Restored Pastor & Former Acts 29 VP Darrin Patrick Dies Unexpectedly

By Julie Roys

UPDATE: At 5:58 EDT, Seacoast disclosed that Darrin Patrick died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The church said Patrick was  target shooting with a friend at the time of death and no foul play is suspected. Also, an earlier version said Patrick was 50, instead of 49.

“Restored” pastor, author, and former vice-president of the Acts 29 church planting network, Darrin Patrick, has died unexpectedly. He was 49 years old.

Seacoast Church, where Patrick served as a teaching pastor, confirmed Patrick’s passing in a statement today but offered no details. Hours before the statement, Wikipedia updated Patrick’s page to say he died yesterday.

“Darrin was a loved member of the Seacoast family, the teaching team, and pastoral staff and we are mourning his loss,” Seacoast said. “Darrin had a gift for teaching the Word and a heart for encouraging other pastors. God allowed Seacoast to be a part of Darrin’s story in a time when he needed a family. He was a gift to us and we are thankful for the time the Lord gave him to us.”

Patrick was the founding pastor of The Journey, a megachurch in St. Louis with five campuses. He also served on the council of The Gospel Coalition and with Acts 29, and was the author of several popular books, including The Dude’s Guide to Manhood and Church Planter.  For a time, he also served as the chaplain of the St. Louis Cardinals.

However, four years ago, Patrick was fired from The Journey, a megachurch in St. Louis, for a pattern of sinful behaviors, including an emotional affair and  “a history of building his identity through ministry and media platforms.” 

Patrick reportedly submitted to a 26-month restoration plan that included 200 hours of professional counseling and regular meetings with several pastors. In a 2019 interview with Ed Stetzer in Christianity Today, Patrick said he also met with leaders whom he had hurt “and apologized specifically for things I had done to cause them pain.”

Bob Oesch, a member of Journey Church, told Religion News Service today that despite his failings, Patrick had been a great help to him. “He was good at recognizing leaders and freeing people to lead out of their own strength.”

In the midst of Patrick’s restoration plan—16 months after being fired from Journey—Patrick preached his first sermon at the multi-site Seacoast Church, which has campuses in both Charleston, South Carolina, and St. Louis. Seacoast hired Patrick at that time as a “preacher-at-large.”

In Patrick’s interview with Stetzer, Patrick said that Seacoast Founding Pastor Greg Surratt led him through 12 months of “supervised ministry,” which concluded in May 2018.  Patrick also launched a podcast with Pastor Surratt called The Pastors Collective.

Friends of Patrick expressed shock over his passing. Patrick was scheduled to preach next weekend at Long Hollow Baptist, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, according to Long Hollow Pastor Robby Gallaty. “I just talked to him Tuesday and Wednesday,” Gallaty said. 

Patrick is survived by his wife, Amie, and four children.

 

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30 thoughts on “Restored Pastor & Former Acts 29 VP Darrin Patrick Dies Unexpectedly”

    1. Hi Brett,

      I am not Julie, but I wanted to venture and take a guess regarding the use of quotations here.

      I do want to point out that Julie has exemplified a courageous voice of truth in the murky waters of church/the marketplace though! (John 2:16)

      1) Being truly restored would mean a person whose heart, mind, soul, spirit have been submitted to the Lord Jesus as well as being healed/delivered from the sins or issues oppressing that person or holding them in bondage. 2 Timothy 1:7

      2) Whatever this restoration process is, it is deeply flawed. It probably glosses over the deep needs of pastor Patrick’s heart, then zips him back onto the pedestal of pastorship. This restoration process probably accelerated his fatal decision to commit suicide. Matthew 11: 28-30; 1 Corinthians 10:13

      Godly, loving, and prudent restoration would entail seeking counsel and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit first. But I believe few have ever listened to or asked the Holy Spirit to guide them anyway. To smart for Him, I gather.

      3) This “restoration” process is a pattern, of men in church leadership who knows nothing about helping other human beings who are deeply flawed- until it is way too late. Look at the restoration process for Todd Bentley.

      This begs the question- is it what you know that saves you and other men and women in the church? Or is it Who you know? John 15:1-11

      1. Does this apply to Peter who denied knowing the Lord? How is this God honoring? Are you suggesting that the pastors and men Darrin submitted his life to didn’t see his life change as he submitted to the Lord? Were you involved in this process? Can you, yourself, bring charges against him? Your response begs the question of your knowledge of this situation or his process and comes across as callous.

        While I didn’t know him personally, he was a blessing to me. He was honest and transparent. I appreciated his podcast and his social media content, He was a father and husband. He served a community of believers for the cause of spreading the Gospel. I’m just as broken as he was, and I would gladly call him my pastor if we lived in the same community. My heart goes out to his wife, children, and the community he served and co-labored with. I’m sure he was a blessing to them and will be dearly missed,

        People don’t need perfect leaders to believe the Gospel; rather, they need ones who show up and love like Jesus did. If being broken about your sin and actively seeking ways to kill it isn’t “restoration“, then there’s no hope for me or anyone else.

        I cannot wait to thank him in heaven. No one is perfect, but today, through the Son of God, he is.

        1. Hi Cornelius Jemison,

          I am very much involved in the process of restoration. My name is Peter, and coincidentally, I am like the apostle Peter that denied Jesus. I denied Him multiples times, hurt the Church that He has put me in. Left gaping wounds in people’s lives and left the Lord for 5 years. So yes, I am involved in the process of restoration.

          And I am grateful, that He has restored me and continues to restore me to full health- emotional, mental, and spiritual. He has used people who were willing to be blunt and compassionate toward me and my sins/bondages. People who genuinely cared for my healing, repentance, and well-being as a man- as a son of God. People who were God’s hands and feet, guided by the Holy Spirit to tend to my grievous sins.

          So if I have come across as callous, I do apologize. I do not wish any ill or pain toward his family or you, who are grieving for pastor Darrin. It is not my intention or my heart’s wish.

          But I hope you are aware that submission to the Lord and transformational changes in a person’s life– where there are deeply rooted issues– need to be incremental and not rushed. Tended to by the surgical and loving hands of the Father Himself. Not gloss-over by processes, deadlines, and man’s machinations.

          I am pointing to the genuine process of restoration where pastor Darrin could truly get the healing and freedom that he needs. And not through the hands of Death.

          I believe Pastor Riva Tims touched on this point very directly as well. Her husband, also a pastor, killed himself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm6ipiz6YGA

          Actively seeking ways to kill it, I agree, but this should not entail killing your self/harming the very life that God has lovingly created and for which the Son Jesus Christ has dearly paid for it in blood. Killing the desires of sins or wanting to be freed from its bondages, yes, but killing your very life, no. Colossians 3: 5 – 7. Acts 24: 16

          So if death is the way for pastors, who are our human shepherds; is death the way for us all? Or is there a better way? 1 Corinthians 15: 55 – 56

      2. Excellent response! Thank you. May we more obediently follow God’s instructions for ourselves as individuals and May we require the same obedience in those we choose to lead the church.

  1. Former Church Planter

    He was a good man and a warrior who paid a high personal price for the cause of Christ. Shocking and heartbreaking loss. He will be missed.

  2. misterjesperson

    Seeing this story about some famous mans death made me think about Jesus words directed at his very own brothers as He talked about His own future death: John 7:6 “Jesus replied, ‘Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime.'” So what is more disturbing? The fact that someone else died, or that whenever we hear of someone else dying it reminds us of our own mortality?

    1. Saddened and grieved

      Leave it to you to both misquote John 7 and take it out of context as well as miss the point of the tragedy in this particular death. I would have words with you in person if that were possible but until then I would urge you to think before you post.

      1. misterjesperson

        And I get another response from someone who does not know their Bible well. And they do not even use their real name? John 7 is not misquoted my friend. It was pointed out to me decades ago by my best friend that Jesus was going to head on down to Jerusalem soon for the last time. When His brothers suggested that He leave, He knew what was going to happen to Him when He arrived. His brothers just thought that Jesus was talking about taking a trip, but Jesus was thinking about His death when He arrived. Hence, “Your time is always opportune” is frequently interpreted that Jesus was warning them that their death could come at any time and what if they were not ready for it when it came?

        And it is obvious that someone is accusing me of not being tactful, and yet I do not take suicide lightly, although this might have been an accident. Many years ago I spent a whole year with a lot of suicidal ideations that I thankfully could not act upon. That fact just causes me to think more deeply about death than many others appear comfortable with.

        I also note the debate raging here about suicide. And yet when someone gets famous selling a line about how great the Gospel is and about how much it has made their life better, but then they commit suicide, then something is obviously very off there. It is not the Gospel that has anything wrong with it, at least not the True Gospel, so there has to be something wrong with the person who acted so contrary to what they claim they believe.

        To me the important question to ask about that is where is the concern for the hundreds, thousands of Christians who are not famous, but died the same day? Why does the celebrity require this focus while we ignore all of the non-celebrities? Is this man more equal than the rest of those who died? Some people who were Christians did die from suicide as well that same day. Should we not feel sorrow over them, or is the celebrity the only one worthy of our emotional energy and focus?

  3. Stacy Lynn Harp

    This saddens me on so many levels. It breaks my heart that there seems to be an increase in the number of suicides among Christian pastors. Pastors who talk about how they need friends and who say they care about the mental illness issues of people who struggle and yet for some reason didn’t choose the option to seek help for themselves. Jarrid Wilson did the same thing. And while I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, I do also believe that how a saint exits this world is a testimony to how they believed. I feel so much compassion for the families they left behind. The wives, the mothers and especially the children. I am angered at the hypocrisy of these men who ended their lives like Judas did.

    1. Former Church Planter

      Have you no shame? Or are you simply that judgmental and callous? To call Darrin a hypocrite or to compare him to the disciple who betrayed Christ grieves my spirit both at your obvious ignorance toward this mans story and the price he paid for the cause of Christ and the lack of empathy you demonstrate in your careless and causeless judgement of him.
      If his “sin” that you point the finger at him for is betraying Christ then Would humbly remind you that none of us stand innocent before the cross.
      If it is dealing with grief as one who endured battle on the frontlines of the cause of Christ much as a Marine at the tip of a spear who would experience bullet from the enemy as well as those from what is known in the military as “blue on blue” fire then I would remind you that both Paul and Timothy were also attacked by “ravenous wolves” so much so that each felt the weight that Darrin and thousands of other Pastors and Church Planters experience. So unless you have planted a church yourself and put you and your family under the stress
      That Darrin experienced for endless years I would silence my tongue.
      Because at best you have zero idea what you are talking about and at worst it is ignorant comments like yours and others that are used by the true enemy of Christ in ways that’s you cannot imagine.

      To my brothers and their families who are or who have placed their lives on the line planting a church please do not grow weary in doing good. Please fight both a lightening rod and a sounding board (who is not your spouse) to talk through and work through the things that have wounded you. There is NO shame in getting help.

      There is no shame in feeling the weight of the wounds. There is hope.

      I remember many many years ago before many knew the name Darrin Patrick or any of the ministries he was affiliated with. Darrin sat in a room with my wife and I and asked us how our marriage and mental health were. He asked us our our spiritual lives were and he counseled is that church planting was going to be the hardest and most stressful thing we would ever endure in our lives.

      And he shared that after 18 months our lives would never be the same. He counseled that our health both physically and mentally would never be the same and we would end up taking medications because of the life long changes that would occur because of the stress.

      He was right.

      Not just in our lives or his own but in countless lives who we had the privilege of serving alongside as brothers in arms.

      He is not the first from that early circle of muscular Christians who endured until they despaired life itself.

      It was not until after I was a church planter that I sat in Corinth Greece and realized the significance of the words of Paul to the church there.

      “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.” 2 Corinthians 1:8

      Words that brought me great comfort as I realized that Paul understood the emotion that I had stored in my own heart.

      So for those of you who judge … I would encourage you to check the company you keep because typically siding opposite the Apostle Paul is not considered a sign of spiritual maturity.

      And for those of you who are struggling, I urge you to shamelessly ask for help. Because there are those of us who have shared in your circumstances who will understand and there is hope and life on the other side.

  4. Stacy Lynn Harp

    “Former church planter” – It’s clear you don’t want to use your real name for some reason and that’s fine. And you have a right to express your thoughts, as I do. I am not being judgmental in the least and yet, even if I was, we are told to judge those within the church. I stated nothing untrue. Darrin and Jarrid both committed suicide and so did Judas. It’s an apt comparison. Paul the apostle didn’t commit suicide. There’s a stark difference and dare I say that Paul had more of a reason then those two did. It’s a sad testimony when a church leader who preaches one thing and then chooses to not do what they preach. You can call me judgmental all you want. I speak the truth and that is what you clearly don’t want to hear, even hiding behind a fake screen name.

    1. JohnathonTrithemius

      Stacy,

      Maybe it would be wise for you to take a step back.

      One thing that you need to consider is that depression and mental health are not an issue of sin or hypocrisy.

      Day after day, Pastors place themselves in positions not unlike the stressful environments of a soldier.

      We wrestle not against flesh and blood.

      Will you blame a soldier for PTSD?

      Get some education about how our bodies change chemically as the result of prolonged stress.

      The average Church Planter lives with a level of stress that you cannot begin to imagine. Paul told Timothy to medicate using wine to help settle his stress because of what Luke describes as ravenous wolves in the church where Timothy ministered.

      Privilege comes to those who are ignorant of the cost of a thing.

      Of course for someone like yourself who probably judges a church based on the compatibility of worship or length of the sermon your opinion on a man like Darrin or others who hold his position is not to be taken seriously.

      Comparing a man who laid on the altar and was transparent about his wounds from the battle for a Christ and his Church to anything less than heroic is as disgusting as it is ignorant.

      You claim to be in a position to judge the church and yet the log in your eye blinds you to understanding the truth.

      To make the type of statement without knowledge that you have made is worse than calling your brother race. It is more in line with the Latin combination of prae and judicio which means to pre judge and is where we receive our English word prejudice.

      Judas in his grief may have committed suicide, but that does not mean that every one who betrays Christ is a Judas (consider Peter) or that every suicide is the result of a betrayal of Christ.

      May you grow in understanding and grace.

      We would all be wise to withhold judgment of those in the body of Christ who bear the marks of warfare in their daily lives.

      Be slow to speak.

      So that you do not end up like those you judge.

      Lucky for us your circle of influence is as limited as your thoughts. I would urge you to please educate yourself and until that time be a careful reader so as not to miss anything important.

      1. Harold K. Seppuku

        Hehehehe Jonathon, I see what you did there. I appreciate your words and hope Stacy has the insight to see the message that is directed to her and those who share her position. Well done.

        1. Harold if you think Jonathan’s response was well done, then I suggest you take a few courses in critical thinking and some on reading comprehension.

      2. I’m quite confused as a growing believer/disciple to understand why a pastor would go in the route of suicide. Is it okay to perform your role and still deal with depression? Would that be performing or worship? Would that be carrying on with the business of church and what does that mean to be about the Fathers business? Please help me comprehend. I am seeing the celebratory of what these mens legacy has left behind but are we as believers saying suicide is okay? My lack of scripture knowledge is not big. But there are only two instances I have seen suicide. 1 King Saul and 2 Judas. Both were called. Im trying to find and ask the right questions. Is their any books on biblical understanding on suicide?

        I understand many people are grieving and I sure am. Life is sacred and valuable but where do we draw a line to have these tough conversations? I’m still young in my faith but I trust the Word I read, sing, the Jesus that I talk about is the same one I’m embracing during this hard time.

        1. Dear Younginfaith, suicide is definitely not ok.
          We are called to overcome by faith , not quit. The struggle can be hard, real and long. But God is good and He comforts those who wait upon Him thro’ daily word and prayer.
          He uses these times to make us look at the deeper issues in our heart, We only need to look and seek Him with humility. That may mean stepping away from ministry for a period. We cannot have a timeline. We cannot fix a plan. We just follow the One who has a good plan and a good future. He will never fail and we will never fail as long as out eyes are sincerely upon Him.

      3. Jonathan, I find your response to mine rather amusing. Not in the funny “ha ha” sense, but in the ironic, you clearly don’t see how you’re being judgmental towards me yourself.

        You may find it interesting to know that I hold a Masters of Clinical Psychology and I’m also a trained therapist with almost 20 years of clinical practice under my belt. My speciality was treating PTSD, anxiety and depression. I kind of have a clue.

        I’ll spare you the nonsense put out in the profession. I am anti-drugs – all things psychotropic and the lies about how drugs help people with these “conditions” is nice propaganda that those who don’t take the time to do their research or to think critically about spout. The whole psychobabble movement in the church is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the church.

        I actually never stated that this man betrayed Christ when he committed suicide. Go back and read what I wrote.

        As for my circle of influence, well, it’s international and well known. Some of us don’t have to boast about our success or titles or bow to the praises of men. Those who apparently do embrace the title of pastor, church planter and then kill themselves. Maybe if they focused more on others, instead of themselves the lives they chose to wreck wouldn’t be.

        1. Stacy, you are one of the few people I’ve seen talking sense.
          All either say its ok to suicide because of pressures, or they just do not go there to make a judgement one way or the other.
          If suicide is ok for pastors because of ministry pressures, then why even become a pastor. Why teach a bunch of people and then do something so selfish, that it rips tears into the church. Why not step down and go work at a factory or an office? Isnt that the humble and godly thing to do?

          I also was happily surprised to see you are anti-drug. Drugs compounds the problem and medicates the heart issue to the point, that you cannot cry out to God anymore.
          What a sorry state of affairs things are in today? May God help us. May He pour out a spirit of intercession on His church, that we might lift our eyes to Him for life.

  5. Our whole cult of the celebrity pastor today is what I think causes pastors to fall into sin and need restoration in the first place. They either expect to be put on a high pedestal, or they seek it out for themselves. When I became a Christian in the 70’s, the celebrity Christian speaker list was quite small-Swindoll, MacArthur, Graham, some seminary professors, and that was about it. All of sudden, it became flooded in the 80s, and each one had a seminar, various books, a Bible. Then, some of these pastors and their followers began to implode, to the point where we now have restoration programs for people who probably never should have been in the ministry in the first place.

    Celebrity pastors are human and fallible, just like the rest of us-except they are also in the limelight, constantly expected to be super-human and to have all the answers. Many of them seem to begin to believe that they can do it all, and when this happens, they implode. If they don’t get the right kind of help, especially the help that addresses the issues deep within, suicide probably seems like an easy option. I’m not saying it’s the right one, but even Christians can commit suicide (although we don’t like to admit to that). It’s the ultimate “I just can’t deal with this anymore” and reveals the world of hurt that many celebrity, and not-so-celebrity, pastors deal with all the time.

    I personally think that when someone has done something that could truly disqualify them from ministry, that they should get appropriate counseling. I believe they should also be allowed to explore other avenues of vocation. You can be a very effective Christian minister in many kinds of settings-sometimes much more effective than a celebrity pastor because you are “real.” (Hint: the Velveteen Rabbit). I find it rather pathetic when disqualified pastors like____(I’m sure you can think of lots of names) go off and try to start another church to see if they still have the same mojo they had before they were sacked. It saddens me even more when other pastors rally to their cause and defend them, or promote their new ministries.

    I was in full-time vocational ministry as a missionary for 15 years-half of it in a dangerous country in South America, and the other half in the inner-city in a large urban area in California. it was tough, it wrung me out, and sometimes it was downright scary. By God’s grace, I did not fall into disqualifying sin. But, it would have been easy, especially when you come home for fulrough and people talk about how wonderful you are, and you, the missionary think about hos scared you are, your anger issues, how you constantly let people down, although you always do your best…I was a very minor actor, and God through His grace used me for His glory. However, I did learn to keep a close check on my ego-I am not wonderful, but the God I serve is, and He will keep me. I think we need more of that kind of attitude in our present-day approach to ministry. Less Twitter, less self-promotion-more humility and dependence on God’s grace.

  6. Dr Seymour Grace

    I’m sorry but reading your comment made me throw up in my mouth. Any idea why May is National mental health month?
    There is a difference between sin and sickness.
    Whether or not your words are sin… they make me sick.

      1. Dr Seymour Grace

        Just Being Biblical in my dealings with a fool (check proverbs about how to handle a fool).

        Witty comeback by the way.

        Name calling. And parroting.

        Took you 7 whole days to come up with that?

        Really?

        Mensa just saved an application since you won’t be needing one anymore.

        (That, by the way, is an intelligent insult).

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