Pastors, Sin, and Confession

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Confession can be the best decision you've ever made.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

One of the defining moments of my spiritual life happened in the midst of great temptation.  I had struggled with a sin for quite a while, dabbled in it here and there, toying with my own spiritual life and ministry.  My love for Christ was giving way to the allure of sin’s pleasure.  I felt myself slipping down a slope that was far more powerful than all the strength within me.  I had the keen sense that absolutely everything was at risk at that moment, my job, my marriage, and my family.  The point of no return seemed immediately in front of me.  It was then that God in his blessed grace whispered in my ear, “Make the call.”  The face of a friend and brother in the Lord was in my mind’s eye.  I respected him greatly—and he respected me.  I didn’t want to be vulnerable to him, to confess my struggle.  But it was either pick up the phone or fall off the cliff.  Thank God, I made the call.  It was painfully humbling—and tremendously freeing.  He was so Christ-like, full of grace, strength, and humility.  Something happened in me that day, something very deep and powerful.  Somehow, I accessed the power of God through another person like I couldn’t have done in the solitude of my own soul.  It seems that’s just how God has designed things to be.  He’s configured our dependence on him to be intertwined with dependence on others.

We surveyed 500 church leaders about their own struggles with sin.  The results are valuable for all in ministry to ponder and respond to.  In light of my own experience and the survey results, I felt burdened to dedicate this article to addressing pastors in their struggle with sin.  (Click here to view the full results)

Here are the summary results:

35% of the church leader respondents identified lust as the sin they struggled with most.

36% of church leaders said lust was something they often or constantly struggled with.

68% either did not have anyone they felt they could confess to, or if they did, they rarely or never confessed to them.

66% expressed that discussing their struggles with sin from the pulpit would put their ministry at risk, or they were unsure if it would put their ministry at risk.

Ron Forseth Ron Forseth is Editor-at-Large for and He studied for two years with Wycliffe Bible Translators and has a passion to share Christ and see all people groups of the world reached with the Gospel. He served for several years as a college pastor in Colorado and in Christian service for most of the 1990s in China and Mongolia. He is Vice President of Outreach, Inc, an organization dedicated to inviting and connecting every person in America to a Bible-believing church so that they might have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Ron lives with his wife Carol in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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  • sinner saved by grace

    Brother you are dead on right. And confession is different than an admission. In my experience the progression is  1) conviction, 2) confession, 3) repentance 4) forgiveness 5) restoration and often 6) elevation. I have personally experienced the application of 1 Peter 5:6,7. Make no bones about it, God loves a man with a broken and contrite spirit. And godly sorrow produces a repentance without regret. 2 Cor. 7:10. Dealing with sin, repenting , and getting past it strenghtens and results in a stronger relationship with God through Jesus. It greatly facilitates your  forgiving others too.

  • Pastors wife

    I have a question as far as dealing with a pastor confessing…. My husband is a worshiip pastor and had inappropriate interactions with a gal via the internet. He confessed on his own accord to me (his wife), his pastor, and the board…..then they told him to confess to the congregation. He gave a non- detailed description (exactly what i told you above) and that was it. How is this biblical? I am upset by it and believe no good can come from giving a non-detailed description and leaving people to assume. Also he was fully repentant and told his leadership he would submit to their authority under this situation. Im proud of him for doing as they asked in order to right this wrong but i am feeling they handled the situation very wrong.

    • NewsFlash

      I hear you, Pastors Wife and I hope you and your husband have been able to move on from this experience. I don’t believe that the public confession served the body well, but it sure exposes your own pain. Our churches walk in the light they have and often, we apply the letter of the law as we interpret it to ourselves and others, rather than the spirit of it. I hope that your Pastor husband is demonstrating fruit meet for repentance.