By no means was college all rainbows and unicorns, it came with its own challenges as well. College presented opportunities that my sheltered home life never allowed me. Honestly, I was not prepared for them. For a kid that desired to honor the Lord, this season exposed me to cultural, spiritual, and personal issues. I learned that not every person you meet at a Christian college loves Jesus and wants to help you. I learned that truly nothing good happens after midnight. I got exposed to private activity that kind of shocked my core. My freshman year roommate was apparently an alcoholic, drug user, and sexually promiscuous. I was totally oblivious to most of it. I just talked about Jesus most of the time with him. I remember him opening up one evening in tears with me. We just talked about Jesus and getting his life right. A few nights later, he ended up being expelled.
Little did I know that my life was about to take another big curve that would rock my spiritual foundation. In the spring of my sophomore year, PFC was on a weekend trip. We were at a prominent COG church and the group president wanted to preach as well as lead worship with the band. He asked me if he could do that. Sure, I said, but I needed to make sure he knew the songs and would practice with us. He did somewhat practice with us, but was very disengaged and walked away several times. I didn’t feel right about him singing, something was off. So I approached him before service and said that I didn’t think he should sing with us due to the way he practiced with us. He graciously agreed. I thought all was well and didn’t think much of it. However, I would later learn that this incident was used as an example of an “independent spirit”.
A few weeks later, on another PFC trip, I was seen alone with one of the team members I was dating at the time. As you can imagine, that is a major no-no for ministry groups. The vice-president of PFC at the time laid into me. I totally agree it was a lapse in judgment and was a wrong representation of the ministry.
So, things were not looking good for me.
A few days later after we had gotten back to school, I got a call that the PFC leadership wanted to have a meeting with me. I met that evening with the president and vice-president. They informed me that I would no longer be doing worship for PFC, due to what they determined to be a rebellious and independent spirit. They apparently had discuss the two prior stories with my youth pastor back home. My youth pastor shared the story of when I led worship with the team a few week prior. (Remember, I thought it was a great night.) Apparently, the silhouette of my youth pastor that I thought was him worshipping the Lord, was actually him pointing to his watch and telling me that it was enough. My youth pastor advised the PFC leaders that I should be “disciplined” and removed.
In a matter of a few hours, this 19 year old had every platform for ministry taken from me. The “discipline” at college was also carried out at home. My youth pastor never asked me again to lead worship or minister. I entered the longest summer and fall of my life. It was horrible. There were many nights were I was alone with my own thoughts, my regrets, my anger, and my longing to have God’s trust again. I had seemingly lost most of my friends due to the fact most were in PFC and I wasn’t. Everything I knew for the past two years was removed from my ability to do anything about it. I was broken and took the punishment very personal. I told the Lord I would never again play the keyboard if it would cause me to be rebellious and independent. It was my heart to please and serve Him. I didn’t touch my keyboard or sing at all for the next several months.
I had such an inner desire to be approved by spiritual leadership that I personally thought I obviously was doing something wrong. Leadership was not happy with me, therefore God must not be happy with me. Of course, I know now that this is wrong thinking and going through such an experience I know now I would never do something so harsh to someone else. I think the hardest part of all of this was that, if indeed I was wrong, where was the support to help me through it so I could be restored. Sadly, no one came to tend to me. I was on my own. Perhaps God was moving me and preparing me for something else…