THE PASTOR’S COLLECTIVE: DARRIN PATRICK
Like many, Darrin Patrick began his pastoral journey as a young man who couldn’t believe he had the opportunity to follow his dream and become a minister. However, he soon found himself believing the rules didn’t apply to him and expecting others to serve his needs. With the hopes of encouraging other pastors who are struggling, Darrin shared his story of the hard road to recovering from deception and healing lifelong wounds, giving him true self-awareness and making him a better pastor.
Darrin is a dedicated pastor. He poured his heart into building his church and his congregation. But even pastors sometimes lose their way.
Concerned about the well-being of Darrin and the church, the elders from his congregation confronted Darrin about his sins. A woman come to them to confess that she and Darrin were involved in an emotional affair. It hurt Darrin to hear the pain and lack of trust in the voices of the elders as they pointed out his personal integrity and leadership issues. Wanting to help Darrin get back to the right path, the elders suggested restoration, a long and brutal process.
Frightened that his life was coming apart, Darrin called his good friend, Greg Surratt, to help him work through what he needed to do. Even though he had been a pastor for many years, Darrin’s feelings of failure made him question if he should give up his passion and quit ministry. With encouragement from Greg, the elders and other friends, Darrin spent time with God and discovered his heart was telling him God was perfecting him through this imperfect process.
For the next 15 months, Darrin worked with counselors, other pastors and the elders from his church to recognize his sins and improve as a person and a pastor. It took hundreds of hours before Darrin could finally see what the elders saw in him. He realized he had been operating out of deception and persuasion, making him believe he was above the rules. It terrified Darrin to know that he couldn’t see his own behavior and how it was affecting those around him.
Needing to make amends, Darrin had to face the people he hurt during his crisis. Members from the church scheduled time to sit down with him and work through the damage in a safe and comfortable environment. Darrin’s counselors advised him to truly listen and avoid defending himself, which was difficult in the beginning. At first, Darrin thought they were being too sensitive, but after listening to the concerns of several members, Darrin realized a pattern. The congregation felt used and didn’t feel a real connection to Darrin like they once had. Looking back, Darrin believes this was the hardest yet most impactful part of the restoration process.
To understand why Darrin had changed and developed into someone he didn’t recognize, the counselors helped him realize his wounds and discover how to deal with them.
Just before the emotional affair began, Darrin’s dad had passed away. Growing up, Darrin lived in a house with a lot of violence and yelling. His dad, a hard-working, blue-collar man, pushed Darrin away when he was young, leaving pain and scars from the distance and lack of a father figure. Although Darrin forgave his dad when he became a Christian in high school, it wasn’t until after the funeral that years of suppressed anger and hurt surfaced and changed Darrin as a person. Leaning on close friends for support, Darrin started the process to heal his wounds. He learned he could trust an older pastor and an older man for the first time.
Darrin was surrounded by people who wanted to see him succeed. In the beginning, his wife, Amie, struggled to trust him, learning to manage her anger in a healthy way instead of her natural response to suppress this emotion. After several counseling sessions, Darrin and Amie could not only better express their anger and emotions, but they found a new level of passion for connecting. Even with 25 years of marriage, they both felt they were in the best place they had ever been. This painful process helped them find a new depth to their relationship.
Now, Darrin knows in his heart he was called to serve the church. Darrin and Amie share their story to speak out and encourage others with the lessons they’ve learned from their long road to restoration. Darrin is now focused on finding ways to help the next, fatherless generation, knowing that God never wastes a hurt.
Darrin’s Advice to Those Who are Struggling
Since his achieved restoration, Darrin has shared several valuable pieces of advice to pastors who are struggling. First, he believes your sin will find you out, which means your wrong doings will be brought to light. There is no reason to pretend to be perfect because God loves you as you are. You are loved in your brokenness and in your sin. If you are struggling, find someone you can talk to, whether a counselor or a spiritual father or mother. Then, you address your wounds and realize that your behavior is coming from somewhere. Finally, Darrin implores you to be curious. You’re going to hurt people, but you have the chance to pay attention and ask people how they feel and how they experience you. You can use this to learn from your mistakes and become a better person.