The RFP came into my life, like all things God does, right on time. Brian, Nate and JC have become consistent voices for me through the podcast and I will always appreciate their honesty, their heart for Christ, and their approach to these issues. I also thank them for communicating with me when I have reached out and opening my world to so many other Christian voices.
I was not born or raised in a harsh religious environment, but through family members and Christian education experiences, I knew from an early age that there were places and preachers around me that were tough to say the least. There was a draw about the loud and proud preacher I could see early on. I was converted to Christ at age 10 under the ministry of a genuinely loving preacher and was blessed with good godly influences in my old-school SBC church and elsewhere, forming in me truths and character I have to this day. However, when I surrendered to ministry six years later, I became addicted to what I had seen around me as a peer and performance based Christianity and ministry. I carried the right Bible, I wore the right clothes, I went to the right meetings and I tried to say and do what I knew would fit into the culture I was entering. I craved the attention of these preachers who I had put on high pedestals as the Men of God. No doubt, God sovereignly used all of this and is still working through some of this for good.
I was obsessed with being a headliner, if you will. I wanted to be seen and heard because that’s what I believed everything was about. That was happiness, acceptance, financial blessing and joy. It was an idol. “If I can preach up there and run with these guys, I’ll be satisfied.” Forget lost sinners to reach or sheep to feed or a young wife who deserved my attention so much more; just give me the big pulpit in front of these people who will shout and holler while I preach.
Thankfully, God started to put that man in me to death and it was painful. I began to see my own faulty thinking and then God opened His Word and gave me truths about theology, discipleship, humility and true ministry that not only burst my pride bubble but also scared me. I feared the backlash from my heroes and friends if I acted on this. For about 3 years, I tried to balance what I knew I was learning from Scripture and keeping up the appearance. But in the words of Brian Edwards, “Once you see truth, you can’t unsee it.” And you have to act on it. I saw my legalistic way of thinking and preaching, my bitterness against “sinners” around me, my arrogant demeanor and my addiction to running with the big dogs and then I saw divine grace at work in me. I resigned a larger church where some of this domineering attitude had negatively affected the people and I began to sit still under gracious, sound preaching. I now pastor a small rural church where I can be me and hopefully lead my faith family in truth over tradition and peer pressure. I have a happy marriage where honoring my wife and raising my daughter means so much more than burning up the road trying to make the big meeting. And while I thought I would lose all my friends, I found out I’m not alone. I’m making new friends all the time who have a similar story. Thanks in a big part to the #RFPFam,
The fact that false fundamentalism can create a spirit where genuinely passionate young ministers can be twisted into mimics and echo chambers for pride, emotionalism, Phariseeism and such rank unbiblical preaching causes me to want to reach others. Men aren’t our judge; Christ is. He expects more than mimics. He calls genuine ministers who know how to get in the Word and are willing to walk in the muck alongside the lost and hurting with the hope of the Gospel. Thank you guys for doing what you do. It means the world to me. God bless you, your families, your ministries and the RFP!!