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What the Gruden Emails Highlight for Ministers




In case you missed it, Jon Gruden resigned a few weeks ago from the Las Vegas Raiders due to a series of emails that were leaked to the public containing derogatory comments made about certain people and groups of people.

It's important to note that they were not leaked due to an investigation on him, personally. Rather, it was an investigation into the Washington Football Team that contained over 650,000 emails sent from 2010 to 2017.

So, why is this important? What does this mean for ministers? There are a few things that stand out about the whole series of events and how they directly apply to ministers.

For starters, ministers are called to demonstrate the love of Jesus ALWAYS. Jon Gruden was mean and said nasty things about people in those private emails. In public, he said positive and encouraging things about those same people or groups of people.

There’s a tendency to think that ministers can compartmentalize their life. Their personal lives and their pastoral lives don't always have to look the same. However, ministers aren't not called to live separate lives, they are called to live one life, loving others as Jesus did and guiding them closer to Him. If who you are as a Pastor doesn’t line up with who you are as a person than there is a serious issue. In fact, I would say your witness of the love of Jesus is completely null and void. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you have to constantly demonstrate the love of Christ to others.

Secondly, what you say or do on digital can always be discovered. As mentioned above Gruden‘s emails were discover not because of what he did but because of an investigation involving another team. It was a completely separate issue and these emails were many years old. If you write it or say it and it’s captured digitally it can always be discovered. This isn't anything new. Countless people, including ministers, have had videos and tweets from their past unearthed that has affected their witness and ministry. Think clearly about what you say and do at all time.

If it can happen to football coaches, it can happen to ministry leaders. In fact, it has already happened to ministry leaders. As ministry leaders and believers, we have an obligation to demonstrate the love of Christ at all times. If you can't do that, then you should seriously reconsider why you are a follower of Christ or a minister. In this very digital world we need to let the light of Jesus shine at all times. If we don't, our witness and testimony of the love of Jesus will be diminished.

What do you think? How have you seen positive and negative examples of ministers using digital media? Share your ideas below or on social media.

Also, if you are interested in being a Digital Missionary or want to learn digital tools to expand your reach in ministry this year, join the Digital Bootcamp Facebook Group!


Episode 187: The Perceived Threat of a Digital Church
What to do Now with Your Online Ministry

About Author

Tom Pounder
Tom Pounder

Tom Pounder was born and raised just outside of Washington, DC. He is the father of 4 daughters and loves being a girl dad. He has a background in Student Ministry working over 22 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs and podcasts weekly at

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