This will be one of my most transparent posts, so you may wish to stop reading if you don’t like ordained ministers to be real about their struggles. Now that I have issued the warning, read the rest at your own risk.
As a child, I struggled with insecurity that melted into adulthood. I was an overweight, unpopular kid. When I began excelling in music, I began to place my identity in that. My identity quickly became about what I did rather than who I was. That melted over into what I did at church. I wanted to achieve greatness in the church world. I wanted to be “successful” and well-known for being an excellent church musician and preacher. In my late twenties and early thirties, I was beginning to feel fulfilled in that. I saw God’s blessing in my full-time music ministry at that time. It was great! God was soon to open the door to my first pastorate, and that was scary. I knew God was calling me, and I was fulfilled in that role too. Something was different in the transition from one to another. My motives became purer. I wasn’t perfect, but I was seeing more of my calling to personally invest in the lives of people rather than be a platform personality.
Me during the transition (2013)
Toward the end of my first pastorate, I knew my marriage was coming to an end. Because of that, I knew ministry would look different for me. I was having to face that my identity was not a full-time vocational minister but a child of God. People could take the vocation, but they could not take my calling or salvation.
When I returned to South Carolina, it was humbling and humiliating. My pride was being slaughtered, but I attempted to preserve it at all costs. I was planning my comeback. I even started a church with hopes of doing something great and proving my “competency” to everyone. What a joke! I fell flat on my face. God used me despite my pride.
I haven’t mastered this humility thing by any means, but God is teaching me. I see myself as a servant who is unworthy but God gets the glory. I’m coming to the point where I am decreasing, God is increasing, and that is okay. Many may look at me as the “used-to-be minister”, but that’s okay. It’s okay for me to be “that guy”, but Jesus is the One everyone should see when they look at my life.
I wish I could say I gave every church my best. I wish I could say I served in humility as wasn’t trying to build a resume in those early days. I wish I could go back and apologize to every single one for my selfish pride. I can’t change the past, but I can change the future. And that’s what I plan to do!
Many of you idolize pastors and don’t want to read that they are human just like you. They struggle with bad thoughts and a ton of other things that you think they shouldn’t struggle with. But here I am…a man who needs just as much grace as anyone else. I’m a sinner. But I’m daily being transformed by the Spirit of God into the image of Christ. Hallelujah!