What’s the deal with pastors and brain problems?
I have heard from several different sources of another pastor from Dallas, Texas who has something growing (a tumor) in the left frontal lobe of his brain. Matt is the lead pastor of The Village Church that has thousands of people on multiple campuses.
I don’t know Matt personally but he spoke last February at the 2009 Desiring God Pastors Conference in Minneapolis which I attended (about a week before my own brain surgery to remove an AVM the size of a peach). The conference theme was: Commending Christ.
The title of his message was: A Shepherd and His Unregenerate Sheep and it touched me deeply. Here is a snippet from his message to 1500 pastors from all over the world:
“No one unpacked for me that being a pastor was going to be a part of my own sanctification. It’s going to be the process of God disciplining me for the rest of my life. In this culture, it’s imperative to know that your calling is God’s calling to him on you for the body. If you don’t get this, then I don’t understand how you’re making it. God is the end. He is who we’re after. We get more of him by being obedient to his call to be pastors.
He’s the goal. Not more people. Not more baptisms. I am at The Village Church as an act of obedience. If anything else is your pursuit I don’t know how you will persevere. Sometimes it’s a long time that the baptismal waters stay still. I don’t know how you’re sustained in those hours if he’s not enough for you.
I came home for lunch a year and a half ago. I came home to be with my wife and my son was sleeping. We heard a noise and she runs upstairs. I hear her scream at the top of her lungs. She carries my son down the stairs and he’s convulsing and his face is blue and he’s fighting for air. We lay him on the floor and we call 911. I’m saying, “I know he’s not mine, I know he’s not mine.” Do you think I care in that moment how big our church is or how many conferences I’m speaking at? I’m thinking about God’s sovereignty over my son’s life. Thankfully, he let my son live.”
My prayer is that the sovereignty of God will be a sweet comfort that gives Matt a peace that defies logic. Matt found out about the tumor in his brain by having a seizure on Thanksgiving Day, 2009. The doctors are uncertain whether it is a malignant or non-malignant tumor. They will do a biopsy on it when they remove it Friday.
In any case he is scheduled for surgery this coming Friday, December 4, 2009. So please pray for this man and his family! Trust me when I say this brings back a flood of memories for Karla and me. If you are interested in learning more about Matt, or following his journey, his church website has updates posted.
Karla pointed out to me today that John Piper, in a recent Twitter wrote: “When you think you are well, there’s only one sure answer to the question, ‘How’s your health?’ Namely, ‘I don’t know.'” How true this is!