Pastor Nick Tracy came to his Christian faith and life’s work after facing down addictions. Then, after becoming an Evangelical pastor, he fought crippling anxiety stemming from the stress of the job.
“There is a lot that can prevent us from living a true and full life,” Tracy said. “But God is the answer that can provide freedom from anxiety, addiction and depression.”
In an interview with the Mountain Express this week, the father of four and lead pastor of the new Freedom Bible Church in Hailey shared his path to faith in Jesus Christ, as well as his thoughts about biblical lessons for the the political divide afflicting the United States.
“Jesus was the greatest lover of people to ever walk the Earth,” Tracy said. “We strive to love people as he did and he would. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.”
Tracy grew up knowing he was Christian, “just like I knew I was American, just like I knew I had blond hair,” he said. “But in college I was living a double life. When I hit rock bottom that was when the church people who I had burned bridges with came to help me. I saw the supernatural love of Jesus and that is when my heart changed and my life changed. That was when my faith truly became my own.”
Tracy grew up in California and accepted an opportunity to take on a full ministry while in college. In 2002, he met his wife Jenna at a church summer camp. They moved to Idaho about five years ago. Tracy has served Presbyterian and Evangelical Free congregations. In 2015, he accepted his first position as lead pastor at Fairfield Community Church in Fairfield, ID.
In 2018, the couple began praying about the possibility of starting a church in Hailey, responding to what Tracy described as their “stark realization of a desperate need for the lost to be reached in Hailey.”
Tracy compared his congregation to other protestant churches in town. “There are Calvinist churches, which are very thoughtful and even scholarly about the word,” he said. “And there are charismatic churches, which are highly emotional. We are somewhere in the middle, a bit of both. Our congregation is comprised of people who felt they did not fit in at their other churches, people who believe in God, but have struggled to relate to the way their churches implement the Bible.
“If the Bible is true, we can find peace and freedom through a relationship with God,” Tracy said. “But you don’t just get a diploma when you join a church. It is more of a journey.”
Tracy’s journey has taken him through debilitating bouts of anxiety that resulted in four trips by ambulance to the hospital. He was working 90-hour weeks at the time for his church. Pharmacological medications helped.
“God can work in any way, including through medications,” he said. “Medications can also help us find our way spiritually. They helped me, but I am no longer taking them now.”
Tracy’s sermon last Sunday related the current climate of political division in America to the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk, a seventh century B.C. prophet revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims. Habakkuk cried out to God for solutions during a period of inequity, strife and injustice.
“The message is that things are bad, but keep watching. It’s all part of a bigger plan,” Tracy said. “At the end of the day, God is calling us to stop looking around us and start looking up.”