[The Original post in this series can be found here. I have chosen to speak on these matters as a way of giving voice to my own story but I also pray that others may understand a little more about me and who I am and some may even be encouraged by God’s faithfulness to me. All I ask is that you might treat this post with the dignity and respect.]
Towards the end of my third year of Bible College I was asked by the then President of the denomination I was a part of to plant a church in what was at that time Australia’s wealthiest town (it was a mining town). I did not know it at the time but my decision to accept this call would change my life forever. It was an unwise decision that led to much pain; far too much pain. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. I had finished three years of Bible College and had read Rick Warren’s purpose Driven Church. This was God’s call on my life and I was following it with all my zeal. In all honesty, I was doing more leading than following.
I only spent 14 months as pastor of that fledgling congregation and when I returned home I did so with my tail between my legs. I was broken. I was burnt out. Not just tired and emotional but emotionally and spiritually burnt out. I had ended up in hospital with stress related health issues. How had so much gone wrong in just over a year when I had tried to live faithfully the call of God upon my life. On top of all I was facing the denomination abandoned me as quickly as it sent me out. In my mind I knew I had to recover. I couldn’t let this be my ministry story. I learnt a lot during my time as pastor of this church, especially about preaching and administration but it did more damage than good.
Nevertheless, I can confidently say that God was faithful to me. Even in the darkest times I knew he was with me. When I stepped out of his will to pursue the call, he remained faithful. All that took place during those twelve months and the years of turmoil that would follow, even though I did not know it at the time, set me on a path to where I am today and who I am today.
To cut a very long story short I returned to Adelaide and took one year off. It wasn’t enough. I then accepted a call to help plant another church but this time as an associate Minister. The church quickly grew but the person with whom I was working had a few problems himself (not long after we left the church his marriage busted up).
It was during this time I began Seminary and within twelve months I had left the denomination and ministry all together. It was during this season I honestly wondered if I would ever Minister again. I wasn’t just burnt out I was broken…