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When Will I Be Ready For the Ministry? (Pt.2)

February 17, 2010

On yesterday’s blog I shared some of my thoughts and the thoughts of friends and counselors about when I will be ready for ministry again.  The short of it is.. when God is ready.  My friends, wife, and pastor friends may believe that I’m ready for ministry, but God is the one who will make that decision. 

Today, I want to share a few more thoughts about going back into ministry. 

I NEEDED TO BE A NEW PERSON
There are other things at work in recovery for the minister.  He is unpacking a lot of unhealthy habits, beliefs, lies, and strongholds.  He is being rebuilt, in many ways, from the ground up.  This is exactly what’s happening in my life.  I feel like God has wiped away the past and is rebuilding the structure of my life.  My marriage is different, the way I think is different, the ways I deal with stress and my emotions are different.  I am a different person. 

Addiction recovery is a purifying fire.  It is a pruning of God.  I have been disciplined by Him out of His love.  It was time for me to be a better man of God.  God could no longer stand to have me in the condition I was.  Out of His grace and mercy, He exposed me and pulled me out from the damage I was doing to myself and others. 

I HAD AN IDENTITY PROBLEM
As a Christian, my true identity is in Christ Jesus.  His death has washed my sins and my condemnation away.  I am washed, redeemed, forgiven, new and whole.  I have an eternal treasure inside me.  I am loved by God and He extends His grace and mercy toward me everyday.

In the ministry I was slowly losing my identity.  The applause of the people was important to me.  Their approval.  Being the “big fish”, “the guy with the vision”, “the leader of the church”, or the “flavor of the month in church planting” became very important to me.  My identity was not in Christ, but got wrapped up in what others were thinking of me. 

My sexual addiction messed things up even more, because a secret identity developed.  A dark lifestyle that threatened who I was to other.  I held this secret tight and began to lie to others and to myself.  Soon I was believing lies myself and the shame.  I started to see myself as unworthy, hopeless, unloved, rejected.  I became angry at my wife and God and others.  I retreated more and more into my fantasy life and my Internet habits. 

My identity was being taken captive by my habitual sin.

God has been using my sexual addiction recovery to expose my false identities, and reboot who I really am.  I am understanding that more. 

How can a person be fit for ministry if they have lost their identity?


SO WHAT’S THE RUSH?

One thought that has been guiding me and my wife through this process is:  “What’s the rush?”  If we rush back into ministry and short our healing process, we will be miserable.  What’s the big hurry to get back into ministry when God can use me anywhere?  We believe this pause from ministry is a gift to our marriage and will make us better ministers in the future. 


GOD, I’D RATHER SPEND MY TIME HELPING THE SEXUAL STRUGGLER

There are many times in this last year when I have hoped that I wouldn’t go back to the pastorate or to being a church planter.   There are so many in our churches who are struggling with sexual sin.  It is so fulfilling for me and for my wife to be able to share our story.  We never would have had this opportunity if we hadn’t have gone through this.  God has given our blog, website and podcast a far reach in such a short time.   And I fear that if I get so busy with a ministry position, I will not be able to focus on our Porn to Purity stuff. 

A year ago, I couldn’t wait to go back to ministry.  At this moment I am hoping it won’t happen for a while. 

CHIME IN GUYS!
Q:  When are ministers who have revealed their sexual struggles fit for the ministry again?
Q:  What needs to happen in a minister’s life before they can shepherd people again?

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When Will I Be Ready For the Ministry? (Pt.1)
When Will I Be Ready For the Ministry? (Pt.2)

When Will I Be Ready For the Ministry? (Pt.3)

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