Throughout the process with both the Search Committee and the Elder Board of Community Christian Fellowship of Siloam Springs, AR, I kept reminding them that, while I was honored and humbled to be a part of the process, I realized that I probably didn’t possess the pedigree or the experience of some of the other candidates. I shared with them that I would completely understand if they wanted to pass on me.
I told them that, if I was in their position, even I would pass on me.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
I was aware that there were at least two other strong candidates that the church was considering for their position, so imagine my surprise the night I received a call informing me that the Elder Board was in unanimous agreement that I be extended a call to candidate to be their Senior Pastor.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. In fact, I don’t think I said a word for a full ten seconds. Then, I believe I managed a stunned “wow” before becoming silent again. Finally, after a few more rounds of monosyllabic words followed by silence, I managed to express how excited, honored, and humble I was to accept their offer to go through the candidating process.
So, in early October, the Callahan family found themselves in Arkansas, a state that I had never been before, in a small town in Northwest Arkansas called, Siloam Springs. I met and had meals with the Elder Board and the Search Committee. I met with the staff and shared about myself and answered their questions.
As side note, being a staff person at a church that is hiring a new Senior Pastor can feel rather tenuous. You are not only looking at the person who may become your new Senior Pastor, you are also looking at the person who may become your new boss. Having never experienced this transition, I can only imagine how potentially scary this could be.
After meeting with that staff, I had the opportunity to meet informally with the church, preach a in the Sunday service, and do some Q & A with the church family. After our final meeting with the Board of Elders, the elders extended a unanimous call for me to become their next Senior Pastor, which was followed by a vote of affirmation by the CCF church body a week later.
I guess God really was trying to tell me something.