The elders huddled around the fold-up table in the room behind the church sanctuary. They sipped tea out of chipped blue cups.
Mr Walters, a gentleman with grey hair and a neat moustache, spoke first.
“As you know, Pastor Jack’s retirement dinner will be held next month. The time has come to advertise for a new senior pastor. Our task tonight is to write that advertisement.”
Tim, the new junior pastor, spoke nervously. “Perhaps we should have an evening of prayer tonight then meet again tomorrow?”
Laughter broke the somber atmosphere, and Tim’s face turned as red as his knitted sweater. Mr Walters called the group back to order.
“We’re all busy people and time is of the essence. So, what qualities do we want in a pastor. First, I think we want somehow who is not too old – dear old Pastor Jack’s declining health has hindered him these last years.”
Mr Richards wrung his hands and cleared his throat. “Good point, but we don’t want any young whipper-snapper either. They just want to change everything. Present company excepted, of course.” He coughed in embarrassment.
Tim spoke up again. “We need a man of prayer who….” Deaf old Mr MacDonald spoke over the top of him.
“Needs to be good with numbers. Can keep track of church finances. Is able to write a decent report too.”
“He needs to be a good administrator but also good with people. Ideally, he should have counseling training. Someone who is both a team-player, and a strong leader...” Mr Walters stroked his moustache thoughtfully.
Two months later
“Now that we’ve interviewed the candidates, we need to make a decision. Pastor Geoffrey, Pastor Steve or Pastor John? To whom should we offer the call?” As dignified as ever, Mr Walter stood at the head of the fold-up table. “We need the Lord’s wisdom.”
The group lowered their heads. One by one, they reminded themselves of the God they served and committed the task to Him. Since the senior pastor’s move to a retirement village on the coast, Tim had taken on a significant teaching role in the church. His key message had been the need for a living relationship with the Lord.
Mr McDonald’s hearing aid began to whistle. He wagged his gnarled old finger at the group. “We dare not call that Geoffrey fellow. He talked about more money. Ridiculous. It was good enough for Pastor Jack for all those years, wasn’t it?”
Tim put his hand on the deaf fellow’s shoulder to get his attention. “He has a young family to care for, sir. He felt it would be impossible to provide for them on the current salary.”
Mr Richards cleared his throat. “I agree, but we just don’t have the money. Now if you would only teach about tithing, young Tim.” He coughed nervously.
Tim spoke again. “As for John, I’m concerned that his references all spoke of conflict. He has changed churches every year or two.”
Mr Walter nodded in agreement. “So – we don’t want Pastor Geoffrey, nor Pastor John. That leaves Pastor Steve. All in agreement to call to Pastor Steve, please say ‘aye’. Good. Now, those against, say ‘nay’. Sorry, Tim – as junior pastor, you’re a non-voting member of the board of elders. We will call Pastor Steve then. This meeting is dismissed.
Several months later
The elders looked positively happy as they drank tea from chipped blue cups while sitting around the fold-up table.
Mr Walters spoke first. “Tim, you’re going to ask us to pray, but I can assure you that we have independently and corporately spent hours fasting and praying already. As you know, Pastor Steve declined the call to our church. All along, God had a different man in mind. A man who isn’t a strong leader. A man who needs a good secretary to keep order in the office. A man who isn’t quite perfect.”
“Tim, dear boy, as we’ve sought the Lord’s leading, it seems that He has already brought to us the man of His choice. We would like to formally call you to the position of senior pastor. What do you say?”
Tim’s face coloured. He studied the marks on the table. “Sir, I’m honoured. I will pray about it. But the work with the youth … numbers have grown in recent months … I don’t think I could do everything….”
Mr Walters’ smiled. “Which is why, dear fellow, we need your input on the advertisement for a new junior pastor.”
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