I’ve just finished reading the book, Why I Stayed – The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour by Gayle Haggard. I’ve followed the Haggard’s ministry for many years. I’ve had lots of friends attend as well as serve on staff and volunteer positions at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. When the scandal broke in November 2006, I was living in Orlando, FL. My heart broke for the Haggard family and the New Life Church community during that crisis. But, most of all, my heart broke on how the church (The Body of Christ at Large) reacted to that situation. The fact is we simply reacted, we didn’t respond with the love & grace of God. At the moment the church had the media spotlight from around the world covering the story, and we reacted in a defensive way only to protect the reputation of an organization. I understand why to a point. However, what if we responded in a way that introduced the world to a concept of love and grace towards individuals who fall — whether they are laymen or even mega church pastors? What if the church thought as chess players and saw the Haggard scandal as a opportunity and decided to leverage the crisis to impact and reach more hurting people that struggled with drug addictions, immorality and other issues of life that are in need of the love and grace of God? I believe Gayle & Ted Haggard are using their platform today to do just that. We are excited that God is using their story by restoring their voice to the Body of Christ.
People have asked me, why do you support the Haggard’s and don’t you think it’s risky for Renue International to support them publicly? My answer to both of these questions is this — Because their story represents a true message of grace and forgiveness. It’s the greatest comeback story I think my generation has ever seen. You really don’t need to hear a sermon to understand the depth of grace and forgiveness, just watch and listen to Gayle’s story and you’ll see the Gospel at work. Plus, I hate church politics and I’ve accepted the fact that I will never fit into the mega ministry church world and all the religious politics that come with it. We want to see peoples lives changed and transformed for the Glory of God, what people think about us is irrelevant when it comes to the cause of our mission! Because ministry is not about us, it’s not about public relations, it’s about reaching the hearts of people!
Renue International will always support the Haggard family, because we know that God’s grace and forgiveness is for anyone, even for mega church pastors. To follow what’s happening with the Haggard’s, visit www.tedhaggard.com . Make sure you get Gayle’s book!