Mental Health Advocate and Executive Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church of Newport Beach, CA
Knocked down, but not out.
I entered the full time ministry as a nervous 21 year old youth pastor. My wife Brenna and I never sensed a specific call to youth ministry, but we jumped in full throttle. For 18 years we ran yearly camps and led over a dozen missions trips. Three months before my planned transition out of youth ministry, one of our young men drowned during what was to be my final missions trip with teens. I very quickly went free-falling into a pit of despair that I couldn’t have ever imagined.
I’ve been discouraged. Very discouraged. I know dark valleys are an inevitable part of life in the ministry. I have struggled with my perceived ineffectiveness. I have been sad, angry, and frustrated. I have hurt so badly that I wanted to quit the ministry.
But this was different.
I was stuck in this cloud of heaviness. The grief was so intense that it took its toll even physically. This spurred a quest to figure out what was truly wrong with me.
About three years into this battle I began having panic attacks. When a physical exam revealed my blood pressure to be 180/120, my church sent me on a two month sabbatical. I received good counseling from a specially trained veteran Pastor. I returned refreshed and encouraged. I resumed my music ministry and office duties immediately, but eased in to my teaching and preaching ministry.
Then five months later, after a panic attack minutes before church, I resigned. Twenty two years of full time ministry ended in shame. I feared that I was broken beyond repair.
But I wasn’t.
The Climb Ministries is born out of the many lessons learned on this painful and, to some extent, continuing journey. It is driven by a desire to “comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:4)
Please look at our ministry’s Guiding Principles.