God Working His Way Through an Odd and Unsettling Place

It’s an odd place to be. Some people change jobs when they make the conscious decision to pursue another opportunity or a different career. Others lose a job and have to write resumes, pound the pavement, and ask for interviews.

My vocation works in a different way. As a pastor in the Lutheran Church one does not seek the office or the position, it seeks him. Which has put me in an odd place.

In December I received a phone call from a member of a church in Florida. It always starts like this: “Is there any reason right now why you couldn’t consider a Call.” (I intentionally capitalize the word “Call” because we believe that the Call comes from God through His people. It’s Divine.)

“Um, no. I guess not.”

And that set it all in motion. Apparently my name was submitted by someone in the congregation. Other names were submitted, as well. A list was put together. Each person was called and asked the same question as I was. Some may have had compelling reasons why they couldn’t move forward in the process. Others had no good reason not to move forward.

So on it went like this:

  1. An area church official called and said that after looking over paper work for all the candidates, I had made a “shorter list.” He said that he would keep me informed as to whether or not they wanted to move forward with me.
  2. A couple of weeks later a member of the Call committee contacted me and let me know they wanted to interview me over the phone. They emailed 15 questions so that I could prepare.
  3. Another couple of weeks later we spent about an hour on the phone doing the interview. Six people on the Call committee asked questions, and I answered.
  4. Finally, I received a phone call telling me that I had made the list of final candidates. They told me they wanted to fly my wife, Tammy, and me to Orlando, Florida, for a congregational forum and other interviews.

Shortly after our visit, the congregation will hold a Call meeting. They will take votes until one of the candidates has a clear majority. That candidate will receive the Call, and will have the opportunity to deliberate whether or not to accept the Call and begin a new ministry.

So I am currently in an odd place. I have fifteen years of relationships with the people I currently serve. Another congregation is in need of a new pastor. At this point, I have no idea whether or not it will be me that they Call.

It’s a bit unsettling. But it’s also a time of trusting and knowing that ultimately it is God’s will that will be done. He will make the outcome clear one way or another. And there’s something sacred about that.

How do you see God’s hand working through your work and vocation right now?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “God Working His Way Through an Odd and Unsettling Place

  1. Hi Tom… I'm Michelle … 39 married stay @ Hm. Mom, multiply disabled… in April of '89 instead of going to Germany as a foreign exchange student… the summer in between my junior & senior yrs in high school (when the Berlin Wall was coming down), I had a part time job after school but to keep in shape I' d jog from high school a couple of blocks to the Lutheran junior high where my parents had taught since their call out of college 1970. I'd help dad time the boys races & demonstrate high jump long jump etc. On one jump… I overjoyed came crashing down on my skull thus the multiple disabilities to this day… perfect vision.. just about 20/20 but severe tunnel… like looking through super tiny binoculars 24/7+. Sever short term memory loss.. cannot ever rely on recalling anything from min. To min. IQ is fine though 🙂 & partially paralyzed on entire left side of body… tingled 24/7 like when your foot falls asleep… so my parents help me finish high school & some computer courses @ local technical college & I met my hub. Steve in '92 … he' s 22 yrs older.. 2 yrs younger than my folks.. alcoholic but sober in Alcoholic Anonymous since 11-17-84 thank God & still active in A.A. & our precious girls are 9 & 12 Megan & Molly… you never know how God'll work..the trusting/ waiting game is rough @ times yet His daily coming into us through His word, tons of blessings , loving friends family etc.. is priceless.

  2. I would say that God has definately put me in an unsettling place; more than once in my life. Perhaps I am not always hearing His message (more to the point, not listening to it or wanting a different one.

    I met a wonderful man and fell in love-definately a fairy tale story. Almost from the start of our relationship there was turmoil in his life as it relates to work and Calling.

    We have triumphed in our relationship and have worked together (always with prayer and God's oversight) to get through this continuing ordeal (which tests our faith in the body of the church; and which tests Prince Charming's the overall faith in God).

    We have both been through all kinds of "stuff" and we thought we were getting a break. A gift from God for sure-and we both belive this.

    Unettling place; you bet. Is God here? I have to believe that He is here every second, guiding us, brining us closer and helping us to grow on our spiritual journey as a couple and as individuals.

    As my pre-school teacher would always say "Yeah God!" He does test us, but I have to believe His plan will prevail.

    • You still remember what your pre-school teacher said??? Wow! Must have had quite an impact. You both are so great. We are honored to call you friends. God will see you through it!

  3. Hi, Pastor!

    I have been a member of Ascension Lutheran in Casselberry for 43 years. I lived in Waunakee,WI for a few years and worked at UW hospitals in Madison. I am back in Casselberry again.

    During your visit to Casselberry I was in Chicago at a business meeting. I am so sorry I missed meeting you as I heard only wonderful feedback from your visit.I hope you like the heat for as cold as WI can be in the winter is as hot as FL is in the summer.

    As for a difficult decision, you indeed have one to make. I am praying that the Lord will move you to decide what is best for all concerned. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Kind Regards,


    • Thank you, so much, Sherry. I really appreciate your prayers, and am sorry I didn't get the chance to meet you in person. Glad that we could connect in this way. Blessings!

  4. Hi, again!

    Still praying about your call. Now that I read more of your messages, I failed to mention that my son is in college in Knoxville, TN. Nashville is about 2 1/2 hours away. TN is beautiful.

    Hope to hear good news from you soon. Our pastor passed away one year ago and the interim is great. But it is time we move on. Just to dangle a carrot, it was 80* f here today. Jeans ans tee shirt weather. Come on down!