I am determined to see the fishing metaphor through to the end of our pastoral search process!
We've come a long way with candidate #3--further than any of the previous two "fish" which hung on the line for a time. God has been gracious to us in this "expedition."
Pastor E and his bride joined us here in Idaho for five days in May. They engaged in a series of meaningful discusssions with us. He preached God's word that Sunday, then answered numerous questions from our covenant members in an hour-plus long Q&A session.
Most recently Pastor E submitted his responses to our theology and philosophy of ministry exam. After careful review of his detailed answers as biblically, theologically, and philosophically sound, Joel and I agreed without reservation to put him before our membership as God's man for our next vocational teaching elder.
As was announced this past Sunday, on July 10, following the service, a closed-ballot vote by our covenant members will be conducted to affirm or deny Pastor E to that end.
So what will it take for us to "land the big fish?"
Trust me, I'm only playing with man-centered pragmatism in this notion in order to get your attention! Are you still with me? Good. Then you're ready for the best answer I can give you to this all-important question.
Keep doing the same thing we've been doing for the last eighteen months since we began the search.
WAIT ON GOD FOR GOD'S MAN.
The only way we can land this "fish" is for the Lord to confirm that he is indeed God's appointed "fish" for us.
That your elders believe he is indeed the answer to our prayers is not enough. That fact should weigh heavily on your deliberation, but in and of itself it is not determinative. Our constitution requires 75% of voiting members in attendance to confirm our proposal.
As covenant members you should feel considerable weight of responibility in this. Here are some thoughts to help you handle it over the next five weeks.
One, pray a lot. Fast a bit. Put aside a meal or two and devote the time to praying for God's will in the matter. Join us on Wednesday nights for corporate prayer the rest of this month. We will target this decision much each time we gather.
Two, listen to more of Pastor E's sermons on the website where he curently preaches. This is a huge benefit to the search, especially if you missed his message at TRBC last month. The URL address is available at the church on the bulletin board. And please remember, no posting anywhere online about our brother's identity. This is our-family-only business.
Three, attend the family meeting on June 26th if at all possible. This member-only gathering will be devoted to frank and open conversation town-hall meeting style with us as elders for any questions, concerns, issues which you may feel need to be addressed.
Four, if you are public-meeting-question-asking shy, and some understandably are, talk with Joel and me privately and/or with any of the other members of our succession team.
WE CANNOT OVER COMMUNICATE ABOUT SUCH AN IMPORTANT DECISION IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH.
Five, continually pray for Pastor E and his bride as they wait to hear from us with our decision about moving ahead or not with a call for him to be our next vocational pastor. Ask the Lord to prepare their hearts for what God's providence will bring them through us and how they should respond.
That "fish" and "Mrs. Fish"--please forgive the analogy dear sister!--will have to want to jump into our boat without hesitation, if we are to know the joy of finally landing the big one.
The Lord's will be done.