By now you have heard that I received a call from Maranatha Church of Belleville, Ontario. What that means, practically speaking, is that the people of Maranatha Church want me to be their pastor, and they have given me two or three weeks to think about it. How did this come about? And where do we go from here?
It all started several weeks ago when Maranatha’s Search Committee emailed me to ask if I would be willing to discuss a possible call. Their communication took me by surprise. I had not been seeking a call, and when a pastor is within three years of retirement, as I am, he is not expecting to get one. But Maranatha assured me that they had done their homework. They thought I was the right fit for their church.
I have a history with this church. My church in St. Thomas, Fellowship Church, followed the lead of Maranatha Church in hosting the Dunamis conferences. Maranatha and Fellowship experienced significant renewal as a result. Maranatha continued to be a model for me for many years, and their pastor became a mentor to me.
Since that time, however, Maranatha Church has faced many challenges. The people of Maranatha have a beautiful spirit and vision, but the path has not been an easy one for them. They have been seeking a pastor for four years. What they would want me to do is help them rebuild their ministry, and then pass the baton.
So, I have to consider whether I will say “yes.” On the one hand, I think my gifts fit their needs. Our kids and grandkids would live about three hours away, and accepting this call would mean seeing more of them (a good thing). I would have to postpone retirement for a few years, but I think I could actually enjoy that.
On the other hand, I love Bethel Church. I have found my years at Bethel to be among the most rewarding of my ministry. Janet and I would leave with broken hearts.
So, where do we go from here? We pray. On Tuesday evening I spent time with our Governing Elders discerning this call with them. I have spoken with Pastor Cris, as well as a few advisors and a few trusted friends. Now we need to put this call in the Lord’s hands and trust him. As we all pray, I am sure God will make his will known for Bethel and for Janet and me.
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