Former pastor implies a lot of things. But one thing it doesn't say is, Why?
I am an ex pastor, having labored through success and failure to encourage several different congregations. I am a former pastor in the full extent of the phrase - funerals, weddings, leadership, worship, sermons, conflict, confusion, disillusionment, and burnout.
I started in pastoral ministry when I was just 21 years old. I was on antidepressants by the time I was 24 years old. I left that church and took on a new assignment - one that appeared to be very different from the first. But in the end, it was the same.
I decided then that I needed more schooling because it was obvious that I missed some sort of education along the way. Ministry shouldn't be like this so I need to find out how to be a better pastor.
I spent five years earning a four-year masters degree. I was now prepared for anything ministry could throw at me. But within 12 months I was again on antidepressants. I had regular panic attacks, black outs, and breakdowns. And ultimately, I broke all the way.
Within 18 months of starting my first pastorate after seminary I was a former pastor. Burned out, depressed, and a failure.
I never thought that I would recover - never thought that I could be forgiven - never believed my pain could be redeemed for something of value. But God loves to heal what is broken. He loves to show His grace in the most hopeless situations.
And so God is moving in my life. By his grace He is giving me the opportunity to walk with other pastors who are struggling, who are fallen pastors, who are burned out pastors, who are wounded pastors, who are former pastors.
Through this web site and through my association with PastorCare, I seek out the wounded, those pastors who have been abandoned, ex pastors that no one thinks have a future. I partner with them and with God to encourage, restore, and help redeem the pain and suffering for something good.
I was comforted and I now comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Please contact me if you need someone to talk to. You might also want to share your burnout story - I find that talking about it sometimes is very therapeutic. Ask questions in our pastors forum. Or just use the resources on the site to lower the burden on your shoulders, and to revive your spirit.
I'm here because I've been there. I am a former pastor. But God is doing something with my future... and he desperately wants to do something with yours.