At the conclusion of worship on March 24, I announced that I have received a “Letter of Call” from a new mission start-up church called New Creation Lutheran Church in Perham, Minnesota. I asked for your prayers as Stephanie and I discern this call. Those are prayers we still request.
Why would I be open to this call? What am I trying to discern? To answer, I’ll borrow Luther’s famous question, “What does this mean?” and add my own, “What does this NOT mean?”
What Does This Mean?
After nearly 16 years of ministry at Faith Lutheran, I am trying to discern the “where” and “what” of God’s call. Have I completed what God has called me to do at Faith Lutheran? Is it now time for someone else? Or, is this task not yet done? Is the current call before me at Faith Lutheran the one I need to continue to answer? What has God prepared me to do next? These are the questions with which I wrestle. I have a lot of energy for ministry. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not looking to slow down. It is quite the opposite. The question is whether or not I’m being called to a different kind of ministry.
What Does This Not Mean?
Being open to this call does not mean there is something about Faith Lutheran Church that I have any desire to leave. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here I speak for both Stephanie and myself. The solid leadership, the awesome staff, great parishioners and deep friendships are all a part of what makes a decision like this so difficult. Answering God’s call by trying to discern what is best for Faith Lutheran, for me and for this new congregation is not simple or easy to do.
I am confident about this: Faith Lutheran remains what it has surely become. There is a unique character and spirit that defines Faith Lutheran. I have sometimes thought of Faith as a “mission distribution center.” There is a long list of ministries and people God has shaped and sent out to serve from this church. When we’re in the midst of it, we don’t always see it. There is clearly a pioneer attitude and a heart for mission that shapes Faith Lutheran.
The question before me is whether God is continuing to call me to be a part of the “next thing” for Faith Lutheran, or whether I am the “next thing” being sent out by God from Faith Lutheran into a different mission field. I do not know this answer.
Stephanie and I will take the time we need to make the best decision we can make. Along with your prayers, I welcome your thoughts, comments and input, as it is a part of my discernment process.