I find myself saying this fairly often in Church World to explain to curious minds why a pastor left without a new call, or why an educator suddenly decided to move on, or why a family of new members joined a different congregation across town just months after joining our church.
Sometimes . . .
- What we expected didn’t align with what we actually experienced.
- The call of the pastor/musician/secretary/educator changed.
- The needs of the congregation changed.
Sometimes it simply isn’t a good match and that’s okay. It’s certainly not the end of the world.
But we can avoid the pain and trouble of poor matches with these basics:
- Be your authentic self in interviews. Yes, this economy and the dearth of good jobs might tempt us to portray ourselves falsely (“I love working with toddlers!“) But it’s soul-sucking to work in a position that is not a true call.
- Ask hard questions and expect real answers. Does this church exist to serve the people who are already here or to reach out to those who are not yet with us? What are the skeletons? What would you say that some people in the congregation love more than Jesus?
- Acknowledge that none of us is perfect. And don’t expect perfection. (I thought they were Christians in that church, but I heard two women gossiping in the church parking lot.)
Because we don’t have time to waste, because we were born to make a difference we need to discern – prayerfully – The Right Match. The Holy Spirit, of course, plays a part guiding us in the right direction. The community plays a part in affirming us (or not.) But it’s worth it to take the time to get it right.
Image is by Kandinsky.