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Sean and Michelle’s Story

My wife and I found ourselves in an unexpected tsunami in ministry. After spending nearly two decades serving in the church, we found ourselves burned out, discouraged, and going through a very difficult season of life.

To make matters worse, the church I was pastoring felt like I was imploding. There was internal strife, disagreement, and unrest. As this festered, many people left the congregation, including people we dearly loved and were close to.

I would like to say that was the worst part, but more trials were on the way. In September of 2016, my dad passed away. I’d been his pastor for eleven years, and he was a rock for me. His death was somewhat unexpected, after only a short illness. Three months later, my wife’s dad (also a pastor) was diagnosed with colon cancer. These were difficult days.

Meanwhile, things at the church continued to spiral downward. I had made up my mind that I was going to resign. And I wasn’t going to try to find another church. I was going to go back to doing management in the secular world. After seventeen years of pastoring, I was done.

That’s when my wife texted a friend at Life Action. She said, “I can’t tell you specifics, but we really need prayer. Would you and your husband please pray for us?” Not long after that, my wife’s phone rang. Her friend at Life Action said, “How quickly can you guys get your bags packed? If you can get to Michigan, we can get you to a place called The Lodge at Life Action. There are people there who can help you.”

In tears, my wife told me, “We’ve got to go pack; we’re headed to Michigan.” I agreed.

Just driving in and seeing The Lodge was like entering a storybook. No one had ever been so gracious to us. They listened to our whole story, and helped us understand that Satan was using the battle to cause us to lose hope. God revealed to our hearts that now was no time to quit.

A few weeks later, one of the Life Action church event teams had an unexpected cancellation close to where our church is located. They called me and asked if we would like to host a THIRST Conference.

At first I thought it would be impossible, given the short notice and the conflicts going on in our church. But I said yes because I believed God would work. A beautiful thing happened. Our people embraced the Life Action team concept. It felt like God sent Life Action to us. We weren’t on their schedule, but God had not forgotten us.

There was great attendance every night. It was the best revival we’d ever had. People stepped up who had never stepped up before, and God mended our congregation.

Since then, we feel like we’ve come out of the storm. If it weren’t for the powerful work of God in us initially, prompting us to say yes as pastor and wife, and then His work in our congregation, I don’t believe we would be in ministry today.