As a Pastor, I would think my story atypical. I prayed to receive Christ as Lord in my life one wonderful day some five years ago. I immediately began working in my new church as a leader in the recovery ministry, as a volunteer keeping up the church computers and network and anything else when the doors opened, I loved it. At that time, I had three years of recovery from alcoholism and I was in a tight spot. My spiritual walk was beginning to see some light that was pressing me to make decisions.
For most of my life I had been indifferent regarding God. I had been clean and sober for about three months when I had prayed one night for God to somehow give me the ability to sense his presence and know he could make a difference in my life. He did. But at that time my concept of God was something I had created out of perception and convenience. No Bible, no cross and no Christ. But most important; No Grace. So on that Spring day, three years later, I was aware that my sobriety and my relationship with God were at a serious crossroad. The Lord led me to my church.
As our Pastor walked me through the purpose of the church, I was intrigued. It was not what I imagined and his explanation of his perception of a loving, involved God was also very different from mine. I had always thought I understood the Church and the God of the Bible and religion but I found that I had mere stereotype. But most intriguing for me was the new ministry being created. Celebrate Recovery. This is the place where I was able to join my experience in recovery with my new walk with Christ. Grace gave me the ability to find personal forgiveness were it had fallen short in secular recovery.
As time went on, I took on more and more responsibilities at the church. I had owned and operated several business' prior to this point, so I very naturally moved into the church Administrator role. My heart was always in the Recovery Ministry and when the lay person who had been leading it moved I took it on as well. We prospered, our church, in every area. The attendance blossomed, the Recovery ministry grew in direct proportion and my responsibilities increased measurably. At one time, I was leading CR, administrator of the church, managing a building campaign, pastoral counseling and managing the church facilities. On several occasions I would get some help but the growth would either add something else in or take the help away. As I look back now, I was burned out and overloaded way before I began to sense the degree of the problem.
Then I realized one day that the church was not looking to get me help. It was looking to replace me. Though very, very hurt and angry, I was not yet ready to be detached from the church. I was able to see the difference between the leadership of the church and the many many people who I had come to love. I also had some very loving people in my accountability circle. People who were able to share with me some hard truths about my expectations of others and my self-centered feelings at the center of my pain. We worked my recovery steps on this termination and I was able to accept responsibility for my part in the situation and offer forgiveness to those I felt had wronged me. It has not been easy, it has not been quick and it has not been without error. But it is working through the same biblical principles that I have so many times shared with others before this dark season began.
Today I am enjoying running my company again, as a follower of Christ. I believe it is making a better businessman out of me. My wife and I are always broke and still very much in the building stages of our new venture but we are happier now than we have been in a long time. I still enjoy working with the Recovery ministry. It has been a year now since I left the church and I am praying that God will open a new door for me to pastor another group of folks in recovery. From the beginning of my walk, a single verse as captured my new born perception of God's role and capability in our lives. Ephesians 3:20.
God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us.