WORDS TO ENCOURAGE
Questions and Answers about Pastoral Calls
- Q) Why do pastors get calls to other congregations?
- A) Pastors get calls because churches have vacancies. The Holy Spirit works in the Church at large to fill these vacancies. Church members are given the opportunity to submit names. Other names are obtained from the district office. Getting a call, then, is often unexpected. Sometimes everything is quiet. A pastor doesn’t get a call for years. Then suddenly he has three at once. It is the Holy Spirit at work here and not necessarily that a pastor wishes to leave.
- Q) How is the Holy Spirit working if a pastor gets a call and he returns it? This seems rather pointless.
- A) A call causes the pastor and his congregation to take a step back and evaluate the present situation. This is good. It wakes everyone up a bit. They also learn to appreciate each other. When a pastor returns the call and stays, it is saying that the Holy Spirit has led the pastor to stay and continue his work there. It is saying that the pastor’s gifts are best suited to be used where he is presently called. In many cases this invigorates both pastor and congregation.
- Q) How is the Holy Spirit working if a pastor accepts the new call? This doesn’t seem positive at all.
- A) No doubt there is a sense of loss in this case both for the pastor and his congregation. Understand again, though, it is the work of the Spirit to lead a pastor where he should be. It is not the thinking: “He must think their church is better than ours.” The pastor has been led to another church because his gifts are needed there, and for the church which becomes vacant, unrecognized needs can be identified and addressed which was previously not possible.
- Q) What if the pastor leaves? Won’t we be without a pastor?
- A) A pastor’s departure is not immediate. There will be a period of transition and a final service date. In the meantime, the process of calling another pastor will begin. Plans are made to obtain a vacancy pastor who will serve until a new pastor is found. Churches also go through a period of self-study to help identify the needs there. Churches are never left without pastoral care. In time the Holy Spirit will lead a new pastor there – someone eager and equipped to continue the work already begun.