Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meeting Memorial

One year ago this week I flew to Washington DC to meet our son, Sam, who was finishing his semester internship. Just a few days before I left home I received an email from the pastor search committee of Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia. I was asked if I might be available for an interview with their committee via the internet. Several available dates were listed.

I responded in the affirmative and added a footnote about my plans to be in the DC area the very next week. So, instead of an online interview, I was treated to coffee and conversation with the committee around Charlotte's dining room table. I sensed even in that first conversation that something was happening, the Spirit was stirring. This was a new beginning that was going to impact my life, my family, and my ministry for years to come.

As we began to get acquainted, the format soon shifted from a job interview to an extended conversation, even a testimony service. All around the table, Michelle, Claude, Gary (What's up with that guy?), Holly, Sonny, Charlotte, and Randy was listening in on the phone. I was impressed with each person's insights and moved by their obvious love and devotion to Christ and to their church. Sam was there also, being my taxi service and getting a firsthand perspective of how this pastor-people process works. 

Finally, I asked the one question that had been on my mind from their first phone call. "Why me?" And when Gary answered on everyone's behalf, I felt that deep down soul shiver that only comes when you suddenly are aware that God is in the room and up to something. And sure enough, He was.

Looking back now, one year later - a year filled with praying and listening, deliberating and deciding, uprooting and moving on, settling in and starting up - it seems so obvious to me that our wise and loving God was superintending the entire process. How can we ever doubt His faithful love?

And reflecting on that first evening gathered around Charlotte's dining room table, I must say a word about truth in advertising. No big scary surprises for this new pastor in his first year at Memorial Baptist Church. This is a fellowship of good and gracious people who love God and one another and genuinely desire to make a difference for Christ. And I get to be their pastor. Go figure.

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