Personally, I think that we as the congregation have the easier job. Although we are in a position where we have to find a new leader, we're still here. We have one another, the associate pastor, church council, committees, and the synod to help us. We have a huge support system to help us through this transition and frankly, I believe that the Lord already has our new pastor selected and that it will be what's best for us. Our challenge is not only to use discernment in our call, but in believing that we can be a blessing to a new leader as much as they can be a blessing to us. It's easy to lose perspective of that interaction between flock and leader, especially when you've had the same leader for a long time. And in time, we will adjust to the loss and move along, through the transition to a new day ahead.
Of course our pastor will too, but I know he has a more difficult road because I've been in the position of leaving a place behind. He's going to wake up tomorrow morning and face the reality that he's not coming back to his office a the church, but going to a new place that's unfamiliar. He has to be retrained, and to meet new people and adapt to a new environment. There is no familiarity where he's going or, if there is, not as much as he's had at our church. A job change is a substantial life change - in fact, I'd go so far as to say it changes your entire life. I know it did for me. Yes, his is the steeper road, but opportunity is always worth that journey. I believe that he too will move along through his own transition into a new day ahead. It may be a steeper learning curve, but it will probably happen over a shorter period of time. It will likely take us a year or more to call a new pastor, amd by that time he'll be well settled in his new job while we start the process of adjusting to new leadership.
Hmm. So in light of what it's going to take timewise, it may be that he's in the better position. We do still have one another, but perhaps it's a longer road ahead than he has.
I, like everyone else, will miss him. However, I also can't begrudge him for taking this opportunity. I'm glad it came his way and that he was wise enough to consider it and brave enough to accept the change and challenge. Change is how God moves us ahead, and it takes a lot of courage to stand up to that fear, admit that it's time to move on, and take the first steps into the unknown.
As our choir sang at the close of the service, I too hope he road rises up to meet him, and us as well. We all have a new adventure ahead, and we have to find the courage to face them. Transitions are never easy, but they're the only path to a better day. And I believe that, as this door closes, another one is preparing to open any minute now.
That's all today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I wish you a great start to the new week.