John Ortberg, megachurch pastor and author of the best-selling book ‘Soul Keeping’ resigned to his role as a pastor of Menlo Church in California after a safeguarding issue arose involving his teenage son.
According to the reports, Ortberg allowed his youngest son, Johnny, to continue to work with minors despite him admitting an attraction to children.
Reportedly, the leaders of the church didn’t know about situation involving the pastor’s youngest son until Daniel, Ortberg’s other son, who was born Mallory Ortberg but has since undergone a gender transition, talked to them to inform the situation.
After a while struggling with that situation, Ortberg decided to present his resignation through a letter dated 29th July.
There, he expressed “regret for not having served our church with better judgement” affirming that it had been a “wrenchingly difficult” season for his church.
“Extensive conversations I had with my youngest son gave no evidence of risk of harm, and feedback from others about his impact was consistently positive. However, for my part, I did not balance my responsibilities as a father with my responsibilities as a leader. I am hopeful that my leaving can mark a new beginning in our church’s ministry, and will also appreciate your prayers for our family,” Ortberg continued.
“Although I am sad to have my time at Menlo end in this way, you should know that sadness is not the only or even main emotion in my heart. Far more than that, I will carry the memories of seventeen years of ministry and worship and learning and prayer and tears and laughter and spiritual growth that I will cherish as long as I live. I will be praying God’s healing and unity for our congregation this coming season. I will be praying that God, who placed a cross at the heart of human history, will redeem the pain of this story in all our lives as well.”
“For 147 years, from moments of barely surviving to seasons of astounding fruitfulness, Menlo Church has been a steward of the person and message and love of Jesus. That is what matters. I will live in the hope that, through our friend Jesus, the best is yet to come.”
In relation to the pastor’s resignation, the elders of the Menlo church said that Ortberg’s “poor judgment has resulted in pain and broken trust among many parents, youth, volunteers and staff” and said that the pastor “needs to focus on healing and reconciliation within his own family” over the next season.
They announced they would be conducting “a supplemental investigation of Johnny Ortberg’s involvement in Menlo Church and Church-sponsored activities” alongside an “external, independent audit” of the church’s existing child safety policies and procedures.
The final Sunday of the pastor at the church will be 2nd August.
Source: Premier. Christian News