TJ Lynch experienced anger and shock after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when he was just 18 years old, but that experience led him on a fascinating journey to dig deeper into his faith and become a preacher.
As his church community prayed over him and he processed what was unfolding, the cancer-stricken teen began to understand the power of community.
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“This was just part of life, and yet God was there — through people,” Lynch told The Columbus Dispatch, explaining how a near-death experience at such a young age changed everything. “God, the Holy Spirit, was at work through it all. You’re 18, and you almost die. It kind of changes your perspective on life.”
Lynch, who was studying business and marketing in college at the time of his diagnosis, shifted gears several times before finally feeling called to preach.
Flash-forward 13 years, and now Lynch, 31, no longer has cancer. The husband and father found healing after receiving a shunt and chemotherapy.
Today, he’s helping lead the flock at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio.
He believes God has placed him exactly where he’s supposed to be and said the cancer experience forced him to focus on what really matters in life rather than following culture’s expectations or whims.
“For me, pastoral ministry is about the people, the relationships,” he told The Columbus Dispatch.
The outlet noted how Lynch uses his past struggles and experiences to inspire others. One parishioner, Joy McLemore, 76, said she often talks with the pastor — over ice cream — about her daughter-in-law’s brain cancer struggle, something Lynch can speak on from experience.
“I’ve never been one to seek out pastors for counseling. But I seek him out for ice cream,” she said. “TJ is just a blessing that appeared right when my family needed it. He’s fun and funny.”
Others mirrored this sentiment, proving how Lynch’s story exemplifies God using people’s pain and struggles for His purposes. Read more about the pastor’s story here.
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