Pastor Admits to Having AIDS & Sleeping With Church Members [blog/articles]

Pastor Admits to Having AIDS & Sleeping With Church Members [blog/articles]

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Juan Mcfarland, recently former pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, admitted to his congregation that he contracted HIV in 2003 and later discovered that he had AIDS in 2008.  Mcfarland also admitted that he was also having sex with women within the congregation. These members he slept with had no idea he contracted the HIV virus and was living with AIDS. McFarland was relieved of his responsibilities of pastor on October 5, 2014.  This has been such a hot story that the church’s website as exceeded its bandwidth.

There are so many things wrong with this story including the damage to the women he had sex with, the congregation and those on the outside who already have trust issues with church leaders in general. Instead of focusing on EVERYTHING that is wrong with the former pastor’s decisions and abuse of power, I believe we can learn some valuable lessons from this story.

Here are 5 things we can learn from this sad situation:

We can hold pastors to a high standard but must understand they are normal people.
Often we hold pastors to an extremely high not giving them any room for error. When they are placed on such a high pedestal it seems outrageous to us that a pastor can make a mistake. Although a pastor’s job is extremely important and should be held to a high ethical standard, some pastors will fall and fall hard. As humans, pastors are prone to errors, poor judgment and even an abuse of power.

Conflict and scandal doesn’t skip church.
Although we wish it didn’t exist within the buildings of God’s house, conflict and scandal in church is common. Often I hear new believers become appalled and consider quitting church after living through a church scandal. This is understandable but if well look to the Bible we see that it was common within Biblical times too. Jesus turned over tables and Paul wrote letters to Corinth addressing scandal. We can view this as a forewarning letting us know that at times their will be drama in the church.

God can use anyone to deliver a message.
I’m sure if you ask the congregation the members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church would admit that over the years McFarland carried and delivered messages from God. Even though this is the case, all messengers are not equipped to handle the position of pastor.

Power & influence in the wrong hands are dangerous.
Everyone is not equipped to handle the power and influence that comes with being a pastor.  McFarland abused his power by taken advantage of his female congregants.  Some will look to blame the women but we have to realize the influence McFarland had.  He was pastor for 24 years, built up influence and is viewed as a spiritual leader.  This type of influence is often used to move a whole  church in a positive direction but  as we see can be used to manipulate as well.  With this power McFarland failed to maintain proper boundaries.

The power may have really gone to McFarland’s head.  USA Today reports although being voted out 80-2 he still is holding on to the keys of the church and has not turned over the finances.

No pastor is above the community they serve.
Power exist within the community of the church. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church shows us this when the moved to voted McFarland out and seek legal action.  The church served as an example of holding leadership accountable for their actions

It is sad to report stories like this but I hope if we prepare ourselves properly we won’t be discourage from attending church.



  1. Mary Burrell
    Oct, 16, 2014 7:47 PM

    “Everyone is not equipped to handle the power and influence with being a pastor” Yes that is very true. And we need to not put these preachers in the place that belongs to God. I was apart of a congregation like that where the pastor abuses his authority and the congregants worship him like he is God. I left. I have not been to church in a couple of years. I want to get back in church but that whole experience made me sick and sad and discouraged. I realize these preachers are just flesh and blood men.

    1. [email protected]
      Oct, 16, 2014 7:58 PM

      I agree with you that being a cleryperson is a very important occupation. Not everyone is ready for that position. That is why we should use discernment and make sure that transparency and honesty aare greatly promoted in society. I feel for the church members. There is no justification for any pastor to abuse his authority. I only hope that the members of the church can find comfort.

  2. Jenn
    Oct, 17, 2014 8:10 AM

    You make excellent points Tyrell especially 1) Even though this is the case, all messengers are not equipped to handle the position of pastor. and 2) Pastors are not above the community they serve… Although I was initially angered by this news your post helps me reflect on how God can use anyone to deliver a message despite flaws, but then there’s personal accountability that when not upheld we get ourselves in a lot of mess God did not ordain for us.

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