The Gifts in Searching
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
Over this past year, I have been honored with the experience of being on the Senior Pastor Search Committee, and enjoyed the privilege of working with my fellow group members (Alice Polley, Dix Leeson, Dorothy Patton, Barbara Werner, Rebecca Georgenes, Jeb Bachman, and Mike Kellogg) on the charge of bringing a new senior pastor to the church.
While we joked in our early meetings about how I had seven new parents/grandparents, the group honestly did develop into another family for me. The church— as well as Mike’s living room— became my second home, not only because of how much time we spent in those places (which I can assure you was a lot) but because of what an important part of my life the committee became for me. I recall the numerous occasions before going to meetings on school-nights of my parents telling me to skip it because I had a biology test the next day, or even when they would call me while I was at the church to say the meeting had gone hours late and I needed to get home. They would say it was my junior year, and that I needed to prioritize schoolwork because of what would be more important in the long run. What they did not understand that in the greater scheme, this was more important to me.
I have a teacher that before giving out one of her notoriously impossible tests or pop quizzes, always satirically states “the grade doesn’t define you.” The experience of this spiritual work has been so impactful on me as a person that in reflection I am proud of my decision to value this work over my scholastic studies in terms of what I would take out of it. Let it be known that I did not completely disregard my studies-in case my parents read this-my schoolwork was just always done after meetings (as well my other parents on the committee always made sure I would do all my homework).
This was my opportunity to influence the church that has been so positively defining to me throughout my youth, and use this perspective of mine as a lens while searching for a new minister.
In our group each individual brought forth such amazing attributes and a unique perspective to our work. It was incredible to witness each person utilize their gifts in unison with one another through God’s work with the same goal. It just had a feel as if we were meant to be as one group-one body with individual parts. And it was when all our work merged onto candidates and conversations with Sarah Butter and her family began that we unanimously felt that God has made us all different, and we are on this committee together for a reason, and it all comes together to Sarah: she was the one.
My relation with each of these people on the committee transcended the parental one I described above. We grew into a loving relationship of unique equals. I am so thankful for being a part of this senior pastor search committee. In what other circumstance would I have gotten to know each of them as well as I have and can now call each one my friend? It really is an experience I’ll never forget. I am wordlessly thankful for this group, and the way it gave me the capacity to craft the relationships that I did; I will always have this family.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for making each of us unique. Help us to appreciate these gifts of each other’s differences, and our own. Allow us to work together and use our individuality to make this world a more beautiful place. Amen.