This past week I received a Divine Call to serve as the Director of Youth and Media at St Paul Lutheran Church and School in Ann Arbor Michigan. As this has gotten shared in my congregation I have been asked lots of questions. I am hoping this will help some of you better able to understand the process and join me in prayer as I contemplate these two calls.
First, I now have two divine calls from two congregations. I have one from St. John Lutheran in Rochester and one to St. Paul in Ann Arbor. What that means for me and my family is I will be praying over the next several weeks about where God wants me to serve his kingdom. You see, a call is not just a job offer weighing the pros and cons of things like location, money, size of Church, etc. In the call process, my main goal is to try and discern where God wants me to serve his kingdom best. Is the Spirit leading me to stay or to go to a new place?
Let me go back for a minute to explain the process in the LCMS of how this call process works. When a congregation is searching for a someone to serve among them they ask the district office and congregation members for names of people to serve them. After that is done the District will look through the names and make sure they are eligible to receive a call. The District Office looks at those names and gives the local congregation a list of names with information the called workers have on file with the Synod. This file is updated yearly by the Church worker and does have a section where you can say if you are 1) not be open to a call, 2) open to a call, or 3) actively seeking a call. I am always choose ‘open to call’ after 3 years serving a congregation. I do this because I want to let the spirit move. Churches then do interviews and prayers typically through a call committee. Once the call committee has prayed about this it typically goes to the Voters’ Assembly of the congregation to issue a call. A call is issued by the entire congregation not just a call committee so bringing it before the Voter’ Assembly is meant to help the congregation be a part of the process as a whole. (This, by the way, is why you are reading this. The whole congregation I serve extended me a call and therefore the whole congregation should know I have another call and pray for me again as they did before so that the Spirit would lead me in the way I should go.) As the worker deliberates he normally goes to see the church and meet with people there to determine if he is a fit and if he feels the Holy Spirit is leading him to stay at the current congregation or leading him to go to the new congregation. The deliberation is determining which call will have the greatest impact on God’s kingdom.
Second, I have the privilege of serving at St. John and teaching on the book of Acts to our 6th graders. I love that book because to me it is a book about seeing where the Spirit leads; how his Holy Spirit leads his Church over and over to follow Jesus. When I see how Jesus leads His Church, I never see it done for what would be better for Paul or Peter or the other disciples, I always see Jesus leading them to have the greatest kingdom impact and to strengthen and grow His Church for the betterment of the kingdom.
Lastly, you might be thinking, “What should I do?” Here is my task to you as God’s people. Please pray for me and my family. Please pray that God’s Spirit would lead me and that God’s will would be done for St. John, for St. Paul, for me, and my family and His kingdom will be grown through this process.
If you still have questions, please don’t be afraid to reach out and chat with me. I am certainly willing to answer them as best I can.