Change is always hard… I don’t like change. I like familiarity. This isn’t a political post… I’m not talking about electing a new president. I’m talking about my church. Changing pastors. It’s hard. I’ve been in my denomination, Free Methodist, since I was only about two years of age! So I’ve seen lots of changes.
There’ve been changes in policies and rules, like the negativity of the 40’s and 50’s. A few of them were movies, dancing, make-up, jewelry, bowling, I could go on and on. Today I’m free to do whatever I feel is okay in my personal life. So even though I’m free now, I do very few of those forbidden acts.
What I’m referring to, in this post, is the changing of a pastor. In the Free Methodist denomination, pastors are appointed, not hired by a church. When I was a little girl, it was common for a pastor to be moved after two or three years at the appointed church. My dad was a pastor and we stayed at the church in Des Moines, Iowa for four years during two different appointments! That was unusual!
I want to skip ahead to today. Pastors are still appointed, but the assignment may last for many years. My pastor was here, in my church, for 20 years! I knew him well, he knew me well. I loved him and his wife. One day in May he made the announcement to a few committee folks (I was on the committee) that he had accepted a church in another state. We would be getting a new pastor. Oh…no…my heart dropped.
The committee I was on and our conference superintendent met numerous times in order for us to give the superintendent a clear profile of our church family and our needs. We prayed for guidance for the conference committee in searching for a new pastor for us. This went on all summer! We were fortunate in having two assistant pastors who filled the pulpit, so to speak, over the summer.
Finally as of one week ago, we have a new pastor appointed to our church! He’s not new to us. In fact, he was an assistant pastor here about fifteen years ago!
We, as a committee, were committed to prayer. We knew, without a doubt, that God had a person already picked out for us. We just needed to be patient. So we prayed, we interviewed, we discussed, we prayed…
Finally, another name was brought to us. We were surprised! We hadn’t thought of this person, even though most of us, on the committee, knew him.
Here’s his story. When he first heard our pastor was leaving, he began to pray for our church. After all, he knew us, he had been on staff as an assistant to our pastor, years before. Every now and then, our church came to his mind as he was praying and so he’d include us in his prayers. After a while, he asked God what was going on, why a new pastor wasn’t being assigned! Then he said, the thought came to him that maybe…maybe…he was the pastor to answer the call! He wrote to our conference superintendent telling him this and… the rest is history!
Pastor Gene LeForge has been assigned. This is a big change, but it’s one I can live with. I believe God is in it! “Thank You Lord, for Your guidance.”