After receiving the call from the Lurgan church I was asked to attend an interview with the district superintendent and the regional director. I am usually quite nervous before interviews but on this occasion I was not too bad. On this occasion my confidence was not dependent on my ability but it was based on what I believed to be God’s call and his purpose and plan for my life. What a difference it makes when you really believe that you are living in the centre of God’s will for your life.
The interview took place in a relaxed atmosphere in the sun room and home of one of the board members of the church. I cannot remember all the questions that I was asked but I answered them all with openness and honesty. I was asked about what I had been doing in my life up to this point and I shared the amazing journey that God had taken me on to get me to this junction in my life. I shared how as a young Christian in the church I had a desire to serve God and work for him in whatever way he chose. Over the years I had went out to the altar many times to present my life to God for whatever he might want to do with it.
I explained how God had called me out of secular work to work with people and how afraid I was to take that step of faith but God worked it out in a wonderful way. I shared how step by step God’s preparation plan for my life unfolded through counselling, working for a mission, and six years of voluntary work, the last three spent working in a drop in centre meeting people every day. The District superintendent asked me how many times I would normally preach in a year and the simple answer was as often as I would be asked. I had received my local minister’s licence before we left the church for four and a half years and would probably average around ten or so preaching engagements a year.
He asked me how I thought I would manage to prepare two sermons and a bible study each week. I had been preparing for the bible study in the centre for approximately three years but two sermons a week plus all the duties and responsibilities of being a full time Pastor would be quite a challenge. I told him that I believed without doubt that God would equip and enable me through the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out everything necessary to Pastor the church. If I had not believed that with all my heart I would not have accepted the call from the church. I told the two men about different circumstances in my life that I believed had brought me to this place and I think I left the two dreams that had been fulfilled to the last.
During the interview I told the two men that I never expected to be back in the Lurgan church again never mind being considered to come back as their Pastor. I had settled in Lurgan Elim church and had the privilege of serving there as missions secretary as well as working in other church activities. When I told my Pastor that I had been called back to the church I attended when I was sixteen he was delighted for my wife and I. We had a lovely sending forth from our dear friends in Lurgan Elim on the last Sunday morning that we were there. It was very precious to us both.
On the first of November 2010 I officially became the Pastor of the Lurgan church of the Nazarene. It was quite an emotional experience for the both of us. It almost seemed like a dream or a fairy tale come true. I struggled to take it all in, the journey from meeting Pastor Spence at my front door at the age of sixteen and now thirty six years later I have become his Pastor. No one could have written that story but God. When we moved into the Manse we invited Mr and Mrs Spence around for tea one evening and we reflected together the many times my wife and I along with a large group of other young people sat there in the Pastors bible studies.
One of the most memorable nights of our lives was the night of our induction service into the church as Pastor and Pastors wife. A good friend of mine hired a man to video record the service and projected it into the big hall in the church. The main sanctuary was filled to capacity with extra seats and the overflow was into the big hall. When my friend suggested videoing the service and projecting it onto a screen in the other hall I thought he was crazy but he knew more than I did. Both our family members turned up in numbers, I was pleasantly surprised by some of my side of the family who turned up. A few of them I had no recollection of ever going to church. To see the large number of family and friends gathered there that night was unbelievable. Some of my friends from the church who had gone to Bible College attended the service and took part in it one way or another.
I was now the Pastor of the church that we were married in 1979. It was no fairy tale or dream it was a wonderful reality that God sometimes chooses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. I felt so unworthy of this awesome privilege to be called to be the Pastor of my home church. I do not have the words to adequately describe my feelings and emotions on that night and even now at times. It seemed impossible that this could ever take place but our God is the God of the impossible.
Dear friend, who knows where God wants to take you. God has a divine plan for our lives. Who knows the heights to which God can take us if we can believe in him, trust him and be obedient to him. All glory to God.