He was the freshman class president at Pensacola Christian College (PCC). He also ran for sophomore and junior class president, and won each consecutive term. In the 90’s, to say “Mike Ames” at PCC was to name drop the most active student leader on campus.

Yet, the one prized office he did not hold was one he most deserved. As vice-president of the entire student body, Mike nominated me, a little-known junior who had recently discovered a talent at acting, to run against him for the office of president (most votes won president, second-most won vice). I received the most votes. And then, as Mike says, he’s made me look good ever since.

I loved working with Mike that year. We became fast friends.

After graduating, Mike served as a PCC representative, traveling the USA throughout the year to sell the school to churches and Christian schools. PCC had few contacts in the outside world, so they choose poster children to do this work… bright, articulate, clean-cut, rehearsed, and compliant (or at least good at appearing that way).

Fast forward a few years, when my wife and I visited Mike’s family in California. Mike was working at the camp he mentions in the video. Even as he faced growing convictions about his work at this camp, ย he realized the camp wasn’t interested in his convictions, only his loyalty.

Since those days, Mike has generously donated himself to Soulation. But this video marks the first time he’s donated his story.

Listen to Mike’s own wrestling with owning the terms of “spiritual abuse” and “victim.” I like how he ends this confession.

Where at you at in this? Even putting the term “abuse” and “victim” aside for a moment, do you fear appearing weak, bitter, or jaded to others? Do you fear what others will say if you speak up? Do you want to speak up but fear the consequences? Are you facing anxiety over all this?

Mike will be available in the comments. So pick his brain, give him pushback, confess your own anxiety.