By Mike Peercy

Mike Peercy has spent 24 years in full-time vocational pastoral ministry. He and his wife Tori have recently established a new ministry to serve the relational needs surrounding the foster care community. Find more of Mike’s work at fosteringgrace.org and mikepeercy.com.

    Honest Confessions of a Recovering Pastor (Part 1)

    Wednesday, January 10, 2024

    I’m Mike, and I’m a recovering pastor.

    It’s been just over a year since my last day on a church staff. The specifics of my context and the ending of that 15-year relationship doesn’t matter, too much, right now, but suffice it to say that, over the last year, the things that bounce around in my head are mostly questions. Will church always be hard? Why do I still want what I don’t want? Is this soreness in my heart more like a bruise that is slow to heal or a scar that will always remain? Were any of those relationships real or were they all positional? How do I find where I belong?

    I have to acknowledge that I have lived most of my life in a church culture that rarely, if ever, recognizes retirement from ministry. It’s just expected that one will remain in the pulpit until they fall into the grave. There’s no “life after ministry” without some degree of shame for quitting. Maybe that’s just my imagination, but I don’t think so.

    It’s different if there are physical health problems. But mental health and spiritual health matters are presumed to be character issues. This sounds harsh and overly critical of the culture I’ve been surrounded by for much of my life, but it’s real… and it’s not healthy. So… what do we do with all of these questions? Where is a safe place to sound them out and think them through? Why does the neighborhood pub seem a safer place than the local church? Why does my reading through the Gospels seem to show so much more conflict between Jesus and the religious establishment than I have recognized before? So many questions…so few answers… Can it be that my faith can actually grow stronger while living in these questions without clear answers? Isn’t that what that whole “walk by faith and not by sight” thing is about?

    I’m Mike, and I’m a recovering pastor. This is my confession.

    This blog is part of a series of blogs titled, “Honest Confessions of a Recovering Pastor”. Click here to read: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

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