DiscoverThe Carey Nieuwhof Leadership PodcastCNLP 654 | Matt Chandler Opens Up About Hitting the Wall, Lessons from His Leave of Absence After His Instagram Incident, And How to Revitalize a Dying Church
CNLP 654 | Matt Chandler Opens Up About Hitting the Wall, Lessons from His Leave of Absence After His Instagram Incident, And How to Revitalize a Dying Church

CNLP 654 | Matt Chandler Opens Up About Hitting the Wall, Lessons from His Leave of Absence After His Instagram Incident, And How to Revitalize a Dying Church

Update: 2024-06-041
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Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church, opens up about his personal journey of hitting a wall in leadership, recovering from brain cancer, and revitalizing a dying church. He describes the low-grade agitation he experienced in his late 30s, a feeling of being dead inside, and the realization that he needed help. He shares his experience with intensive therapy and the importance of mourning past losses, particularly the lack of affection from his father. Chandler also recounts his experience with brain cancer, the emotional and spiritual struggles he faced, and the profound impact it had on his empathy for others. He then discusses his leave of absence from ministry following an inappropriate exchange of Instagram messages with a woman, emphasizing the importance of avoiding consistent interaction with women outside of one's wife. Chandler also reflects on the power imbalance inherent in his position as a senior pastor and the need for leaders to be aware of their influence. He concludes by sharing insights on his enduring marriage with Lauren, highlighting the importance of creating space for her growth and using her gifts, and the practice of making her his first call when unexpected time opens up. He also emphasizes the importance of living out the gospel in everyday life, sharing a story of a dentist in his church who is making a profound impact on the lives of a family rescued from trafficking. This episode offers valuable lessons for leaders navigating difficult seasons, the importance of grace in ministry, the need for self-awareness and humility, and the importance of prioritizing relationships in the midst of busy schedules.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church, and the topics to be discussed in the podcast episode. It also includes a brief advertisement for the Art of Leadership Live event and Ballet, a virtual assistant service for pastors.

00:01:30
Early Life and Calling to Ministry

This Chapter delves into Matt Chandler's childhood, marked by a father who struggled with alcoholism and explosive fits, and a mother who adhered to strict religious rules. He discusses how this upbringing shaped his personality and his early experiences in ministry, including a challenging student pastor role and a pivotal encounter with a friend who affirmed his calling.

00:15:35
Hitting the Wall in Leadership

This Chapter explores Matt Chandler's experience of hitting a wall in leadership in his late 30s. He describes the low-grade agitation he felt, the disconnect he experienced with others, and the realization that he was emotionally and spiritually depleted. He shares his journey of seeking help, undergoing intensive therapy, and the importance of mourning past losses.

00:28:19
Revitalizing a Dying Church

This Chapter focuses on Matt Chandler's experience revitalizing a dying church, Highland Village First Baptist Church. He describes the challenges he faced, including infighting, loss of hope, and risk aversion. He shares his approach to change, emphasizing the importance of honoring the past while embracing the new, and the crucial role of mentors and allies in the process.

00:47:00
Interruptions to Ministry: Brain Cancer

This Chapter recounts Matt Chandler's experience with brain cancer, diagnosed on Thanksgiving morning 15 years ago. He describes the initial shock, the emotional and spiritual struggles he faced, and the profound impact it had on his empathy for others. He also shares how the experience helped him embrace the good life and the hard life as not mutually exclusive.

00:59:02
Interruptions to Ministry: Instagram Incident

This Chapter discusses Matt Chandler's leave of absence from ministry following an inappropriate exchange of Instagram messages with a woman. He reflects on the lessons he learned, emphasizing the importance of avoiding consistent interaction with women outside of one's wife and the need for self-awareness regarding one's influence as a leader.

01:11:19
Enduring Marriage in Leadership

This Chapter explores Matt Chandler's insights on maintaining an enduring marriage with Lauren, who is also a leader in her own right. He emphasizes the importance of creating space for her growth and using her gifts, and the practice of making her his first call when unexpected time opens up.

01:15:33
Prioritizing Relationships

This Chapter focuses on Matt Chandler's approach to prioritizing his wife, Lauren, in his busy schedule. He shares his practice of giving Lauren the first shot at any open time in his calendar, emphasizing the importance of connecting with her, especially during demanding seasons.

01:17:26
Living Out the Gospel

This Chapter explores Matt Chandler's passion for living out the gospel in everyday life. He emphasizes the importance of embracing the present moment and the unique opportunities it offers. He shares a story of a dentist in his church who is making a profound impact on the lives of a family rescued from trafficking, highlighting the power of ordinary people to make a difference.

Keywords

Matt Chandler
Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas. He is also the president of the Acts 29 network, a church planting organization. Chandler is known for his engaging preaching style and his focus on biblical exposition. He has written numerous books, including "The Explicit Gospel" and "The Mingling of Souls." He is a popular speaker and has a large following on social media.

The Village Church
The Village Church is a non-denominational church in Dallas, Texas, founded in 2002. It is known for its contemporary worship style, its emphasis on biblical teaching, and its focus on reaching out to the community. The church has grown rapidly in recent years and has multiple campuses in the Dallas area. It is also involved in various outreach ministries, including a food pantry, a homeless shelter, and a children's ministry.

Church Revitalization
Church revitalization is the process of reviving a declining church. It involves identifying the challenges facing the church, developing a plan to address those challenges, and implementing that plan. Church revitalization can involve a variety of strategies, such as changing the church's leadership, updating its worship style, or expanding its outreach ministries. It is a complex and challenging process, but it can be successful with the right leadership and commitment.

Leadership Burnout
Leadership burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. It is common among leaders in all fields, including ministry. Symptoms of leadership burnout include fatigue, irritability, cynicism, and a loss of motivation. It can lead to decreased productivity, poor decision-making, and even health problems. It is important for leaders to recognize the signs of burnout and take steps to prevent and manage it.

Brain Cancer
Brain cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the brain. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, exposure to radiation, and certain viruses. Symptoms of brain cancer can vary depending on the location and size of the tumor. Treatment for brain cancer typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The prognosis for brain cancer varies depending on the type and stage of the cancer.

Instagram
Instagram is a social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos. It is owned by Meta Platforms, Inc. Instagram has become a popular platform for businesses, celebrities, and individuals to connect with their audiences. It is also used for a variety of purposes, including marketing, communication, and entertainment. Instagram has been criticized for its impact on mental health, its role in the spread of misinformation, and its potential for addiction.

Acts 29
Acts 29 is a church planting network founded in 2001. It is a non-denominational organization that supports the planting of new churches around the world. Acts 29 churches are known for their commitment to biblical teaching, their emphasis on evangelism, and their focus on reaching out to the unchurched. The network has planted hundreds of churches in the United States and internationally.

Billy Graham Rule
The Billy Graham Rule is a guideline that encourages male leaders to avoid being alone with women other than their wives. It is named after the famous evangelist Billy Graham, who followed this rule throughout his ministry. The rule is intended to prevent the appearance of impropriety and to protect the reputations of both the male leader and the woman. The rule has been criticized for being outdated and for perpetuating gender inequality.

Power Imbalance
Power imbalance is a situation in which one person or group has more power than another. It can occur in a variety of contexts, including relationships, workplaces, and social institutions. Power imbalance can lead to abuse, exploitation, and discrimination. It is important to be aware of power imbalances and to work to create more equitable relationships.

Gen Z
Generation Z, also known as Zoomers, is the demographic cohort following Millennials. They are typically defined as people born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s. Gen Z is known for its digital fluency, its focus on social justice, and its entrepreneurial spirit. They are also the first generation to grow up in a world shaped by the internet and social media.

Q&A

  • What are some of the key lessons Matt Chandler learned from hitting a wall in leadership?

    Chandler learned the importance of seeking help when feeling emotionally and spiritually depleted. He also realized the need to mourn past losses, particularly those related to his childhood, in order to move forward. He emphasizes that a dead heart is a warning sign and that seeking help is crucial to prevent further damage.

  • How did Matt Chandler's experience with brain cancer impact his empathy for others?

    Chandler's cancer journey deepened his empathy for those facing similar struggles. He can relate to the emotional and spiritual turmoil, the anxiety, and the uncertainty. He now feels a strong desire to be present and offer support to others going through difficult times.

  • What are Matt Chandler's thoughts on DMing with women outside of his wife?

    Chandler believes that consistent interaction with women through DMs is too dangerous and unwise. He acknowledges the need for women to have access to male leaders for development but emphasizes the importance of using other channels for communication, such as email, to avoid the potential for misinterpretation and inappropriate familiarity.

  • What are some of the key principles Matt Chandler and Lauren have learned about maintaining an enduring marriage in leadership?

    Chandler emphasizes the importance of creating space for Lauren's growth and using her gifts. He also highlights the practice of making her his first call when unexpected time opens up, demonstrating his commitment to her well-being and their relationship.

  • What are some of the challenges Matt Chandler faced in revitalizing a dying church?

    Chandler faced challenges such as infighting, loss of hope, and risk aversion. He had to navigate the tension between honoring the past and embracing the new, and he found it crucial to build relationships with key individuals who could guide and support him.

  • What are some of the mistakes Matt Chandler made in the early years of revitalizing The Village Church?

    Chandler acknowledges that he was more focused on what he didn't want to be than on what God was calling him to build. He also regrets not prioritizing student ministry in the early years, a mistake he attributes to being overwhelmed with the rapid growth of the church.

  • How did Matt Chandler's experience with the Instagram incident impact his understanding of power imbalance?

    The incident made Chandler more aware of the power imbalance inherent in his position as a senior pastor. He recognizes that his words and actions carry more weight than those of others and that he needs to be more mindful of his influence.

  • What are some of the key takeaways from Matt Chandler's story for other leaders?

    Chandler's story highlights the importance of self-awareness, humility, and seeking help when needed. It also emphasizes the importance of grace in ministry, the need to be mindful of power dynamics, and the value of building strong relationships with mentors and allies.

  • How does Matt Chandler prioritize his wife, Lauren, in his busy schedule?

    Chandler prioritizes Lauren by giving her the first shot at any open time in his calendar. He believes that this practice helps them connect and maintain a strong relationship, especially during demanding seasons.

  • What is Matt Chandler's perspective on living out the gospel in everyday life?

    Chandler believes that the gospel should be lived out in everyday life, not just in church. He emphasizes the importance of embracing the present moment and the unique opportunities it offers. He shares a story of a dentist in his church who is making a profound impact on the lives of a family rescued from trafficking, highlighting the power of ordinary people to make a difference.

Show Notes

Matt Chandler joins the conversation today and opens up about hitting the wall in his late thirties. He discusses recovering from a dead heart and from brain cancer, lessons he learned from his leave of absence after an Instagram exchange, and gives some incredibly insightful lessons on how to revitalize a dying church.

Show Notes

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This episode is sponsored by:

THE ART OF LEADERSHIP LIVE

I recently took a look at the list of leaders who are registered for my first ever conference this September in Dallas, Texas - The Art of Leadership Live and let me tell you, it's shaping up to be quite a stellar group of people.

I'm already excited to connect with a number of people I've met before — some of whom have even been guests on this podcast

You can learn more by visiting theartofleadershiplive.com

 

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Or visit belaysolutions.com/cnlp

 

TIMESTAMPS:

Impact of childhood experiences on extroversion (00:07:05 )

Realization of calling to ministry (00:09:01 )

Struggles and self-awareness in late 30s (00:15:36 )

The impact of childhood on identity (00:19:26 )

Communication style and personal experiences (00:22:50 )

Revitalization of Village Church (00:29:01 )

Challenges and changes in leadership (00:31:06 )

Challenges of church growth (00:36:26 )

Lessons from mistakes (00:43:08 )

Facing personal crisis (00:47:18 )

Empathy for those in distress (00:56:57 )

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CNLP 654 | Matt Chandler Opens Up About Hitting the Wall, Lessons from His Leave of Absence After His Instagram Incident, And How to Revitalize a Dying Church

CNLP 654 | Matt Chandler Opens Up About Hitting the Wall, Lessons from His Leave of Absence After His Instagram Incident, And How to Revitalize a Dying Church