As reported in a Rocky Mountain News story, New Life Church is distributing guidelines for parents in explaining why "Pastor Ted" is gone. This hit home to me because I am in the process of teaching my daughter the difference between mistakes and sins. Thankfully, they are also covering this topic at her Christian school.
But what these guidelines suggest is that "Pastor Ted" made a mistake. It's as if he spilled a whole lot of milk and is going to be away cleaning it up!
No one wants to give kids the sorted details of any scandal but this list suggests that the church leaders want to downplay sin as much as possible and just call it a 'mistake'. This is misleading the little ones.
When I was young, something happened to cause the choir director to leave our church . Since my mom was the organist, you would think I would know what it was he did. WRONG. Here is all I know to this day: He sinned and had to leave. Not one single adult in that church would talk about it except to pray for him. None of the kids knew. All we knew is that he sinned real bad and he had to work out his repentance. He was not restored to his position after a time, either. Those days were over. No way was anyone going to put him on a stage again. (All this talk of restoring Haggard and others to the pastorate just blows me away. Yes, he can be restored to the Body but as a Shepherd?)
Anyway, here are the guidelines that New Life Church is giving parents. Take a look at number 3. The point of number 3 should be that if Pastor Ted had been spending lots of time with Jesus, perhaps he would not have fallen so deep into sin. Did someone remove 1 Corinthians from all the New Life Bibles?
Quite frankly, most of these are examples of how NOT to deal with sin with your children:
What to tell the kids
Some suggestions/guidelines to help parents talk with their children:
- Jesus loves Pastor Ted and his family very, very much. Pastor Ted and his family love Jesus very, very much.
- All people sin and make mistakes. Pastor Ted said he made some mistakes. A group of pastors who love Pastor Ted are helping him to correct those mistakes.
- Pastor Ted cannot be our pastor anymore. He will be taking some time to be with his family and spending lots of time with Jesus. Pastor Ross is going to be our senior pastor while this happens.
- Sometimes it's sad when people we love make mistakes (sin). It's okay to be sad, but Jesus is with us in our sadness, and he can comfort us and help us to get over our sadness.
- When people are sorry for their mistakes (sins), and ask Jesus to forgive them, God will forgive them and help them learn to do what's right.
- When people put their eyes on Jesus, believe in him, then he helps them get over their mistakes and they are stronger afterward. Pastor Ted has done this, and so we can pray that God will bless Pastor Ted and his family and that he will be even stronger.