Following a three-month leave due to an “relación en línea inapropiada,” embattled megachurch pastor Matt Chandler will return to preaching this Sunday at The Village Church (TVC) in Flower Mound, Texas, his elders announced Thursday.
In an email to congregants, the elders of TVC said Chandler had “diligently” worked through a “development plan,” which included “study and prayer, personal reflection, and multiple intensives with trusted outside experts.”
“Matt has completed everything asked of him with submissiveness, steadfastness, and humility, and we have received positive feedback from all involved,” the elders wrote. “We have been encouraged by his posture throughout, and we remain so. Therefore, we are pleased to share with you that his return to preaching is scheduled for this Sunday, December 4.”
In August, a tearful Chandler confessed to his congregation of about 8,000 that he had engaged in an inappropriate online relationship with a woman other than his wife. The relationship reportedly was not romantic or sexual, but was “unguarded and unwise,” Chandler said.
He added, “The volume of exchanges and the familiarity, which played itself out in kind of coarse and foolish joking, is just not okay for someone who has been put in the position that God has placed me in.”
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TVC elders indicated at the time that Chandler would take a leave of absence. The church planting network, Acts 29, where Chandler had served as president, similarly announced in August that Chandler would take a break from his duties there.
Brian Howard, who had been executive director of Acts 29, is now listed on the Acts 29 website as president of the organization, and Chandler is listed as executive chairman.
El Informe Roys reached out to Acts 29 for comment about Chandler’s role but did not immediately hear back.
Chandler’s return this Sunday coincides with the 20el anniversary of Chandler assuming the pastorate at TVC. As a result, the church will be celebrating Chandler’s 20el anniversary on Sunday, as well. According to TVC elders, the twin events were not planned.
“Although we did not work toward this date as a target for Matt’s return, we did not think it was appropriate to delay Matt’s return to avoid it falling on the anniversary,” they wrote. “We decided to stay true to the plan for Matt to return when the goals were met, and we embrace the beautiful coincidence of the timing.”
Chandler’s return to ministry comes as no surprise. In October, Chandler signaled on Instagram that he would return to active ministry at TVC soon.
Shortly afterward, his elders sent an email, expressing their approval of Chandler’s progress and stating they anticipated Chandler’s return would be imminent. At the time, the elders said their main hesitation was assessing the readiness of the church and its staff to Chandler resuming his position.
The earlier announcements of Chandler’s return were received enthusiastically by some. However, others have expressed concern about the questions surrounding Chandler’s misconduct and the brevity of his leave.