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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?