By Roger Nix
Hi, my name is Roger Nix, and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I’m celebrating recovery from sexual sin and from anger issues that have come from parenting a special needs child.
I have been in ministry all of my adult life. At 18, I felt a call into ministry. After four years of ministry preparation at Oral Roberts University, my wife and I were newly married and part of a team that helped launch an evangelistic ministry (which happens to be one of the producing entities of the film Home Run.) For the past 16 years I have been privileged to pastor a beautiful community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Believers Church.
But long before I ever heard God’s call into ministry, long before I ever was married or was involved in pastoring, I had an encounter when I was 10 years old that would nearly destroy my life and take everything I held precious and dear to me. One day my buddies and I decided to go dumpster-diving in hopes of finding buried treasure. What we found, however, was a pile of Playboy magazines. To a group of young boys who were just starting to get curious about girls, that was like saying, “Sic ’em!” to a dog. That moment opened a door in my life that would take the next 25 years to shut. I developed a bad case of sexual bulimia. I would binge on porn, and then out of guilt and shame I would purge and have periods of sobriety and health.
Fast-forward into my young adult years. My shame just drove me deeper into hiding, and my secret grew. I desperately wanted to get free. The more my secret struggle continued, the higher the stakes got. I had been so entrenched in a cycle of sin and shame for so long that I began to despair that I would disgrace not only myself but also my wife, my family, the ministry I was a part of, and, ultimately, God himself. I knew that I couldn’t go on like this anymore.
I joined my first 12-step group before Celebrate Recovery ever existed. Whatever faith and knowledge of God I had experienced up to that point, I realized that there had to be more. God showed me deeper levels of his love and grace that began to heal me and set me free. While my path toward freedom was a long and arduous one, I can tell you this: Jesus set me free. I am healed.
When I became a pastor 11 years ago, I knew that I wanted two things in our community. First, I wanted to see other people’s lives transformed and set free. Second, I wanted to see it happen through Christ-centered recovery. So when Celebrate Recovery came on the scene, I knew this was an answer to prayer. I also knew I needed a safe place for my ongoing recovery, so when the very first Celebrating Pastors in Recovery (CPR) group was launched a few years later, I jumped in with other pastors from our city.
At first, walking through a 12-step group in a room full of other pastors can seem a little intimidating. We all wondered if we could really be vulnerable and trust our deepest secrets, hurts, and fears to other ministers across the city. To our surprise, we quickly experienced deep-spirited friendship and a vulnerability that allowed each of us to encounter healing and freedom. There’s no greater joy than to witness every person in the room meeting God in a new and life-changing way.
I have since had the joy and pleasure of leading six other CPR step groups and consider it one of the most significant parts of my service to God. Celebrating Pastors in Recovery has become a lifeline for wounded and broken pastors, many of whom were on my own staff.
One of the reasons pastors need their own CR is not because we’re special, but because we’re slow. That’s why I say that CPR really stands for “Celebrate Pastors Remedial” group. Can you imagine the cross-talk in a room full of pastors? Seriously! Another reason, however, is that sadly, many pastors are scared of what will happen if they get honest in their communities because many church communities aren’t safe places. I’ll never forget hearing one senior pastor in our CPR group who was going through ministry burnout say this: “My people told me they want me to get well, but they just don’t want to be the ones to walk with me through the journey of getting well.” I believe that Celebrate Recovery is changing the atmosphere of churches all around the world, making them refuges for healing and transformation for pastor and parishioner alike. It’s why pastors need the CR community to make church the safest and most radical place on the planet. Thank you.