Everyone would like a fresh start! At some point in our lives, we all would like the opportunity to begin again. Whether in something as complex as rebuilding a broken relationship or as simple as a “do-over” in a child’s game, getting a fresh start is an experience we long for. And it is always an act of grace. Extending a fresh start to someone mimics the work of God when he offers us the biggest fresh start of our lives: stepping in and re-setting the whole game.
This is a brand new blog, a “fresh start” of sorts. The inspiration for the title, and the motivation for the effort, is born out of Jesus’ words to Peter in anticipation of his massive failure. I like it best as phrased in the Message...”Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.” (Luke 22:31-32) Jesus committed Peter to the work of restoration and strengthening his broken and struggling brothers. The work of giving a fresh start to others would come out of his own experience, where failure and the redemptive grace of God met.
The thoughts and ideas expressed here come from the heart of one who has similarly experienced both fall and grace, and has been given a new opportunity to help those who also need a fresh start. The intent is that what is shared here will strike a chord with the more than 1500 pastors a month who are exited or terminated from churches across America. I hope it is a chord of hope.
Every story of those exited is unique and filled with its own measure of pain, personal responsibility and consequences. Some pastors are terminated for good reason; many are not. Regardless of the reason, the grace of God calls us to walk with them in understanding, prayer and love. The goal is always restoration… maybe not to what was, but always to what can be because of Christ.
The Church needs to know about these lost and hurting shepherds. We must find real and appropriate ways to strengthen these servants of God once again that the church may grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. God grant us the courage!
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C. S. Lewis