I am still somewhat numb over the news and buzz over the fall of Pastor Gary Lamb. In my previous post I addressed some of these issues, but with the news continuing to dominate many of the blogs I read I decided to address the issue again. Obviously this is a far more public failure because Gary blogged about it personally and the Internet and social media participation is much larger now than in the past.
I am especially bummed by some of the comments and views I am reading on other posts about this issue. Some people have decided that Pastor Lamb’s situation provides an opportunity to bash him and every church structured like his church. (For an example, read the comments on Monday Morning Insight’s post about this issue.) While this is well meaning for the most part, I frankly feel that when a situation like this occurs and gets such public attention that it provides opportunities we did not previously have to do something positive for the Kingdom.
Here are some Kingdom-building opportunities for the church to consider:
- It gives us the opportunity to show the world how the church treats people who are in sin. Jesus showed us how He treats sinners in John 8. We now have that same chance. Sadly, based on the comments I see from pastors and others on various blog posts, I am not sure we are painting the same picture Jesus did. And yet we wonder why hurting people do not look to the church as their first place of hope in hurting times.
- It gives us the opportunity to build or rebuild accountability into our lives and in the life of our church. Every pastor and minister should be asking if this could happen to him or her with his or her current system, or lack thereof, of accountability. As I said in my previous post, I know too many pastors who see nothing wrong with being alone with other staff members of the opposite sex. Hello?
- It gives us the opportunity to check our own hearts and marriages individually. If a married person does not seriously take a look at where their own marriage is after reading this story, I would question the sincerity of keeping their marriage strong.
- It gives us the opportunity to help at least two families rebuild their marriage. Is there a better way to model for married couples outside the church that are in distress that with God’s grace and strength a marriage can be restored than to witness it with one of our own? I hope the restoration of these marriages gets as much attention as the failure in the marriages has received.
- It gives us the opportunity to demonstrate grace and restoration of a fallen soldier. Regardless of one’s take on Pastor Gary Lamb’s qualification for the pastorate or his style of ministry, few can question the impact he has had on so many people’s lives or the passion he has displayed for Christ. I cannot help but think that produces overall good for the body. Granted we all need to be checked at times to make sure we are walking in complete truth, and that time is obviously now for Pastor Lamb, but how effective could he be if he is restored, mentored, and sent back out to invest that renewed passion for the Kingdom’s good? (I believe the body of Christ was questioning the effectiveness of Paul at one point, yet God used his failures in powerful ways.)
Could this be one of those opportunities where God can work all things for good? Could we place all the negative energies some have towards Gary Lamb towards praying that God gets glory here and that lives are drawn to Him through this failure?
NOTE: In times like this we should certainly all get refocussed on truth. To help with this, read the series of devotionals I am posting this week beginning with this one HERE.)