Brandi Wilson Discusses the Devastating Pain When Pete Wilson Chose to Leave Their Family and Their Church. So Why Is He Working as a Long Distance Pastor for Northridge Church?

“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.”  CS Lewis Mere Christianity.


Should pastors choose to live hundreds of miles away from their congregations?

It seems rather obvious to me that Pete Wilson was not playing straight with his former church, Cross Point, when he decided to leave due to *burn out.* I wrote about what appears to be his new position at NorthRidge Church in Plymouth Michigan. From what I was told by a member, Pete Is both allegedly a teaching pastor and a pastor of small groups. However, the strange part of this arrangement is that he is still living in Nashville, working at The A Group and flying in to the church in Michigan now and again.

One of his former associates at Cross Point Church is also doing something similar. Holly Brown left when Pete resigned. She holds the title of Executive Pastor at Embrace Church in South Dakota but she still lives the Nashville area where her husband reportedly works. Nashville is approximately 1,000 miles from South Dakota.

So, here is the question for this part of the post. Do you think it is normal for a pastor to make the deliberate choice to live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their congregation if they hold the title of pastor?

Should a church hire a pastor who chose to leave his wife and family as well as giving a questionable explanation for leaving his former church?

Esther Littlefield posted Episode 64: The Power Community Through Devastating Season with Brandi Wilson (Friendship Series.)

Brandi was involved in women’s leadership. Sadly, she thought those days were over when Pete walked out.

Brandi had been a pastor’s wife for 20 years when her husband decided to leave the church and their family.  This was an incredibly painful season of loss for her, but her community helped get her through this time.

Brandi realized that she had been devastated but not destroyed. After their divorce, Brandi counted herself out of leadership but her women leader friends didn’t allow her to do this. 

Thankfully, she realized that she could continue to be a woman’s leader through the ministry of her friends.

So, my question for Northridge is this. Why in the world would you hire a man who left his wife and family as a pastor of small groups and a teaching pastor? On top of that, is he so good that he doesn’t have to live near his church?

Final question

Why is there no question by the man who left his family accepting his long distance pastor deal but his ex wife wondered if she would no longer be qualified for leadership? Does the male rainmaker of a previous mega church get a pass?


Comments

Brandi Wilson Discusses the Devastating Pain When Pete Wilson Chose to Leave Their Family and Their Church. So Why Is He Working as a Long Distance Pastor for Northridge Church? — 81 Comments

  1. “Do you think it is normal for a pastor to make the deliberate choice to live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their congregation if they hold the title of pastor?”

    No, but it reminds me of this scoundrel:

    https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fno07

    “[J. Frank Norris] was pastor in Detroit (Temple Baptist Church) and in Fort Worth simultaneously in the 1930s-flying back and forth at a time when air travel was in its infancy.”

    https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/david-stokes/apparent-danger/

    “J. Frank Norris…Pastor of America’s first megachurch…a larger-than-life figure but also a troubling one—a canny, charismatic man who allied himself with the Ku Klux Klan and shaped his followers’ paranoia and unfocused sense of grievance into a rabid personality cult.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  2. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/evangelical-history/90-years-ago-today-when-a-pastor-in-texas-shot-and-killed-mr-chipps-in-his-baptist-church/

    “Norris was the most significant Southern fundamentalist of the first half of the 20th century…[besides] First Baptist Fort Worth…from 1935 to 1950 he also pastored simultaneously Temple Baptist Church in Detroit…he was one of the first megachurch pastors, or perhaps we should say megachurches, since he pastored two of them at the same time, in two different states.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  3. Yes Dee, they obviously do.
    They either have ‘ole boy connections or a reputation as a church growth ($) guru that their well deserved sleazy reputation is forgiven or even seen as an asset. (A lot of this going around in churches and politics these days)

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  4. Church of SBC bureaucrats Jonathan Howe (denomination’s new PR guy) and Augie Boto (its attorney) looking to ‘restore’ Senior Pastor Sam Boyd following ‘personal failing’:

    https://us9.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=c4e3ef55eba77faa89dfde8f1&id=e17bae574b

    “Below is a letter from Sam Boyd to our church congregation. It is intended to answer questions that have been raised, and to more openly communicate the basis of his resignation.”

    “the Elders are continuing to offer and provide him with the support necessary for him to seek healing and restoration.”

    “Members of Forest Hills Baptist Church,
    I understand that my resignation has caused some of you to ask questions about the suddenness of my decision and the limited information provided. This body of Elders has always supported me and my ministry…Because of errors of judgment and personal failing, I have fallen short of the Glory of God, and I feel the need to step away and renew my personal life and relationship with the Lord.”

    http://bpnews.net/53548/howe-named-ec-vp-of-communications#

    “NASHVILLE (BP) — Jonathan P. Howe has been named vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee effective Sept. 5…Howe most recently served as director of strategic initiatives with LifeWay Christian Resources…In that role, he was responsible for the content strategy and marketing of ThomRainer.com, EdStetzer.com and LifeWayPastors.com …Howe currently teaches Sunday School at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville”

    [the MinisterSearch tool (directory of SBC pastors) and was yanked off the denomination’s website just hours after Howe assumed responsibility for PR]

    “D. August (Augie) Boto…announced last month that he will retire as EC executive vice president at the end of September.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  5. Augie Boto has also been the longtime general counsel for the SBC Executive Committee, and its acting President when #ChurchToo erupted last year:

    http://www.bpnews.net/50648/ec-exec-vp-augie-boto-named-interim-president

    “NASHVILLE (BP) — [Executive vice president and general counsel] D. August (Augie) Boto has been named interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee…following the March 27 [2018] retirement of former EC President Frank S. Page…Boto is a member of Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville where he is a Sunday School teacher and regular Bible Study leader.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  6. Honestly, if anyone does not see that there are serious shenanigans going on behind all of this . . . well, I guess they will just continue to get away with this foolishness. Whatever these institutions are all about, they are not functional parts of the Body of Christ, nor the work of spreading the good news of God’s love for man. Moneymakers, powermakers, people controllers? I don’t know what their agendas are, but I would like to see anyone legitimately defend a shepherd who lives 1000’s of miles from his flock.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  7. Jerome: [the MinisterSearch tool (directory of SBC pastors) and was yanked off the denomination’s website just hours after Howe assumed responsibility for PR]

    This decision might be related to the law suit mentioned in this 9/7 sbcvoices item:

    https://sbcvoices.com/houston-chronicles-long-article-on-sbc-autonomy-can-the-sbc-maintain-its-non-liability-in-abuse-cases/

    in which SBC leaders at levels above the autonomous local congregation that is directly involved are included among the respondents.

    If this is a protective measure in the interests of delaying harm to SBC entities, it’s understandable though the “optics” are really bad.

    Wade Burleson’s abuser registry proposal is mentioned or alluded to at the end, and a reason for the refusal to implement this eminently sensible protective measure is suggested to be the possibility that it could create perception of responsibility and liability on the part of whatever SBC entity maintains the registry.

    So it really is up to outsiders to do this job for them.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  8. Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, TX did this for about a year (2016). Lake Pointe took over Real Life Church in Austin. Steve Stroope (LP Pastor) and Micah Davidson (RL Pastor) flew back and forth from Dallas to Austin to preach. It was a weird arrangement. Didn’t work out & the churches decided to split back to the way they were. There’s more to the story, but that’s the gist of it.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  9. Samuel Conner: So it really is up to outsiders to do this job for them.

    I get Wade’s proposal. I do. I just don’t trust the SBC to do it well enough. I trust the Houston Chronicle’s database a lot more.

    I’ll be honest, though–I don’t really trust SBC churches to use either one or to use them wisely.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  10. So who is paying the air fare and accommodations for these shepherds who refuse to live near the sheep?

    I should stipulate that living near the church does not guarantee the cleric will actually do much work. Roman Catholic Bishop Michael J. Bransfield fueled his lavish lifestyle through a secret oil fund donated to the West Virginia diocese. His impoverished diocese defunded parishes and schools while he jetted around the world to luxury hotels:

    https://beta.washingtonpost.com/investigations/a-penthouse-limousines-and-private-jets-inside-the-globe-trotting-life-of-bishop-michael-bransfield/2019/09/12/4a69fe48-ce87-11e9-9031-519885a08a86_story.html

    A warning to all from the Washington Post article: “As a tax-exempt charity, the church is prohibited from spending on luxuries or services that unduly benefit an individual.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  11. Friend,

    That WP article illustrates a hazard of making bequests to institutions — you have no way of knowing if the institution will remain true to its mission, or if the officers who control the institution will share your values.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  12. I inquired why there had been no announcement when the SBC minister directory was scrubbed from from the denomination’s website last week, and got a reply yesterday:

    “We are constantly making changes to the website which we do not announce. Sorry for the inconvenience.” — Jonathan P. Howe, SBC Executive Committee Vice President for Communications

    He indicated the reasons for the directory being yanked were that it contained some “inaccurate data” plus it was difficult for them to monitor and quickly edit.

    [btw, this SBC MinisterSearch directory that they’ve recently ‘disappeared’ was a key source for the Houston Chronicle’s work]

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  13. Jerome: [btw, this SBC MinisterSearch directory that they’ve recently ‘disappeared’ was a key source for the Houston Chronicle’s work]

    Thinking out loud, if there is still a reasonably accurate directory of all congregations affiliated with SBC, I imagine (and it is an imagination as I don’t have the skills to create such a tool) that it would be relatively straightforward (for people who know how to do this sort of thing) to build a tool that would go through the websites of these congregations (the great majority must have websites, one would think, as outreach and communication tools) and “scrape” information identifying the officers. Doubtless there would need to be a certain amount of human intervention to check/validate the results.

    Of course, there’s no guarantee that the church websites themselves are accurate.

    Perhaps it would be a useful group project for concerned people with the requisite skills.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  14. Anna: Steve Stroope (LP Pastor) and Micah Davidson (RL Pastor) flew back and forth from Dallas to Austin to preach.

    That’s weird too because that distance seems pretty drivable…But at least there was a reason. It seems a bizarre thing to randomly ‘pastor’ in a church very far away. Is this resume boosting (for the church or the individual)? Is this some ‘guest’ thing? I get an occasional guest preaching, that’s pretty normal, but not being on staff.

    Is this some new trend or just something a couple people are doing?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  15. Myself, I’m starting to feel like Max, where are the mature in both age and Christianity?

    Second thought, where did Pete Wilson get “whitewashed” so he could work as a pastor again?

    Something more disturbing about Pete Wilson leaving his family. His wife’s standing depended upon Pete’s standing. He destroyed both her family life and public life. The idea he wasn’t thinking about that when he left just makes him a much greater narcissist.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  16. Brian: Something more disturbing about Pete Wilson leaving his family. His wife’s standing depended upon Pete’s standing.

    All of the men who make a big deal about how women should give up careers/ceed control to men? This is the result of that stuff. this is why we dont need to do that.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  17. Jerome,

    I poked around SBC ChurchSearch a bit and the data presentation is not suitable for a research project — it’s well-designed for individuals wanting to locate individual congregations near a geographical location. Much better for a mass research agenda would be a paper directory of all SBC congregations, if such exist (I imagine that they might exist at state convention level; probably too many congregations for a paper national directory), that could be scanned and digitized with OCR software.

    Just thinking out loud.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  18. Beakerj: Is there some connection

    I think dee is making a link without explicitly saying it and I don’t love that honestly. I’m guessing the gossip has been swirling or she has back sources but…I’ve had people gossiping about me and someone at work when it wasn’t happening before. I’d rather not talk about this lady without something concrete.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  19. FLDS leaders Rulon Jeffs and Warren Jeffs commuted to congregations in northern Arizona, and west Texas:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=A2alByNHwbUC&pg=PT93

    “Under…Rulon Jeffs and Warren Jeffs the FLDS…came to recognize a ‘one man doctrine,’ which views a single individual as the as the prophet and presiding officer…As late as 1998, Rulon Jeffs lived in a four acre estate near Salt Lake City…[and] reportedly commuted by Lear jet to Colorado City”

    [In 2006, Warren Jeffs sent several hundred residents to another community in Texas and commuted between the two locations.]

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  20. “But a parish has wants and claims which can be only known by a clergyman constantly resident, which no proxy can be capable of satisfying to the same extent. Edmund might, in the common phrase, do the duty of Thornton, that is, he might read prayers and preach, without giving up Mansfield Park; he might ride over every Sunday… and go through divine service; he might be the clergyman of Thornton Lacey every seventh day, if that would content him. But it will not. He knows that human nature needs more lessons than a weekly sermon can convey; and that if he does not live among his parishioners, and prove himself by constant attention their well-wisher and friend, he does very little either for their good or his own.”

    – Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  21. Lea: Is this some new trend or just something a couple people are doing?

    Remember Furtick Mansions?
    Must keep up with the Stroops and Davidsons as well as the Furticks.
    (Next level: The Holy Grail of a Private Jet on call 24/7 like Ken Copeland and Creflo Dollar!)

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  22. TS00: Honestly, if anyone does not see that there are serious shenanigans going on behind all of this . . . well, I guess they will just continue to get away with this foolishness.

    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED! (on pain of Eternal Hell)”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  23. Jerome: “J. Frank Norris…Pastor of America’s first megachurch…a larger-than-life figure but also a troubling one—a canny, charismatic man who allied himself with the Ku Klux Klan and shaped his followers’ paranoia and unfocused sense of grievance into a rabid personality cult.”

    Scoundrel or Ahead of His Time in the Jesus Racket?

    Jerome: “Norris was the most significant Southern fundamentalist of the first half of the 20th century…[besides] First Baptist Fort Worth…from 1935 to 1950 he also pastored simultaneously Temple Baptist Church in Detroit…he was one of the first megachurch pastors, or perhaps we should say megachurches, since he pastored two of them at the same time, in two different states.”

    Nowadays they’re called “Franchise Campuses”.

    Again, Ahead of His Time?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  24. So, my question for Northridge is this. Why in the world would you hire a man who left his wife and family as a pastor of small groups and a teaching pastor? On top of that, is he so good that he doesn’t have to live near his church?

    “Raking in the Tithe$,
    Raking in the Tithe$,
    He shall come Rejoicing
    Raking in the Tithe$…”

    and/or

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!

    “ROLL UP!
    ROLL UP!
    ROLL UP!
    SEE THE SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  25. HUG: “Remember Furtick Mansions?”

    I’m confused, does furtick live in multiple locations and pastor in multiple locations, beyond ‘guest preaching’ but actually as staff? Because that’s the part that seems odd to me.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  26. Meredithwiggle:
    dee,

    Thanks, Dee! (I’m a longtime lurker and fan BTW.) Even a lot of Austen fans don’t like Mansfield Park, but I find it to be laugh-out-loud funny, and the quote seemed quite appropriate in the context of your post.

    I love *Mansfield Park*! The older I get, the more I appreciate it.

    Also love the older (’80s?) dramatization with the improbably named Sylvestra LeTouzel. Made back before the BBC decided they had to make Austen sexy and relevant. (Not that I’ve ever objected to Colin Firth’s wet shirt, mind you.)

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  27. Meredithwiggle,

    I’ve just read and appreciated your What the Hell articles, including the Bronte quote on how to avoid hell: “I must keep in good health and not die.”
    I’m going to bring this comment the long way round to Pete Wilson.
    WTH were not the first things I read about hell this week. That was a blog by a poor fellow named Jarrid Wilson entitled “Does Suicide Always Lead to Hell?” My answer is Yes— a living hell for your widow and orphans.
    One of his big teachings was “It’s Okay Not To Be Okay”. Who else teaches this? Pastor Pete Wilson (no relation). I’m thinking when a pastor/leader teaches this, giving units must avoid , as if it were the plague, the temptation to donate.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  28. Lea,

    This is much worse though. She was working for the church, not an employer on the outside. She didn’t have a job to go to after Pete left.

    This may apply to Pete and some of the others in the megachurch movement:

    Ephesians 4:17 (KJV), “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  29. Samuel Conner: Thinking out loud, if there is still a reasonably accurate directory of all congregations affiliated with SBC, I imagine (and it is an imagination as I don’t have the skills to create such a tool) that it would be relatively straightforward (for people who know how to do this sort of thing) to build a tool that would go through the websites of these congregations (the great majority must have websites, one would think, as outreach and communication tools) and “scrape” information identifying the officers. Doubtless there would need to be a certain amount of human intervention to check/validate the results.

    Of course, there’s no guarantee that the church websites themselves are accurate.

    Perhaps it would be a useful group project for concerned people with the requisite skills.

    What is the SBC afraid of?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  30. With the advent of mass media, distance is no object. Many never even see their senior pastor but for a view screen.

    hmmm…

    I once attended services for a time in a so called megachurch over-flow-room. There amongst the glow of a giant Jumbotron, parents talked, children played, and I sat there climate controlled dimly lit ‘content’ with privileged coffee, breakfast, n’ iPad in hand with free internet access listening to the loud Christian contemporary music and the cat with no hat spouting the latest canned mass-media store bought sermon rambling bout the ‘big’ ole screen. One fish, two fish, loud fish, rude fish. It was a great break, and greatly entertaining —never having to knew a living soul. he he. Everyone acted as if this was normal. I eventually told a Paster there that this was my (then) perfered type of religious service, and he kinda looked at me funny. When he asked why, I responded, we all liked the convenience that if it ‘by chance’ it got too loud, we could always simply now turn it down. (grin)

    Fast forward.

    Now they have common mega-church annexed facilitated Jumbotrons MILES away from each other. No one at these facilities ever get to see the ‘real live person’ [senior paster] in the flesh, just some credentialed cycling hirerling local Pastoral facilitator individual. Sometimes people even dress up! Dee, AND No One Thinks Twice. Go Fish! Welcome to the modern 501c3 church age. Now we all have big @zz wall tv’s and can watch the broadcast from the convenience of our snug family room. Whoa! Sure cuts down on #Churchtoo #Metoo ‘this present abuse’ ™ quite a bit! Ya think? And tithing is now ‘optional’. CICK! Snug as a bug in a rug…

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  31. Brian: This is much worse though.

    I was making more of a general comment, but I don’t know that I agree that anything is better or worse. Yes, it is bad that her job was so entwined with his…if she had been unemployed she would have had no job. IDK. It’s just messy.

    My point is really that if you make all your decisions based on your husband and your husband backs out you are left with some problems that aren’t really acknowledged by some of the proponents of compish marriages. I dont know that this marriage was anything like that, though.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  32. Dave A A: “Does Suicide Always Lead to Hell?” My answer is Yes— a living hell for your widow and orphans.

    I do not know your experience of suicide but need to push back against this. Yes, survivors suffer immensely. But we need to move away from the old mentality that taking one’s own life is a selfish act.

    The suicide rate in the US rose 30% between 1999 and 2016, according to the CDC. Veterans, seniors, people in rural areas, folks in nearly every state are ending their own lives in greater numbers.

    People with depression and suicidal thoughts need to be able to speak up and seek help. Calling them selfish runs the risk of silencing them. People need to know that they are loved, that their lives have value, that things can get better. They need to know that someone is ready to listen kindly, for as long as it takes.

    I have volunteered extensively with bereaved people of all ages for about 26 years. It is impossible for me to forget the candlelight vigil for a 14-year-old who killed himself. The boy’s parents and siblings were at the 3-hour outdoor vigil, and the topics were love, grief, the value of his short life, and prevention, prevention, prevention. All 2,900 kids in his school were screened for depression. Extra counselors were on the premises. The school psychologist worked tirelessly. Students had leave to attend the funeral, and several served as pallbearers.

    Every club and team in the boy’s school held an event in his memory. His family sat through a football game dedicated to their young boy’s life. It was heartbreaking and uplifting, and nobody talked about selfishness.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  33. Friend,

    As someone who has had suicidal ideations, thank you for speaking up.

    I think Ann Voskamp’s post about suicide is helpful. She talks about how it’s not that suicidal people want to die, but that they run out of strength to fight the battle to live any longer. She likens it to being trapped in a burning building. Of course you don’t want to jump from the window, but the alternative seems utterly agonizing.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  34. mot: What is the SBC afraid of?

    My impression from a recent sbcvoices post and comments thereto is that there is concern that SBC entities that have no formal authority over local congregations (and therefore no ability to impose wise policies) might come under legal attack because they may have more resources than local congregations have.

    “responsibility without authority” is a real problem.

    I think that the convention could make certain basic sensible policies (intrusive background checks for hires, mandatory reporting of all offenses, etc) a condition of membership in the association, and could promptly eject congregations that are found (I would think this would generally occur after the fact of a crime taking place) to not be in compliance with the “policy prerequisites” for participation in the convention.

    This might impose a measure of “quality control” without entailing clear liability for what happens in the local congregations.

    Perhaps something like this will happen.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  35. Friend: But we need to move away from the old mentality that taking one’s own life is a selfish act.

    I think it’s really hard for surviving family to understand and I absolutely get that. But it seems pretty clear that calling people selfish does nothing to prevent suicide.

    Close family relationships can be a protective factor, but there is so much more to it.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  36. Friend,
    I have a loved one with mental illness who attempted suicide and I wouldn’t think of it as selfishness. I was overly harsh toward this young man, perhaps, since he was a famous pastor expert on the subject.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  37. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    “Also love the older (’80s?) dramatization with the improbably named Sylvestra LeTouzel. Made back before the BBC decided they had to make Austen sexy and relevant. (Not that I’ve ever objected to Colin Firth’s wet shirt, mind you.)”
    ++++++++++++

    you’re funny.

    i have them all. my antidote to chaos and stress is to watch “Persuasion” (Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds). something so quiet about it. and very entertaining.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  38. Meredithwiggle:
    “He knows that human nature needs more lessons than a weekly sermon can convey; and that if he does not live among his parishioners, and prove himself by constant attention their well-wisher and friend, he does very little either for their good or his own.”

    – Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

    Sorry to take this on a tangent, but I think Ms. Austin needs to have a little chat with Mr. Chandler.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  39. Meredithwiggle,

    It’s so interesting reading austen as they were quite matter of fact about giving sermons simply being a profession, with men scrambling for the best (richest) parsonages. Not to say some of them didn’t do a good job or take it seriously but it doesn’t seem to have had much reverence.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  40. Lea: That’s weird too because that distance seems pretty drivable…But at least there was a reason. It seems a bizarre thing to randomly ‘pastor’ in a church very far away. Is this resume boosting (for the church or the individual)? Is this some ‘guest’ thing? I get an occasional guest preaching, that’s pretty normal, but not being on staff.

    Is this some new trend or just something a couple people are doing?

    Austin is a good 4-5 hour drive from DFW due to traffic. Most of it is on 35/35E which is a major truck traffic corridor. Plus Rockwall is NOT the easiest place from which to start (begin with two very large bridges over Lake Ray Hubbard, then either go through downtown Dallas or a LONG loop.

    To answer the original question, if the pastor is coming from a distant area, he (or she, in some churches) may need time to arrange for family to move, change schools (maybe the call is near the end of a school year, so the children would stay until school year end). So ONLY for a BRIEF time, I would have no problem. But as a permanent arrangement, ideally the pastor should live in the general area of the community served (though as we know that doesn’t mean anything in the megachurch era).

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  41. I have a friend who for several years would threaten suicide, leave her home for hours on end, and have a bunch of us trying to find her. When she finally started receiving and accepting (she initially would not accept her medical diagnosis of depression and the need for therapy and medication) she experienced a huge change in both her mood and approach to life. The past ten years have been good ones for her, but she needed help that we, her caring friends, could not provide. Suicide is a very complicated issue, and as much as we may try to understand, I don’t think we can. Thus, my big concern for parts of the biblical counseling movement. You just can’t pray everything away.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  42. Lea,

    “they were quite matter of fact about giving sermons simply being a profession, with men scrambling for the best (richest) parsonages.”
    ++++++++++++

    sound like 2019.

    goodness, where’s the progress…

    ridiculous

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  43. Mark R: Austin is a good 4-5 hour drive from DFW due to traffic.

    That…sounds drivable to me? I’ve driven to dallas a million times and it’s further than austin/dallas.

    My point was more like…does this guy have/have access to a private plane, which is very expensive. Because if you’re flying commercial it’s generally not worth it.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  44. “the strange part of this arrangement is that he is still living in Nashville, working at The A Group and flying in to the church in Michigan now and again” (Dee)

    In church megalopolis, it doesn’t matter where a “pastor” resides … it’s not like he’s a shepherd or anything. These characters don’t minister to the sheep … heck, they don’t even know them!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  45. “Does the male rainmaker of a previous mega church get a pass?” (Dee)

    In church megalopolis, THE most important thing in selection of a leader is his ability to produce lots of nickels and noses. If he has a touch of charisma, a gift of gab, and a few marketing gimmicks, it matters not if he meets the Biblical qualifications of pastor or if he’s had a bout of moral weakness.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  46. “Do you think it is normal for a pastor to make the deliberate choice to live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their congregation if they hold the title of pastor?” (Dee)

    Well, you have to stretch the New Testament a bit to make that fit. Some would point to Paul who planted churches all over the place and then “pastored” in a sense by sending them letters of encouragement and rebuke and occasionally showing up to preach. But that was his apostolic role, not a pastoral office. His church plants had local pastors and deacons in place to minister to church members. A long-distance pastor was not in the church plan, IMO. I suppose if you wanted to live like hell and still be a shepherd, it would be best to do your wickedness in a distant city out of sight of the sheep.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  47. Max: that was his apostolic role, not a pastoral office.

    Excellent point. Paul does not strike me as a consoling figure, but rather as an organizer and scholar with a highly active BS detector.

    (I also don’t recall any epistles in which Paul insists on custom chariots or explains away various dalliances.)

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  48. I read Pete Wilson’s book “Empty Promises”. I picked it up from “Ollie” book shelf where unsold books collect. I thought the tittle was interesting a good Christian book. He wrote chapters of how empty promises occurs in things like “The seduction of Achievement” “The Perils of Power” “Addicted to Beauty” “Deceptively Good” all of which tempts all of us who are Christian and to stay on the biblical path and avoid these pitfalls. My son whom I sometime worry about his Christian faith told me “Dad.. I looked up this guy Pete Wilson.. and he his wife Brandi is divorcing him.” Then I did some research today and found out some disconcerting things about the Pete Wilson. His secretary following him to start company A and possibly living in the same building as him. Apparently he is not too burnout to be a long distance commuter of a church in Michigan while living in Nashville. His wife and three children is left to carry on in their lives when daddy took off with another younger woman. What value are we teaching his kids.. apparently Pastor Wilson of if he is still a pastor doesn’t read his own book. God may forgive him but it would be hard for Brandi and his children to forgive him. It makes my son more cynical of Christianity where leaders misbehave. As a physician we have a license to practice medicine. If we misbehave in unethical conduct every two years we get privileged re extended and reapply for practice at the institution we practice. They check our back ground for DUI and sworn statements. Maybe we should do the same. Misbehaving preacher no matter how famous should be judge by the same rules they preached.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  49. Owen Lee M.D.: . As a physician we have a license to practice medicine. If we misbehave in unethical conduct every two years we get privileged re extended and reapply for practice at the institution we practice. They check our back ground for DUI and sworn statements. Maybe we should do the same. Misbehaving preacher no matter how famous should be judge by the same rules they preached.

    My husband is a cardiologist at Duke. He often remarks that the church appears to have lowed standards than secular society. Read Tullian Tchividjian’s ridiculous story. he has had relationships with multiple women. he divorced his wife and remarried. he was judges unfit to preach by the PCA and another church. Yet he says his very failure is why he gets to preach about God’s grace. He is guilty of what Bonhoeffer describes as cheap grace,

    Please tell your son for me that I understand why he is cynical. However, there is hope. I have been writing about abuse in the evangelical for over 10 years. I am asked how I maintain my faith in the light of exposing so much abuse and failure on the part of church leaders.

    I always answer that the Bible prepared me tp understand this. The entire trajectory of Scripture posts to fallen men and women who have a sin problem that needs to be dealt with. I contend that when Jesus told us to be light on a hill that He did not mean *pretend your are all good people.* Instead, we should freely confess our sins and strive to support one another in this difficult walk. We should tell the world about a Savior who gets our struggles.

    Then we need to confess to the world that we are sinners and that we repent of our failures. That is the problem with Pete and others. They haven’t repented. They talk cheap forgiveness and don’t go to those they’ve offended .the Bible says we are to leave our gifts at the altar and go to those we have harmed and do the hard work of reconciliation.

    Pete should be ashamed of himself but he’ll be out there playing “Its all good. God forgives me and I didn’t really do anything so bad.” Meantime, he is enjoying life with his closest associates.

    PS They didn’t start the A group. Pete’s BFF Maurilio Amorim started it. You might be interested in this post. http://thewartburgwatch.com/2017/03/22/perhaps-the-a-groups-maurillo-amorim-could-be-a-bit-more-circumspect-on-social-media/

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  50. Max:
    “Does the male rainmaker of a previous mega church get a pass?” (Dee)

    In church megalopolis, THE most important thing in selection of a leader is his ability to produce lots of nickels and noses.If he has a touch of charisma, a gift of gab, and a few marketing gimmicks, it matters not if he meets the Biblical qualifications of pastor or if he’s had a bout of moral weakness.

    All About the Benjamins, Baby!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  51. Lea: My point was more like…does this guy have/have access to a private plane, which is very expensive. Because if you’re flying commercial it’s generally not worth it.

    Does it matter?
    Either way, it doesn’t cost him a penny.
    “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE!”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  52. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Exactly. Why would any intelligent person not question paying out what has to be a lot of money to fly someone in constantly, rather than simply hire a traditional pastor who lives and moves among his flock? I mean, if you want entertaining messages, you can go to youtube and find any style you prefer. Is this what church has become to people – corporate youtubing with a free concert thrown in?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  53. Muff Potter,

    If I ever decided to become a conman, I would know where to find the most gullible, least protected victims. It is not for nothing scripture so often uses the analogy of sheep and wolves. One of the main things the Church is supposed to do is provide a shepherd for the defenseless flock. They are failing big time.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  54. TS00: scripture so often uses the analogy of sheep and wolves. One of the main things the Church is supposed to do is provide a shepherd for the defenseless flock

    TWW is a chronicle of American shepherds who were really wolves.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  55. Obviously, the Scriptures do warn about wolves in sheep’s clothing which can certainly apply to undershepherds. An undershepherd (under the Chief Shepherd 1 Peter 5) is responsible to Jesus to oversee the “flock” that belongs to Jesus. There is no way that a pastor (undershepherd) can know and care for the people when he just flies in. In fact, he is not a pastor. He may be a “communicator” or a “speaker” or a “?”, but he is not a pastor by Biblical definition. Eugene Peterson felt that he could only effectively serve about 500 people: to know their names, their children’s names, their life stories, etc., and it took time with the people to be effective.

    I recently read the following quote: “the most dangerous pastor is someone with more gifts/abilities than character.”

    There are hundreds of faithful pastors in small and normal sized churches (not mega) who are faithfully serving. Tragically it is the big name celebrities who make the news feeds.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  56. Don Jones: I recently read the following quote: “the most dangerous pastor is someone with more gifts/abilities than character.”

    There are hundreds of faithful pastors in small and normal sized churches (not mega) who are faithfully serving. Tragically it is the big name celebrities who make the news feeds.

    Yes, as we deal with these bad actors in the blogosphere, we should not lose sight of the multitude of faithful pastors who don’t make the news. Indeed, it would be wise to look for a minister and ministry who are not newsworthy, other than the Good News they preach. They may not be known on earth outside small corners of Christendom, but they are known in Heaven.

    A touch of charisma, a gift of gab, and a gimmick or two are all that the average megachurch celebrity possesses. They may have the ability to do church profitably – to produce lots of nickels and noses – but they are doing it without God in most cases.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  57. Hmmmm… What’s that beautiful books saying regarding judging others? Seems to me a lot of people are passing judgement on Pastor Pete. I was blessed enough to be a member of the initial church in Nashville, in my son’s cafeteria, he is an amazing pastor!!! Let’s let God take care of any judgement that there may need to be for him, and all of us worry about the judgement God will have for us.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  58. LaVona,

    Hmmmm, LaVonda. If your comment is any indication of the level of teaching that you received from Pete, then I am so sorry for you. Pete should be ashamed of himself.

    We are to judge behavior. If we were not, then why are we told what is right and wrong? And can you imagine that Apostle Paul actually judging the man who was sleeping with his nothing in 1 Corinthians 5. He should have shut up and just left it to Jesus, right???

    Now, Pete apparently failed to teach you what we are not supposed to judge. That is the salvation of an individual. That is purely in the hands of the One with the Higher Pay Grade. And , if you have read this blog, I never, ever, ever make a judgement on who is saved and who isn’t saved.

    So, if you want to believe that you are somehow a *real Christian* by not judging another, then I would be careful not to get mugged or paralyzed by a drunk driver. Because you do not judge. If your kid is smoking and coming home drunk on a nightly basis, you have a tough road ahead since you cannot judge their actions.

    Surely, LaVonda, you know deep in your heart that we are called to say somethings wrong. Brandi said Pete left her and their family. Are you now judging her thoughts on the matter? Maybe she should not have said that she was done wrong since she is judging Pete for divorcing her.

    LaVinda, find yourself a good church with a good teacher and learn to read your Bible.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  59. LaVona: What’s that beautiful books saying regarding judging others?

    LaVona, you might want to take a closer look at that Book about the obligation of the Body of Christ to “judge” what goes on in its midst. For starters, take a look at John 7 – you will find there that the Church is to judge with righteous judgment; yes, believers are exhorted to weigh things like this in the balance and judge it. Righteous judgment sees sin for what it is and it is not afraid to point a finger at the offender. This is not a holier-than-thou response, but a mechanism God put in place for the Church to regulate itself. “Judge that you be not judged” is overworked and intended to shame folks into keeping their mouths shut, without rebuking and correcting sinners as we ought to keep the Church pure. Wayward “pastors” are not immune from judgment by the pew.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

Leave a comment - Click here for our commenting rules

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *