Last week, after 3 years on voluntary leave of absence I finally surrendered my credentials. I am, or will be when the action is formally approved, no longer a pastor. I am, as I have been for the past 3 years, a software developer again.
When I found myself in the corner of the shower crying uncontrollably wanting to die instead of leading worship on a Sunday morning, I knew it was time for a change.
This was the culmination of being beat-up by congregations for making difficult decisions (particularly financial), welcoming people who were out of the ordinary, and seeking to call leaders to account. In the process, I ignored my own weaknesses and started listening to the voices around me instead of the voice of the Lord. The final straw was being undermined as an associate by a senior pastor whom I believe was apathetic, passive-aggressive, and, ultimately, deceptive.
In the years since that pastor has retired, revelation of his misdeed have been brought to light by the new senior pastor. I have been told about these by others and have responded most times with "I know. I said something about that a couple of years ago." Perhaps not the most humble of responses.
My family and I are attending church again with some regularity, but are extremely guarded. I don't trust congregations and I have a very difficult time trusting clergy. The plight of another clergy friend doesn't help this -- he was silenced by another pastor through legal threats against his family.
I have a son I want to raise to be a man of God. I, too, want to recapture the joy of my salvation. I hope and pray I can find such a place to do (at least) those two things.
Until then I pray as I can and read scripture as I can. At times, I am reminded of the passion that drew me to ministry. Perhaps one day ...
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