They Threw the Bum Out: A Hurting Church and a Pastor's Confession

Twenty-five years ago, after about 15 years of fulltime ministry, my ministry fell apart. At the time, I was confident the problem was not I, but adverse people and circumstances.

I certainly knew how to motivate workers and develop programs in order to generate numerical results. From my earliest ministry, I had the "whatever it took" to fast grow a half dozen ministries to record numbers. Even at the time of my implosion, I was leading a church which had averaged 115 in a mountain town of about 4,000 to over 400 in less than a year.

But the church, wonderful people all, could not survive my using and abusing them to promote superficial church growth. They didn't exactly throw me out, but they packed up and left, then came back to fight for their church. (Good for them!) So I left.

But I didn't learn much. I organized another church which was recognized by Moody Monthly magazine the following year as the fastest growing Sunday School in our state. But by this time, my wife, dutiful as she was through the years, could not survive my neglect, so she left.

Since that time, I have been learning a little about investment leadership, that it is illustrated and modeled to us by the work of the Father to sow his Life into our innermost being - also, by the care of Christ for his bride, the Church, and that, in turn, we parents, husbands, and pastors are to live out this investment by our investment into the lives of those we serve.

I was an ignorant pastor, husband, and parent not enabled to make the investment essential to the health and happiness needs of those I served, but expecting a good outcome anyhow. It didn't happen.

Don Loy Whisnant/Journey Notes 9A03