Matt Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at the Village Church, announces that he is taking an indefinite leave of absence from preaching and teaching. He has confessed that he had an inappropriate online relationship with a woman.
The relationship was not sexual or romantic, Chandler told his church, but the elders believed the frequent and familiar direct messages exchanged over Instagram were "unguarded and unwise" and "revealed something unhealthy in me."
"We cannot be a church where anyone is above the Scriptures and above the high heavenly call into Christ Jesus," Chandler said. "The Word of God holds me to a certain standard. And I fell short."
According to the church website. "during this period, he is exempt from going to his job. The obligation of the employee to perform his duties is suspended, as is the obligation of the company to pay the employee (including taxes)."
It is further noted that the leave of absence "cannot take less than 4 months or more than 5 years," in general.
The Village Church elders said they commissioned an independent law firm, identified by The New York Times as, Castañeda and Heidelman, to conduct a review of Chandler's messaging history across social media platforms, cell phone and email.
Meanwhile, Matt's wife Lauren Chandler has a new children's book Praise Him coming out on September 6. The press release for the book notes, "In this beautifully illustrated board book, Lauren Chandler's lyrical lines encourage us that in the day or in the night, wherever we go, we can praise God continually.
"From page to page, follow a child through her day de ella as she goes from sunny morning to stormy afternoon and then shadowy night. Be reminded that God is always there with us, even when days are hard, and that we need only simple words to praise Him."