Mike Ballman is the Pastor of both Cornerstone Community Church and Plymouth Bethesda Church, the founder and director of the Oneida Square Project, husband to Pam, father to Noah. You don’t have to spend more than twenty minutes with Mike to notice that not far beneath the surface of his warm and affable demeanor, there is an edge. On good days it is a relatively smooth edge of clever irony and playful Shawn and Gus like snarkiness (if not familiar with this reference, we are sad for you and click here: http://www.usanetwork.com/series/psych/). However, on bad days it is a sharp, cutting edge of sarcasm and anger. What is this edge?
In a word, it is emotional hurt. Ok, that is two words. Dan Allender wrote in To Be Told that God redeems us through harm not fromharm. He goes on, “…One of the most troublesome of God’s characteristics is that he rarely takes away the messes of our lives. But when things don’t make sense, either we conclude that God doesn’t know what he is doing or we try to soothe the ache by rationalizing the pain. We sacrifice both our integrity and an opportunity for growth when we avoid suffering with cloying platitudes and trite aphorisms. Allow yourself to sit in the grief and pain and to hope for the day when God’s presence with you in your tragedy becomes clear. He can withstand both your grief and your anger… When we experience tragedy, we see how suffering shapes our characters. God often uses our tragedies to give us compassion for others who suffer in the same way we have suffered.”
The hurt from the exile and abandonment Pam and Mike experienced from “normal society” through the death of their first son, Michael, and the long suffering of their youngest son, Noah has left its marks on them. Thankfully, through these experiences God has instilled a passion in them to love others who also feel exiled by church and society. To learn more about how you can get involved in the amazing work being done at Cornerstone Church, Plymouth Bethesda Church or the Oneida Square Project, contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.