The pastor of a prominent evangelical church in Texas announced an indefinite leave of absence Sunday as he made a tearful confession to his congregation about an online relationship with a woman who was not his wife.

The announcement from Matt Chandler, the lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, northwest of Dallas, comes amid ongoing controversy within his church’s larger denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. Earlier this month, leaders of the denomination revealed that several of its major entities are under investigation by the Justice Department in the wake of multiple problems related to clergy sex abuse.

Chandler said the relationship with the woman was not “romantic or sexual,” but “unguarded and unwise” and he “fell short” of his role as a church elder.

Read the full story on