“Let’s start with what you did wrong at the church before we talk about this church’s faults!”
This one suggestion became a turning point for me. By my friend asking it, I began to process and heal from pastoring some very challenging churches. Before my friend’s comment, much of my discussion about these churches were focused on their faults, and not mine. Yes, the churches I pastored had significant issues. Each one was a “preacher eater” church, which means they had a long history of their pastors leaving consecutively under tense circumstances. However, this truth did not mean I was faultless. No, I made my mistakes, but in those errors, Christ is greater and His glory shows in each situation.
Starting with the next post, I will be occasionally sharing with you some stories from my time at these churches. As I share these posts I will continue to write other entries too. But, as I write about these churches know that you will see my errors. Let me say that again: “YOU WILL SEE MY ERRORS!” Being vulnerable and admitting my mistakes is necessary. Otherwise, I am leaving out the areas where Christ’s gospel moved me from sin to grace, from death to life.
Also, you will see a dire picture of the church. Some of the stories will be amusing; even more will be haunting. Some stories will be short; some will be long. Most importantly, these posts are not meant to shock you with church horror stories. Nor are they a means to just “get things off my chest.” Rather, they are aimed to show Christ’s redemptive gospel.
Due to these caricatures, great care will be given to sterilize the names mentioned in each story. If names are used then aliases will be provided instead of their real names. Many of these people are God’s people, and I still want the best for their faith in Christ.
Restoration in the Gospel and in God’s grace for every circumstance is what I have learned most from these experiences. Much pain and hurt occurred, but it is a two-way street. One where either side caused grief when we did not realize it. Thankfully, the Gospel does not stop at salvation. It continues to redeem, restore, and sanctify us for the rest of our lives. As Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, “what was intended for evil, God intended for good.” Christ came to redeem everything for His glory. My prayer then is that the Holy Spirit will show His grace with each story because the same applies to your story too!