Monday, June 8, 2009

Pastoral Failure #1,673: Gary Lamb

My mom told me recently of her recent church experience. A few weeks ago, she went to church only to have the two elders of the church get up and read a letter stating that the Senior Pastor of ten years had been removed for indiscretions unbecoming of a pastor.

I think I've become jaded. In fact, I'm sure I've become jaded. In the back of my mind, I've come to expect this of pastors. It has no bearing on them personally, it is just a fact of life. People fail, men especially. Men with egos even more so. Men held up on a pedestal even more so. So I leave that possibility open in my mind, so that, when it happens, it doesn't shake my faith in Jesus, just my faith in men.

My two favorite preachers to listen to, unarguably (Sorry, Dave.) would have to be Mark Driscoll and Gary Lamb. As Driscoll has gotten more and more popular - a world traveller of late - and more successful, I've left that place in my mind open to the possibility of his failure. "When Mark Driscoll falls, I won't be shocked or hurt by it, I'll simply move on, " I tell myself.

So with my eye on Driscoll, it came out of left field for me to read on Gary Lamb's blog this week of his relational/sexual failure which has removed him from his ministry.

Oh well. I'll move on. Of course, I'll pray for those involved, but as I said - I'm jaded.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Those are your two favorite?

These guys are like oil and water. If you have read any of Driscoll's books you would know that there is a huge difference.

I will say this, both have the same capacity to sin of course and so you are right any pastor could fall as could you or I.
Here is why Driscoll hasn't yet.
1. He loves Jesus more than anything and holds the Bible close to his heart and his mind. Lamb's church was about himself and his church not about Jesus and his kingdom. Any simple reading of his blog can show this.

2. Driscoll does not hire female assistants, his is a male and he see's this as a mentoring relationship. This is called wisdom and discernment.

I truly hope that you can see the difference and that one of these guys points to Jesus and the other to himself.

Anonymous said...

This is in response to the previous comment:

Hope Mark doesn't think of himself as highly as you do. You really have no idea how much Mark Driscoll loves Jesus. I'm not saying he doesn't, but you don't know what's going on inside of his heart and mind.

This is part of the problem, as I see it. Mere men are being exalted and the Jesus we admire them for loving is the Jesus that we end up missing.

There's way too much personality worshiping going on in "christiantity" these days.

I wish I read more people talking about Jesus the way they talk about their favorite evangelical personality.

For what it's worth.

darkness said...

Nobody should cut any pastor a break no matter what he is doing inside his ministry because he/she is always a huge target for sin. The problem in this situation is that he would sit on his computer and praise his wife for how great she is and then place himself in a situation to sin in the first place. The only person I feel sorry for is his wife and kids who should now look at him with a lot less respect for the fact that he would drag them through a situation like this.

And before anyone starts, I am praying that God will give his family the strength to see past his sin and give him the grace that is given to each of us on a daily basis. He needs to begin a process of really drawing close to God and allowing his heart to be changed and molded into what should have been in the first place when God gave him the greatest gifts in life.

Anonymous said...

There is a great website that talks about Revolution and Gary Lamb and even cooler is the fact that it gives you the ability to leave comments such as this site.

Anonymous said...

In reference to the first comment, I have to say the following:
1. Revolution Church is not "Lamb's church"
2. Revolution Church is and has always been God's church, not Gary Lamb's church: his blog is and has been for "himself" not the church
3. Revolution Church is ALL about Jesus and his kingdom: that's the only thing WE'RE about!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... amazing how believers can be so harsh. :-) If anyone knows Gary at all (and I do) they would know that he is heartbroken over his sin... regardless of what some of his staff has put out there about him. He knows he did wrong, has repented of that sin, and wants to move forward. There is SO MUCH I can write about the sin of his staff since Gary's fall... but that's not what this is about.

As one anonymous commentor has already said, let's get serious about exalting JESUS, not pastors. It's not about Gary, not about Driscoll, not about Matt Chandler, Perry Noble, Steven Furtick, or any other "popular preacher" out there... IT'S ABOUT JESUS!

When we get that right, we'll respond a little more like He does when people mess up: "I don't CONDEMN you. Go, and stop persisting in sin."

darkness said...

Harshness is a reality of life that many people have experienced in biblical history. Think of Sodom and Gamora who came to a harsh reality when God decided to deal with their sin.

I give full credit to Gary in his shame and repentance but all the things you say about him should be felt after doing the things that he has done. But after many months of reading his blog and his persistent comments about his wife and family I can't seem to give him the credit he deserves after a demise like that.

Should he be seen as a human, of course he should.

Should he be held to a higher standard, of course he should.

He took on a responsibility given to him by God to be an example to his people which he failed to do. So being harsh on him for things he did, everyone has a responsibility to love him and to help him but we also do not need to allow him to slide, just like we shouldn't allow anyone else to slide when they sinned in this way. My harshness will not compare to the hard love that God will give him for the things that he has done to his family.

I believe in forgiveness and will freely pass it out as God will but indeed think that God teaches us in ways that may not always be as nice or gentle as we think.

Anonymous said...

I am formerly from the Church in Iowa that Gary Lamb first pastored. An egotist and unscriptural, he turned on his Independent Baptist teachings and was more interested in a large Church than being a Godly Pastor.
He damaged several hundred people in the Ames area before he was done, left Missionaries unpaid, and turned over a building project crippled by a sudden loss of support as he left the gospel behind to jump into the world.
The people in Georgia could not have been caught unawares, and must have known of his immature and unscriptural acts in our former Church before he was 'called' to the revolution. Lamb is continuing business as usual, and if his past history is any indication, he will show up in another state with another (weaker) doctrine, and try and gather people into his life goal....a BIG Church.

Joe Wells
Fargo North Dakota

Anonymous said...

you hit it right on the head. I have not met a more egotistical maniac in my life. He was a terrible preacher too. Sure he was "relavant" to his throng of loyal followers, but rarely delved into scripture. Only cherry picking scripture when it happened to coincide with his talk.

He wrecked two families with his actions and hopefully not a church. Now he is Twittering about starting a new church plant.

I am all for redemption, forgiveness and restoration, but that has to come through brokeness and humility. Even the loss of his postion, church, wife, and kids hasn't seemed to humble him.

If you read this Gary, drop the ego and humble yourself as Christ commanded.

Justin said...

I knew Gary before he was a pastor. I am not surprised by the recent events. I don't put people on pedestals, but it's not that. Nor is it that he is egotistical, and he's always been that. No, it's that he is a charlatan. Why is he starting a new church? That's the only gig he knows. He profits from the manipulation of human feelings and superstitions. Wouldn't give 10 cents for the guy. I've always thought he was a disgusting human being.

Anonymous said...

There are many opinions, blogs and tweets about Gary Lamb and C3 floating out there on the web. Everyone seems to have something to say about Gary’s return to leadership in a new church. That being the case, I thought I should enter the fray.

First, let’s deal with the past. It is common knowledge that Gary sinned. He has admitted that – to God and everybody else. That being the case, I don’t believe that any of us should turn our backs on Gary Lamb (or any person) because to me, that goes against the very grain of Jesus telling us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves.

Way too frequently I see Christians turning on those who have a spotlight turned on the sin in their lives. It’s almost as if it makes us feel better about our own “little sins” if we see someone who has a sin that we perceive as being “worse” than our own.

But doesn’t all sin separate us from God? Didn’t Jesus die on the cross for all of our sins? Aren’t we really defeating the purpose of sharing our Lord and Savior when we’re beating someone over the head with our bitterness and hatred and using the bible as the weapon of choice to do it?

The bottom line here (for me anyway) is that Gary Lamb is still my brother in Christ. My thoughts and opinions on his choice to start another church are just that …my thoughts and my opinions.

On judgment day I don’t believe that God will be asking me what my opinions are on anyone’s choices. Ultimately, each one of us will answer for our own choices on that day … from the big ones to the small ones … each and every step of our walk.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to continue to pray for Gary, his family and C3, as I do for any Christian going through and/or coming out of a tough time..

If you’re not sure what to think or do, then remember these words, Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself…”

Second, we should ALL remember that Gary’s sins do not negate the Spirit’s work that was done. Whether the leadership at Revolution wishes to admit it or not, God used Gary to build a great church. A large part of the reason that the current pastor at Revolution stepped into a good paying, great opportunity is because Gary was available for God to use. No one can ever take that truth away. The current leadership at Revolution would do well to remember that.

I will not sit here and condemn Gary Lamb or say that the years he spent in ministry mean nothing anymore because he sinned and then made a choice (divorce) that some don’t agree with. Regardless of Gary’s choices and sins, I am not without sin so I am in no position to cast the first stone. That’s what can be said of all of us. None of us, no not one, is without some sort of sin in our lives. Maybe it’s time to look in the mirror before we tweet????

Anonymous said...


Third, what about the present? Does Gary have the option to be a leader in the church again? Some would say “no!” The buzzwords people like to use when it comes pastors who have moral failures are “disqualified from being a pastor,” “doesn’t meet the requirements of Timothy and Titus,” “doesn’t have his family under control,” etc., etc. Those are all good intentioned condemnations but the TIMING of their theology is wrong.

While there are definitely biblical requirements and guidelines for leadership it is also important to note that they are given in the present tense. There is nothing that says you can’t be in leadership because you’ve DONE these things – it says you can’t be in leadership if are DOING these things.

Study the leaders of the early church. They had screwed up, messed up histories. But when their histories became HIS-stories, they experienced forgiveness, grace and healing and became amazing leaders. Some took years for that process, some like David and Peter were thrust right back into the game.

I’m can’t say what the right timetable is for Gary. He has to figure that out.

And he has…

Gary has looked at himself in the mirror and asked himself the difficult questions: “Are you back where you need to be to do the job? Are you where you should be emotionally, mentally, spiritually? Are you back in the Word, in prayer?”

Gary’s answer is “yes!”

Gary has looked at himself and he believes he is ready to allow God to use him again.

Gary has experienced God’s forgiveness and grace and he feels he has healed enough to become an amazing leader. In the end, only he can determine that.

By the way, here’s an excerpt from Perry Noble’s blog we would all do well to read and remember:

“And pastors…church leaders…please don’t get mad at Gary about this but rather allow this tragedy to cause you to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “is there anything going on in my private life that, if it became public, would disqualify me from ministry?” Things like this should not cause us to force others away from the cross…but rather they should cause us to hold on to it tighter than we ever have!”

Finally, let me take another approach…

I think what we say on Twitter or blog sites won’t matter. I also think that when it’s all said and done, if we don’t agree with Gary we don’t have to go to the church he leads.

And no matter what, it’s a good thing to preach God’s word no matter the circumstances – God’s word will never return void. So why should Gary (or anybody) wait until society or church leaders believe he has repented enough?

How many will die and go to hell that could have heard while Gary waits around? We don’t have the luxury of the time needed to redeem ourselves in the eyes of man

How many lost souls can God reach through Gary in the next 2-5 years that “the church boards” tell you you wait to get back into planting churches?

And are those critics willing to go out on the streets of Canton and preach God’s word?

No matter where you stand on the issue there are thousands in the Canton area that will die and go to hell. If Gary can only reach two or three – that’s good. If he reaches and disciples thousands – that amazing. Either way, whether you agree with Gary or not – people will be saved. And when it’s all said and done, time will tell…

Anonymous said...

As I read about Gary Lamb I was bothered by how he treated the other woman in the story. It seemed like he threw her under the bus. She became a leper of sorts. I don't know Gary personally, but from what he has written he does seem to be into himself a lot. Friends, do we really need to do this twitter thing? Do we need to make sure everybody knows what restaurant we went to and what ball game we attended? Perhaps this is just part of the, "me" culture that has enveloped us.
My belief is that Gary didn't take long enough in repentence to serve again as a pastor. Richard Baxter said a pastor could be restored, but he said only when the pastor is known more by his repentence than his sin. Can this be said about Gary Lamb? What real price has he paid? Being gone a year or even two doesn't seem like that much to me. The guy needs to stay out of the ministry and do something else for a living.
To the person who said this:

How many will die and go to hell that could have heard while Gary waits around? We don’t have the luxury of the time needed to redeem ourselves in the eyes of man

Do you really read what you write? Is salvation more about God or man? You have just made the gospel man centered. Repent.

revolution said...

he didn't throw her under the bus, he actually married her.

it sounds unbeleivable, but its true.

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Anonymous said...

Hello everyone. Ok, no offense is to be made here, but I know Gary. He will tell you he preaches sermons from other preachers that he admires. He will be the first to tell you that he does not write many sermons on his own.

I am personally glad you listen to preachers. But, if Driscoll and Lamb are your two favorites, I challenge you to open your eyes as you will find many wonderful preachers who preach strong messages, strong doctrine, and have much more experience. Driscoll and many Lamb types (these guys are abundand and all the same) are more milk toast.

Try: Swindol, Stanley, Spurgeon, NT. Wright, David Wright, David Jeremiah, etc.... good luck.

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