As promised, here is Day One of a my 40 day journey called: Out of Exile…a journey for hurting pastors.
As I said before, exile is how you feel when life throws you a curve and you end up in a place you never imagined you’d be. I’ll define it more in days to come.
I’ve gone through my own share of exiles and come out the other side. More than that, I believe God actually used the exiles to shape me and prepare me for the ministry that I’m enjoying now. Without my times of exile I would probably have a small church of closed-minded, judgmental people, or selling encyclopedias door to door.
To start, let me give you a little context for how I came to learn some of the things I’ll be sharing. I won’t tell my whole story but I want to briefly outline five “exiles” that many of you can probably relate to:
Five of my exiles
- Scandal: I came to faith in a large upbeat charismatic church in the 70’s. It fell apart after the pastor was exposed in an affair. The church had no idea how to handle it. It was chaos.
- Control: I then went to a small church that got started out of the big church. I was convinced that a small church was the answer. But the pastor became paranoid and controlling. I was told to agree with him or leave. I left.
These were all exiles to me creating a heart ache that drove me to find answers in God and his Word.
- Isolation: I was in exile while I was in that church (dealing with the control) and then when I left (dealing with the isolation). Two different exiles. Both painful. We were cut off from our close friends. Something happened inside of me: church suddenly seemed shallow and cliche. As much as I believed in church, nothing felt right.
- Dysfunction: My wife and I gave up on church and moved into community with two other families. We were confident that we could love each other and live out the faith with so few people involved. Not so much. We disbanded after seven years.
- Repressed: I reentered church and served as an associate pastor. I didn’t realize at the time that I was wired to be a lead pastor. The church was fine, but serving as an associate when I had a heart to lead in new ways proved to be very frustrating for me.
These were all exiles to me creating a heart ache that drove me to find answers in God and his Word. I’ll share bits and pieces more as we travel along. Feel free to ask for more detail if it would help in some way.
In a nutshell, what created your exile experience?
I hope you’ll subscribe to this blog and join the journey/discussion.