Matt Chandler of Village Church leaves ‘inappropriate’ relationship

The Texas megachurch pastor has resigned after it was discovered he had an “inappropriate” online relationship with a woman who was not his wife.

Matt Chandler, principal pastor at Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, held back tears Sunday when he told his congregation he would be taking time off, effective immediately.

Church leaders discovered that Chandler, who has been the church’s lead pastor since 2002, had exchanged private Instagram messages with an unidentified woman who was “crossing the line,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

“In this case, while the message is neither romantic nor sexual, the frequency and intimacy of the message crosses the line,” the Village Church said in a statement Sunday.

“They revealed that (he) did not use the language befitting a priest, and he did not emulate the behavior we expect of him.”

In an emotional speech shared on the Village Church website, Chandler told congregants he was ashamed of his behavior.

Pastor Matt Chandler held back tears on Sunday when he told his congregation he would be taking time off.
Pastor Matt Chandler held back tears on Sunday when he told his congregation he would be taking time off.
Village Church

“If I’m being honest, I’m just so embarrassed,” he said. “I feel stupid. I feel stupid. I feel I have humiliated my wife and children. Puts a lot of pressure on our staff. I feel like I have failed you.”

The pastor added that his wife and the other woman’s husband were aware of their friendship, which he described as something greater than a typical brother-sister relationship because of their “familiarity” and “stupid jokes”.

He said the relationship was never romantic or sexual, but rather “unguarded and unwise.”

The Village Church, located northwest of Dallas, said it learned of the messages several months ago after the woman’s friend went to Chandler and expressed concern over their communication, Star-Telegram reported.

Village Church
Matt Chandler, who has been the principal pastor of Village Church since 2002, had exchanged private Instagram messages with an unidentified woman.
Google Maps

Chandler raised his concerns with church elders, who hired a law firm to review the messages.

The review concluded his conversations violated internal social media use policies, prompting church leaders to recommend pastors stay away from the role indefinitely.

“Matt’s departure is both disciplinary and developmental, allowing him to focus on growing greater awareness in this area,” the church said in the statement.

“The timeline for his return will be determined by the expectations set by the elders
for its development.”

It’s not clear if the unidentified woman is a member of the church, or when Chandler is expected to continue in her role as lead pastor.

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