“I reached out to a local Christian counseling center,” he told me. “They said it would be a couple weeks before anyone could see me.” The pain was evident on his face. “And it would be $180 an hour,” he added with a shrug somewhere between frustration and resignation. “How am I supposed to pay for that?”
It gave me such joy to tell this young pastor about Standing Stone. Wounded and confused by unhealthy staff dynamics at the startup church he served as an associate pastor, this young man and his wife needed space to process and heal. After he went home and told her that Standing Stone offered confidential soul care to pastoral couples at no cost to them, he shot me a text: “My wife’s crying…but they’re tears of joy. She just can’t believe someone is pursuing us and wants to care for us. And we can afford free!”
My wife and I met with this sweet couple for some months. We didn’t work any magic. We simply allowed them to tell their story and sift through their hurt and grief in the presence of Jesus. We met as couples. I met with him individually and my wife with her. God moved as only He can.
When conflict over how to respond to COVID-19 reached their church, other staff members voted to close the doors. This pastor was given no say and no recourse. His family had relocated from a large, comfortable ministry position several states away, bringing three sons with them. Church planting had been their dream. What now?
This situation was heartbreaking, but I thank God that it didn’t bury this couple. God had sovereignly connected us, I thought for that first series of challenges. The Lord clearly had more in mind. Because my wife and I had already built a relationship with this couple, we were able to walk with them through the dark valley of their abrupt church closure as well. They went from weary and shocked to now serving in a new church, trusting God with what lies ahead.
This is why we do what we do. This is why Standing Stone exists.