Monday night I got drunk. I was at home. I was with friends. I was also the only one drinking. Tuesday morning I woke up and felt the weight of what I had done. I had to confess, even if it meant risking my job. You see, I work in ministry and at my church, they have to draw a line somewhere. Drinking is fine. Getting drunk is not.
Today I got fired. Today I experienced Jesus' grace like never before.
Today, I got fired from NewSpring because I got drunk. I disqualified myself from ministry. The handbook is clear; there is no gray area. If you get drunk, you are done. I came in to work and met with Joshua and Suzanne, my bosses, and they let me know this clearly. They also wanted to let me know how much they love me and how they forgive me and how they want to help me. They wanted me to go through some sort of restoration process in hopes that maybe one day I could be restored to ministry. No promises of that; only the hope of being healed.
I cleaned out my desk. All my dirty cups and pens and notepads went into a clear plastic bag. I was humiliated. It was quiet in our area. The usual chatter and joking had dissipated. No nerf darts flew across the room.
Even still, I was at peace with everything. My wife, Lauren came home from work yesterday as cheerful as ever and informed me that Jesus told her that it would be ok. This encouraged me to own up to my actions, to reap what I had sown and know that He was still with me. I was forgiven; my sins were removed from me but the consequences were nearly palpable. But, Jesus had another plan.
Apparently, my pastor, Perry, couldn't sleep last night thinking about me. He called an impromptu Senior Management meeting and told them that he kept asking himself “Is Chandler worth saving?” He asked Joshua and Suzanne if they thought I was worth it and they went to bat for me. For some reason, everyone in the meeting kept saying that they felt like I had potential. So, they decided to follow the Spirit's prompting and give me another chance. They called me into a room and told me that they wanted to keep me on staff under three conditions:
- No alcohol for a year
- I have to read a written confession at our next All Staff meeting
- I meet with Michael & Lee every month to begin the healing process.
I am without words and not really sure what to feel. For once I thought I was going to get what I deserved. Today marks a turning point in my life and I want you all to know it. Jesus has forgiven me so deeply and fully and extended more mercy and grace than I could have ever imagined.
I only want to make Him famous.