It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. This is a Safe Place.

I recently became the team leader here at ExPastors. What I love about this website and community is that it is a safe place. There’s no judgment here: just a ministry that offers “help, healing, and hope for ex-pastors, pastors, and church leaders.” I also know that the word and practice of grace are huge to us, myself, and the team here at ExPastors.

Let me say up front. This is a safe place! We don’t share a piece from “celebrity pastors” or fallen pastors because we believe they have “arrived” or “are ready to re-enter ministry” or “are the norm and model for other pastors.” We share insightful pieces because we believe they relate to most in ministry, regardless of church size.

The reason we post sometimes controversial posts is because we feel it would resonate with the majority of our readers AND might just put words to something that someone has been dying to say.

We reach all kinds of pastors and ex-pastors: broken, hurt, wounded, mad, angry at God, angry at the Church, confused, on the verge of suicide, in transition, now in lay leadership, pastors who have burned out and are ready to quit, pastors who resigned and now serve another church, pastors who have resigned and now work a job outside the local church, pastors who were fired, pastors who were laid off due to finances or circumstances out of their control – all kinds of pastors and church leaders.

You may not agree or like them, but we love and care for them, and want God’s best for them. God is gracious. So, we are gracious.

As my friend Pete Wilson once said, “It’s okay not to be okay.” And I would add, “This is a safe place. All are welcome here. Whether you like us or not, trust us or not, love us or hate us, agree with us or not, or are just checking us out – we welcome you.

For every mega-church pastor, author and/or conference speaker that finds themselves in a horrible situation, there are hundreds or thousands of ex-pastors and struggling pastors that are hurting and/or burned out – they just pastor smaller churches and don’t have the platform that “celebrity pastors” have. And to you, my friend, I also say, “This is a safe place.”

If you would, we’d love to hear from you. Submit your story to us. It doesn’t matter if you pastor a church of 10 people, 100, or a 1000. We’re in this together and we hope to create a community where people can help one another get through tough seasons of ministry and life. If you’re at the end of your rope and need of help, contact us. We want to connect you with resources and other pastors.

If you’re an ex-pastor’s spouse, we want to hear from you. If you’re a PK (preacher’s kid), we want to hear from you. If your dad or child is an ex-pastor, we want to hear from you. Tell us your story. This is a safe place and we’d love to share your story with others. We believe that you can help someone else that can relate to your story.

Browse the site. Read through our articles. Maybe you’ll find something helpful and timely. Check out our Resources page and if you have a recommended resource, email us. Check the site often. Subscribe to our newsletter to get weekly email updates and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with video content, including our new podcast (coming soon).

Have you ever been listening to a song that you’ve heard several times before and then all of a sudden you pay attention to the lyrics and it speaks to you and your situation? I have. It happens to me frequently, especially as I listen to K-Love.

The other week, I’m driving and listening to a song by the group Plumb (that I’ve heard many times before) and the words just jumped out at me. I kept saying, “Yes. Yes. Yes.” I’ll let the song speak for itself, but know this is my heart and what we hope to offer here.

I’d like to share the lyrics to Plumb’s song “Exhale.” I can’t help but notice how much the opening lines sound like the mantra of Cross Point Church in Nashville (where Pete Wilson was Lead Pastor up until recently when he stepped down). Is that their home church? I don’t know. What I do know is that they clearly get and understand grace – and they express it beautifully.

Here are the lyrics to Plumb’s song “Exhale”

It’s okay to not be okay
This is a safe place
This is a safe place
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be ashamed
There’s still hope here
There’s still hope here

No matter what you’ve done or who you are
Everyone is welcome in His arms

Just let go let His love wrap around you
And hold you close
Get lost in the surrender
Breathe it in until your heart breaks
Then exhale
Exhale

Spirit come tear down the walls
That only You can
That only You can
Reconcile this heart to Yours
Right now God
Right now

Oh God We breathe in your grace
We breathe in your grace
And exhale
Oh God we do not exist for us
But to share Your grace and love
And exhale

Just let go let His love wrap around you
And hold you close
Get lost in the surrender
Breathe it in until your heart breaks
Then exhale
Exhale

Maybe you need to buy their song and listen to it often? I want you to hear it and allow God to minister to you. So, I put their music video below. Thank you, Plumb for ministering to me and putting words to our hope and desire here at ExPastors.

*Written by Josh Silverberg, Matthew Armstrong, Tiffany Arbuckle Lee • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

POSTED ON October 3, 2016
  • will grif

    I’m only linking this for the stats. Ministry is a brutal job:

    http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562

    • Wow. Thanks for that link and those stats. Our readers need to see that.

  • A Amos Love

    Here’s another site helping pastors.
    With lots and lots of statistics.

    Pastoral Care. Inc.
    http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics/

    90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
    80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession.
    80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
    …….. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because
    …….. of what the church has done to their parents.
    70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
    70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
    50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
    50% feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could.

    • Wow. Thank you for sharing. It’s why we exist and do what we do – because of those statistics.

Greg Atkinson is the founder of Worship Impressions and the Executive Director of ExPastors.com. Greg is an author, leadership coach, and consultant. Over his 20—plus years of ministry experience, Greg has served as a pastor in various roles. As a campus pastor, he has served as a pastoral counselor for the past ten years and is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Greg has worked with churches of all stages and sizes as a consultant, including some of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country, as well as with businesses, non-profits and organizations such as Josh McDowell Ministries.