It was a Tuesday morning that I will never forget. I came into the office and immediately could tell that something wasn’t right. It happened around 9:20 am: Our adult ministries pastor came and grabbed me, shut the door, and asked me if I could preach on Sunday morning. Maybe “asked” isn’t the best word. While his hands were shaking he “told” me that he needed me to speak on Sunday morning. I could tell he was distraught so I just said yes and asked what the title of the message was that I needed to give. The next slotted message was on reconciliation.
My normally scheduled 9:30 meeting had been abruptly canceled and it was evident to me that something big was going down with the staff today. Around 10:30 the senior staff gathered and the mood was much different in the room that day than it had been in a long time. Our lead pastor sat down, looked us all in the eyes, and began to share with our staff that he had a moral failure the week prior. My heart sank.
That week was the toughest week of my life, and I don’t say that lightly. I spoke at our middle school ministry, high school ministry, met with our denomination’s district supervisor, spoke with more elders on a regular basis, attended seminary that weekend, and spoke on Sunday morning on reconciliation. Reconciliation! I mean, couldn’t I have had something easy like when Peter walks on water or a fun parable that talks about Jesus?!
In the last 372 days my leadership at church had to take a step up. I was asked to speak on a rotation of guys that had me on main stage about once every 4 weeks. The elders asked me to speak on Christmas Eve and Easter (yep, the high school pastor spoke on the two biggest Sundays in our church last year). Not only did I have to step up, but I had to ask our adult leader team to step up and adjust their lives to help our church. This last year was a year of leadership learnings for me. I learned about leadership, I learned about trusting in God, I learned about balance in ministry, and the desperate need to rely on God. Did I mention yet that we moved into a new campus during this whole deal?
The main thing I learned in the last 372 days is the need to pray for our new lead pastor. See, he just got in the office today and there is something different around the office. There is a little more hope in the people who have been giving their all for something they so passionately believe in. There is a breath of fresh air that says, “We can do this thing called life together and point others to Christ.” I know I can’t change the past and pray for my previous lead pastor to not make the choice he made, but I can take the time, daily, to pray for our new lead pastor. That is the biggest lesson I learned in the last 372 days: that I need to constantly be praying for my lead pastor and his protection as a leader.