As I said in my posting yesterday, after sending out dozens and dozens of resume, I ended up having moderate to serious dialogues with 13 different churches from 11 different states. Now came the process of watching God dwindle that list down to just three churches over the space of a few months.
One of these three churches was obviously the Gaylord E-Free Church (GEFC) where I will be going at the end of this month to start my new ministry. Another of these three was part of a denomination I wasn't real familiar with but what I was seeing and reading about them on line was very appealing. The third church was one that both Laura and I had some reservations regarding but we decided to let God be the one to close any door regarding any of these 3 churches.
As we continued to dialogue with these three churches we found ourselves becoming more and more drawn to GEFC. The more we looked into what life was like in Gaylord, Michigan, eerything about it was appealing to us. The weekend before Christmas the Search Team had our family come up for a weekend to see Gaylord for ourselves and to attend the Sunday morning service at GEFC "incognito." God used that weekend to put a real desire in all of our hearts as a family to see Gaylord and GEFC be the place God in which God was leading.
After that trip we begin to pray specifically that GEFC would be the first one of the three churches we were dialoguing with to officially ask us to candidate. We were thrilled when that call came back in early February. Laura and I then found ourselves back in Gaylord where I preached the weekend of February 20th. Just prior to our going to Gaylord for this weekend God closed the door of the church we had reservations regarding. But what about the third church?
On the Friday night that we were in Gaylord for our candidating weekend I was contacted by the third church. They knew that I was candidating that weekend in Michigan and that the church would be voting on me the following week. They offered me the opportunity during that week in between to fly out to meet with them to learn more about their ministry and the open position they had for a Senior Pastor before I made my final decision regarding Michigan.
I did take 24 hours to pray about that invitation, but I continued to be at peace that God was calling us to Gaylord, Michigan and GEFC. So we completed the candidating weekend and flew back to PA to wait for the congregational vote the following Sunday. Tomorrow in my blog I will talk about what exactly God used to draw us to Gaylord, Michigan and GEFC as well as sharing our perspective on receiving the news last Sunday night that the congregation had voted to call me as their next pastor.