Tag Archive for: Gayle Haggard

Interview with Gayle Haggard

I had the unique opportunity of doing a Q &  A with Gayle Haggard this week. She is a remarkable woman who shines with the love and grace of God. She recently wrote a book called, Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour, chronicling her and her husband’s story of a scandal that broke in 2006. If you have not read her book, I encourage you to. Renue International read and posted book review which you can read here. Sitting in her lab session at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta I saw a woman who is bold, strong, and confident in God’s faithfulness to restore and heal the broken. I am so thankful for her open, honest answers. These are not the same questions asked to her in other interviews, I wanted to get beyond what “had happened”, and into what “is happening” and what the future holds. I hope you feel more connected and inspired by her words.

St James Church – Local Church Ministry

Tanya: Why did you choose to stay in Colorado Springs?

Gayle Haggard: We chose to return to Colorado Springs in order to finish our story there. We were not willing to let 22 years of positive ministry end or be defined by scandal. We knew the only way to undo that was to live past it. We feel God called us to Colorado Springs 25 years ago and He has not changed that call.

Tanya: What are you doing different and/or the same in this new ministry in comparison to how you and Ted built New Life?

GH: We are keeping it simple – we don’t want to work as hard as we did before. The message is the same albeit seasoned with the wisdom and purification than only a trial by fire can produce.

Tanya: Do you anticipate it to grow like your last church or be smaller – or bigger?

GH: We have no growth expectations. We believe God builds the church and adds people into the body where He wants them.

Tanya: What is your prayer for this church regarding its impact in the community?

GH: My prayer for St James Church is that we would offer hope to the hopeless and hurting and that we would be known for our kindness, compassion, and most importantly our love for one another.

Ministry and Marriage

Tanya: Given your experiences, how would you instruct young couples involved in full time ministry?

GH: I would encourage young couples to learn how to love each other – it’s a process that develops over a lifetime. Give yourselves permission to take time to enjoy each other and to laugh a lot. Don’t be a burden to each other – try to make each others life easier. Life can be hard – choose to be each others safe place. Know that each of you are in a process of growing to maturity that will take a lifetime – choose to journey together and to grow in understanding. Each of you will fail in some fashion – understand that and learn the art of forgiveness and love that covers a multitude of sins.

Tanya: What is the importance of “date nights” in a marriage?

GH: Never put another person ahead of your spouse in your heart. Be the kind of person you would want to be married to.

Tanya: How do you feel about the future of local church ministry in the hands of new young leaders? Are you hopeful? Anxious? Concerned? Why?

GH: I am hopeful as I look to the future of local church ministry in the hand of new young leaders. Although the needs of society seem to be growing increasingly complex, I am confident Jesus is, who is the Head, is more than able to guide this next generation. They need only to stay connected to the Head in sincerity of faith and to not only hear His teachings, but to put them into practice. That is the hope I have for the future of the church.

Personal Questions

Tanya: What makes you laugh?

GH: My family- they all have a great sense of humor.

Tanya: What makes you cry?

GH: A person who is suffering.

Tanya: What inspires you?

GH: Early mornings, the changing of seasons, and the teachings of the New Testament.

Tanya: What is the immediate thing you are hearing from God right now in this season of your life?

GH: God is teaching me to love life again, and not to pressure myself or anyone else too much. I remember an old saying “Is it so small a thing to have lived light in the Spring, to have loved, to have laughed, to have done?” I like that. I enjoy not thinking more highly of myself than I ought. Beyond that I do have a sense of purpose for my role in the body of Christ. However, I am now trusting in the fact that His yoke is easy and His burden is light and in the Holy Spirit’s ability to bring to pass His purpose for me.

Tanya: Are you reading any books?

GH: Currently I am reading, Repenting of Religion by Gregory Boyd; a commentary on Romans, and my Bible.

Personal Favorites

Food? Chocolate ice cream

Color? Burgundy

Flower? I love them all.

Movie? Enchanted April

Date night memory? Sitting and talking for hours over dinner with my husband/ and riding ATV’s to a beautiful and secluded place in the mountains with my husband.

Book? The Bible and Pride and Prejudice.

Tanya: What’s the next 50 years look like for your family and your church?

GH: Even better than the last 5o years!

Questions sent in by others:

Question: How did those stood by your side as you walked through the revelation and aftermath of the disclosure support and minister to you, and how do feel that has played into where you are today?

GH: I was separated from the church and my closest friends.

Question: Leader to Leader – What personal accountability or support system would you recommend leaders of large churches or organizations establish in their lives to help them balance the pressures of leading with internal struggles that are hard to share?

GH: They must find a safe place to openly and honestly deal with their internal struggles. My hope is that we in the church will grow in understanding and maturity in order to be that safe place. In the meantime, however, a licensed counselor can help.

Question: What kind of encouragement and advice would you offer to a wife who’s husband is wresting with a struggle that is similar to what Ted has gone through, and Ted what would you say to that man?

GH: We would counsel them to see a licensed counselor who is a Christian and specializes in their area of difficulty as as well as trauma resolution therapy.

Question: What do you know about mercy now that you didn’t know before?

GH: Before I tried to be as merciful and compassionate as I knew how to be. Now that I know what it feels like to be the person who so desperately needs mercy and compassion – I am more merciful and compassionate toward people’s struggle with their human condition.

For more information and to follow Ted and Gayle’s ministry, family, and schedule visit www.TedHaggard.com.


Scandalous Grace

Second chances in life and leadership can often be viewed as scandalous. But, if you study the Bible, the message of Grace is scandalous. I mean just think about, without the act of radical grace in our lives we would have no second chances. Without the act of love and grace, why would churches be in business? Churches are not made for the righteous, but made for the sinner — people who have failed and missed the mark, just like you and me. Through Jesus’ work on the cross and by His love for mankind, Grace is given to every man and woman —to every liar, fornicator, stealer, adulterer, bank robber, money embezzler, etc…

I like quoting what my pastor, Rob Koke of Shoreline Church, Austin, TX says about grace, “The message of grace is that even though we can’t go back for a brand new start we get a second chance at a brand new future.”

A few days ago, I wrote an article about my thoughts concerning the Ted & Gayle Haggard scandal and about Gayle’s new book, Why I Stayed – The Choices I Made In My Darkest Hour. You can read the article by clicking HERE. In my article I said, “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?”

What I forgot to include in my article was how will the church-at-large pre-determine its response and actions when we see the next leader fail in their integrity or in immorality (whether it be a politician, nationally known pastor, professional athlete, etc..). Because the truth is more leaders will fall and more scandals will happen. It breaks my heart to say that, but it’s the truth. The questions should not be: When will it happen? Who do you think it will happen to? The real question should be:  “How will I respond when it does?” Will I respond in love, compassion and grace or will I be self-righteous and act as if they got what they deserved? ImpelMinistry.com has pre-determined our decision and our response towards leaders who fall, to be one of grace, compassion and one that encourages a second chance in their personal and leadership journey.

There is a grass-root new movement that God is beginning to raise up, called People of the Second ChanceRadical Grace in Life & Leadership. The founders are Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite and they have been speaking at conferences and events to rally a movement that give leaders a second chance to share their story and their struggles. We encourage you to follow and connect with what they are doing.

The mission of the church is to be one of love and grace to people of all walks of life. It’s amazing when you think about the power of the cross, you begin to think who Jesus has forgiven… the adulterer, the tax-embezzler, the murderer, etc… His grace is scandalous.

Why I Stayed by Gayle Haggard – Book Review

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!