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Texas megachurch pastor returns from suspension

Matt Chandler (L), the married pastor of a Texas megachurch has been restored to his position after serving a three-month suspension for Instagram messages between him and another woman. Photo courtesy of The Village Church
Matt Chandler (L), the married pastor of a Texas megachurch has been restored to his position after serving a three-month suspension for Instagram messages between him and another woman. Photo courtesy of The Village Church

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A married pastor of a Texas megachurch has been restored to his position after serving a three-month suspension for Instagram messages between him and another woman.

Matt Chandler returned to the pulpit of the Village Church, about 30 miles northwest of Dallas, Texas, on Sunday, after dealing with what church leadership described as "some challenges that arose."

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Chandler on Sunday did not mention his time away specifically, or the specific circumstances related to it.

"It is my understanding that I have fallen short of the glory of God and he has met me with grace," Chandler told the congregation on Sunday.

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"It is my understanding that I am inconsistent and I do have spots that are hypocritical, and there are parts of me I don't even understand."

At the end of August, church elders determined the Instagram messages between Chandler and the other women "crossed a line."

Chandler said the woman approached him in the church's foyer several months ago about concerns about Instagram messages the pastor exchanged with her friend.

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"I didn't think I had done anything wrong in that," he said at the time.

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"My wife knew that, her husband knew that, and yet there were a couple of things that she said that were disorienting to me."

He said the messages were not a secret from his wife nor were they sexual in nature.

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"They revealed that Matt did not use language appropriate for a pastor, and he did not model a behavior that we expect from him," the church said in August.

"Matt has completed everything asked of him with submissiveness, steadfastness, and humility, and we have received positive feedback from all involved," church elders said in an email to Christian media outlet The Roy's Report ahead of Chandler's return.

"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."

Chandler received some applause while taking to the pulpit on Sunday and delivering.

"To humble ourselves before a living God gives us a shot at peace," he told the congregation, without elaborating.

"I've got a part of this I've got to own. It might just be 1% but that's my 1%. Forgive me. Now we've got a shot at reconciliation."

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