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Andrew Estes - The Clarity Project

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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Estes

Redeeming Vision: Thriving in Ministry After a Restoration Process

I want to talk about something that hits close to home for many of us - redemption and restoration. You know, the idea that no matter how messed up we might be, God can still use our lives for something beautiful. It's a story as old as time, and it's a story that's all about grace and second chances. For years, we've seen story after story of remarkable leaders falling from grace because of their hidden sins. Big names that every one of us would recognize. Some news comes out after the person dies, but it often comes to light while the leader is still in ministry. Regardless, it's devastating.


But what do we do with leaders who have had a moral failing and then taken the right steps in counseling, forgiveness, and restoration? After their family and marriage are restored, amends have been made, and their wounds are healed, what's next for them? Often, in the church world, we don't know what to do with them. We kick them to the curb, tell them to find a job, and hope to never hear from them again! But doesn't God have more than that?!


We read countless stories in the Bible of murderers, adulterers, and thieves, that have beautiful stories of redemption. It seems we're okay reading about them 2,000 years ago, but it can be difficult when the people and stories are in our church. We also struggle with being too gracious. After all, forgiveness is given, but trust is earned. So, how do we walk the line between grace and truth when it comes to restoration?


Messing Up and Finding Redemption

Now, let's kick things off with the infamous Bible story you've probably heard a thousand times - David and Bathsheba. David, the guy who killed Goliath, wrote most of the Psalms and was a "man after God's own heart," did some seriously messed-up stuff. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed. Not exactly the poster child for righteousness, right?


But here's the thing: God didn't give up on David. In fact, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him, and David, well, he owned up to his mistakes. In Psalm 51:10, David pours out his heart to God, saying, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." That's the essence of redemption right there - admitting our mess-ups, asking for forgiveness, and longing for a fresh start.


Real-Life Stories of a Redemption and Restoration Process

Now, let's fast forward to today. We've got real-life stories that mirror David's journey from brokenness to restoration. Take Pastor T.J., for example. He struggled with addiction and lied to those he loved. It hurt his church and his family. But he didn't stay stuck in his mess. With some serious counseling and a commitment to change, he's now a living testament to God's healing power. He's back in ministry and doing it with a newfound authenticity that can only come from walking through the fire.


Or how about Pastor Sarah? She faced a crisis that rocked her congregation's trust. But she didn't run away from her mistakes. Instead, she went through a process of counseling, repentance, and reconciliation. Not only did she earn back the trust of her church, but she's become a source of hope for others who've stumbled along their spiritual journey.


My own story is one of restoration as well. Over ten years ago, I came forward to my wife and the elders of my church with a pornography addiction. I was immediately removed from ministry, went through intensive counseling, and after a very long and difficult healing process, I was restored back into ministry at the same church. I remember standing on stage at church with my wife the day we were restored. The people gave us a standing ovation, celebrating God's redemptive work.


Fast-forward to 2017, I found myself standing in a room full of pastors and elders as I began leading their church through the 2-day God Dreams retreat, helping them find and focus the vision for their ministry. What a massive realization that was! In 2012, I was in my living room with a group of elders praying for me as they removed me from ministry, and here I was just five years later, leading a group of elders in ministry. 🤯


Despite my disobedience and sinfulness, God still had a plan and purpose for my life. He does for yours as well!


These stories, along with David's example, shout out the incredible truth that God is all about redemption. He can take our shattered lives and, through His amazing grace, piece them back together into something beautiful.


Finding Purpose in Our Brokenness

So, what's the big takeaway here? Well, let's remember what Rory Vaden said: "You are most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were." Those of us who've been through the wringer and come out the other side? Your story is one of your most powerful weapons against the enemy! We're uniquely equipped to help others who are still in the thick of it. We can offer empathy, understanding, and real-life examples of God's transformational power.


"You are most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were." - Rory Vaden

And here's the best part: Your past, no matter how messy, can be used for something incredible. Don't let your mistakes define you. Embrace your calling, whatever it might be, and use your story to shine a light for others who need to know that redemption is possible.


A Vision Redeemed

In the grand tapestry of life, the threads of our brokenness and God's redemption weave a narrative of hope, grace, and fresh starts. Pastors, ministry leaders, and anyone else who's faced their moral failings head-on are living proof that God's love knows no limits. He can take the most shattered lives and turn them into something breathtaking.


So, if you're wrestling with your past mistakes, remember this: Your redemption story is still being written, and it can be a shining beacon of hope for others. Your brokenness isn't the end of your story; it's the beginning of a new chapter where God's grace and glory can shine brightly through you. Ephesians 1 & 2 tell us that God has been dreaming about our lives and the good works we will do since the beginning of time. He's not surprised by our sinful and selfish choices. He's got a dream and a plan to get us out of the pit. He has a vision for our lives! Embrace your calling, and become a living testament to the fact that God redeems, restores, and transforms, using even the broken for His magnificent purposes.

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