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DFW Megachurch Pastor on Leave After ‘Unwise’ Online Messages

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The Village Church in Flower Mound | Image by RWB Consultants

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The pastor of a prominent Dallas-area church is taking a leave of absence from his position, telling his congregation on Sunday that he had exchanged “unwise” online messages with a woman who was not his wife.

Matt Chandler, the pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound for 19 years, told his congregation that the relationship was not sexual or romantic. However, church leaders thought the messages exchanged over Instagram were “unguarded and unwise” and “revealed something unhealthy in me,” Chandler said.

In a statement recorded and shared on the church’s website on August 28, the pastor explained that a few months back, a woman approached him in the church’s foyer with concerns about “how I was [direct messaging] on Instagram with a friend of hers.”

“I didn’t think I had done anything wrong in that,” Chandler, 48, told the congregation. “My wife knew that, her husband knew that, and yet there were a couple of things that she said that were disorienting to me.”

That same evening, Chandler said he shared those concerns with his wife, Lauren, and two church elders, to address the situation, according to the statement.

The elders, the statement continues, commissioned an independent law firm to review Chandler’s messaging history across social media platforms, his cell phone, and his email.

The law firm’s report led the elders to conclude that Chandler violated the church’s internal social media use policies and, “more importantly that, while the overarching pattern of his life has been ‘above reproach,’ he failed to meet the (Bible’s) standard for elders of being “above reproach” in this instance,” the statement reads.

“While the messages were not romantic or sexual in nature, the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line,” the statement continues. “They revealed that (he) did not use language appropriate for a pastor, and he did not model a behavior that we expect from him.”

Chandler’s leave of absence is “both disciplinary and developmental, which allows him to focus on growing greater awareness in this area,” according to the statement.

Whether or not Chandler will return to his post is to be determined by him meeting expectations the elders have laid out for his development, the statement said.

Chandler is also president and chairman of Acts 29, an organization dedicated to starting new churches. The organization said Sunday that Chandler would cease all speaking engagements on behalf of the group.

“I’m just really embarrassed, feel stupid… I feel like I’m embarrassing my wife and kids,” Chandler told the congregation Sunday. “I’m held to a higher standard and fell short of that higher standard.”

“We cannot be a church where anyone is above the Scriptures and above the high heavenly call into Christ Jesus,” said Chandler. “The Word of God holds me to a certain standard. And I fell short.”

The Village Church is a large and influential congregation of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) denomination in DFW that sees roughly 4,500 congregants each Sunday.

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caseyp
caseyp
1 month ago

I felt sorry for him until I read that he was embarrassed and felt stupid. If everything in his exchanges were legitimate he would have felt, in his heart, that he had done nothing wrong.

Holtsys
Holtsys
1 month ago

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

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