Mark Hanson, former Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, once said that Christians should be straightforward when talking about God. We get into trouble, he said, when we use churchy words like “evangelism” and “justification” without explanation. Want to talk about God’s redemptive work in Christ? Then put it in a way that everyday folks can understand. Be clear and plain. Good advice for us Lutherans who have code words for nearly everything, including calling the lobby a “narthex.”
But there is at least one churchy word that I think should be preserved at all costs – and that word is call.
Scripture teaches that the primary way that God interacts with humans is by call. Not assignment. Not coercion or intimidation. But by calling us into relationship, into service, into particular discoveries and journeys. Frederick Buechner famously said that a good way of knowing if you are called is when it’s “the kind of work that you need most to do and that the world most needs to have done.”
In the church, we say that pastors are called to serve a congregation, not hired. This isn’t because pastors are special or more holy. Any work that benefits others is holy work. But call language is particularly helpful for churches and their leaders because it reminds us that these relationships are created and tended by God. When the Minnesota Vikings fire their head coach, they hire someone within a week. Call processes in the church take much longer, in part, because we are intentionally creating space for God to work.
Trinity’s Council, at their February meeting, appointed a call committee to lead our process toward a new Pastor of Spiritual Care. Pastor Dan Dahl, our interim PSC, continues to be a remarkable gift to Trinity and our ministry. Pastor Dahl is also willing to serve as long as is needed, for which I am so grateful. But call processes can take many months. So we are getting the ball rolling.
The first step for our call committee is to complete Trinity’s Ministry Site Profile (MSP). The MSP describes our community, Trinity’s mission and strategic goals, and the specific gifts we are seeking in our next pastor. Once submitted, the MSP helps our synodical staff and potential candidates discern a good fit for Trinity.
Please hold our call committee and this process in your prayers. You can see their names below. And please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us with questions and feedback. We trust that God will guide this call, as always.
Call Committee Formed
Trinity’s Council has appointed a call committee for our next Pastor of Spiritual Care. The members are Mark Feustel (Chair), Patty Flatness, Pat Guetzko, Kevin Hendrikson, Candy Marshall, Rich Murray, Rachel Paulus and Pastor Dan Gerrietts. Please hold our call committee and their work in your prayers. Pastor Dan Dahl, our interim PSC, has been a remarkable gift to Trinity and will continue serving until a new pastor is called.