For years, people have shared with me that I should be a Senior Pastor. I have always been appreciative of their sentiments, but looked at them as an expression of their appreciation of my teaching ministry rather than the voice of God. I would thank these dear, kind people, and typically say something like, “When God tells me that’s what I’m supposed to do, then that’s what I’ll do.”
Then, men who have known me in ministry – godly men who know me and whom I respect – began to say the same thing. They encouraged me to consider being a Lead/Senior Pastor or a church planter. With these men, I attributed their words to a confirmation of my leadership, rather than the voice of God.
Then one night, God sent a person through whom I never would have thought He would speak. In a sense, he sent me Balaam’s donkey, who said something to the effect of, “I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times, but you really – NO… REALLY! – need to think about being a Senior Pastor.” As I walked away from this encounter, I began to chuckle to myself and wonder if indeed God was trying to tell me something and I just wasn’t listening.
So I scheduled a retreat for myself in the summer of 2011; a spiritual retreat where I would spend a week in mostly silence and solitude praying and reading the Bible and seeking God about my life. I rented a cabin at Hume Lake, the place where God has spoken most clearly to me over the years. At Hume Lake I accepted Christ, received my call to ministry, had a chance meeting with the woman who would become my bride, and interviewed for my current ministry at NewCov.
So at Hume Lake I sought the leading of God about my future and the answer to my question: “Are you trying to tell me something, Lord?”
That week, God confirmed that indeed, at some point in the future, I would transition into a Lead/Senior Pastor role. He was also very clear that I was to do nothing about it: send out no resumes; make no contacts; just wait.
Waiting is not something I do very well, and when it came to finding a new job, God’s plan made no sense.
I mentioned this to God. I explained to Him how the job search worked in America in 2011. I explained resumes and websites and the Internet and Google to the Almighty. He then asked me if I believed that He was the God of the universe. I said that I did. He then explained to me that, as the God of the universe, He would have no trouble finding my address.
Good point. So I waited.
Fast-forward to the first part of 2012. I received a call one day from one of my mentors who said he knew of a church that was looking for a Senior Pastor for which I would be a good fit. I asked God if it was OK to respond to his request for a resume, since I didn’t want to get ahead of God. God said that it would be OK, so I rewrote my resume, a task that I hadn’t done in over 13 years.
And I waited.
Two time zones away, a church in Siloam Springs, Arkansas was beginning a search for a Senior Pastor. Their previous Senior Pastor of 20 years had left in November 2011 and they were looking for a man who could build on that godly pastor’s great work.
After reviewing 80 resumes, their choice for their candidate was a man who had only served as a Senior Pastor for about a year in the early days of his ministry and who wasn’t even looking for a job. Their choice was a Worship Pastor from Fresno, CA.