I received a Call. I was notified of this on December 27, but I didn't want to say anything until I received the paperwork and it became official. The paperwork arrived today, and I've had a bit of a chance to look it over. The Call is to Grace Lutheran Church in El Paso, Texas. (Texas? Whoda thunkit?) They have an active membership of 60 people, and they average about 30 people in worship. I would be what's known as a bi-vocational pastor--that is, I would be a pastor, but I'd have to find another job to supplement what the church would be able to provide for me.
One of my pastor colleagues said, "BTW, the Lord says, 'take it.'" I know what he means. I just wish it was that simple. I know I've said repeatedly that I want a Call, and here one is, handed to me. I have no problem with the idea of being a worker-priest. Part of me figured that would be the only way I'd get back into parish ministry. I have no reason not to give this Call the serious consideration it deserves, and I will certainly do so. This will probably take a little longer than the usual three to four weeks for me to decide, however. A lot of my decision will be based on whether or not I can find work that will allow me to support my family while being flexible enough to allow me to do what I need to do as a parish pastor. After all, the congregation wants their pastor to help them to grow to the point where they can support the pastor, and that's going to take a lot of work and a lot of time. The church doesn't have a parsonage, so I'd have to buy a house. But they can't afford any kind of housing allowance. The congregation also can't afford any kind of health insurance. There are a lot of questions about how this would work, and I'll be asking those questions over the next few weeks. It's not a cut-and-dried yes-or-no situation.
I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I deliberate--me, my family, and Grace Lutheran Church in El Paso. God help me.
By the way, Faith and I have been married for four years today! Can you believe she's put up with me for that long? Thanks be to God for bringing this wonderful woman into my life.