One of the greatest gifts I have received over this interim has been the relationship I have developed with Debbie, a neighbor who regularly visits the office. Once Joe and Nina left, I became one of her frequent conversationalists. I’ve even wondered if she should be on our Personnel Ministry Group, if for the fact that she’s not a member or attender of the church. Through daily visits and phone calls, Debbie keeps tabs on all of us as office staff. Just now, on the phone with me, she asked if Perry has recovered from his cold. Last Monday, she shared how worried she was about us all as we gathered in the torrential rain that past Saturday for Michael French’s funeral. From the weather to her worries, we cover it all. Our conversations have become one of the highlights of my work each week at Highland.
As the office is beginning to prepare for the end of the interim, Debbie is starting to notice. As we just wrapped up our conversation, she asked again: “With this new pastor coming, are you going to stay or are you moving to Hawaii?” I always assure her that I’m not going anywhere; that if I move to Hawaii, I’ll take her with me and we’ll love the sunshine.
Talking with Walter last week, she ended her conversation with the simple question: “What will the new pastor coming mean for me? For Debbie? Will things change or be different?” Walter emailed me to share about Debbie’s questions, writing, “How articulate and insightful of Debbie to ask the questions out loud that we’re all asking here at Highland Baptist Church, if we’re honest with ourselves.”
I hope you will join us for our Congregational Conversation this Sunday during the Bible study hours at 9:30 and 11:00 so that you will hear some of the details about the process of a “call weekend.” This time together will help us imagine how Highland will move through this process of calling a new pastor. But Debbie’s question is not one for the Pastor Search to answer. It is a question for each of us to ask of ourselves and of God as we enter into a year of change.
What will a new pastor coming mean for me? How will this new beginning affect our church, our city, and our lives?
Only God knows. And I don’t mean that flippantly. Just this weekend, we read together from the first chapter of I Corinthians: “God is faithful.” New beginnings call us forth into the unknown where we must walk in faith, trusting in our faithful God whose love will carry us safely into the next season of our life together. No matter the road, we walk it confidently for we walk it together.