Uncomfortable Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Jeff Robinson | July 12, 2017

A few years ago, I took a pastorate with the goal of shepherding that flock faithfully for at least 25 years. I told them as much after an overwhelming majority of members voted for me to occupy the sacred office. It was a mandate, and I pushed offshore for what I hoped would be at minimum a quarter century of preaching God’s Word and leading God’s people.

But the seas of local church ministry were hurricane-rough from day one.

My goal was not God’s goal.

I stayed for a little more than three years—each year more deeply painful than the one before. Every ministerial and theological “button” I pushed—including things clearly mandated in Scripture—seemed to be the wrong one. Every decision I made, every piece of vision I cast, every change I sought to implement—no matter how careful my approach—triggered an avalanche of discontent, dissension, and unrest. At one point I grew paranoid like the young Martin Luther, wondering if God was disciplining me for some unconfessed sin.

I questioned my call to ministry. I questioned my salvation. Toward the end I even questioned my sanity, as the tentacles of depression clamped onto my heart and mind, their iron grip wringing me dry of vigor and…

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