Village Church pastor returns to the pulpit
A popular evangelical pastor from Flower Mound has resumed his preaching duties after a three-month leave for violating the church's social media policy while messaging a woman who wasn't his wife.
Driving the news: Matt Chandler returned to the pulpit at the Village Church on Sunday, in time to celebrate his 20th anniversary as the church's lead pastor.
- "I'm sorry, I failed you," he told the packed sanctuary.
Why it matters: Under his leadership, the Village Church has grown from a tiny Southern Baptist congregation to a megachurch with thousands of congregants every week.
- Chandler gained national attention after surviving a malignant brain tumor.
Catch up fast: Someone confronted the pastor earlier this year with concerns about his private Instagram messages with a woman.
- Chandler told his wife and two elders about the concerns, per the church.
- After hiring an independent law firm to review the pastor's social media interactions, the church concluded that the messages between him and the woman were not romantic or sexual — but that he "did not use language appropriate for a pastor."
- Chandler said in his last sermon before going on leave that he recognizes the "conversations were unguarded and unwise." Neither he nor the church has publicly said what the messages were about.
The latest: The pastor spent a lot of time in prayer and personal reflection, and with outside experts before being allowed to return to the pulpit, the church said in an email to members last week.
- Congregants welcomed Chandler back on Sunday with whistling and applause.
- "If my foolishness created any additional weight or hardship for you, then please forgive me," he said.
- His fellow church elders joined him on stage to pray with him.
Of note: Chandler's wife is a deacon at the church and they have three children together.
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