This is Laura’s husband Chad writing this post, because what I’m about to say here won’t get deleted on this blog, unlike what may or may not happen if this were to only be posted on Facebook. I don’t think any introductory comments need to be made, because I think what I’m about to post will speak for itself.
An open letter to my friend Andy Savage:
You and I were in the same group at the same church more than 20 years ago during college. Our paths have crossed several times over the years, albeit mostly on Facebook. I can’t say we were close when we were in college, but when I saw your name in a New York Times story online on Monday evening, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I won’t pretend to understand the level of stress and temptation encountered by most people in full-time, vocational ministry. Neither do most of us see all of the skeletons in another person’s closet. I felt the Lord calling me into ministry in 1990, at the beginning of my freshman year at a Christian college. Over the next few years, through a program at my college I preached in churches around the state of Alabama several Sundays each semester. As I had decided to major in journalism, I also began writing articles about various aspects of Christian life. In 1999, the Lord gave me Jesusfreak.org to serve as a forum for the articles I had been writing. Three years later, He gave me Jesusfreak.com and Jesusfreak.net as well.
But as is far too common among so many people in ministry, pride crept in, and the sin I had struggled with for decades, an addiction to pornography, overtook my life and less than 10 years later sank the ministry that the Lord had given me. What was left of my online ministry became little more than my personal fiefdom, full of my own musings that I tried to pull together to say something about Christ, but the Lord’s blessing on my ministry was gone, a consequence of my sin. I kept those ministry sites online for several more years, waiting for the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do with them, and last night after reading the article about you, the Lord gave me an answer.
I know you’ve been in vocational ministry for some time, Andy, but your ministry is not YOUR ministry, just as my online ministry was not MINE. The ministry that the Lord puts us in is His. I don’t know if you’ve ever officiated any funerals, but it’s pretty obvious that giving CPR to a decaying corpse is futile. You can try all you want to revive that corpse, but without the Lord’s resurrection power, any ministry you’re a part of will fail. The answer that the Lord gave me last night about my ministry sites was that I should turn control and ownership of those sites to someone else, so I have done just that. I don’t know what’s going through your mind and your heart right now, but if you’re thinking that you need to remain where you are in the ministry you’ve been serving in because that’s where the Lord put you years ago and it would be a shame for your ministry to fade away, well, it’s not your ministry to hold on to.
I’m giving up control and ownership of the online ministry I’ve been associated with for almost 19 years, because the Lord told me to. Whatever you’re trying to hold on to without the Lord’s blessing will become a decaying, putrid corpse, and if you don’t let go of it, you may become so acclimated to the stench of decay that you eventually won’t notice it. But others will. My challenge to you, Andy, is to give up your ministry, give up your position, give up your control of things that aren’t yours in the first place, repent and seek the Lord, out of the spotlight, away from public attention, where nobody but God can see and hear you. And don’t move an inch until the Lord tells you to. This isn’t about Andy Savage. It’s about Christ.
Psalms 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Unless and until you repent and do what the Lord commands you to do, any of your attempts at “ministry” will be in vain. Seek and listen to the Lord, and obey Him no matter how hard the things are that He will call you to do. If you don’t do those things, then nothing else you do will matter. I’m praying for you.
Blogger’s Note: If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, no matter how long it’s been, you are NOT alone! For help please visit: www.snapnetwork.org