I mentioned in a previous post that telling one’s story is a good idea for any pastor leaving for another ministry. My wife elbowed me and said, “Then you should tell your story. Few have heard it.” So I’ll listen to my excellent and wise wife…
In May of 2016, a professor friend of mine called and asked if he could have my resume to submit to Cana Baptist Church. I told him I was not inclined to submit it and that I had graciously been left alone for the past 3 years. And I meant it. Having a church considering you is a major distraction and things were going well at First Baptist Hempstead.
I prayed over the weekend, however, and felt I should go ahead and send my resume. As is common, the resume went to my professor and I heard nothing for a couple months. During this time, I continued to minister and suspected I would hear little else.
In late July I received a call from one of the references on my resume. He said he had been contacted by the search committee at Cana about me. This was the first I had heard from the process other than a generic, “We have your resume” letter. There was little to be done with this information except wonder and try to ignore it. A couple other references contacted me shortly thereafter saying they too had been contacted. By this time it was early August. As of yet, I had heard nothing official, but I was expecting to hear something any day.
The first contact I had was from the Chair of the Search Committee. He told me the Committee wanted to visit with me over a meal. We scheduled the meeting for later in August, had the meeting – it went well – and I went home. By this time, my wife and I truly began to consider this as a serious option and advanced our prayer efforts. We didn’t want to make a move, but the Lord had begun to open our hearts and excite us to the possibility. Still, two other candidates were being interviewed. So we waited and continued working forward with First Hempstead. We prepared for a new ministry year.
Within the next three weeks, the Lord cleared the way and I was the pastoral candidate. The process went from slow to lightning fast. The Committee invited me to come in view of a call…we had not discussed compensation at this point…we accepted the invitation for October 9th. We trusted that Cana would care for our needs and that the fasting and prayer we (and they) had done was productive. The Lord would guide us even as he had. God gives wisdom to those who ask.
I decided to announce to my congregation on Oct 02 that I would be preaching on the following Sunday at Cana as their pastoral candidate. I announced my intentions knowing the risk of not receiving or accepting the call from Cana, but I was concerned that First Hempstead would find out through social media or some close-in connection. The risk to them – that they find out before I told them – would be far more damaging than if I just told them myself. I trust the people at First Hempstead, and I love them. So I told them our plans.
On October 09 I preached for Cana and they voted that evening. The vote was better than 99% (always has to be a “NO” in the mix). We accepted the call and will begin on October 31st.
Some have asked how a pastor knows he should go to another church. That’s tough to know. We asked for wisdom from God according to James 1. We prayed and fasted and spoke to our children. We investigated Cana and sought wise council. We evaluated First Hempstead and began to believe that someone else may be just what they need. God is faithful both to us and to others. That’s why I’m leaving…and arriving.