A Dallas-based megachurch pastor is temporarily stepping down from the 11,000 member church he’s pastored for 20 years, taking a leave of absence due to his elders calling out the sin of pride in his life, telling him he needs a break and time to deal with it so he can better serve his flock in the future.
Todd Wagner, senior pastor and co-founder of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas, told his congregants on Sunday:
I’ve heard too many times lately that I’m burning up leadership capital, due to more numerous and I would say noticeable expressions of my flesh, and the bible has a word for that: it’s called sin.
It’s with a good conscience, and by God’s grace that I can tell you there is no hidden or disqualifying sin. There’s no sexual immorality. There’s no financial issues that are going on. There’s no physical altercation, there’s no foul language, there’s no holes in the wall. My marriage is as good as it’s ever been…but..and this is a big but… this sin of pride is enough for me to say it’s enough.
Wagner recounts that he was beginning to become irritable, short, impatient, and unloving towards his staff, forcing his elders intervene for the edification of his soul.
It’s not paid leave so I can read and write and relax as a reward for 20 years of service. What it is is a temporary rest from teaching and leading and anything else in the way of my letting the Lord strengthen me, restore me, and lead me to daily greater repentance.
This is enough for me to say ‘enough,’ to sharpen the axe more and cut less. I have not been asked to step down. I am not by God’s grace needing to step down but I have been asked and I agree I need to step back, step away and I’m glad. We all agree this is what’s best for me and for you and I think for us.”
The pastor concludes that as a result of this intervention, for the first time in 20 years he’s stepping back so he can do the “the hard work of hard (or heart) work.”
I thank God I have friends to help me. Pride kills. And I would call what I’ve heard my friends describing and telling me, pride. That’s the sin.”
“So don’t be looking for some scandal. Don’t even think this is scandalous. What is scandalous is when a Christian plays with, overlooks or welcomes sin, respectable or not. And I refuse to do that, and my friends love me enough to remind me of that.”
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