About two weeks ago I had an epiphany of sorts. It was noon, and I was heading out for lunch; and once I got into my beloved 1991 Mazda pickup and started it up, I suddenly came to a conclusion– I no longer wanted a new car, I finally felt like I needed a new car.
Don‘t get me wrong the Mazda runs just fine. Oh, it creaks, groans and makes this odd noise each time I set on down the road, but I really love this truck. Still, as I sat in my truck on that very humid, 90 degree day, I realized I would really, really, really like to have air conditioning. In fact it was drifting from want into the need category the longer I had to sit in my mobile sauna. Ok, maybe I am spoiled, after all for most of human history we didn’t have cars, much less air conditioning, but whatever the case may be, some switch in my head clicked that day and said, it is time.
So last Friday I started the process of looking for a new car by visiting several dealerships. For many people getting a new car is just an exercise in– manufacturer preference, what they would like to have as options, and what they can afford. These things are a part of my pro-cess. However, because of my size I have learned that I have to ―try on‖ cars before they can be added to my list of possible options. You see, I just don‘t fit in some cars. Oh I am sure they are fine vehicles, but many simply just don‘t fit me, no leg room, no head room, can‘t see the stop lights because I have to have the seat back so far to fit! You might be thinking I need one of those full sized cars or pickups, I would surely fit in one of those. Other than the fact that they can be outrageously expensive, and the gas milage in these types of vehicles is horrendous, I found I don‘t always fit. A number of years ago someone offered me a heck of deal on a Chevy pickup, it was red, it was in perfect condition, and I was so excited… until I tried to get into it! As it turns out, just because it looks like it should fit doesn‘t mean it will. Shortly after that I found a small station wagon which upon first glance you would never think I would fit in; but I did, rather comfortably, and it was one of the best cars I have ever owned!
The “right fit” has been on my mind quite a bit lately as I have been working with the Call Committee, getting ready to call our next Associate Pastor. They have been thoughtfully and prayerfully filling out paper work, re-ceiving input, condensing facts and feelings about Reedsburg and St. John onto paper for prospective pastors so they can ―try on St. John to see if it will be a fit for them. Hopefully in a month or so we will be inter-viewing candidates and ―trying them on to see if they would be a good fit for us as well. This time of call is one of discernment, a time to figure out what kind of a person we need to help us continue to do ministry well, and we need the prayers of all of St. John to call a pastor who will be a good fit. We are not seeking a ―generic pastor, this pastor has to have particular options. Options that fit the job description, that fit into St. John‘s congregation as well as it‘s staff, so that they might do the tasks, and lead the ministries needed to grow the whole congregation of St. John.
We are beginning our search looking at first call candidates. These are pastoral candidates who have just finished seminary and have not yet received a call. Only after they are called can they be ordained into the pasto-ral ministry. I say beginning because if the right fit isn‘t found, we may need to have patience as we seek out that fit. I found several cars that were, on paper, pretty good cars; but unfortunately I had to cross about half of them off my list because for one reason or another they were not the ―right fit. There is a car I have my eye on, but it won‘t be released for a couple more months, so I will have to wait. Sometimes the call process works this way too; we may interview some wonderful pastors, but they may not be what we need at St. John. I ask for your continued prayers for the Call Committee, for wisdom and insight as we seek the pastor who will be that ―right fit for us.
While you are praying, you might want to focus a little time on where you fit in St. John. Where are your gifts best able to be used to grow as disciples, to reach out in love? Often people who are teachers are pegged to be Sunday School teachers, but some of the best Sunday School teachers I have ever known were not necessarily teachers by trade, but teachers by calling. The same holds true for other leadership and serving tasks within the ministries of St. John. There is an old saying that goes this way: ―God doesn‘t always call the equipped, he equips the called. Where is God calling you so that you may grow and be equipped to serve him and others in Christ‘s name? Take some time and reflect on what you can do, what you might do, and what you never thought you would do, but feel that God may in fact be calling you to do. Then talk with other faithful people about it: they are the best sounding board to help you find your fit, as together we gather to know and proclaim Jesus Christ and as disciples reach out in love.
Blessings on finding your fit and may God continue to bless the Call Committee and all those involved in this process so that we might find the ―right fit!
Just out of curiosity, what is your favorite car, or what was the first car you ever had? Leave a comment!