Jason Webb, senior pastor of Elmbrook Church, a nondenominational congregation that is among Wisconsin's largest churches, has resigned "due to marital infidelity" and is expected to seek inpatient treatment for an unspecified addiction.
"It is with deep remorse that I write you this letter. As you are aware, over the last two years I have been on a journey toward emotional, spiritual and relational health. While I have been open with you about much of the journey, there is one part that I have kept hidden. I have also been struggling with a serious addiction, which has led to many betrayals, including unfaithfulness to my wife, Heather," Webb wrote in a statement to his congregation in a letter cited by CBS-58.
"Words cannot fully describe how sorry I am for my sin. The gravity of all of this is not lost on me. I have lied to Heather, my counselor, the men in my life, the elders, the staff and the church. I am so very sorry," he said.
He then promised to commit to six weeks of rehabilitation for addiction
"As I come to terms with this, I must take two difficult steps for myself, my wife and my children. First, I will immediately seek intensive inpatient treatment for addiction over the next six weeks. Second, I am offering my resignation as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church. Elmbrook will always be dear to me. I will continue to count it one of the greatest honors of my life to have served under the Elmbrook umbrella in various capacities for the last 17 years, and as senior pastor these last four years," he added.
According to the church's website, Webb became senior pastor of Elmbrook in 2014. It was founded initially as a Baptist church.
Mark Heckman, the church's executive director of support services, told the Journal Sentinel that the church was working hard to manage the fallout from Webb's revelation.
"We are experiencing a range of emotions from disbelief to anger to fear and everything in between. This is an undeniably hard place, and it is an opportunity for deep spiritual growth. We are also concerned for the Webb family and trying to provide adequate care for them," he said.
Gary Gregg, chairman of the church's council of elders, said in the letter to the church that Webb's wife would remain as the church's global partnership director as they seek to support their former pastor's family as much as possible. He explained, however, that there are no plans to reinstate Webb at any point.
"We have mutually agreed with Jason that going forward he will not be returning to ministry at Elmbrook. We are working diligently on an interim plan in the absence of a senior pastor and will communicate a way forward as soon as possible," Gregg told the church.
"We understand this is unimaginable news. It is a staggering loss, and we share your sorrow and sense of betrayal. It would be easy to lose hope, but let's gather together as a family this weekend to find solace and anchor our souls to Jesus, the only One who is capable of calming the chaos," he added.