I have been preparing to teach a new Lay Servant course which is based upon the book, Soul Reset, by Junius B. Dotson. Reverend Dotson was like a man on fire, leading a fast-growing congregation, speaking on syndicated radio shows, and providing for his flock 24/7.
While performing a funeral, Rev. Dotson passed out. In his words, “one moment he was on the mountaintop and the next he was in the valley.” After being transported to the hospital by ambulance and having multitudes of tests run, the diagnoses was “extreme fatigue”. Not heeding his doctor’s advice, Rev. Dotson resumed his breakneck schedule.
The result was depression, despair, burnout, and shame. He tells his story now because there are so many people suffering in silence. He states that he felt “vulnerability and authenticity were signs of weakness and prevent you from sustaining your place on the mountaintop”.
Throughout his book Dotson stresses the 23rd Psalm. He does so because, although it was written at a time when David lived in a world of green pastures and still waters, today we live in a vibrant, pulsating, and fast paced world. And yet, if ever there was a time when we needed to rediscover our personal needs, it is now.
Many experience loneliness, emptiness, personal needs, and depression. We often allow the break neck pace of today consume and eventually rule our lives. We are driven by numbers, schedules and finances and we forget the “why we do what we do”. Dotson stresses that our discipleship is a lifelong journey that requires a steady connectedness to Jesus.
Since our church has been experiencing Testimony HQ, I feel we have created an air of openness, authenticity, and transparency by discussing stories of personal struggles. Dotson states that “people need a place to be vulnerable and authentic”. By letting others know they aren’t alone you can create a safe space whereby a healthy congregation creates healthy people.
How can we restore our connectedness and ensure that we and others restore our soul? It can be as simple as sharing our story with one another. By letting others know our struggles and weak times. How did you, or I, reclaim our discipleship? Who enjoys engaging in church tasks or even life tasks without passion or energy?
John Wesley taught that we should continually check our priorities and ask ourselves “how is it with your soul?” He further taught us that being truthful with ourselves spiritually we can learn to encourage one another and point one another back to Jesus.
As I wrote earlier, we get caught up in doing so many things and going so many paces that we often lose track of what we need, a closer relationship with God and other disciples. Can your story encourage others? By sharing your story, it can create a sense of openness and authenticity and may lead others to stay connected and guide them to be a stronger Jesus-centered discipleship, restoring their soul. If you are interested in sharing your story, please let Pastor Nathan know.
Lay Servant and
Mission 5000 Coordinator