This is a confession. It is an outing of the truth that, as a pastor, I have embraced a form of power in ministry antithetical to the way of Jesus. There is no salacious story to tell, no tale of “moral failure”—at least not as it is usually defined. I am repenting of selfish ambition, prideful autonomy, and manipulative leadership. These are, of course, real moral failures.
This is not to say that I didn’t have a true Spirit-led calling and longing for ministry. I desired to faithfully preach Christ crucified and to feed Christ’s sheep. Yet I did not have a holy heart. Deep within me, woven within Spirit-given affection for God’s kingdom work, I harbored desires for significance, recognition, acclaim, and notoriety. I wanted power.
God took me on a journey into the truth of my heart’s desires, using failure to expose my fleshliness. During this season, God unveiled how pervasive these temptations were in every corner and crevice of my life. But ...1