My life was the church. I grew up in the church. I went on numerous mission trips. I got a college degree designed to prepare me for church ministry. I worked as a youth pastor for several years. I got my masters degree in seminary. Finally, I found a great job as the senior pastor in a fantastic, growing evangelical church. It was a wonderful place to work and I loved my job for over half a decade.
Ironically, after a sermon series on “evidences for the Christian faith” I found lingering questions and doubts about my faith rekindled. As I engaged with both sides of debates on faith I came to believe that the actual evidences I held were much weaker than I initially thought. The more I thought about things the more I doubted. Events that I previously thought must be supernatural in origin now seemed to have much more natural explanations. The more I doubted the more I struggled with my job as pastor. Externally things were fine in the church, but internally I was falling apart as I grappled with my swiftly changing worldview.
Over the period of about a year I began to open up to select people and attempted to deal with these doubts in a healthy way. I felt like doubting Thomas and begged God as my loving heavenly Father to open my eyes so that I could see again. But nothing came and my doubts grew.
I loved the church I was in and even more I loved the people. But I knew I had to leave. Eventually, I discovered a way to gracefully exit the church without causing significant disruption. After doing so, I went back to college to retool for a new career. Now graduated, I’ve found fulfillment and peace in a new job.