Do you have a controlling pastor?

Max walked up to Pastor Sunday night after service, and asked “ Hey Pastor, would you have time to pop up to the university one day this week and have coffee with me?”

Pastor concealed his surprise and smiled, and said, “Max I’d be glad to.  What day”

So it was a Tuesday as Pastor walked on campus, wondering what this was all about.

He spotted Max sitting at a table in the student center and was greeted by a genuine smile of welcome.

Max asked Pastor if he had ever been on campus before and Pastor admitted he hadn’t.

“So Max, what is this all about” asked Pastor?  Max sobered up and began to explain.

“Well sir, you know two weeks ago when you talked to me about that situation God spoke to you about?” Pastor was nodding slowly now.  Max continued, “Well I feel like I was gone, falling and on my way to being lost when God talked to you.  Honestly Elder, I do not ever want to even get close to the edge again.”

“I thought I had everything concealed and no one would ever know I was starting to see that unsaved girl.  It never went very far, but we did hang out together and even met and went to Sonic once.  We sat in the car and began to kiss.  I knew it was wrong.  I have been born and raised in the church and I have been taught never to date anyone outside the church, but I messed up.”

“It started slow.  We were in an English class together.  I saw her in the library and stopped to chat.  I sat down not knowing the path I started down that day.  Honestly Pastor, I never intended for it to go anywhere, or end up like it did.  Somehow I got more and more involved with her, and then that day at the Sonic: when we kissed for a long time.”

“I was pretty shocked when you came up to me that Sunday and told me God had talked to you about me.  Then when you began to tell me exactly what I had done and that God had revealed it to you, well that was, uh, well, to be honest I was dumbfounded!”

“So I asked you here today because I have decided to take some steps to make sure it never happens again”. Max slid a piece of paper across the table to his pastor. “That sir is all my information and passwords.  I want you to monitor every email, every text message, every phone call I make until you feel I can be trusted not to fall into this trap again.”

It had been many years since the seasoned Man of God had been this bamboozled!  He was speechless.  He looked down at the paper on the desk.  Listed were Max’s email address with his password.  Next were his cell phone number, the carrier, and the password to log on and check his calls and texts.

Pastor said, “Max are you sure about this? “ Max slowly nodded his head and replied, “Looking back I now realize that I had already backslid even though I still never missed a service. I was already in freefall Elder and you and Jesus reached over the edge of the cliff and snatched me back to safety.  Pastor, I never want to get anywhere near that close to going to hell again as long as I live.”

“Pastor I would also like you to walk the campus here with me today.  I would like to show you where my classes are and invite you to stop by any time and see me when I change classes or when I am on this campus.”

Pastor felt a tear begin it’s decent down his cheek as he looked into the eyes of the young man he had pastored for the last 22 years.  “Max, I just have one more question.”  Max  looked up, “Sure Pastor, anything.”

The Man of God chose his words carefully. “Max, what about your father? He is a good man, and a member of our church for many years.  However, we both know he feels like I control our people and their lives.  Won’t he see this as me controlling you by monitoring your emails and texts?”

Max smiled.  “Yep, I am pretty sure he will.” Pastor said, “So how will we handle that?”

Max answered, “Maybe he needs to learn the difference between control and accountability. This might be the best opportunity for my dad to stop trying to protect his son from what he misidentifies as control.”

Max continued, “Pastor I asked you here today.  I willingly gave you my information, and I ask you to hold me accountable so I do not end up lost.”

As the pastor slowly walked back to his car on a beautiful spring day, it seemed the sun was shining like it hadn’t in many, many years.

Max had learned a lesson no university could teach, a valuable life lesson.

Holding someone accountable is not controlling them, it is protecting them.

Thanks for reading today.