January 11, 2014
One of my favorite things to do for the wider church is to facilitate the training of a call committee. In the denomination to which I belong and serve, when a pastor leaves a call/congregation a committee is formed and charged with being the frontline spiritual discernment group for calling a new pastor. It is important to note the committee members are not the only ones in the discernment process, however. The entire congregation has opportunity to meet and vote on a pastor. Even so, the task and its importance can make it feel as if the weight of the world is on the shoulders of the committee. It is as if all the hopes, and fears, of every member regarding who is coming next rests on them.
Over and over it is reinforced in the training that this task must not be taken on by each individual, or even the group as a whole, without prayer being an integral part of the process. The prayers of the committee, the congregation, the synod, even me as the training facilitator, are and should be asked for and coveted. This work is ultimately done by the Holy Spirit, because I believe (as do many others) that God already knows the next person who is to be called as pastor, even before the current person leaves. Without that belief, that trust, we might really come to think it is all about us and our decision-making ability (see Day #10).
So why is this one of my favorite things to do? It gives me opportunity to be a reminder, a hope bearer, that they are not alone. What more exciting thing could there be than to help people put their trust in the Holy Spirit?