Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brokenness

Brokenness–verb
1. pp. of break. –adjective
2. reduced to fragments; fragmented.
3. ruptured; torn; fractured.
4. not functioning properly; out of working order.

Today I received a letter from my dear friend and former colleague. He has been asked to resign from his position as youth pastor because he is dealing with depression. Its been almost a year and he's still not healed. He wrote in the letter that his effectiveness in ministry has diminished over the past few months. This I found curious, I joined youth ministry a few months ago and it has been a rewarding heart challenging experience for my whole family.

My heart broke as I read his humble letter. I've listened to him share his heart, highs and lows honestly. Being open, honest and vulnerable with a community takes such courage. It opens the door to acknowledge that it is by Gods strength, not ours that real change is accomplished.

So now I'm left with the question, is there a place for brokenness in the church?

If not, then I certainly don't belong. The truth is the longer I live the more apparent my brokenness becomes. There are times when I feel paralyzed by anxiety, indecision, and fear. In those times all I can do is cry out to God and ask him for help to get through the day, sometimes just to make it to the next hour.

So I'll take my brokenness to Jesus, he always meets me in it, even if no else will.

3 comments:

The Glasers said...

I think there is a place for brokenness in the a church serving God. We are all broken in one way or another, and I am sure God makes a beautiful mosaic with all of the pieces. In the New Testament, leaders of the church have higher standards and I think your youth pastor was very wise to step down for this season of his life. Perhaps, you might give him hope by letting him know how much his ministry has meant to you!

JoyMama said...

I'll take it a little bit further and say that perhaps the church should be THE place for brokenness. However, the church is often broken as well, and so often falls short of what it ideally should be.

Whether someone should remain in a church leadership position when their brokenness is interfering with their ability to do their job... not something one can judge from a distance. What a hard situation to handle. I don't think it's necessarily a contradiction in terms for this youth pastor to resign (or even be asked to resign, though much depends on how that process happened), and for him to continue to seek God's healing with the support of the church...

I'm reminded of a Lenten series our congregation did a while back, exploring the theme Broken and Blessed.

therextras said...

I just want to say - not all churches, not all ministries. I cannot help but believe there is a church community that will embrace him, or draw him in somehow. I meet people at church, all the time, who show either overt or subtle behaviors of mental illness. They are not turned-away, but they are not all employed by the church either. I encourage you to separate your feelings about him losing his job, which happened to be at a church, with your feelings about church communities in general. Barbara