I knew something was wrong.
It started the day before, when a friend mentioned needing to “clear her head” on facebook. But she also shared something later that was family related, so I brushed it off.
Then Sunday morning when the pastor’s wife posted “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
Something is wrong my gut said.
We went to church.
“Open to Romans 12.” Then he went into what he felt his duties as a pastor are and how he has fulfilled them to the best of our ability.
No!!!! my gut screamed
Then he asked, “Are you willing to trust God even if it is hard, and even if it is scary?”
No, not this, not now. Before he said it, I knew. Before he said it, the tears were falling.
Our pastor is headed to the mission field. It is the right thing for them. I know this. I have seen it first hand in his love for missions. It is the right thing for our church too. In my heart I know this.
But you see, I’m not ready. I am so not ready.
Ready for what? Ready to watch my church search for a pastor.
We came to our church a year and a half ago hurting and broken. Making the decision to leave the church we had been attending was not easy, but it was the right decision for our family. We left behind people we loved.
Thankfully that church is stable now with a good pastor who is a good fit for the people, but at the time we had seen and experienced things I will not go into on a public forum, but they left us broken and hurting. And much of it revolved around the loss of a pastor and the process of searching for one. For two very long years. I watched this process the first time before Tim and I got married, and it wasn’t pretty, although not quite as damaging. Still, I saw families torn apart, sides drawn, lines made. It was awful.
Because of these experiences, I still feel like I am going to throw up when I attend church business meetings. I still get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when our pastor mentions that he has “business” to discuss with the deacons or the church body. I still feel fearful when someone doesn’t attend for a few Sundays with no known reason. When God legitimately moves someone on to a new church, it breaks my heart.
I’m not ready to do this again. I am so scared.
Why is this such a big deal? I realize some people reading this will not understand, even those from my own church.
But see, I have seen for myself how lack of leadership can deeply hurt a church. Heritage is a good church, the best church I have ever attended, and if you know where I come from, that’s saying a lot. The people love one another in a way I have never experienced. They work together to accomplish things, big things, you would expect from a big church. When someone is hurting, they rally around that person in prayer and love. The pastor truly knows his people and is respected by them. People handle disagreements biblically, and there is virtually no gossip. It’s truly amazing. And I don’t want Satan to change that.
Don’t get me wrong, I know a pastor is not a church. A church is the people who collectively commit to serving the Lord. I know that the unity and love of this church family, the strong men we have, and the lack of tension among the members, are going to make a huge difference.
Yet, I also know how it is a vulnerable time. And I’m not ready.
But, I have to be. It’s like I told my pastor’s wife last night, if God can get me through November, He can get me through this.
But I’m scared. And honestly, I think I have a right to be. And maybe God wants me to be scared to teach me something.
Four months. That is when this process will truly begin. During that time, our pastor is going to teach us how to look for a pastor, how to follow that new pastor, and what his role as former pastor should be. It is a good thing.
My prayer is this: "Lord, keep your church strong. Help us to stick together, to continue to love one another, to handle problems right. Give wisdom to the men as they lead our church. Give wisdom to the assistant pastor as he steps in to fill the pulpit, and strengthen him and his family during this time. Help me to respond in faith and trust and not in fear. It is your church Lord, have your will."
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