As a pastor in the United Methodist Church, this time of year brings a sense of jittery feelings in the pit of my stomach. We go through our daily routine, wondering every time the phone rings if it is not our District Superintendent calling with an opportunity to provide leadership in a new church for the next appointive year. For some of us, it is the call that we hope to receive (I know what that feels like). But for some of us, the call represents a time of change that is not always welcomed. We sit in a place of blackness, unsure how to tell the people that you love and care for that our time together is coming to an end.
I received one of those calls last week. I did not expect to get as emotional as I did, but part of me wanted to say, “No, I’m not finished here. We are only beginning to get to know one another. Ministry is presenting itself in different ways, the people are happy, and I am happy. Please keep me right where I am.”
As soon as I pour out my heart to God, I hear the most reassuring of voices telling me, “I am so glad that you continue to love the people of my church. It is time to share your gifts in another place. Don’t worry, the people here will continue to thrive because their faith is firmly centered in Christ. Let another pastor share their hope, you have another mission.”
This is what I know, I came to you broken, and you healed my spirit. There is love in places you never dreamed you would go, and God continues to lead us all on this journey. While I look forward to the many opportunities to share the Word in another place, I will always stand and give thanks to you for all of the love you poured out on my family. Peace and blessings to my amazing church. Amen.