Last year ministry wise was a big change for me. My Honey and I had pioneered a non-denominational church plant way back in ’04. This came after my graduating from seminary classes in ’03 and some friends posing the question, “So, how do you start a church?”
We had opened our business, a Christian Coffee House the previous year and things were going well, why not plant a church too! Fast forward ten years and the demand of business owner and shepherd to a small church was taking its toll on us. Our marriage was struggling and we had began counseling in late 2012 to get that back on track (we were given a clean bill of health just a few months ago!).
The decision came to sell the shop and focus on ministry. My Honey threw out the question, “Why are we still here in this area? Maybe God has something else in store for us. Do you still get those listings for churches needing pastors?”
I had been subscribed to church job search websites for a long time, so we began to look again. I dusted off my resume, wrote a new cover letter and began sending out feelers. We came close to going to Central Washington around March of last year, but that was not where God wanted us to be. When that was a possibility I had contacted a long time friend and fellow pastor (Neal) who had just merged his ministry with another church he had grown up in.
Their plan was to have three campuses serving together in the community but they didn’t want to move into my area of the valley without partnering with us or if by chance I wasn’t going to be in the area. I had asked him if we did move North if they would bring our church into the fold and carry on the ministry. Well when Washington didn’t come through I sat down with God and had a long talk.
I came away with the sense that I would just be content in waiting for His timing and direction. It was closing in on Easter and I figured that no church would be going through the process of finding their new pastor for a while. I had it in my heart that sometime after Easter I would get another call for an interview or something.
Well the Monday after Easter my buddy Neal calls me to talk. It had been a few weeks since he had found out the Washington position had not gone through and wanted to see how things were going and what I thought God was doing now. We met for lunch the next day and then with the other pastor (Jon) and his wife that following Friday. God was at work and we talked about making the full merge with them.
The timeline was aggressive to make the merge, plus we had our trip to Alaska planned right in the middle of it. But it was what God wanted to do so we followed. It has given me a chance to reflect on my ministry calling and gain a fresh perspective as well.
When we joined up we still felt as though God was calling us out of the area and that this new merge may not be permanent. The plan was to get me licensed in Four Square and then just see what God was going to do. Well I started the process of licensing and we were six months into the merge. Neal, Jon and I sat down for a focus group kinda meeting…where are we, where are we headed, what’s the plan for the next six months?
Well, a couple weeks later I get a phone call from Jon and he’s telling me that they heard from the divisional supervisor of a position open about an hour East of us. They warned me when I joined up with Four Square that it was a family type relationship and that things like this happen a lot. Things like getting a phone call instead of the whole resume and searching process.
One of the big things we ask about life in ministry is this – What is God saying and what are you going to do about it?
We decided to see what God was saying at that point. You’ll have to wait for my next post to see what I am doing about it though…
Enjoy your life and try it without socks!