Pastors, Parks, and Prostitution…AGAIN!


OK, it has happened again. I’m driving down the road listening to the local newsbreak on the radio and the story of yet another pastor being arrested for sexual solicitation is broadcast for the entire River Valley to hear. Apparently the police had launched a sting effort at Fort Smith Park (which seems to be a frequent destination for sexual perverts around here) and nabbed a bunch of men. Of course the one pastor that was arrested was the BIG news story.

Let me first begin by saying that I am sooooo tired of this. So tired of hearing story after story of called men of God falling to temptation and seeking sexual fulfillment away from their wife. And I am mad. NO, mad doesn’t really cut it. I am TICKED OFF! This has GOT to stop!! The world is watching! As pastors we carry a unique mantel of testimony. Our downfall has a greater impact on the cause of Christ than that of the Average Joe. Maybe it’s not fair but that IS the way it is. There are those who love to laugh and revel when yet another pastor cannot keep his sexual appetite within the privacy of his bedroom with the one woman with which he made a covenant.

EVERY TIME “Pants on the Ground: Pastor’s Edition” is played, it just becomes ANOTHER reason for people to stay away from church, ANOTHER reason to not trust clergy, ANOTHER reason to not trust Jesus.

And it has to stop. Now. This very minute!

If you’re a pastor PLEASE for the sake of the Kingdom, for the sake of the all the rest of us who are called, for the sake of the Gospel…

• Keep your fly zipped up and privates private. NEVER remove your pants except in the privacy of your bedroom with your wife. Not in your office, not in your car, not in a park.

• If you’re a Pastor in Fort Smith, NEVER go to Fort Smith Park for ANY reason. That location is poison right now. Nothing good can come from your presence there.

• NEVER meet with a woman in your office with the door closed and without the presence of another person. Never. Not for any reason.

• NEVER ride in a car alone with another woman other than your wife. NEVER!

• Never eat lunch alone with another woman other than your wife. Even if you’re out of town and “no one” will know. Not for any reason.

• Don’t look at porn. Your wife is the ONLY woman you need to see naked.

• If you struggle with ANY of the above. Do one of two things, PLEASE: 1) get help, or 2) get out of the ministry. Today. Right now. Don’t wait.

And please don’t tell me the above are obvious and that we all know we need to do (or not do) these things. Apparently that’s just not the case.

I’m done venting. Until the next time….

Jeff


UPDATE:
Dr. Scott Maze, the senior pastor of the great First Baptist Church of Van Buren, has written a letter to me in response to this post. Thank you Scott, my brother, for your words of encouragement which we all would do well to read. Click here to read Scott’s very well researched and biblically based response to my thoughts and to sexual sin in general.
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10 responses to “Pastors, Parks, and Prostitution…AGAIN!”

  1. Jay Baker says :

    I agree with the message here. There is a high calling on our life. We are to strive for Christ-likeness in every aspect of our job. I disagree with the venue, though. Scripture is clear about the process of church discipline. Angry blog posts which draw further attention to one man's fall is not part of the process. Enough shame came upon the church and I pray that Wesley and the rest of the staff at said church deal with it appropriately. It IS noble to inspire fellow ministry members to purity. It is not noble to spew anger over the fall of this manJust my thoughts…

  2. Jared Broyles says :

    Jeff, there seems to be little room for grace in your words if any at all. By that, I am surprised. I am not at all suggesting that we excuse sexual sin. However, instead of publicly pointing out one man's moral failures, why not offer a ministry to men like him because you now see a need? I have to wonder from your words if you're more concerned about how pastors will be perceived or by how God will be seen. I find most non-churched people are far more concerned with feeling judged by Christianity than with hypocrisy. To me, this is an opportunity for the church to be who she is: a place for the broken. It is true that sin cannot be ignored or excused. Still, I can't help but think that Christ would do it a little differently. I can only hope that this man has a grand church family to surround him and hold him accountable; and save the judgment for the Savior. Sexual sin is a quiet cancer in our churches that is slowly killing men. We need to wake up to that fact and openly address it whether it's in the pew or the pulpit.

  3. Jeff Crawford says :

    Jay, I think that sometimes a public display of "anger" is very appropriate, and even in line with Scripture. Especially when we are talking about a recurring problem among clergy, that being sexual sin. My goal is NOT to draw attention to one man's fall but to the sin that tempts ALL of us, even pastors. My message is to ALL pastors to live up to our calling, especially in the area of sexual purity. Regarding THIS particular incident, I have kept names and specific churches out of the discussion and was only sharing the information broadcast publicly on the airwaves of the River Valley. You are correct that shame does come upon a church and it is hurtful to all. I am praying earnestly for healing and for the grace of God to work in and through the affected church. They have a GREAT senior pastor who I consider a friend. And I hurt for him as well. I believe God will triumph and the cause of Christ will persevere.

  4. Jeff Crawford says :

    Jared,There is always room for grace! But where there is a recurring problem of sin, in this case sexual sin among clergy, there comes a point where a call must go out.Regarding the pointing out of one man's sin, please see my comment to Jay above. It was the local news outlets that put the public focus on this incident, not me. I am only following up with a call to ALL pastors to live in purity. Yes, I am concerned about how pastors are perceived BECAUSE I am concerned about how God is perceived as well as His church. I join with you in the hope that in this particular situation that the brother who has fallen will be embraced by his church and that healing can occur. I am sure he is embarrassed as is his whole family and church. The good news is he has a GREAT church and GREAT senior pastor and I have no doubt they will do what is necessary and right to bring healing.

  5. Jared Broyles says :

    Jeff,I apologize for my harsh accusations. There's no doubt in my mind that you love the church and people. My response was unnecessarily reactionary. What you have written is truth, and I agree with you. Also, it is true that we in the media were quick to prey on his story. Often times, we consider hot headlines as more important than ruined lives. I think your bottom line is right: get help or get out. My fear is do pastors particularly have the freedom to approach others in ministry for the help they need?

  6. Jeff Crawford says :

    Jared – there is no offense taken. I know you are a brother in Christ and I think this is an emotional issue for all of us. I actually let my emotions calm before I wrote my post! Besides being upset, I am so incredibly BROKEN over what is happening to pastors in America. I graduated from college in 1992 with a whole crew of guys (friends) going into the ministry. In these 18 years since, I have seen so many of them fall one by one. Good men. Great men. Godly men. But they were weak. We ALL are weak. But they weren't careful. I have mourned what the church has lost with these men being disqualified from ministry. And then I get mad because I see exactly what Satan is doing. I am so tired of this happening in every town to wonderful men and their families and churches. Pastors that I know and pastors that I don't. And I share your sentiment, too. I think help can be a hard path for a pastor who struggles. But help is there. There are confidential ministries that exist to help pastors and all men. Pure Life Ministries is an excellent example: http://www.purelifeministries.orgThanks for your comments and for reading.

  7. RobertM says :

    Pastor Crawford, you addressed a bad situation, and I support your perspective. Indeed, the public does hold leaders and other high-profile persons to a higher standard. However, should any man who strives for the Kingdom be held any less accountable than pastors? Those of us who hope to be more than rank & file pew warmers are held to the same level of accountability in God’s eyes as are pastors. Dontcha think?

  8. Jeff Crawford says :

    Robert – yep…I agree. Man's standard is definitely different than God's standard. But Paul did tell Timothy that "we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." That's just the way it is…

  9. Anonymous says :

    As a wife of a simple but dynamic man that has served Jesus for years and never fell off the narrow way,I'm a happy camper. I know living in the flesh is a sign of falling short of the supernatural. I just don't think it gels that anyone can serve Jesus and their own will at the same time. He has a choice and I hope he makes it for serving our Lord. In my experience over the years not that many wanderers choose redemption. My idea is they are missing a spiritual chance of a lifetime and doing a good job with the negative publicity. Yet it causes good men to man up against the sin that has been exposed in such a damaging way. I'm just imagining a group of real pastors visiting the park to keep any other pastors out….

  10. simon says :

    Greetings in Jesus name Pastor. Jesus Christ was uncompromising on the truth, but his sensitive side also shows up in his actions and teachings. In our busy, self-centred world, we need to remember those who have challenges in their lives, and when they come to mind, pray for them, and find a way to forgive and encourage/support them.Jesus Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. Therefore if God is willing to forgive us as sinners, we should do likewise (especially as followers of Jesus Christ)"Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed less he fall. There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." ( 1 Corinthians 10 v 12-13)The Bible clearly states we must not yield to temptation, but instead to flee temptation for temptation gives birth to SIN! Remember Satan is roaming like a lion seeking whom to devour. The sad reality is that Man as not learnt their lesson from scripture. where we have examples of leading men beginning with Adam, falling to the deception of Satan. MEN inside the Kingdom need to be alert, aware of their position and responsiblity at ALL times. It takes considerable amount of time and effort in building your reputation and integrity and only 5 minutes to destroy it! Therefore ALL MEN need to abide in Christ Jesus, increase their faith, rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and carefully choose the Biblical values against which all of life is judged.Yes, you are human, and you will struggle with situations which demand that you choose between what you want to do and what you ought to do.We need role models and I believe for every bad example there is in contrast a good example. Where others have failed, others can achieve! Providing they WHOLLY ABIDE in CHRIST JESUS. Walk with God and maintain your integrity, and you will be able to make the right choice every time. Visit http://simon.weston.over-blog.net/ and may God richly bless you!

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