Another Colorado Pastor Steps Down

Number 3 in a short period of time. Denver Post has the story about Rev. Paul Barnes and Grace Chapel and his confession of homosexual relationships . .. and the blog chatter is beginning – not nasty this time, more compassionate and understanding. And again – real pity that pastors don’t have the freedom to tell those close to them the things they struggle with. An elder in his church sums it up:

“Church elder Russ Pilcher said the reaction at services Sunday was largely concern for the couple. “I thought, ‘Where did I fall short in making myself so unapproachable that he couldn’t come to me?”‘ Pilcher said.

HT: Talldrinkawater

Related: Meth was a bad choice, Ted Haggard: The Video, Carrying Your Dad’s Dumbbell


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • John Smulo says:

    What a humble, encouraging response from the elder Russ Pilcher in this case. I find that quite moving.

  • Phil Wyman says:

    Reading this I wonder to myself, “Do these things only happen in the U.S., or does it only make the press in my country?”
    I am assuming that this occurs in Brazil, Nigeria, The Philippines, or Korea, but I only hear of these things in the U.S.
    Perhaps it is simply because our press is so powerful. Then again maybe it is because there is something about the way we do church which allows us to hide who we really are for so much longer a period of time – could this be?
    I know that I struggle to provide a church life which is open and honest, but I also know that I fall short of being as honest as I could be myself. Is this an American phenomenon in the sense that it happens here more often than other places around the world? and is our emphasis to the “right to privacy” a part of our struggle for authenticity in church life?

  • Jeff says:

    The fact that we as a church entity routinely create and foster environment(s) where staff feel they place their ministry and livelihood in danger by acknowledging legitimate and normative human struggle we are damning our selves to isolation. It is doubtful that any of us need speak of other currents forcing us toward isolation. My heart goes out to this man and others in his situation. It has been my experience that far too many church staff members “hide” struggles due to an environment of inauthenticity and overt “churchiness”. We must pray that the Lord will have mercy on us and open our mouths to speak of our own struggles.

  • as a resident of the Mile High City we need your prayers…

  • Joe Kennedy says:

    Terrifying that we’re so scared to talk. If there is no open and honest lifestyle… there is no discipline. If there is no discipline… there is no redemption and reconciliation. Then what have we?

  • andrew says:

    as for phil’s question – is it only USA?
    in my experience, the mega churches in USA seem to be the place where a pastor or leader is not allowed to share what he struggles with.
    it may be common elsewhere but i have not seen it as much.

  • dave says:

    .. well in that case Andrew, theres something seriously wrong with the leadership and culture in mega churches in the US then, isn’t there.

  • andrew says:

    or is the fault in the congregations who want squeaky clean faultless pastors who will never embarrass them?
    or the pastors who assume that?
    or the elders that hire the pastors?
    but it might also be true that there are tiny house churches with secrecy and inauthenticity.
    in which case, it might be a human thang more than a mega-church thang . . . just thinking out loud.

  • kent says:

    perhaps the the root cause is that for all of our proclamation of redemption we do not practice redemption with one another.

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