- Matt Chandler, a lead pastor at a Texas megachurch, is taking a leave of absence after inappropriate DMs.
- In a statement, elders of the Village Church revealed little as to the content of the messages.
- But the church said “the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line.”
A megachurch pastor is taking a leave of absence after relaying inappropriate messages on social media with a woman, church elders said in a statement on Sunday.
Matt Chandler, the lead pastor of the Southern Baptist Village Church, was discovered to have had a history of exchanging the messages after someone reported him and after church elders hired a law firm to review his online messages, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“A few months ago, an individual approached The Village Church’s lead pastor Matt Chandler with concerns about the way he was using direct messaging on social media with a woman who was not his wife,” elders said in the statement. “The elders commissioned an independent law firm to conduct a review of Matt’s messaging history across social media platforms, cell phone, and email.”
The church leaders said Chandler “violated our internal social media use policies,” and claimed that “while the messages were not romantic or sexual in nature, the frequency and familiarity of the messages crossed a line.”
“We cannot be a church where anyone is above the Scriptures and above the high heavenly call into Christ Jesus,” Chandler told congregants at a service on Sunday, adding that the report from the elders “revealed something unhealthy in me.”
“The Word of God holds me to a certain standard,” Chandler added. “And I fell short.”
The Village Church did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. In the statement, the elders added that Chandler would take a leave of absence and return at a time that would be determined by leadership.
The news comes as bombshell 300-page report released by the Southern Baptist Church found that leaders either dismissed or hid sexual abuse allegations within the 13 million member organization.