Listening to Pastor Paul's story brought back memories--I was here during this same period. We've mentioned that I was on the Pulpit Committee that called Paul (he says he recalls being in his kitchen in Woodstown, NJ, when I called on behalf of the committee to get acquainted) .We had gotten the referral from our church secretary, a good friend of mine, who had gotten a recommendation from her daughter, who I'd had in Sunday school with my daughter. Marcia was a church secretary at Sunland Baptist Church when Paul was there, had kept in touch, and knew they were ready to move back to California. I love it when things happen like that! We'd spent months going over profiles we'd gotten from the regional office of pastors who were possible candidates, and none of them were available or suitable. I have found many times in my life that the best things happen when I'm not looking by myself. (The same thing had happened when we were looking for a youth pastor the previous year--I was also on that committee--when I happened to be over at Judson Baptist Church on an errand, when I saw a door open at the office of their youth pastor, my cousin Jon Lambert. Stopped to visit, and mentioned that we were looking for a youth pastor, as our previous one had moved out of the area. He recommended Jimmy Woolard, who did a great job with our kids--one of whom was my son David.)
I've worked with a variety of pastors over the years, between senior pastors, associates, youth pastors, interim pastors, and others whose paths I've crossed one way or another. I've always talked back to pastors, not complaining but sharing questions and inspirations. Paul and I have had some differences occasionally, but always have worked through them amicably. I would say that I've learned from every pastor we've had. One of my favorites was Dr Owen Day, who was an associate pastor here when I came to San Bernardino. I didn't even look for a church myself; my husband John had been going to Calvary before I met him. Dr Day was truly a gift to me at that time; he had been the senior pastor at the church I grew up in in Spokane, Washington; was one of my dad's best friends, and we had many points of connection. The timing was perfect; my dad had recently passed away, and a substitute dad was literally a Godsend.
Calling a pastor is a challenge. Recently I ran across some of my files from 21 years ago, and was reading over my checklists of To-Do's-things to check into and questions to ask, questions to answer, people to talk to, people to listen to, things to pray about. Lots of those. I think that the result was a blessing! I see us at a turning point; we are becoming a new church (which we've been seeing for several years now) and God's got something good for us!