is married to Carla. They have three children who are still in the home. The Charisma’s marriage is struggling some, and Carla is not as interested in sex anymore. Chris is frustrated and is noticing a young divorcee in his leadership team, Gina Perfect. She is constantly telling Chris what a great leader he is, and has been flirting with him. Chris is tempted to pursue Gina.  

LIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCENARIO:

  • It is impossible to affair-proof a church. 

  • Only very uncommitted Christians would ever be tempted to have an affair. 

  • Our ministry is not effective in helping people who are tempted to have an affair or who have had one. 

  • It is absolutely impossible for an affair to ever happen in my family or in the lives of those I do ministry with. 

LIFE AND LEADERSHIP VALUES TO CONSIDER:

  1. I have high standards in how I conduct myself in relationships with the opposite sex.

  2. My real ministry starts when I walk through the doors of my home.

  3. I am “sent” by trustworthy people into the ministry I have, and I continue to pursue accountability with them and others for how I live my life and what I do in ministry.

  4. I have at least one person in my life that I share the deep things of my life with (weaknesses, dreams, fears, longings, etc.).

  5. I proactively anticipate challenges that could occur in the future.  

DISCERNING WHAT IS BEING DEVELOPED IN YOUR LEADERSHIP THROUGH THIS SITUATION:

  1. He is helping you get your deepest needs by Him, not by people. 

  2. He is causing you to prioritize your marriage above every other human relationship.

  3. He is teaching you to set good boundaries in your actions and thoughts.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TAKING ACTION:

  1. How can I be a better husband?

  2. How can I send stronger signals that I am unavailable for an affair?

  3. What safeguards does our ministry have (and that we can establish) to decrease the likelihoods of affairs?

  4. When will I open up to share my battle with my wife and/or another person?

  5. What is the root problem I am battling?

PRACTICAL STEPS TO CONSIDER (Note: we are referring to a male tempted to have an affair, but the principles can be applied to women as well):

  1. Establish standards to help “affair proof” your life and church – Here’s ideas: 1) Never meet alone with another woman beside your wife.  2) Don’t get into intimate conversations with other women. 3) Never discuss the weaknesses of your wife with another woman, 4) Regularly share “I love my wife” messages.. 5) Keep investing in your own marriage. 6) Pursue more info “affair-proofing” your marriage. There is a lot of good information available. 

  2. Understand the devastation affairs causes – Here are the common results of pastors and leaders having an affair: broken trust in marriage, divorce, individuals becoming disillusioned with the church and Christianity, damaged reputation, alimony and child support payments, and more. 

  3. Lead a ministry that addresses the emotional wounds of people  – It is the wise and loving leader who takes step to ensure his leadership team really is healthy. This can be done in many ways, but one way is through having inner healing and biblically based counseling ministries pouring into your leaders and congregation - to strengthen them and help heal the wounds and negative experiences of their past. (These can also help those who might have already had an affair.) As our people become emotionally healthy, they are less likely to have affairs. 

DECLARATIONS:

  • The ministry I lead has healthy marriages and has a great protection against affairs. 

  • The leaders of my church and I have a good strategy to insure we are each growing in emotional health. 

  • My leaders and I have powerful, life-giving strategies that dramatically decrease the likelihood of affairs in our lives and ministries.

Click here for another excerpt from this upcoming book: The "Pastor, the people are unhappy with you" scenario.