Thanks, Chad, for a good idea

Chad Holtz reports on how his ministry has been impacted by not blogging or reading about the controversies in the UMC.

And praise be to God we have seen the fruit of such labor!   In the past 12 weeks we have baptized 13, brought in 29 new members (with more coming this Sunday), reshaped the vision and focus of our Sunday worship from a traditional, gospel feel to a more modern/contemporary feel, and increased community awareness about the recovery ministry we are gearing up to launch in November which promises to transform hundreds if not thousands of lives in our county starving for such a holistic, Christ-centered ministry.   I don’t share any of this to boast but to simply yet loudly announce this to my colleagues living in cyber space on both sides of this issue:   Get off the computer and get to work!   

Chad Holtz back in the pulpit

I remember when I first heard of Chad Holtz. He was a young, United Methodist blogger who had a large following because of his authentic and engaging writing. He was quite popular in some quarters of the church for taking on stuffy orthodoxy.

Like the young John Wesley, though, he preached in the church without knowing Christ. And that led to a dark and hellish time for him and his family.

Today, I am posting his first sermon back in the pulpit. It is his testimony of new birth.

I’ve been blessed to watch at a distance the work God has done in his life and his family’s life. Welcome back to the plow, Chad.

Chad and Amy Holtz testifying together

Some of the most active blog posts I’ve ever had were back in 2011 when former United Methodist pastor Chad Holtz was making UM news for his preaching and writing about Rob Bell, hell, and his addiction to pornography. Here is the post that got the most attention in comments.

I was greatly encouraged earlier this year when I saw that Chad had been brought to his knees and lifted back up again by Christ.

Now I add to that by learning — via a comment on this blog — that he is writing again. Actually, he and his wife, Amy, have been writing on a shared blog since July 2012. The blog is now on my blogroll. (Amy’s posts about how she has endured Chad’s betrayal of their marriage and found her own healing through it all are powerful reading. Here’s a link to one she wrote in October, but a scroll back into the summer is worth the time, especially if you know people who are living through similar things.)

Chad Holtz testifies

Chad Holtz tweeted this post about his recovery from sex addiction and his repentance.

Chad made headlines last year when he was removed from his church for denying the existence of Hell and other issues. In November, he entered a ministry for help with his sex addiction. The post linked above is his testimony about his life changing experience.

Fired pastor offers blogging advice

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although the initial stories made reference to Holtz being fired or removed from his pulpit, that was not the case. The headline of this post repeats that error. (3/27/2011)

United Methodist blogger and former pastor Chad Holtz was removed from his appointment this week. The news stories make it all about Rob Bell, but at least some of the coverage suggests deeper issues.

Chad, for his part, wrote his advice to pastors who want to keep their jobs.

1.  Don’t blog or Facebook.

2.  If you ignore #1, at least do so anonymously.

3.  If you ignore #1 and #2, be sure your stuff is fluff.  Write about daisies, the weather, your kids t-ball game, vacation plans, car repairs, and dinner recipes.

4.  If you ignore #1, 2, and 3 and choose instead to write about matters of faith, be sure your ideas, thoughts, opinions and questions match the ideas, thoughts, opinions and questions of your congregation.

5. If you ignore #1, 2, 3, and 4 you can join me in a job hunt.   And, if you are not completely disillusioned, help me plant a church where advice like this will not only be unnecessary, but absurd.

His list screams of hurt and damage. I hope he finds healing. As I read through is recent blog posts, I do see where some members of his congregation who hold traditional beliefs about hell would react poorly.

Holtz writes more about the causes of his removal on Rachel Held Evan’s blog here.

His story and his posts open up interesting questions about how pastors should blog.