Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in guest blog, ministry, pornography | Posted on 14-11-2013
I always love to have people write guest blogs for me. It gives me an opportunity to showcase other ministries and viewpoints. Today is Gavin Croft of Isaiah 53 Ministry – a friend I made recently. Take time to visit his site and give him your support.
by Gavin M. Croft
I shared the story of my past pornography addiction and subsequent healing and restoration with my church recently from the pulpit. I had mentioned various aspects of my past in previous sermons and have even been accused of talking about sexual purity too much. But this was the first time that I laid out my story with some details, explaining how our marriage has been restored, how I found a measure of healing and now am able to minister to others who are in similar situations.
I have always planned on sharing my story with my church; I just wanted it to be organic and natural. You have to pick your spots. But it is a part of my life and God is using my past failures in mighty ways, so I knew that it was necessary. We were finishing up an 8-week series from Psalm 51 (yes, I know, 8 weeks in Psalm 51 is a bit much.)
When we arrived at verses 12 and 13 and I knew it was the perfect opportunity: 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
David, being a transgressor and a sinner, is able to minister and teach other transgressors and sinners because he has found a measure of healing. The joy of his salvation has been restored, and his spirit is willing to be used by God. David had become a wounded minister of reconciliation (1 Cor. 5:16-21).
The main point of the sermon was that we all have a story, we all have a past, we all have fallen terribly short of the glory of God, but God is willing and able to use us in spite of our failures. God is using our story for His glory. And God desires His children to live in a family community of love, trust and transparency, where broken people can minister to other broken people (Psalm 51:17) and together they can worship (vs. 15) and find God’s favor (vs. 19).
I must admit, I was a bit nervous how the church was going to react to my story. My wife was even more nervous. It is always a scary thing to be so transparent with people, even people you know and love. Would they look at us differently? Would they talk about us over lunch? Do they think the reason I set up procedures for ministerial staff to have accountability software on their computers and devices was so I wouldn’t fall back into sin? Any number of questions were flailing around in our heads. But, as far as I know, everyone took the message really well. At least no one has said anything to me personally.
I can’t dictate what they say once they leave the church or what they whisper to each other. But that can’t be my concern. My concern is exhorting the truth of Scripture and allowing my story to be used for God’s glory.
I am so thankful and appreciative of other men and women who are allowing their story to be used for God’s glory. They very easily could have rolled over and never ministered again after their sin, but that’s not what God wants. David was still able to minister. Did he suffer consequences from his sin? Absolutely. Devastating consequences. But he persevered nonetheless.
If you are a fallen pastor or church leader, I would encourage you to seek God on how your story can be used for His glory. Take time to heal. Take time to be restored. Get out of sin if you haven’t yet. And when the time is right, God will present you with the opportunity. And others will be the benefactors of your healing.
Psalm 51:12-13: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Gavin is the pastor of a small Southern Baptist Church in SWFL. His purity and his marriage have been restored by the grace of God and the forgiveness of his wife. His desire is to glorify the name of Jesus Christ throughout SWFL and to the ends of the earth. God has also given the Crofts a unique ministry opportunity with their site www.isaiah53ministry.org. There, men and women can find help, support and resource for dealing with sexual sin and betrayal.
Ray Carroll is author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World.” If you are a fallen pastor, a pastor in trouble, a church whose pastor has fallen, or need someone to talk to your group about preventing ministry failure, please feel free to contact Ray here. All messages will be kept confidential.