If you are unfamiliar with this situation, read these 3 articles:
First, let me say, I have no desire to weigh in on the particular conflicts that are taking place. I consider CJ Mahaney a friend and significant influence in my life as a pastor over the years and have high hopes the gospel will be cherished even more by those involved once these proceedings conclude. There are, however, some important lessons to be learned as pastors as we simply see the nature of this conflict:
1) Staff relationships continue long after they leave your church. Many of us have had conflicts with staff in our churches we either worked with as fellow employees or were even in the position of boss over them. Unfortunately, even in a church, those relationships do not always end well. We should learn to do all we can to be at “peace with all men” including staff and fellow pastors who may be leaving our church staff realizing those things that are left unresolved can come back and bite you.
2) Do not envy the “famous” pastors of our day. It is a strong, irresistible temptation to envy, even idolize those pastors whom God has given a massive platform for ministry. We see them speak at the main conferences. We read their books in awe. We want to be like them. Allow this conflict to be a reminder to us all of the great public burdens these well-known pastors like CJ Mahaney carry that we have no idea about. Most of what they do is examined with close scrutiny and seen and heard by all. We all know if this was not CJ Mahaney, we would not even know about it. We all know if the accusations of “pride” were directed to anyone else other than the guy who wrote the definitive book on Humility, we would be uninterested. Pastors, be reminded that being in obsurity in pastoral ministry is not a curse as many think, but a gift that our every mistake is not online for the world to see.
3) Do not allow one controversy to judge a man’s ministry. It would be tragic to judge all of Spurgeon’s immeasurably fruitful ministry on the down grade controversy. Equally so, it would be unfair to evaluate CJ’s decades of incredibly fruitful ministry to so many based on this one controversy, or any other for that matter. None of us as pastors would want to be evaluated in this way, nor should we do so to CJ’s ministry.
This is not meant to be a defense of CJ, but an opportunity to learn from this very public conflict, not seize the moment simply to criticize, as many have. I know many of you, like me, have learned much from CJ Mahaney. Allow this unfortunate public conflict to be yet another lesson for us to know how to be faithful pastors and mindful of the ways our sins, failures, and broken relationships in our ministries can and will effect us, our churches, and our ministries.