Lovingly, Decently, and in Good Order

We Lutherans tend to do things decently and in good order. Always have. Always will. Maybe it’s part of our original German heritage. Maybe it’s because much of our history has been on the move and moving. When things are chaotic in other areas of life, it’s nice to have things right where they ought to be when it comes to church.

So a week after I announced my decision to accept a Call to a congregation in Florida, the church I served for the past 15 years called a meeting. They asked me to walk them through my decision process, and why it was that I accepted the Call.

I was nervous about it. But in the end it was a really positive experience both for me and for the congregation. It allowed the members of the church the opportunity to see what goes into such a process. It helped me to articulate why I felt so compelled to follow the Lord’s Call to another place.

I told them that I made lists centered around three categories:

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Spiritual

Most of the “personal” items I kept between my family and me. But I shared a few. I did, however, want people to see how “professional” and “spiritual” items really made my decision quite clear. Once I wrote them down and said them out loud, it became more and more evident where the decision would go.

Although the people of my current congregation may still not “like” the decision I made, many told me they better understand how I could come to such a decision. It was, in a sense, a “watershed” moment for me and for the people of the congregation. There were tears (including my own), and there was love and respect that was shared.

But that wasn’t the end of things being done “decently and in good order.” Toward the end of the meeting, the following (decent and orderly) resolution was presented to the congregation:

Whereas the members of Mount Calvary have been blessed by the faithful service of Pastor Thomas Eggebrecht for over 15 years, and

Whereas the congregation recognizes that the health of the whole body of Christ is enriched through Pastor Eggebrecht’s Call to Ascension Lutheran, and

Whereas Mount Calvary’s body of believers seeks to provide Pastor Eggebrecht with an affirmation of our love and respect;

Be it so moved that Mount Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church grant to Pastor Thomas Eggebrecht a peaceful release from his divine Call as pastor of this congregation, and

Be it further moved that this congregation wishes Pastor Eggebrecht all God’s blessings in his new Call as pastor of Ascension Lutheran in Casselberry, Florida.

As formal as that all sounds, it made me feel incredibly loved. You might have to be a Lutheran to feel love from a formal statement like that. And since I have proudly worn the name “Lutheran” my whole life, the people of Mount Calvary spoke a language of love that I understood. Decently and in good order. That’s the way I like it.

When and how have you had “love” spoken to you in an unusual way?

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9 thoughts on “Lovingly, Decently, and in Good Order

  1. That is really cool! What a special congregation and awesome release. I'm sure it will be (already is) an emotional time for your family at home and church.I know that as it gets closer each week our emotions at Ascension grow stronger and stronger. We are very excited for this new phase to begin but at the same time try to remember and pray for Mount Calvary and the transitions they will have to undergo. Just know that you are very much anticipated!!

  2. Thanks for sharing that. I wondered how your congregation of 15 years was going to respond to your decision. You will always be an important part of their history and it's clear that you are loved and will be missed. I thank the Lord that he made it clear upon your heart what to. God is like that when we pray, trust and listen to what HE is telling us. We all are looking forward to your arrival at Ascension. God Bless the time you have left at Mt. Calvary and God Bless the people of Mt. Calvary.

  3. It has been nice " getting to know you".I really appreciate and we are grateful to meet you. This is Walt, Sandy and I share our e-dress,btw. I pray that OurFather blesses Your call acceptance processes by easing sad feelings and giving you and yours a safe and joyful journey.Through His love and mercy Walt.

  4. Love speaks to me while I am mowing the yard. I guess it's not unusual, but it's very special. No one bothers you while you are mowing a yard. The smells, the peace, the work : all remind me God's ever-presence and gifts of life & this world. Tonight, we gathered at Ascension, my home away from home, for a special NDP prayer service. The Spirit was present, and the love was clearly spoken. Not unusual, but certainly, sometimes not so strong… We finished the prayer service with a prayer from our new pastor. Love was spoken. Thank you for connecting with us so soon and in that way! It is no wonder Mt. Calvary was moved to release you decently and in good order: they spoke the language of love to a man who speaks the same language.

    Praying for God's ever-present peace,

    Noel Lambert

    P.S. My daughter (8) believes she will call you Pastor Eggy, because your name is too long and you have no hair 🙂

    • Thank you, Noel, for such kind words. And your daughter can call me Pastor Eggy if she so pleases. I would definitely answer to that! 🙂 So glad to hear the prayer service was a "success." Can't wait to be with you all soon.