Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
ICurrently, Immanuel is blessed to have Pastor Kristi Bummer as our interim pastor. We are preparing to call a new pastor. This does not mean we will have a new pastor in the next few weeks. The church council has appointed a six member “Call Committee” as dictated by the congregation’s constitution. They have met and are working on writing the Ministry Profile. It is extremely important that this document be filled out accurately and honestly and that it involves the congregation’s input. (You can view the form at www.elca.org/call) The information on the Ministry Profile describes Immanuel and what is important to us as a congregation. It gives the prospective pastors a glimpse at how we do ministry and what ministry is important to us as a congregation. There is historical information about the congregation as well as demographic trends, attendance trends, and benevolence reports gathered for at least the last five years. This form asks us about our dreams and goals for the mission and ministry of Immanuel. Pray for the committee members and their work in this process.
After the forms are completed and submitted to the Montana Synod office in Great Falls, the Bishop looks for candidates that may be a good match. Some of these pastors may currently reside in our synod; some may be looking to come to our area. We can play a part as well. There may be pastors you know or would like to recommend for our congregation. The committee will put together a form asking for your nominations for pastor. The committee will then deliver these to the synod office. The synod office will consult with the synods/bishops of the persons nominated by congregational members to see if those pastors are open and available for “call.”
Then comes the interview process…..
It is important to remember that we are not hiring a pastor to work for us. We are calling a pastor to work with us. It is not a typical employer/employee relationship. We are the church, not just Immanuel Lutheran, but the earthly body of Jesus Christ. We are not a not-for-profit agency or a social service program; yet, in some ways, we have characteristics of those kinds of organizations. The best example of what church is can be found in the letters of Paul, like his letter to the Philippians quoted above and below these paragraphs. When we read and study Paul’s letters we see that each letter addresses different congregations with different needs, cultures, and conflicts. As Christians we know and believe that Jesus is Lord, but we, too, have many gifts and opinions for how we can live out our faith – celebrated, shared and functioning within a larger context.
We are calling a pastor to be a public face of our ministry and a public face of salvation through Jesus. We are calling a pastor to “share the love of Christ with all,” as we work and grow in faith and love together. We are called to a higher standard of behavior and relationship because of what God has done for us in Jesus. We are called to pray and to act boldly in love as God does – not alone, but in community with each other and in community with the world in which we live. The calling of the pastor is just the beginning of the relationship and work. It will be through study, prayer and worship that our relationship will grow.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.