Warning Signs on the Parsonage Door

Trouble is ahead for a pastor’s marriage when the marital relationship becomes polite with no genuine emotional intimacy. “When two single people live in a relationship centering around hectic activity, that marriage is in trouble,” said Larry. “It’s leaving the door open for infidelity.”
Larry credits the easy accessible of Internet pornography with seducing pastors and church leaders. “Pornography use has reached epidemic proportions. It is incredibly nurturing and it can be [viewed online] with very little risk of discovery.”

Larry also believes that it is only a short jump from pornography to acting on the illicit suggestions.

According to statistics accessing the state of the pastorate in America, 37 percent of pastors confessed to inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church while 12 percent admitted sexual intercourse with a church member.

“The denial that takes place when pastors or leaders get involved in sexual infidelity is unbelievable,” says Larry. “They don’t feel guilt, remorse, or pain. They can actually sleep with a person on Saturday night and preach a wonderful message Sunday morning. It’s like the two parts of the personality never meet.”

But Larry thinks congregational leaders can help pastors avoid crashing and burning. “Pastors aren’t very good at raising the flag and saying, ‘I need help,’ so notice when your pastor is tired all the time. Look for the warning signs of burn out and intervene.”

Through Shepherd's Heart Ministry, Larry and Lorrie do pastoral crisis intervention as well as preventive workshops.

“It is our hope and aim is to keep pastors and their families out of a crisis situation,” said Larry.
Shepherd’s Heart Ministry under the auspices of Larry and Lorrie Russell has two facilities: Black Forest Retreat Center, Denver, Colorado, and Shepherd's Sanctuary Ontario, Canada. For more information see www.shepherdsheartministry.com

Rebekah Montgomery is the editor of Right to the Heart of Women e-zine, a publisher at Jubilant Press, and the author of numerous books on spiritual growth. She can be contacted for comments or speaking engagements at rebekahmontgomery.com