Controversial Pastor Matt Chandler Reaccepted by The Village Church After Leave of Absence

The Village Church welcomed back Matt Chandler to the church after his three months of absence with a standing ovation. According to the New York Times, the pastor had a hiatus after it was revealed that he had an “inappropriate” online relationship.

Upon his return, the pastor delivered a sermon wherein he called his actions his ‘foolishness’ repeatedly. He apologized to the church, saying that he failed them and that he does not want to lose sight of what “The Lord carried him through.”

Additionally, the pastor’s return apparently coincided with his 20th anniversary as the lead pastor of the church. As such, his family, which includes his wife, three children, and the parents of his wife were present on stage.

The Controversy Regarding Pastor Chandler

The article said that the pastor was said to have been involved in an online relationship with a woman other than his wife. Even though it was allegedly neither romantic nor sexual, the pastor admitted it to be “unguarded and unwise.”

The controversy came to light when a woman, a friend of the other party, confronted the pastor about their correspondence. Allegedly, the pastor submitted himself to the church leaders for investigation, the latter hiring a law firm for the task. Notably, the church has not released any part of the investigation to the public.

The church said that during the leave of absence of the pastor, he participated in counseling sessions and a neurological exam. It added that because of the full cooperation of the pastor, the church elders deemed his actions as enough to welcome him back to the pulpit.

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Concerns About the Southern Baptist Convention

In an earlier article, the New York Times said that the Village Church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. As such, his case added to the crisis that the denomination faced earlier this year when the Justice Department investigated the leaders and members of the church for cases of sexual abuse. Apart from the cases itself, these included reports about the leaders at the national level suppressing reports of such cases.

Further, it was also the investigation that proved the existence of an internal list of the church of members suspected of abuse. As a result of the investigation, a 205-page list of the erring ministers and church workers were made public, with some detailing the cases charged, allegations, and even details of certain events.

Pastor Matt Chandler

According to Christianity Today, the pastor is the lead pastor of the Village Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch in Dallas, Texas that has over 11,000 members. The pastor is also the leader of the Acts 29, a successful church-planting organization that has been serving God since 2012.

On the church page, it says that the pastor decided to follow Jesus Christ when he was 17 years old. Even before going to college, he already served as a youth pastor. Eventually, he would receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Bible from the Hardin-Simmons University.

In 2002, he became the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Highland Village, now known as The Village Church.

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