Today HBO will air the “Trials of Ted Haggard”, a documentary about the former pastor of New Life church in Colorado Springs who was brought down because of a secret lifestyle of sexual immorality/homosexuality and drug use.
He lived this secret life all while leading a congregation of over 12,000 members, being president of the National Association of Evangelicals which represents more than 60 denominations, 45,000 churches, and tens of millions of people, and having the ear of the White House under President Bush.
What is striking to me about this reality is the sheer magnitude of the numbers and power Ted Haggard represented. If numbers equals success, he certainly had it all. But we see from this real life parable that it doesn’t…not even close.
Integrity, gut level honesty, and transparency are needed more than ever in the church of America and in its leaders. I have started with the place all of us who feel the same way should start, with myself. None of us are completely immune. The most dangerous place, I believe, that we can be is to believe that we are somehow the exception to the rule.
It was interesting to me to get an email today from a church and leadership that I have admired from a distance. This church was also the place where Ted Haggard got his start in ministry many years ago. It seems that this church is taking the lead in learning from their former associate Pastor’s costly lessons.
Here is a quote from an upcoming conference that they are promoting,
“You hear a lot of talk about church growth and multiplication, but we want to strike a balance between growth and the health of the church today.
God is raising up a remnant of believers to be a new example of irreproachable transparency and integrity in business, in ministry, and in marriage. Will you be part of this small but growing group?”
The conference is called “The Remnant” Conference. Is this where we are now…where people who believe in integrity and growth are the remnant, the minority?
Have a majority of ministers in America really become so preoccupied with “growth” that we have forgotten that God views our success through his all seeing, all knowing, eternal eyes not the way the world does?
The story of Ted Haggard is a gut wrenching one for me. I think of all of the lives that have been affected by his hypocrisy and it grieves me deeply. Just as the wounds of New Life Church and the Body of Christ who have been affected begin to heal, we must again face this story and all of the questions that it brings up.