Divine Call Received
This past Sunday, February 3, 2019, I announced that I received a divine call to serve as the next pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Hudson, WI.
Who is Emmanuel Lutheran?
Hudson is town of about 14,000 located by the St. Croix River, about 30 miles east of the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Emmanuel Lutheran began officially as a mission congregation in 1976. The started Joyful Noise Preschool in 2000, which is still serving their community today. Emmanuel is currently made up of about 130 Christians.
Why did this congregation call Pastor Klein?
This group of Christians has been served by retired and semi-retired pastors for the last 12 years. They recently retired their building debt and increased their giving so that they can return to having a full time pastor to better reach out to their community. About 50% of their city is unchurched. They want a friendly and outgoing pastor to lead their evangelism efforts, particularly making use of their preschool.
Why did Pastor Klein get a call?
Pastor Klein did not ask to be put on a call list. In our church body, pastors do not submit resumes or apply for positions at other churches. Once a pastor accepts a call, they are not considered for another call for four years to give them adequate time to get to know and serve the people at their new calling. After four years at one call, a pastor is eligible to be placed on call lists for congregations seeking to fill a pastoral vacancy. In our church body, there are about 120 such pastoral vacancies. This means that many pastors who are eligible to receive calls are getting calls to other congregations to fill their pastoral vacancies. Once a pastor has returned (declined) a call, he is ineligible for another call for six months. I returned my last received call to the UP of Michigan back in July 2018.
Does Pastor Klein have to go?
Short answer: no. I have a choice: I can choose to return (decline) the new call and continue to serve here at Light of the Valley or I can choose to accept the new call and move to Wisconsin and continue serving the Lord there. Both calls are from God. Both are God-pleasing options. What I seek to do when holding a new call is to assess how my God-given gifts, talents, and personality can best serve the Lord and his Church. My number one priority in considering a call is the work of the Lord. This means that all other considerations are secondary or lower, such as the beauty of an area, the housing, proximity to extended family, etc.
What should you do?
I first ask that you pray. I ask that you pray for the congregations involved - ours and Emmanuel in Hudson. All of the people in these two congregations need the Lord to provide a shepherd for them. Pray for me, that God gives me guidance to reach a decision as I talk with people at Light of the Valley and with people at Emmanuel. Pray for my family because it's stressful for my wife and boys while I consider a call.
Secondly, you are probably wondering what you should say, if you say anything at all. Is it selfish to tell Pastor Klein to stay? Is it rude to tell him to take the call and leave? I encourage you to speak your mind with the overriding thought of what you consider to be the best thing for me to do in serving the Lord. If you think it would be best for serving the Lord that I take this call to Emmanuel, say so. If you think it would be best for me to continue serving the Lord here at Light of the Valley, say so. If you think it's time for someone else to come and serve you here at Light of the Valley, say so. It's important to communicate your thoughts with me because that helps me decide how I can best serve the Lord. If you would prefer to give your input to someone other than me, I recommend speaking with our Congregational Chairman, Allan Emery (801-645-5488; firstname.lastname@example.org), or our Head Elder, Andy Hartmann (801-726-5169; email@example.com).
Lastly, if you would like to learn more about the call process, check out these links:
The Doctrine and Practice of the Call in the WELS
Calls, Congregations, and Communication (WELS Q&A)
"After Much Prayerful Consideration..." The Interrelation of Sanctified Reason and God's Will in Deliberating a Divine Call
Thank you for your prayers, your guidance, and your support. It is a blessed privilege to serve you. God is with us all. He is our Portion; he is all we need. God bless and keep you!
- In Christ, Pastor Jon Klein