A Pastor's Struggle Towards Wholeness
Have you ever felt like you can’t be yourself? That if people truly knew who you were, and the struggles that you have, they would no longer accept you? Maybe you could even lose your job? I believe this is often how pastors feel serving in ministry. If churches and their communities hold value in obedience, conformity, appearance, and morality, they leave little room for a pastor struggling with sin. If pastors are expected to be the moral example to the flock, then how can the pastor struggle? How can the pastor confess? How can the pastor be authentic, vulnerable, and honest with their congregation?
Perhaps as a pastor you can relate to this struggle. Hopefully your church community is one of grace, where you can be honest with struggles, and feel accepted and loved. Yes, pastors are held to a high moral standard, but that standard needs to flow out of a transformation of the heart, and not a legalistic need to be accepted by keeping up moral appearances.
I joined the Journey Discipleship Program at the same time I started ministry. Journey was, and continues to be, a place where I was able to truly encounter Jesus. The truth of the teaching and the love and acceptance of the leadership team gave me an opportunity every week to confess my struggles with sexual addiction and to release my shame at the cross.
It gave me a place to learn how to connect with Jesus and understand my identity as a child of God, unconditionally loved — that I must first learn to live well as a beloved son if I hope to serve well as a pastor. Journey also helped me learn how to disciple and walk with others in this journey. Especially in a time and society where we are surrounded by much gender and sexual confusion, Journey helped me form a framework in which to understand biblical manhood and womanhood. Journey helped me bring back a healthy understanding of sexuality to my church, and I continue to encourage people in my congregation to join the program. I learned to shape my community into a safe place for people to be real and to meet Jesus, and that was only through first finding a place where I could be real and meet Jesus.
I encourage any of you who face the same struggles that I have mentioned to take a step of faith and see how Journey can be a place for you to receive God’s wholeness for you as well.
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