From “What If” to Real Faith Part III

I can’t believe I am about to write this on my blog because writing what I am about to say in a public forum is kinda like burping out loud during a prayer meeting.  It kinda ruins the moment.  I was jealous.  I knew that Cottage Grove was where I needed to go but I didn’t want to go because I was jealous.  I wanted God to open up the door for me to be on staff at one of those 2000 member churches.  A church that played contemporary music.  A church where I didn’t have to wear a suit and tie.  A church that was considered cool, yet biblically correct.  In short, I was jealous of my long time friend Danny.  He was on staff at one of those churches.  A fantastic church that was reaching thousands in Durham, NC.  Danny’s church even had a cool name. . . The SUMMIT.  Cool huh?  God wasn’t moving me in that direction.  God was moving me in the polar oposite direction.  God was moving me to a church that would consider 80 people to be a GREAT Sunday.  God was calling me to a church where the “church field” really was made up of fields.  A place where you are very likely to hit a deer with your vehicle during your pastoral tenure.  God was moving me to a church that still knew what it meant to use “Robert’s Rules of Order” in a business meeting. 

All of my “what if” questions really boiled down to my selfish desire to be someone God never gifted me or intended for me to be.   I thought I knew what would make me and my family happy.  I didn’t want to be any of those people in Hebrews chapter 11.  In my mind, going to seminary had fulfilled my obligation in the faith department.  I was no longer interested in abandoning myself  for the sake of the Great Commission.  For me, the safe bet was a suburban church.  I thank God that He endowed me with such a curious heart.  It is that curiosity, and a little faith, that made me dial the phone to set a date to preach for the entire congregation at Cottage Grove. 

To make a long, very long, story a little shorter, I preached for them and they called me as their pastor.  We struggled with the decision for a few more weeks but we knew Cottage Grove was the place we were supposed to go.  My wife and I both still had genuine concerns about our ability to overcome the “what ifs”, and I was still stewing over the fact that God would make me go through the rigors of seminary in order to send me to a town where my family would increase the population by 6%.   In the end there was no burning bush.  We didn’t recieve a vision.  We didn’t get our orders from an abstract dream.   We had seen God eliminate every other opportunity and church.  The pastor search committee had also seen God remove all other candidates.  We simply came to the conclusion that God was bigger than our what ifs.   If God couldn’t deal with our addiction to Target and Starbucks then He wasn’t a very big God.   God is big enough though.  Big enough and wise enough to bring us to the right place, at the right time, for the right job.  God truly did move us from “What if to real Faith.”     



Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 7:41 pm  Comments (5)  


  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  2. I had a couple of seminary friends that were hired by the Summit and while in Seminary I think I might have actually killed someone for the same job. I can honestly say now, in hindsight, that Little Mountain is THE place God has for me. At the time, though, I went through the exact same thoughts. I would add that our church practices Little Mountain’s Modified Robert’s Rules of Order. I’m going to write a book about it. I may also write a letter to the seminaries urging them to teach young pastors that Robert’s Rules of Order may actually become Robert’s Suggestions for Order in actual practice. Thanks for writing a good little series of posts that hit home for me.

  3. You are welcome. I enjoyed your post about the “Christian Police”.

  4. I belong to a Methodist church in a small town, and though our pastors are assigned rather than called, we always say that we get pastors either “on the way up, or on the way down.” I think over the years that this little church (established over 100 years ago, attendance around 100 on Sunday mornings) has become a good training ground–we have enough faithful members, enough hotheads, enough generous donors, and enough love and stubbornness to test anyone!

    Good blog–I’m looking forward reading more of your posts.

  5. Thanks Suzanne.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: